Lake Russell 63-lb., 4-oz. Striper Bests Georgia And South Carolina State Records

Imprecise certified scales may rob angler of Georgia state record.

Nick Carter | May 19, 2009

Terry McConnell, of Eastanollee, boated this 63-lb., 4-oz. striper out of Lake Russell on April 3. It hit a freelined blueback.

On April 3, Eastanollee’s Terry McConnell caught a Lake Russell striper that pulled a set of certified propane scales to 63 1/4 pounds. That translates to 63-lbs., 4-ozs., which would beat the current Georgia state record. However, because the scales did not read in 1-oz. graduations, Georgia DNR may not accept Terry’s fish as the new record.

When asked about the holdup in officially recognizing the fish, Jeff Durniak, a region supervisor with WRD fisheries, would not elaborate other than to say Terry had not yet submitted his angler-award application. However, Brett Whitt, a spokesman for South Carolina DNR, indicated that Georgia’s policy is to round down to the nearest graduation when they are not marked on the scales. Brett also said South Carolina will defer to Georgia’s policy.

As a result, Terry’s fish may end up officially weighing 63 pounds. That would make it the new South Carolina record, beating Terry’s own 59-lb., 8-oz. Lake Hartwell striper caught in 2002. It would give Terry a tie for the Georgia state record with the 63-lb. striper caught on the Oconee River in 1967. A 63-lb. striper also gives Terry the new Lake Russell record, beating a 56-pounder caught in 2001. Editor’s Note: Georgia did in fact round down to 63 pounds, so Terry’s fish stands as a tie for the Georgia state record.

“I asked him what scales they weighed that fish on back in 1967. They didn’t have an answer for that,” Terry said. “But you don’t get anything for a record, anyway. I know it was a beautiful fish.”

And Terry knows something about big, beautiful stripers. In decades of targeting only the bigguns, he said he’s caught seven fish that weighed more than 50 pounds.

Fishing with his son-in-law Daniel Moore, of Royston, Terry was trolling the edge of the main river channel in the mouth of Coldwater Creek when the monster fish railed a freelined blueback. In fact, three of the five rods in the spread bent to the water. In the 30 minutes it took Terry to fight his fish to the boat, Daniel boated and released the other two, both 20-pounders.

“I knew he was big because he probably got 45 yards out before I even got the rod out of the holder,” Terry said, recounting the run that nearly spooled his reel of 30-lb. test. “With just about 10 feet left, I locked it down and waited for him to turn his head.”

The two anglers somehow managed to keep the monster out of Russell’s standing timber and boated it. So, whether Terry’s fish weighed 63-4 or just 63, it’s still the largest striped bass caught in Georgia or South Carolina in more than 40 years.

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