On Saturday, I was in my home state of PA and Wayne and a friend of ours from work went finning. All were
caught on cutbaits.
We had an awesome day this past Sunday. Temps were in the high 70's and water temps had to be in the upper 50's low 60's.
Myself, my son, a friend from work and his kids, along with friends of mine from Hawaii went to the New River for some cats and of course some bowfin since they have never tangled with these freshwater demons. Let me tell ya - they
were impressed by the fight and their aggressive nature. We caught a lot more cats than fins but we did a bang up job on both fish as you'll see in the pics. Bait of choice was menhaden and cut mullet with 5\0 circle hooks and 3\0
TimT, NCPierman, 12/17/07
To paraphrase TS Eliot, "November was the cruelest month" for Bowfin fishing around here. A continued and worrisome drought, combined with two nasty cold fronts, basically shut down the fishing. I had some close calls and lost a few Bowfin at the bank, but they were always smaller fish, and I almost packed it in for the year.
But everything changed this weekend. A warm front moved in, the lunar tables were favorable, and there were some light morning showers. With sunny skies and air temperatures in the 70's, I couldn't resist taking another shot. I went fishing twice and only managed a few b@ass, and then this happened: a 4+ lb Bowfin clobbered one of my crankbaits. I knew I had a strong hook set when the fish made two successive horizontal jumps out of the water and the hook held. It was spectacular, and the best surprise was yet to come. After a long fight, I landed one of the most beautifully marked Bowfin I have ever seen. I noticed this last year - as soon as the water gets colder, the Bowfin develop these amazing reticulated patterns that look like a cross between those you see on a Tiger Musky and a chain pickerel. But this one's color patterns take the top prize, so far as I am concerned. This fish confirmed that in addition to being great game fish, Bowfin can also please the eye. I released the fish, and with more warm weather on the way, it looks like Santa Claus might deliver a Bowfin Christmas.
HenryV, NC, 12/12/07
Well my friend today we made up for lost time on the New River in
Jacksonville NC. We've been very busy hunting most of the time so we figured we would pull a
double day again. We hunted while we fished and even though we never saw a
deer we did manage to catch 17 bowfin in a few short hours and lost twice that
We caught 26 catfish along with the bowfin. We had a north east wind
today and it never bothered the fish in the least, temp was in the low 50's
as well as the water temp being about the same, was a burrrrrrrrrrr day and we were all dressed for it.
I turned my good friend Joe M on to the bowfin madness and I'm glad to
say we have another bowfinner out there.
Bait of choice was menhaden whole and finger mullets on the bottom without
a sinker and a #6 circle hook that we modified to catch the bowfin. We bent
the hooks to a wide girth and straightened them up a little my best fin of the
day came on this hook and measured 29 inches long with a 14 inch girth. I
believe this is the best one I landed so far this fall, estimated weight is 7.105
to which we had many of them today in that class size.
Well enough babbling here are the photos - enjoy I know we did.
TimT, NCPierman, 11/26/07
My son Wayne and I got out Saturday for a different type of fishing. We decided to hunt and fish at the same time from the banks of the New River.
We headed down with my 25-06 and his 30-06 and 2 rods apiece and set up shop for the day. The deer were not cooperating but the bows were.
As soon as we got there the fins were all over the water and after 3 hours of hunting we couldn't take it any more so we set up the rods. After 10 minutes, I landed the first fish. We kept hunting and fishing the whole day with 2 really nice 8 pound fins and a few 4 and 5's. Like I said not a good day deer hunting but a great day finning with 5 fins landed and plenty more lost. For those who don't think they bite in cold water be sure to go to your
favorite holes and load up on the very active bows feeding heavy for winter. We catch some of our biggest fins in the winter time. Thanks again, Chuck, for the great site. Here are the pics - enjoy! I know I do not only enjoy catching them but sharing them all with the site.
TimT, NCPierman, 11/06/07
It's been some time since I've had the chance to go finning with the deer
season and all being in here, but me and Wayne got out tonight for a bit and we
absolutely hammered the fins. As luck would have it I could only manage one pic as the camera batteries
were almost dead.
