A Michigan man of Michigan now holds the Tennessee state record for yellow perch after catching a two pound five ounce fish March 26.
Jeremy Lorenz was visiting his cousin, Eric Reed of Birchwood, for a few days’ fishing. With his three-day license in hand, Lorenz and Reed headed to Ocoee Number 3 in Polk County on a dreary Tuesday morning, with pan fish in mind.
On the water by 9 a.m. and using minnows as bait, they fished in windy, drizzly conditions all day. With just a few minnows left, they noticed a bald eagle and recalled something their grandfather taught them as children, to watch and learn from nature. They headed to the where the eagle was circling and decided this to make one last attempt before heading back to shore.
Just before 4:30, Lorenz felt the familiar run of the line and thought it might be a bass. The net was inaccessible, so Reed reached for it with his hands, surprised to see such a large perch. Cautioning his cousin not to pull too aggressively, he cradled the fish and lifted it in the boat. Lorenz, an angler the majority of this 41 years, was also shocked. The 15.75-inch fish was one of the largest yellow perch he’d ever seen. He stated, “I’m a captain and I’ve fished Lake Erie my entire life and I’ve never seen a perch this large.”
For the two cousins, the day couldn’t have ended better when Reed pointed to the bald eagle diving and catching a fish in the same area. He observed, “Maybe Grandpa was with us.”
The previous record catch was a tie – two fish each weighing two pounds three ounces, caught by Trenton McCoy in January 2017 and Richard Marsich in July 2018.
To learn more about fishing in Tennessee, visit tnwildlfie.org.