Woman catches and releases potential state record white crappie.
A North Carolina woman caught what could have possibly been a new state record white crappie. But unless someone catches it again, we’ll probably never know for sure!
Lorene Smith was casually fishing off a dock with her husband and some friends on High Rock Lake back on March 25 when a massive slab crappie took the live minnow on the other end of her line. At the time, Smith wasn’t even paying close attention to her bait.
“My husband, Terry said, ‘Lorene your cork has gone under.’” Smith told North Carolina Sportsman. “Then it took the rod down to the water. I tried to crank it in, but my reel just wouldn’t crank, it was too big. I was stuck in my chair, afraid to stand up because I was so close to the water.”
The crappie was almost too much for the 6-pound test line Smith was using at the time. One of her friends, Trudy Hill grabbed the line and pulled the fish up onto the dock. And apparently, not a moment too soon, the slab had nearly straightened the hook.
They measured and found the crappie was 18 inches long and it weighed 4-pounds, 4-ounces. By comparison, North Carolina’s state record for white crappie is 3-pounds, 15-ounces.
But Smith’s fish will not be the state record because the fish was not weighed on certified scales. It also was not examined by anyone from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. An examination is required for a record to be certified in North Carolina.
Most anglers would not consider releasing such a monstrous slab, but Smith had her reasons. “It was full of eggs,” she told North Carolina Sportsman. “I hated to keep it. It was so big, my husband said it had to be an old fish. I said, well, it needs to go back then; it’s lived this long.”
So a potential state record is still out there waiting for someone else to find.
This spring has been an especially good one for massive crappies across the U.S. Smith’s crappie is just the latest big slab story to make the rounds.
South Carolina produced a four-pound crappie back in February. Oklahoma saw a new state record with a 4.22 pounder just over a week ago. And Louisiana’s Poverty Point reservoir produced a plethora of monster slabs this spring.