When Lester Roberts brought the red-breasted sunfish from the Georgia River to the boat, he told Georgia outdoors he had never seen anything like this before.
“I just swung it in the boat, and we couldn’t believe how big it was,” Roberts, a Blackshire resident, told the outlet.
Hunting it was not easy. The 1-pound, 12-ounce fish broke the state record and will give the world record a boost for its money, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The red-breasted sunfish is found in the eastern United States and Canada right down to the wastewaters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Georgia Aquarium. They live in rocky and sandy pools of streams and rivers.
Roberts caught his fish May 7 during a bass tournament with his friend on the Satilla River near Folkestone, according to Georgia Outdoor News. When the sunfish stumbled on the line, he thought it was a hungry bass fish.
The catch beat the previous record for the Georgia red sunfish since 1998, which weighed one pound, 11 ounces, according to DNR.
“Georgia waters run like a cylinder as anglers continue to catch record fish,” DNR said in a statement about Roberts’ fishing.
On top of breaking the state record, Roberts’ fish may also hold the certified world record for largest sunfish caught from a red breast.
“My fish weighs about 103 kilograms more than the current world record, so I’m looking forward to trying and making sure it’s a world record,” Roberts told Georgia Outdoor News.
The world record for the red-breasted sunfish was captured by Alvin Buchanan in 1984 in the Suwannee River in Florida, according to the International Game Fish Association. The fish weighs 1 pound and 12 ounces.
According to IGFA guidelines, a standard red-breasted sunfish should weigh at least 2 ounces less than the previous record. Since Roberts’ fish also weighed one pound, 12 ounces, he set the world record.
According to DNR, Roberts’ world record tie is still pending.