Cody Hopkins broke the 42-year-old waterbody white crappie record on Georgia’s Allatoona Lake, and he did it with the third fish he ever caught while fishing the lake. Hopkins moved to Canton, Georgia on December 4, 2021, after becoming the caretaker at Cushing Memorial Park, which is located on the north side of Allatoona Lake, a 12,000-acre lake situated to the north of Atlanta. The lake is typically known for its spotted and largemouth bass fishing but clearly holds some monster panfish as well.
Hopkins had only caught two fish total on previous outings when he went fishing with his stepbrother Zack McDowell on the afternoon of February 10. They were fishing from a dock at Cushing Memorial Park that was in about 10-feet of water. Hopkins dropped a 5-foot leader beneath a bobber and used a minnow for bait. Hopkins was using a 3-foot Zebco Dock Demon spooled with 4-pound-test line.
Hopkins and McDowell were dealing with windy conditions, and the fishing was slow for the first hour. At around 4:00 p.m., Hopkins cast out his bait and waited for the wind to push the bobber back to the dock. The bobber was nearly at the dock when it plunged.
“As soon as I set the hook, I immediately knew it was something huge,” Hopkins told Georgia Outdoor News (GON). “I am sitting there reeling, reeling, reeling, and the drag is going nuts. I probably fought him a good five minutes. Once I got him close to the surface, and we saw him, my brother grabbed the net and scooped him up. I dropped the rod, and I was sitting there shaking like crazy. I have never seen a crappie that big.”
The following day, Hopkins got the crappie officially weighed at a local butcher shop. A Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (GWRD) biologist verified that the fish was, in fact, a white crappie and not a black crappie. The slab weighed 3-pounds, 4.24-ounces, which easily beat out the longstanding GON waterbody record for Allatoona Lake, which was a 2-pound, 12-ounce fish caught by Alan Brown in 1980. GON’s Lake and Rivers Records program is distinct from the GWRD’s State Record Fish program, though it still requires that fish are verified by DNR personnel. The current Georgia state record white crappie is a 5-pounder that was caught in a Bibb County pond in 1984.