Ronnie Emory Jr. of Franklinton will long remember March 30, 2009 – the day he and fishing buddy Jeff Williams caught 43 crappie in a private pond in Granville County.
But there was more to the trip than a cooler full of crappie. One of those fish, which weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces, is the biggest ever caught in North Carolina.

   Emory, 25, caught the record-breaking fish, which was 20 inches long and 14 ½ inches in girth, using a Garland mini-jig on a Quantum rod and reel combo. 
   "I've been fishing that pond since I was 10 years old, and I've caught some big crappie out there, although nothing that size before," Emory said. "I knew that it was big, but I didn't know it was the state record until I went online and saw what the current state record was, and thought, 'Mine's bigger than that.'"
     Emory's catch was four ounces heavier than the previous record fish, caught last March 5 in a Charlotte pond.
     Emory's crappie was weighed on certified scales at Gooch's Grocery in Franklinton. The fish was examined and certified by Corey Oakley, District 5 fisheries biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
     To qualify for a state record, anglers must have caught the fish by rod and reel or cane pole, have the fish weighed on a scale certified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, witnessed by one observer, have the fish identified by a fisheries biologist from the Commission and submit an application with a full, side-view photo of the fish.