Two Records Established For Altamaha River Fish

Benchmark records established for black crappie and yellow perch.

GON Staff | March 15, 2023

There’s finally a river record mark for anglers to shoot for when crappie fishing on the Altamaha River. Israel Sapp got this 1-lb., 9.76-oz. black crappie certified to establish a benchmark record on the river.

With “Benchmark” minimum weights established two years ago, Georgia Lake & River Records continue to add new listings. Two new benchmark record fish have been certified and established for the Altamaha River, and one of them is for a species not often caught in the lower Altamaha near Jesup. 

“After a really rough week at work, I was needing to get out, so Sunday I said I’m going fishing. I needed some of nature’s peace,” said Israel Sapp, of Jesup.

Around 3 p.m. on March 12, Israel headed to JC Landing on the Altamaha River near Jesup.

“Earlier in the week the high temperature were in the 80s and low 90s, but a cold front had pushed in. With the moon phase I knew the crappie still had to be staged up trying to lay out, so I went just below JC Landing near the bridge and found some treetops just off from a deep drop that was in 7 feet of water. I tied up using a cork with a jig head with a minnow on it and started pitching around. It didn’t take long and the fight was on. I actually thought I had a bass but was shocked to see just how big the crappie was. As I was looking at it, my cork went down and it was on again. I thought it was another crappie but got it up and it was a yellow perch. I was shocked yet again because I’d never seen a yellow perch that big around here. I was excited, and all the stress from the work week was long gone.”

Later that evening the fish were on ice when the angler got curious and decided to check the GON website to see what the records were for crappie and yellow perch on the Altamaha—there were none. Vacant listings mean there is an opportunity for anglers to establish “benchmark” records. In 2020, GON instituted minimum weights for fish to be considered for a lake or river record. These “Benchmark records” are an effort to get ongoing records established. Once benchmark records have been publicized, it doesn’t take long for exceptional fish to overtake those records, and over time the records become credible. GON’s Lake & River Record Benchmarks mirror WRD’s minimum weights for youth Angler Awards.

The following day, Israel took his crappie and perch to Country Feed & Outdoors in Jesup to get them weighed and witnessed on certified scales. The crappie weighed 1-lb., 9.76-ozs., just above the crappie benchmark of 1-lb., 8-ozs. The yellow perch weighed 9.92-ozs. The benchmark for perch is 8-ozs.

“Had I weighed them when I caught them on certified scales Sunday they would’ve weighed more, but I’m glad I took the time to get the records established. Thanks to GON for doing the records, and good luck to all—get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.”

Altamaha River Record Fish

Largemouth Bass12-lbs.Terry Moore12/18/1974
Flathead Catfish83-lbs.*Carl Sawyer06/22/2006
(tie)83-lbs.*Jim Dieveney07/11/2010
Channel Catfish44-lbs., 12-ozs.*Bobby Smithwick05/18/1972
Blue Catfish93-lbs.*Ricky Barrett10/14/2017
Black Crappie1-lbs., 9.76-ozs.Israel Sapp03/13/2023
Shellcracker2-lbs., 9-ozs.Clinton Johnson05/05/2016
Bluegill1-lbs., 5.7-ozs.Robert Attaway06/23/2010
Redbreast11.87-ozs.Kary Davis05/19/23
Yellow Perch9.92-ozs.Israel Sapp03/13/2023


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