Savannah River Record Chain Pickerel A First For 74-Year-Old

Mike Bolton | June 11, 2022

James Moore thought he had seen everything in his more than seven decades of fishing, but he had never seen the likes of whatever it was on his line on the Savannah River the other day.

“I usually go fishing about every other week,” the 74-year-old Harlem resident said. “I’ve been doing that since my uncle started taking me fishing when I was real small.”

James Moore had never caught a chain pickerel until he pulled this one from the Savannah River recently. It turned out to be the the new river record.

“That’s a bunch of fishing, and I’ve caught a bunch of fish, but I had never seen one of those things.”

The fish was a chain pickerel. A good one.

James and his fishing buddy were fishing for bream and yellow perch with 6-lb. test line when the fish inhaled his Beetle Spin. The fish would later be officially weighed at 4-lbs., 12 ozs., the largest ever recorded from the Savannah River.

James didn’t know what the fish was, but his fishing buddy did. 

“The guy with me recognized what it was,” he said. “I called my cousin and told him about it, and he told me that I needed to take it to DNR and show it to them.”

Of all the fish that James has caught through the years, it was the first fish that he ever had weighed. Good thing that he did.

“They weighed it and measured it,” he said. “They told me it was the biggest one to ever come out of the river. It beat the record by 2 ounces.”

Savannah River Record Fish

Largemouth Bass 15-lbs. Mike Stille 11/06/99
Hybrid Bass 22-lbs., 6-ozs. Jerry Adams 06/20/86
Striped Bass 56-lbs., 2-ozs. Vaughn Taylor 05/07/12
Chain Pickerel 4-lbs., 12-ozs. James Moore 05/10/22
Shellcracker 3-lbs. William Owens IV 06/24/08
White Catfish 8-lbs., 10-ozs.* James Sanders 06/96
American Shad 8-lbs., 3-ozs.* Henry Baxley 04/86
Gizzard Shad 3-lbs., 2-ozs. Taylor Hodson 04/06/07
Hickory Shad 1-lb., 12-ozs. Bill Resseau 03/19/06
Yellow Perch 2-lbs., 9-ozs.* Thomas Lewis 02/27/13
White Crappie 2-lbs., 13-ozs. Mike Markovcic 03/03/16
Redbreast 1-lb., 1.6-oz. Donavan Pruitt 5/14/20
Bluegill 1-lb. 1.92-ozs. Joe Taylor Jr. 05/19/20
Warmouth 1-lb., 6.5-ozs. Joshua Barnhill 05/20/22
Smallmouth Bass 4-lbs., 4.64-ozs. Stephen Mixon 07/05/18
Channel Catfish 25-lbs., 6-ozs. Dalton Smith 04/17/21

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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