Lake Rabun Perch Record Broken By 73-Year-Old Retiree

Mike Bolton | December 14, 2022

Jeff Smith fishes several days a week. That consistency paid off with a new Lake Rabun yellow perch record.

Jeff Smith is not one of those people who moved to Georgia and talks about how much better things were where he came from. The Cleveland, Ga. resident can’t brag enough about the state where he moved to four years ago.

Now, he has something else to brag about. Jeff’s 1.88-lb. yellow perch caught on Lake Rabun is a new lake record.

“I’m from Connecticut and my job was taking people fishing,” the 73-year-old said. “I got ready to retire, and you can’t retire in Connecticut because of the taxes. A friend of mine is a native Georgian, and he invited me down to fish with him. The taxes are a lot less here and Georgia caters to fishermen. The people here don’t realize how good they have it.”

At age 69, Jeff packed up and moved south. Jeff spends his retirement these days fishing. He goes at least three times a week.

“About the first of December, I was on Lake Rabun, and I was jigging for walleye,” he said. “I started catching yellow perch. I went back two days later with my grandson and used smaller jigs, and it was incredible. We caught several over 1 pound.

“Now, perch fishing isn’t all that exciting, but catching perch that size was.

“I went back on Dec. 4 by myself. It was a little chilly, but it was flat calm. I started catching them again and I was catching more big ones. I caught that one that was really huge. I saw the lake record was 1.8 pounds, and I thought this one might be bigger. I got it weighed on certified scales and it was 1.88 pounds.”

WRD certified the catch. The fish measured and it was 14 3/8 inches long.


Lake Rabun Records

Largemouth Bass12-lbs., 6-ozs.Harrison Nix06/08/93
Spotted Bass6-lbs., 2-ozs.Jeff Payne03/05/18
White Bass2-lbs., 4.8-ozs.Shannon Sutton06/05/05
Hybrid Bass9-lbs., 8-ozs.Steve Jones04/20/09
Striped Bass39-lbs., 14-ozs.Danny Wall03/04/14
Walleye14-lbs., 2-ozs.*Wes Carlton02/19/16
Rainbow Trout7-lbs., 11-ozs.James E. Speed05/09/06
Northern Pike18-lbs., 2-ozs.*Keith Gragg06/27/82
Bluegill1-lb., 14-ozs.Julie Owens05/18/94
Yellow Perch1-lb., 8.8-ozs.Jeff Smith12/04/22
Black Crappie2-lbs., 0.16-ozs.Colter Cannon04/23/22
Shellcracker2-lbs., 3-ozs.Whitfield Athey05/16/21

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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