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Portal man catches state-record spotted sunfish
Jamie Boyett was fishing with his son at Ogeechee River
Jamie Boyett
Photo Courtesy Georgia Department of Natural Resources / Jamie Boyett of Portal shows off the state record spotted sunfish he caught June 15 fishing with his 8-year-old sun at the Ogeechee River.

Jamie Boyett’s fishing trip June 15 with his son turned into a lot more than their typical Saturday outing on the Ogeechee River.

The Portal resident landed a state record 9-inch Spotted Sunfish that weighed 12 oz. The catch beat the previous state record of 11 oz caught in 2019, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“I was fishing for redbreast sunfish with my 8-year-old son Brannen on one of our regular locations on the Ogeechee,” Boyett said. “When I caught this fish, I honestly wasn’t 100 percent sure what it was.

“A friend said it looked like a stumpknocker, which made me laugh because it was the biggest one I had ever seen. After we got home from fishing, I started cleaning our catch, and something made me decide to just look into confirming the species, and I sure am glad I did!”

According to a DNR release, spotted sunfish are a member of the Sunfish family and are nicknamed “stumpknocker” because they orient strongly to stumps where they find food. They are dark olive or brown on top, with light green or olive sides, covered with small black spots and dusky orange fins.

Most are less than half a pound by weight.

They are found in the Ocmulgee, Oconee, Altamaha, Ogeechee, Ochlockonee, Suwannee, St. Mary’s, Satilla and Savannah River basins. They prefer heavily vegetated, slow-moving lowland streams and warm shallow ponds. When angling for them, the DNR recommends using worms, crickets, small spinners, flies and popping bugs.

“We aren’t quite halfway through the year, and we already have two new state records, and one tied record for freshwater fish so far in 2024,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “That sounds like some great motivation to get out there and go fishing. Don’t let the heat keep you away from the water, because there are outstanding angling opportunities all over our state.”

For fishing tips, the DNR offers a weekly Fishing Blog post at

Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, may be found at or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.

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