Suwannee River Warmouth Record Broken Twice Within Five Minutes

Brad Gill | March 9, 2022

The Suwannee River warmouth bream record was broken on Feb. 22 with a fat, prespawn fish that weighed 1-lb., 3.2-ozs. The angler was Terry Palmer, 71, of Pearson, who actually caught two warmouth within five minutes that broke the previous record of 15.04 ounces.

“We fish for catfish, those little Suwannee River cats,” said Terry. “They got a better taste than any catfish you will ever put in your mouth, I don’t care where they came from.”

Terry Palmer with a pair of Suwannee River warmouth. The one on the left is the new river record.

The headwaters of the Suwannee River are in the Okefenokee Swamp in the town of Fargo. It runs for 246 miles before dumping into the Gulf of Mexico on the outskirts of Suwannee, Fla. According to WRD Fisheries Region Supervisor Bert Deener, most of the catfish caught in the Georgia stretch of the Suwannee River are yellow bullheads.

Terry and his fishing buddy Phil Liles put in at Fargo and headed to a deep hole in the river. Terry was fishing a small Carolina rig and using shrimp for bait. 

Suwannee River Warmouth With Glen Solomon

“We just throw it out there on the bottom and let it sit,” said Terry. 

There was a stump on the edge of a 6- or 7-foot deep hole, and Terry pitched his bait adjacent to it and got bit. 

“I thought it was a mudfish the way it pulled,” said Terry. “I put him in the cooler, and I threw back and within five minutes I caught the biggest (warmouth). I told Phil, ‘I never caught one of these fish this big. How about taking a picture?’”

Mudfish Mayhem In The Okefenokee Swamp

The second warmouth is the one that would later turn out to be the new river record. The two record-class warmouth stayed in the cooler while Terry and Phil spent the day adding 102 catfish to their stringer before heading home. 

“When we got home, Parker (Phil’s son) said we needed to weigh them,” said Terry. 

The next morning Terry was at the Old Butcher Shop, 1124 US-441, Pearson, GA 31642 to get the official weight on both fish. The first warmouth he caught went just over a pound, so the record was broken. However, the new record fish would be short lived. The second warmouth was heavier, coming in at 1.2 pounds, or 1-lb., 3.2-ozs. Terry was pretty thrilled about breaking a record twice in one day.

“I just enjoy the river,” he said. “We catch us a mess of fish if we can. We clean them and half them and eat them. They are not thrown away, I guarantee you.”

The new river record warmouth is one fish that wasn’t cleaned for Terry’s freezer.

“He is already at the place to be mounted,” said Terry.

Suwannee River Records

Bowfin16-lbs., 3-ozs.*Jimmy Tucker06/21/14
Warmouth1-lb., 3.2-ozs.Terry Palmer02/22/22
Chain Pickerel2-lbs., 14.53-ozs.Jonathan Inman06/05/22
Bluegill1-lb., 4.16-ozs.Robert McCain05/02/22

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 DNRpersonnel.

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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