We hit the New River again tonight and it didn't take long for the first fin to hit the bank, we caught them all on frozen mullets and manhadden, with #2 Alaskan hooks. We caught 5 total and lost 7 one being a real brute that I firmly believe
was a state record, as soon as I set the hook it rocketed out of the water shaking its head and threw the hook, looked to be better than 35 inches, at least I now know where she lives :). They are eating everything in sight, feeding for winter and all our recent rain has helped immensely but we need a lot more were still way below water normal levels.
Tight lines and screaming drags to you all and again, Chuck, thanks for
the site, be sending you the bowfin mascot soon !!!!
TimT, NCPierman, 11/01/07
I spent an hour fishing after work the other day and I caught this nice little Bowfin. While it's a below average fish for my usual spots, the photo is notable for two reasons. First, the fish was a male - the first that I have caught in nearly a year. The second reason has nothing to do with the fish. If you look in the bottom left corner, you will see a small boat behind me. Two local fisherman launched a rowboat while I was fishing this impoundment. The creek itself runs for miles through the wilderness of Jordan Lake State Park and most of the water is totally inaccessible from the bank, putting one of the state's best Bowfin fisheries beyond reach. I talked to these guys in the boat and they told me they catch tons of large Bowfin and b@$$ in the backwoods water and that they release them all. I looked at a satellite map when I got home and noticed waterways and large pools in the woods that I never imagined even existed. It was the first time I had ever seen any
boats in the creeks in the year and a half I have been fishing them, and you can bet that I'll be doing the same as soon as I can get my hands on a small boat or canoe.
HenryV, NC, 10/24/07
We've discovered a lure that triggers such explosive Bowfin strikes that we simply call it "Dynamite." On two short outings, no longer than two hours each, we have caught a total of seven bowfin, including several over five pounds, and lost just as many fish over the course of a fight. On those two trips, I've seen several bowfin jump vertically and throw hooks in mid-air, another leap horizontally out of the water like a salmon AFTER throwing a hook, and a few more roll like tarpon in the water. The initial strike is beyond comprehension - the Bowfin have literally been biting pieces from the lure's body, straightening heavy hooks, and generally leaving our tackle in total disarray. We landed three nice fish on our most recent trip (I had one, about 4 lbs), but the digital camera died, so I only have a photo of one of Joey's two fish (the other two fish are on a cellphone camera).
On a related note, the last fish we caught provided the final tooth samples I will send to a researcher at the University of Wyoming who is studying their teeth (I met him through Bagman and this site). I've learned quite a few things about handling bowfin over the course of this project, and I have now abandoned the use of any gripping devices. Instead, I've found the best way to immobilize large Bowfin is to reach under the gill plate with a wet hook-proof glove on and grab the long bone that is under their jaws between my forefinger and thumb (Joey is using the grip in the attached photo). They turn into kittens when you get the right grip (well, almost). This grip keeps the fish off the ground, makes the hook removal easy, and release into the water simple, with a 100 percent survival rate that is without any damage to the fish from the metal grips.
HenryV, NC, 10/22/07
The fishing has finally turned for the better here. Temperatures have dropped, we've had a few drops of rain, and the State has dropped boards into the sluice gates at the Durham Impoundments. The fish are herded below the lower impoundments, so we decided to head to a different one, at Upper Little Creek on Farrington Road. The result was a great day of Bowfin fishing: a total of four bowfin (2 each), including a 27+ inch bruiser that I caught.
As you can see, we also caught two smaller fish, and there were a few more we didn't land. I hadn't seen a small Bowfin in six months, but they seemed to be everywhere. I wonder if they are moving out of Jordan Lake with the other fish and into the creeks.
HenryV, NC, 10/03/07
My name is Shelli and I just caught my first bowfin. We had no idea what the heck it was - but it was Great!!!
We caught this fish aboard Camp Lejeune NC at this place we have been fishing at all summer, catching some nice size catfish, big bream, bluegills, some smallmouth b@$$ and just the other night I caught my first largemouth - 2lbs - I threw it back. But we always see these huge fish swimming in the water, that we have assumed were some big b@$$ - but after reading about the bowfin on the website, now I am sure that is what we have been seeing. My friend had actually hooked a bluegill and I asked her if she needed me to grab the net - she said no - and then she said, well maybe and when she was close to the bank, we could see the bluegill she had hooked and it was being eaten by what we assumed was a b@$$, but now I am not so sure. This spot we go to is slow running water and it is wonderful!!!
