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Blackshear’s First Shellcracker Record Is A Grown ‘Un

Mike Bolton | May 26, 2022

When Robin Van Dette made her first cast of the day on Lake Blackshear, she immediately knew something big had inhaled the red wiggler she was using for bait.

Over the next few minutes and hours, her emotions would go from excitement, to disappointment, to incredible excitement.

Robin Van Dette with her Lake Blackshear shellcracker that sets the bar as a new lake record.

“My husband Mark and I have a place on Lake Blackshear we call our honeyhole,” the Braselton resident said with a laugh. “The fishing there is just good for a little while in the mornings. We catch a lot of big catfish and bream there.

“As soon as the fish hit, I thought it was a big catfish. I started screaming for my husband to get the net. It was really putting up a fight. It went under the boat and everything. I fought the fish for about five minutes, and the whole time I fought the fish we thought it was a catfish. We didn’t know it was a bream until we put it into the net.”

Robin was disappointed with catching a bream instead of a catfish—until she saw her husband’s reaction.

“He said this is the biggest one of these I have ever seen!” she said. “I just thought it was a cute fish. I really didn’t think it was a big deal, really.”

It finally started dawning on her that it was a big deal when they took the fish to Flint River Outdoors. Everyone there said it was the biggest shellcracker they had ever seen.

“It was a fat little thing,” Robin said.

The fish is the first shellcracker record established for Lake Blackshear. It was weighed on certified scales at Striplings at 2-lbs., 1.44-ozs. WRD biologists verified the species as a shellcracker, and it was measured at 13 3/4 inches long.

The Van Dettes hunt and fish together and have a house full of mounted deer and turkeys and even one bear. Robin’s fish will become the first fish they have mounted.

Even the bait shop is having a replica made to display, she said.


Lake Blackshear Records

Largemouth Bass 11-lbs., 7.84-ozs. Scott Holland 04/01/06
Striped Bass 35-lbs., 1.6-ozs. Steve Phillips 02/03/18
Black Crappie 3-lbs., 9.28-ozs. Casey Tanner 04/13/19
White Crappie 2-lbs., 15-ozs. Paula Short 03/29/07
Flathead Catfish 39-lbs., 15.04-ozs. Shannen Kitchens 09/15/17
Hybrid Bass 10-lbs., 0.16-ozs. Billy Myers 12/23/19
Yellow Perch 1-lb., 5.6-ozs. Stephen Lane 12/11/2020
Shellcracker 2-lbs., 1.44-ozs. Robin Van Dette 04/24/22
Shoal Bass 4-lbs., 2.56-ozs. Jerrod Brown 03/05/22

See all of GON’s official Georgia Lake & River Records here.

Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with state game and fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present, who must be willing to provide their names and phone numbers so they can be contacted to verify the weighing of the fish.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel.

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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