Giant Black Crappie From Coosa River Establishes Record


You never know if the next bite on the line is going to be a three-finger crappie or a wall-hanging trophy. Just ask James King, of Rome, who recently entered the first black crappie for GON’s Lake & River records from the northwest Georgia river. On March 19, he was fishing the Coosa near Rome when he set the hook on a good fish. It pulled good and fought hard, said James, and the first visual look at the crappie as it cleared the water did not disappoint!

James has caught plenty of crappie heavier than 2 pounds, and he quickly realized he had just pulled in a special crappie, as it was as big as a dinner plate. A quick check on his fish scale showed the slab weighing 3-lbs., 12-ozs.

Knowing that he had a special fish, he decided to head over to the local WRD Fisheries office and have it officially weighed for WRD’s Angler Award Program. WRD Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley put the crappie on a certified scale and found it weighed 3-lbs., 11-ozs. The crappie was 17 1/2 inches long. Some WRD biologists commented on Facebook that King’s crappie is the biggest crappie they have encountered in their careers and also the biggest crappie submitted for an Angler Award in more than 20 years. The Georgia state record for black crappie is 4-lbs., 4-ozs. set in 1971 and tied in 1975. The world-record for black crappie is 5-lbs., 7-ozs. and was set at Tennessee’s Richeison Pond in 2018.

James is an avid crappie angler and knows how to put good crappie in the boat. He recently pulled in crappie weighing 2.3 and 2.6 pounds. He fishes the Coosa River often, usually putting in at the Brushy Branch boat landing, especially during the spring spawning season. On this day, James was fishing the pockets off the banks and was seated in the front of his boat, carefully watching his Garmin LiveScope for the telltale signs of a “blimp,” indicating a crappie. He located some fish and had already put two nice crappie in the boat when he spotted another fish holding near the base of a tree in about 3 feet of water not far off the bank.

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He was using a jig made by Micro Spoon with an orange head, blue body and orange tail. He opened the bail of his open-faced Daiwa spinner, loaded with 8-lb. test K-9 braided line and chunked the jig just past the fish and let it sink one second before he started a slow retrieve. The crappie hit quickly, and he carefully fought it out of the debris to the boat and into his landing net.

James, 48, works for the Georgia Power Company, where he plans, installs and maintains lighting systems for residential and business customers. He says he has fished with and learned a lot about crappie fishing from several good friends and wanted to give special credit to Wayne Roger and Larry Owens for sharing their crappie fishing expertise with him. He normally likes to grill his crappie on his Blackstone grill with some lemon pepper sprinkled on them, but he says this big crappie is being mounted and going on the wall!

Congrats to James for pulling in the crappie of a lifetime!

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 King03/19/2024 Walleye7-lbs., 4-ozs.Samuel Luster02/05/1989 White Crappie3-lbs., 3.5-ozs.Rita Ware02/02/2019

See all of GON’s official Georgia Lake & River Records here.

Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with state game and fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present, who must be willing to provide their names and phone numbers so they can be contacted to verify the weighing of the fish.

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• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel.

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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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 >>