Satilla Bluegill Record Great Way To Celebrate 18th Birthday

Craig James | May 4, 2023

Gunner Thrift, of Raybon, has the new Satilla River record bluegill with this 1-lb., 6.88-oz. bream.

When Gunner Thrift, of Raybon, made a trip to the Satilla River days before his 18th birthday, he had no idea what early birthday surprise the south Georgia river had in store for him.

“On April 7, I was fishing with my dad and his friend on the Satilla down at Flat Woods Bluff. It’s located between Warner’s Landing and where the Little Satilla feeds in,” said Gunner.

The trio of fisherman spent the first few hours of daylight pitching crickets under corks to shoreline cover. 

“We were catching fish along and along, but they weren’t on fire. We had managed to put some good fish in the boat though,” Gunner said.

Around 9 a.m., Gunner fired a cast to some flooded willow trees. His cork went down, and he knew immediately he had a big fish.

“The way he was pulling… I just knew it had to be a mudfish. He was really fighting hard,” said Gunner.

For the next 30 seconds or so, the fish fought hard, testing the limits of Gunner’s Zebco 33 Micro combo. Finally, Gunner was able to get the fish to the boat. To his surprise, it wasn’t a mudfish he had been tangling with.

“It was the biggest bluegill we had ever seen. I knew he had to be some kind of record. I got out my digital scales, and they said he was 1.44 pounds. I looked up the GON records with my phone and saw that mine was bigger,” said Gunner.

The fisherman finished out their trip catching several more fish as they went. After keeping the fish iced down overnight, Gunner took his prize to the DNR to be certified the next day. 

Just breaking the previous record of 1-lb., 6.35-ozs, Gunner’s giant bluegill pushed the scales down to 1-lb., 6.88-ozs., making it the new mark to beat on the Satilla.


Largemouth Bass12-lbs.Kevin Mullis03/27/2015
Striped Bass11-lbs., 9.76-ozs.John Geiger03/15/2006
Channel Catfish32-lbs., 3-ozs.James Lentz10/30/1977
Flathead Catfish45-lbs. 15-ozs.Larry Linker10/10/2018
Shellcracker1-lb.,10-ozs.Joseph Boyett05/03/1987
Chain Pickerel4-lbs., 14-ozs.Virgil Chaney1996
Redbreast1-lb., 12.32-ozs.Lester Roberts05/07/2022
Warmouth1-lb., 4.64-ozs.Michael Lott05/10/2022
Bluegill1-lb, 6.88-ozs.Gunter Thrift04/07/23
Spotted Sunfish10.08-ozs.Ron Adams05/30/2021
Black Crappie2-lbs., 1-ozs.Steven Todd02/06/24
Bowfin14-lbs., 10-ozs.Brandon Corbitt04/01/23
Longnose Gar18-lbs., 6.56-ozs.Larry Linker05/20/2021
White Catfish2-lbs., 15.52-ozs.Chris Royer12/21/15

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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