Etowah River Striper From 1994 Surfaces, Breaks Record

Brad Gill | February 13, 2019

A striper caught 24 years ago from the Etowah River has surfaced and claimed the “new” river record for this northwest Georgia river.

Keith Cole, of Aragon, was thumbing through his February 2019 issue of GON when he came across the latest printing of GON‘s Georgia Lake and River Records. On page 82, he saw a photo of a smiling Joe Frank Harris Jr. with a 33-lb. striper he caught on Aug. 21, 2018, which at the time was the striper record for the Etowah.

Keith has some pretty long-standing history with GON. He entered a striped bass in GON‘s Fishin’ Contest in May 1994 that weighed exactly 38 pounds, heavier than Harris’ 33-pounder. Since GON required that all fish entered in the Fishin’ Contest be weighed on certified scales, Keith will take over the position as best striped bass ever recorded from the Etowah River.

The 38-pounder was missed because GON did not start keeping records on the Etowah River until 2015.

On that day 24 years ago, Keith set out to go fishing with his son and wife.

“I fish all the time with my wife and son,” said Keith.

Keith thought it would be the perfect day for fishing since a generator would be moving water.

“We only fish when they have the generator on because the fish are feeding,” said Keith.

Keith and his family were out there for about an half an hour before anything got caught on his line. After waiting patiently, Keith finally felt a tug at his line. For what seemed like forever, he wrestled with the fish until he became victorious.

“It took me about 10 minutes to reel him,” said Keith.

Using his Ambassador 6500, he was able to successfully reel in the striper. After bringing it in the boat, he quickly left and got it weighed on certified scales at Chemical Product Corporation in Cartersville.

If you catch a fish that might top a current lake or river record, contact GON by email at [email protected], or call (800) 438-4663.

Keith Cole with a 38-lb. striper caught from the Etowah River in 1994.

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