PIERCE COUNTY, Ga. — A man in south Georgia has set a new state record for a catch of a redbreast sunfish and, if it gets confirmed by sport fishing authorities, it'll tie a world record.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said this week that Lester Roberts, of Blackshear in Pierce County, had caught the fish weighing 1 lb, 12 oz and 11 3/8 inches long.
That's the biggest redbreast sunfish catch ever recorded in Georgia and would tie the world record set in 1984 in Florida.
A DNR Facebook post said Roberts made the catch on May 7 on the Satilla River near Folkston, in Charlton County.
The previous Georgia state record was 1 lb, 11 oz and was caught in 1998.
"Georgia waters are on a ROLL as anglers continue to reel in record fish!" DNR wrote.
A woman in Adairsville broke a state record for the longnose gar in March on the Coosa River, as well. And in December, a man caught a shoal bass believed to be the state record on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus.
"We'd also like to extend a congratulations to our fisheries staff for their hard work and successful management efforts," DNR wrote on Facebook. "And while we're at it, we'd like to thank and congratulate our licensed Georgia anglers! Ready to be the next state record breaker? Then I suggest you Go Fish Georgia!"
According to DNR, sunfish species native to the Satilla River have benefited from preservation efforts, such as a program to control invasive catfish.
"If left unmanaged, flathead catfish will decimate the sunfish population and greatly affect the fishability of the river for anglers. This work would not be possible with out YOU!" the agency wrote.
According to the International Game Fish Association, the redbreast sunfish is an "excellent panfish and a scrappy fighter" that can be "caught with baits or lures and it can even be taken at night."
It's native to the nearly the entirety of the eastern coast of North America and as far west as the Florida panhandle.
The record catch in 1984 occurred on the Suwannee River in north Florida.