Anyway, my bowfin weighs 4lbs and is almost 24 inches long!! Beautiful - and what is so funny is that I caught it on a 12lb line, little Eagle Claw Crappie hook, a wiggle worm and my broke off at the end rod. Life is GOOD!!!
Will send the pics soon!!
ShelliB, NC, 10/01/07
Bowfin have developed an allergy to my lures. So while I didn't catch any Bowfin this weekend (but tons of large b@ss!), I was reduced to posing for a photo-op with this nice fish, one of two that Uncle Joey caught. I'm happy to report however that recent rains have washed the oil out of my favorite impoundment in Durham (and directly into Jordan Lake, and right in the middle of a large regional debate over its water quality). Anyway, the bowfin bite has returned lately, though few have come my way.
HenryV, NC, 09/17/07
I caught these fins in North Carolina (Lumber River) Also landed lots of gar.
TimG, IL, 09/11/07
North Carolina fishing conditions have been very tough from the mountains to the coast this past month. Tropical heat and
a terrible drought = stressed, wary fish. To make it worse, there was an oil/gas spill of unknown origin at one of my
favorite bowfin holes. I was angry about the whole mess, so I just gave up on fishing for a few weeks while the fish and
game people investigated the spill.
It was worth the wait. Temperatures cooled off a bit last week, and there was a sprinkle of rain, so we headed out for
some bowfin. Sure enough, the best spots were clear (even if water was still low), and the fish were active.
End result: two nice bowfin. I caught mine near a submerged log, and I actually had a chance to see the strike in the
low clear water - an awesome sight to say the least. Both fish were caught on crankbaits, by the way.
HenryV, NC, 09/06/07
Hey my friend, glad to finally get another report out to you. The son and I got out for a bit and got a few finns to
show ya'll. The first fin is my son Wayne's that he managed to get in the New River the day I
had to work and he was off. We're in the dog days right now and it's hard to get any fish to bite good for us
our waters are in the high 80's but hopefully soon it will start cooling down.
These next 4 came from the White Oak in near Maysville NC and were caught from the boat early morning and mid-afternoon.
We only got the 4 and lost at least 4 more but the gar have been hot as all get out as of late. I got a
personal best of 46.5 inches and was 15.10 pounds. Everything we catch has been on finger mullets whole or menhaden minnows
with Alaskan #3 hooks without a sinker, just a barrel swivel and tossing it in the currents.
Tight lines and screamin drags to you all!
TimT, NCPierman, 09/06/07
Well it's time again for the weekly report and its not much once again :( We did manage 2 nice fins before evening that we caught on mullet and manhadden and we lost 3 others that we had got to see, one being a brute that was probably close to 10+ pounds. I lost that one just before the jump, saw him coming up to jump and saw the massive mouth open and my hook fly out but he still jumped to show he had won this round.
It seems to me I need to get the boat out on the New River more since it seems that when were catching a lot of gar there are few bowfin around and when there is a few gar around were catching lots of fins. As of late the gar have been over running our spots so we go walking to find the fins.
Next weekend we're gonna do a nite trip to see what we can get hooked up on and were gonna get to the local pond for bluegills for bait this time. We'll let you know how we make out on that trip for sure.
It wasn't a bad day all together we caught 3 huge gar and 2 bowfins and lost plenty more fish. Next time we'll get them. My grandkids had a blast as well catching shell crackers and small largemouth b@$$, and we believe one of them almost lost a rod to a bowfin but it ended up snapping the line before then.
Tight lines and screamin drags to you all and do yourself a favor take a kid fishing. You'll enjoy the smiles over the ranting and raving cause the fish aren't biting fast enough.
TimT, NCPierman, 08/07/07
What a Friday! We went to the White Oak River this afternoon and even though we only have a few fins in pics, it doesn't mean we didn't hook into them. We hit them hard, but just couldn't land them for some reason this time. Maybe I'll switch to bigger hooks. Still, all fish were caught on finger mullets without any sinkers as to let it flow with the current.
The biggest fin was 4.13 pounds and was a fighter all the way in to the net. All were released unharmed to fight another day. Man, it was hot and I was surprised that the bows were even interested in eating.
Tight lines and screamin' drags to you all.
TimT, NCpierman, 08/06/07
Here are some pics from Friday night on the New River. We fished until 11pm and everything died down.
