Record-Sized Yellow Perch From Clarks Hill Tailrace
Georgia has seen three state-record fish in the past four months. Could another record fish have been caught last week? We will never know because the angler chose to release a huge yellow perch that based on measurements would have been close to state-record proportions.
Patrick McCorkell was fishing below the Thurmond Dam in the Clarks Hill Lake tailrace on the Savannah River on March 20. At first light that morning, while drifting a live blueback herring on a bottom rig in 15 feet of water, Patrick got a bite, but it wasn’t the rod-bending hit of a striped bass.
“I didn’t realize anything was hooked until I started reeling my bait in,” Patrick said. “Then I felt something start to pull. I get it up next to the boat, and I realize that’s the biggest perch I’ve ever seen in my life, let alone caught.”
The scale in Patrick’s boat unfortunately wasn’t working.
“I released it knowing it wouldn’t keep very long in the livewell,” he said. “Nothing like a football-size perch to start the fishing morning off right.”
The fish wasn’t returned to the swift, rolling waters of the Clarks Hill tailrace until after measurements were taken. Patrick’s yellow perch was 16 inches long and had a fat 11-inch girth. Based on the standard catch-and-release weight calculation, the perch would have weighed an estimated 2-lbs., 6.72-ozs. The common formula to estimate the weight of a fish calculates length x girth x girth (for Patrick’s fish, 16x11x11), then divide by 800. Although just an estimate that can vary by more than 10%, Patrick’s measurements calculate to 2.42 pounds, or 2-lbs., 6.72-ozs.
The current Georgia state record yellow perch weighs 2-lbs., 9-ozs. Thomas Lewis caught that fish in 2013 in the Clarks Hill tailrace. The current record fish was 16 1/2 inches long, but there’s no girth measurement to compare to Patrick’s fish.
Three Georgia state-record fish have been caught recently. Two weeks ago Rachel Harrison set a new state record with a 31-lb., 2-oz. longnose gar from the Coosa River. Last month a state-record hickory shad was caught in the Ogeechee River, and four months ago a state-record shoal bass was caught from the Chattahoochee River near Columbus.
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