Victoria Navaroli, a 13-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, can now claim that she has a fish in the state record books. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the young angler was fishing with her older brother Jack Navaroli in July when she landed a one-pound, 15-ounce green sunfish. The catch measured a neat 12 inches and outweighed the previous state record by just one ounce—although it was almost never documented.
“We were planning to eat the fish and [Jack] took one look at it and told me ‘I wouldn’t eat that fish—it could be record breaker,’” Victoria Navaroli said. “Thank goodness we didn’t eat it.”
Instead, the teen and her brother took the fish to be weighed on certified scales at Berrybrook Farm, where a biologist from the Wildlife Resources Commission confirmed it as the new state record. Navaroli later said that much of the credit goes to her brother, who had lent her his rod and set the hook.
“Jack loves fishing and would have wanted to catch it, but he was happy for me,” she said, adding that it was his experienced eye that saw a record-sized fish when she landed the sunfish.
While it may not look big compared to other freshwater species, Navaroli’s catch is a giant among green sunfish. Also known as sand bass or green perch, this fish usually only grows up to an average of seven inches and weighs much less than a pound. Green sunfish are widespread in North America and certaub parts of Europe, where they have been introduced for sport fishing. Although the species is popular among anglers, they are also commonly caught by mistake, much to many a bass fisherman’s chagrin. The International Game Fish Association lists the current world record as a two-pound, two-ounce sunfish caught by Paul Dilley from Missouri’s Stockton Lake in 1971.
Image courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission