By Dan Johnson

The hardwater scene is abuzz over news that a hard-fishing 12-year-old Idaho girl established a new yellow perch world record. And although we’re all a bit jaded thanks to the never-ending parade of “shocking” headlines and videos that pop up online and turn out to be misleading or downright untrue, this story holds water.

The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame has certified a 2-pound, 11.68-ounce jumbo caught last March by 12-year-old Tia Wiese of Eagle, Idaho, on Idaho’s Cascade Lake as the new benchmark in its Ice Fishing Division’s tip-up category. Her fish measured 15.5 inches long, with a 12.75-inch girth, and beat the existing record of 2 pounds, 6 ounces set by Roy Leyva on Massachusetts' Sheep Pond in March of 2005.

Tia and her father, Gary Wiese, got word from the Hall last week. And, while working on a news story about their catch for our friends at In-Fisherman over the weekend, I got a chance to visit with the father-daughter duo about their historic accomplishment. Both were elated at the news, and explained how the fish was quickly certified as an Idaho state record, but they didn’t hear of the Hall of Fame’s tip-up category until last November.

There’s a lot to the backstory, including how the Wieses braved tough sledding to reach the fishing grounds and endured miserable weather while waiting for a bite. And there’s the locational angle; they were targeting a steep break adjacent to a spawning flat when the mighty perch struck. There’s also the tale of the epic battle, which included a blistering 25-yard run, tangled lines and much celebration once their trophy hit the ice.

To me, the heartwarming part is how fishing has cemented the bond between father and daughter, who fish together as often as opportunity allows. And finally, there’s the element of mystery. Tia cheerfully and respectfully declined to share with me specific details on what she used to catch the record fish. All she would say was, “a natural bait on a secret rig.”

With a legion of anglers gunning for her record, I can’t blame Tia for keeping it to herself. But my money’s on a Perch Talker, Foo Flyer or Frostee Jig. At least, that’s what I’m tying on the next time I’m targeting winter jumbos and hoping for a record.

Link to In-Fisherman news story that I wrote: