A huge red-breasted sunfish caught by a Georgia man may equal the world record

The local authorities have set a new record for the Red Sea sunfish in the state of Georgia.

The fish was caught on May 7 by Lester Roberts of Blackshire on the Satilla River near Folkestone and weighs 1 pound 12 ounces and 11 inches long according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (WRD) Wildlife Resource Division.

This supersedes the previous record of 1 pound 11 ounces set in 1998. In order to qualify for a new state record, fish caught must exceed the current record by 1 ounce or more.

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Roberts caught a sunfish while fishing for a bass tournament with his friend. He told Georgia Outdoor News that he and his friend “have never seen anything like this” when they saw the fish.

WRD said Roberts’ catch is also a “hanging world record tie” — true according to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) which puts the world record per tackle for a red-breasted sunfish at one pound, 12 ounces.

However, Florida’s record is 2.08 pounds according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which cites Big Catch Florida. NEWSWEEK Contact the IGFA and FWC.

The red-breasted sunfish (Lepomis auritus) is a common fish in Georgia and can also be found in other states. It has a yellow to red belly with a black gill flap and blue or blue and green stripes on its head. Most fish weigh less than a pound, which puts standard catches in perspective.

A stock image shows a red-breasted sunfish underwater in Florida. A red-breasted sunfish registered in the state of Georgia was registered on May 7, local authorities said.
stammphoto/Getty Images

Wildlife Department efforts to help conserve red-breasted sunfish populations continue, such as the Flathead Catfish Control Program. The program has been ongoing since 2006 and aims to reduce populations of invasive flathead catfish that would “wild sunfish populations” if left unmanaged according to Georgia WRD.

The FWC states that the red-breasted sunfish, also common in the rivers of North Florida, can also be known as river bream and redfish.

Red shells grow relatively slowly compared to other sunfish, reaching about six inches in two to three years according to the FWC.

Other large fish recorded in the state recently include the common carp caught in West Virginia and the long-nosed sucker in Montana.

In other Georgia wildlife news, authorities in the state announced this week that a man has been sentenced to a year in prison for poaching and exporting thousands of freshwater turtles for profit. He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay a $10,000 fine.

US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said the punishment was “cruel but just” and that the traps used “can cause great harm to aquatic animals and birds.”

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