We only managed 2 for the night. We put more gar than bows in the boat, but it was all good and still fun. Looking forward to next weekend's trip and maybe even one night this week after work.
Tight lines and screamin' drags to you all.
TimT, NCpierman, 07/24/07
It started off as a long day for me. I was drum fishing with a friend till about 2 pm and I no sooner got home then another friend showed up and wanted to fish. At the same time my son was waiting for me to go finning, so we went for bowfin, which Bubba has never caught one before.
It was time to let him meet the demon from the deep brackish waters.
All were caught on mullet minnows dead of course with an Alaskan hook size 3\0. Bubba's first bowfin was no monster by any means, but a fin nonetheless.
My weekend has been nothing but fishing almost 24 hours a day and I'm ready for some sleep. After yesterday I didn't know what could be better except for takin my granddaughter for bowfin and gar for here 8th birthday. We headed out kinda late since I was out shrimping till 1 am Sunday morning and had started fishing at 5 am Saturday morning. We took my boat down and set sail for an 8 year old's adventure in the fine art of bowfinning NCPIERMAN style. We caught our bait and set out on the creek and it didn't take Nicole long to get her first fish, a 38 inch gar which she was pleased with except it wasn't a bowfin that she was hoping for.
Not being discouraged, she baited her hook again and dad casted it for her and she patiently waited for that tell tail slight run and stop on here little closed face rod and reel. It wasn't too long and she hooked up with her first ever fin. We didn't catch a whole lot of bows but the ones we did get were better than the day before and I for one and a proud pap pap to have been lucky enough to have taken her for the first time and see her catch what she was after.
Tight lines and screamin drags to you all and do yourself a favor take a kid fishing. You'll enjoy the smiles over the ranting and raving cause the fish aren't biting fast enough.
TimT, NCPierman, 07/17/07
The bite has been slow for the past week or so in the Durham impoundments; the fish wouldn't even sniff at my best lures or presentations. I tried using every lure size, different retrieve speeds, and even a bass bug with a fly rod. The end result - zero Bowfin.
And then I caught a small yellow perch. I didn't think it was significant until I made a note of it in my fishing notebook. I had never caught a yellow perch in that area before. I checked my previous notes - sure enough, I landed my biggest 'fin on a yellow perch colored lure.
So I took the hint and bought one of the new Rapala long SR models in a yellow perch color, changed the hooks, and went fishing. I immediately hooked and lost a big fish, played another small one to the bank (where it spit the hook), and watched a third small fish make a nice long horizontal leap out of the water (yes, horizontal, not vertical) before it spit yet another hookset. And then, finally, I landed a nice bowfin.
I guess those Bowfin see color (even in stained water) better than I thought they could. I'm not sure about what the scientists say about Bowfin vision or color perception, but it seemed to me that the right color marked the line between fishing failure and success.
HenryV, NC, 07/13/07
A friend of ours turned us on to another spot called Hunter's Creek in Jacksonville NC and let me tell you, there are some mighty big fins in there. We spent a few hours there today and caught these nice fins. My buddy, Scott, got his first 10 pounder. Wayne, Scott, Scott's son, Scott's brother-in-law, and I were fishing there today and I was amazed at all the fish breaking water. We ended up with more gar than bowfin, but they still pull as good and jump almost every hook up. I can't find the creek on Topozone, but I'll keep looking.
TimT, NCPierman, 07/09/07
I was fishing in the Little River near Hwy 70 in Goldsboro with
crickets on a barbless #6 Gamakatsu hook, catching mostly largemouth b@$$
and sunfish. When I first saw the bowfin, I cast in front of him. It looked
like he ate the hook and the bobber. He got off after a small fight. I
caught him again about 15 minutes later, and released him.
JoeA, NC, 07/05/07
Few states have angler recognition programs that recognize the catch and release of trophy fish (that is to say, trophy fish that are not large enough to be record catches, but still worth bragging about). Several states that have them limit the species that qualify to the most popular game fish, while other states take an exceptionally long time to process the award (New Jersey is guilty on both counts). Few such programs reward the Bowfin angler.
The Bowfin may be under-appreciated as a sport fish, but the state of North Carolina does not think so. I returned home yesterday to find my new NCARP certificate waiting for me in the mail. NCARP (North Carolina Angler Recognition Program) awards these certificates according to size and length categories. As you can see, it is a fine looking print, and it is customized to match the species that was caught. The certificates are also a great way to interest your kids in the sport of angling as they can collect them and compete with friends.
