Coosa River Longnose Gar Breaks Georgia State Record

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When you’re fishing for white bass—and a 2-pounder is a good fish—imagine what it feels like when a 31-lb. freight train smashes your 1/8-oz. jig!

Rachel Harrison, of Adairsville, was fishing for white bass with her husband Jason at the Lock & Dam on the Coosa River in Rome on Saturday, March 19 when she hooked and landed a 31-lb., 2-oz. longnose gar that has been certified as the new Georgia state record. The gar was measured at 59 1/4 inches long. The previous Georgia state-record longnose gar was a 30-lb., 13-oz. fish caught in Lake Lanier in 2013 by Gerald Kennedy.

Rachel’s new state record longnose gar also sets the new Coosa River mark. The previous Coosa River record was a 22-lb., 10-oz. gar caught by Alan Short in 2013. Alan is good friends with the Harrisons, and Jason Harrison was in the boat with Alan when he caught his river record in 2013.

Rachel and Jason had been camping at the Lock & Dam park near Rome, a spot that can produce good fishing when conditions are right, especially in the spring when white bass make a run up the Coosa River from Lake Weiss. Rachel told outdoor writer Ronnie Garrison that the river was rolling and high, and that they had only caught a couple of whites when the big gar hit her 1/8-oz. jig on March 19.

Rachel said many things had to come together for this catch. They started to cancel their camping trip because of weather forecast but went anyway since it was non-refundable. Their son had baseball practice that morning, and Rachel was going to go back into town and take him, but his practice got canceled, so she went fishing.

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Rachel said two smaller gar she caught fought harder than the big one that morning, but that was because the big one mostly tried to run upstream, fighting the current. The fight took about 15 minutes on the light line and rod she was using. They had a small net for crappie and white bass, but it was too small for a 32-lb. gar. It took three tries to get the fish in the boat, and finally Jason grabbed it by hand. Rachel was using 8-lb. Eagle Claw monofilament line, and her fish could be considered for a world line-class record.

Jason is no stranger to record fish. He has held several GON Lake & River records, including the Oostanaula River record for flathead catfish, which Jason still holds with a 2007 catfish that weighed 37-lbs., 3-ozs.

“Congrats to Rachel Harrison! State records do not get broken every day, so for Georgia to have three new records in this short time span just shows you that our waters are ripe for the picking—or angling, right now,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.

Just 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.

State Record Shoal Bass Caught And Released

Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus) are members of the gar family and are considered relics from a large group of primitive fishes. Longnose gar have an elongated body, are greenish black on top and yellow toward the belly. They have black spots along their sides and fins. A long, narrow snout contains many sharp needle-like teeth. They prefer weedy areas of deep or shallow lakes and streams. Gar feed primarily on other fish.

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rachel gar Coosa River Longnose Gar Breaks Georgia State Record

Coosa River Record Fish

Striped Bass36-lbs.Andrew Coombs04/24/2005 Channel Catfish19-lbs., 8-ozs.Ty Adams05/30/1998 Blue Catfish61-lbs., 4.8-ozs.John Jones04/10/04 Flathead Catfish46-lbs., 6.4-ozs.Aaron Churchwell09/16/2015 Longnose Gar31-lbs., 2-ozs.Rachel Harrison03/19/2022 Freshwater Drum10-lbs., 13.6-ozs.Jenna Thomas05/16/19 Black Crappie3-lbs., 11-ozs.James King03/19/2023 Walleye7-lbs., 4-ozs.Samuel Luster02/05/1989 White Crappie3-lbs., 3.5-ozs.Rita Ware02/02/2019

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>