Freshwater Drum Record Smashed On The Coosa River

Brad Gill | May 31, 2019

Jenna Thomas, 22, of Rome, nearly doubled the Coosa River freshwater drum record on May 16. Her 10-lb., 13.6-oz. fish beat the previous record of 5-lbs., 11.3-ozs. When she broke the record, she was fishing with her friends, Brian Justice and Noah Guy.

“We were fishing from the bank on some private land. We bank fish almost every day after work, all the time,” said Jenna. “We are just usually fishing for catfish. We catch blue cats and flatheads, and stripes when they are running. Every once in a while we’ll catch drum.”

The trio of anglers had eight rods out fishing on the bottom with cut shad they caught with a cast net. It was about 9 p.m. when the freshwater drum hit.

“I thought I was tangled up a little with one of Noah’s rods,” said Jenna. “Noah thought the fish was on his pole, but I was like, ‘No, this fish is on my pole.’ I just kept reeling. I had to go over some rods and under some rods because we have to walk to one spot on the bank where we can get down almost to the water so we don’t break our poles pulling them in.

I was hoping I had a pretty good-sized catfish, but I was excited about my drum.”

Jenna and the boys got in touch with Aaron Churchwell, who holds the current Coosa River record for flathead catfish, and he told them they needed to get in touch with WRD Fisheries in order to get the fish certified. The next day Jenna met with several biologists at the Armuchee Fisheries Office and solidified the record.

Jenna Thomas, 22, of Rome, with her Coosa River freshwater drum record.

“Freshwater drum are abundant in the Coosa River, but individuals of this size are not commonplace,”  said Jim Hakala, WRD fisheries biologist. “While the species can grow to much larger size, catching a 10-plus-lb. fish from the Coosa is a real trophy.  Most drum encountered in the Coosa system will weigh less than 2 pounds, so this fish is certainly a standout.”

Based on Jim’s information, Jenna’s record maybe around for a while.

“I’m just glad to beat all the boys out of it,” said Jenna.

She’ll be able to enjoy her fish for years to come.

“Deer hunting and turkey hunting is my dad’s thing, but he said ‘Fishing is your thing, so we’re going to get it mounted,'” said Jenna.

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.

• 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.

• Qualified DNR personnel may need to verify some species of fish.

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration. See all of the up-to-date official Lake and River Records. 

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