This certificate is my second for Bowfin this year, and I hope to earn a few more. A friend sent me a new photo of the catch, and you can see from the location on University Lake that I hooked and landed (and released) this particular fish in deep water (10-12 feet).
Bowfin anglers in other states that offer similar programs should petition their respective Fish and Game commissions to recognize the Bowfin as an award-worthy game fish. I imagine that in addition to drawing interested anglers, the award submission forms also help fish biologists collect information about Bowfin populations so that they can learn more about this great native species.
HenryV, NC, 07/05/07
Most of us only see Bowfin as they fight our fishing lines (or as they break them and swim away victorious!). Few, if any of us, can ever observe the Bowfin at length in its native element. Since we know so little about the species, it is truly amazing to have a chance to watch how they live in the wild - or even in captivity.
Much to my surprise, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences keeps both Bowfin and Gar in one of its tanks. We recently brought our daughter to the museum (it's a very kid-friendly place), and I spent half the time watching the Bowfin in the tanks. It's a nice place to spend a hot afternoon and learn something about the Bowfin and its local habitat.
We snapped this picture while near the Bowfin tank. The gar is in the foreground, and the Bowfin is hugging the bottom.
HenryV, NC, 07/02/07
We had the opportunity to go out Saturday and do some finning before the storms moved in on us. We went to our favorite spot, the New River, and set up with the usual baits -- small menhaden and finger mullets. As soon as our lines were in the water, my son pulls out the first fish but it wasn't what we wanted, it was a nice gar. Then I see a gar close to the surface and toss him a finger mullet and it was on with a nice 10 to 12 pound gar. It seemed like the only thing hitting was gar at first and after a few agonizing hours, we finally managed to get a few bowfin. We managed 3 total, me with 2 and Wayne with one.
I believe that our downfall with the bowfin was due to an alligator that was cruising around us the whole time we were there. When he was close, we would have no hits but when he was gone the fish would start all over again. I did manage to lose 4 nice fins throughout the day, but they'll be there next time out.
Tight lines and screamin' drags to you all.
TimT, NCpierman, 07/02/07
I greatly admire the site's purpose and design and I want to contribute. The Durham Impoundments
are unique, and the bowfin fishing there is fantastic, so I wrote a few paragraphs about them. I really hope your readers will enjoy the information.
HenryV, NC, 06/29/07
The heat is threatening the record books this year in the Piedmont, and yesterday was no exception. I could have sworn that this little fish was sweating when I landed him.
Bowfin are increasingly hanging around near or, in this case, in middle of the creek channels. I guess we all have to stay cool somehow.
HenryV, NC, 06/27/07
This nice Bowfin represents the average size I've been getting in the Durham impoundments these days. Recent rain has slightly raised water levels, so fish seem to be hanging around structure near the channels again. It took a Shad Rap crankbait off the bottom on the upstream side of a sand bar (I've found that a quicker retrieve is best of late). My buddy lost a nice fish that he hooked as I was releasing this one. It spit his lure back at him during a high mid-air jump - frustrating, but spectacular.
HenryV, NC, 06/25/07
Here are a lot of finnin' pics, and some great ones at that. I finally got my wife to give them a chance and now she's a proud finner, with some nice fins to show for it. We sent the gar pics to Garman. She also caught some catfish and turtles.
The new guy above is a new found finner, Scott R, a friend of ours and I know he's hooked. For some or should I say a lot of pics of fins all caught this week on the New River in Jacksonville NC, and all caught on mullet and manhadden minnows
TimT, NCpierman, 06/25/07
I caught these two fish recently in the northernmost one of the two Upper Little Creek impoundments in Durham N.C. The second fish taught me a lesson. I caught the first, smaller fish on my usual rig - with a deep diving crankbait - along a current line in one of the local impoundments. I spent the next hour casting, but the fish were not interested. It was then that I noticed a school of crappie surfacing near a log in very shallow water near the bank, in a place where I never, ever caught a bowfin. Thinking I might take a few crappie home for the grill, I went back to the car and grabbed a light spinning outfit and tied on a small Mepps spinner. The first cast fell perfectly, right beside the log. I twitched the sinking lure, anticipated a strike, but none came. When the lure touched bottom, I jigged it once and felt a strike. And then I set the hook into a 5 lb bowfin. While I would not recommend fishing for Bowfin on light tackle, I can say that this one time was both a surprise and a treat. My guess is that those crappie were clearing out when the Bowfin showed up with the same idea I had - to collect a snack.
HenryV, NC, 06/22/07
June has been a great month for catching Bowfin here in the triangle region. I have had several multi-fish days in the Lake Jordan impoundments, where I have landed three fish over five pounds in the past week alone. I also found a new location that is a bit different from the usual Bowfin haunts: University Lake. It's the local water supply lake, the water is pristine, and it is over 200 acres in size. Boat rentals are cheap, too.
I caught this beautiful fish in University Lake on Saturday, June 16th in overcast, windy conditions. It grabbed a deep-diving Rapala Shad Rap about eight yards from shore on a wind-swept point. I trolled the lure along a current seam formed by the wind, and the Bowfin literally smashed it. The fish jumped and cleared the water by two feet on its first run, then chewed half the paint off the lure and nearly straightened a hook. Final weight: 7 lbs, 2 oz.
It was a nice Father's Day gift, to say the least.
All the best,
HenryV, NC, 06/19/07
Wayne and I got out tonight after work and did a few hours of
finning after a short heavy rain fall. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by some other bowfin fanatics that
visit the site. They were down there doing what we love to do -- BOWFIN FISHIN!
Wish I had sense to get their names.
They said Saturday they had gotten a few below us and lost some good ones, so they were out to try again. They showed me one pic from a nite trip of a 9 pound bow and man, it was sweet.
I just thought I'd let you know this site is all over and many people look at us and are getting into the groove of giving our ancient fighters respect they deserve.
Anyways, we fished for about 3 hours and caught 2 good fins and a few gar, but here are the fins we had captured this evening, 6\12\07. Bait of choice was small whole menhaden on a #2 Alaskan hook without a sinker. We also gave our new found friends some of our bait to try. I'm not sure if it was on the bait we gave them, but they had a brute on that jumped and threw the hook.
Well my friend, that's it for now but be sure to stay tuned. We'll be back with
more very, very soon. I'm going to be in Virginia this weekend and ya never know what can happen.
Thanks for sharin' with everyone and keep up the great site, my friend.
TimT, NCpierman, 06/14/07
Wow my friend, it's been a while since I've been able to get out and do some
finnin fun again, but I managed today to get out with my stepson Wayne.
I needed my bowfin fix like you need your ncpierman fix, lol.
We started off a little late this morning because we went to look for
some red drum first, but man oh man maybe it was a good thing because if we
hadn't you would've had more pics than you probably would've liked to have lol.
We hit the New river, our favorite spot to fish for finns, and man did we
slam 'em good. We were using fresh manhadden, dead of course, and it was a non-stop day until we left, with Wayne getting the last fin. He didn't like the fact that I saw one by the bank twice and the second time I tossed the bait in
front of it and gave it a hook diet to the bank.
We managed a lot of big gar as well and just as many fins. We lost a few, and some darn big fins at that, but I was more than pleased to be fishing with my son again and getting the fins we were looking for.
Enough of my babbling, here are the pics for you to post and thanks again my friend. Lookin' forward to sharing more from here on out.
TimT, NCpierman, 06/11/07
My son, Isaac W, caught this bowfin at the Shearon Harris Lake in Apex, NC. It weighed 7lbs. 2 oz. This is the biggest fish he has ever caught! It bent his BUZZ bait!!! Isaac is 10 years old. Thanks to your website, we were able to learn a great deal about grindles (bowfins). We love it!!!
Please make a kids day and put his bowfin on your site! Thanks again!
A Proud Mom,
Penny W, 06/05/07
Snakehead left - compare to similar size and color bowfin - right. Note the difference in the anal fin.
How are you? Henry from North Carolina here. I thought this story might
interest you. A friend told me a story he heard about a snakehead caught in
the Catawba River (see pic above). My buddy says the angler took it to a convenience store to get weighed, where a clerk told him it was a bowfin. At that point, the angler took the fish back to the river and released it.
Chuck, this is big news and no fish story; the story is verified on the NC Wildlife page . The 13 pound fish was caught 5/13/07. Snakehead were caught in Lake Wylie in 2002 (the Catawba River is part of it), but nobody had seen them since. Suddenly, a 13 pounder appears. Very, very bad. State biologists immediately electro-fished the spot where it was caught and later released, but did not find the fish. They should have probably electro-fished the guy who told the angler it was a bowfin!
Obviously, this might affect bowfin, since uninformed people can and do mistake them for Snakeheads.
For more on how to tell the difference, visit the Info Page, or the NC Wildlife page or Virginia has this site.
I hope you will eventually help the Bowfin anglers of North Carolina by posting something about this on your great site. The public needs to be educated on this matter, for the Bowfin's sake.
HenryV, NC, 05/30/07
I caught this fin this year in North Carolina (Lumber River) using a roach. I had a really nice one get away from me (I MEAN A MONSTER). The fight was the hardest thing! It went under the dock and it was very powerful. I caught 4 gar using treble/roach (exactly what you told me) and I wanted to thank you for that. The weather is now very nice here up north(in Illinois) and the dams are open so it's easier to fish. I did catch a nothern pike. This weekend I'll try again to catch a bowfin. Next month I'm going back to the Lumber River to fish for bowfin and gar.
TimG, IL, 05/10/07
It's about time I was able to get out and give you some more classic bowfin adventures. I've been caught up running fishing trips for red drum lately that I've had no time for bowfinning, but I made time yesturday. I tried to introduce a friend of mine to bowfin but from 8am till 7pm, he managed nothing while we boated some sweet fins. Next time out he will figure out how to nail these fish. I'm not saying he didn't try; he did have a good fin on but he misunderstood what we meant by setting the hook good and about tore the teeth out of that one. He hit it twice snapping 20 pound braid! Here ya go my friend, I'm back on track. Of course I had my son with me, Wayne H, and Scott R, one of my best friends. Man, it was great going finning again and I can't wait till our next trip. This trip was on the White Oak River in Carteret County, same usual spot. Next time were going back to the New River.
TimT, NCpierman, 05/07/07
April 2007, Unknown
I just thought you would like to see this one. It may have been the new NC State Record and I release it! I had know idea what the state record was at the time. If not it was pretty close according to other pix I have seen of Bowfin on your website and the pic of the current NC record. I fish for the other kind of fish but thought you guys would like to see this one. Let me know what you guesstimate the weight at. BTW, I caught this fish on May 27, 2006, C-rig, a main lake point.
Thank you for your time,
Brian E, 04/27/07
I caught this 7 lb beauty on a crankbait in Durham, N.C. The fish had lots of fight in the water, but was uncharacteristically docile when it was landed. The hooks came out easily and I prepared to release it after a quick weigh-in on the digital scale. My hands were wet and I was not holding the scale by its handle but on its sides. You can guess what happened next - the bowfin thrashed its tail and landed in the shallows, with the scale attached. Sure enough, it ran for the deep end and I saw it surface five yards out - without the scale.
Call it "Revenge of the Bowfin."
Henry V, 04/16/07
Hows it going my friend? Just thought I'd send you a report. Not many bowfin but I did get my first gars last night with the biggest being 15.1 pounds (look for it at GASS ).
We went out yesturday and fished until 4 am when the wind kicked up and it got cold once again. We dipped into the 30s! Brrrrrrrrrrr! Was it ever cold again, but we toughed it out and managed one bowfin on finger mullets. I was skunked on the bowfin but not the gar. As you can see by the bowfin the day was nice and then got really cold, but we're finners and when we can, we go!!!
For all those going out, tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 04/09/07
These were taken earlier in the day on the 31st before our night trip. It is my stepson Wayne, his friend Pete, and a young man named Matt they turned on to bowfin fishing this day. The little guy now wants to take a trip every Friday after catching his first bowfin. He also the managed one nice black long nose gar (see garfishing.com). This is the second one they had caught in a few months but this is the first picture of one. All fish were caught on mullets and nite crawlers.
At sunset, we started to fish with mullets again and the first fish caught was a small cat fish. The water was calm and the fish were splashing all over the surface. Once again, we got plenty of hits and a lot of losses, even after I switched to a heavier leader. I went from 20 pound test leader to 65 pound test Power Pro leaders which I make myself.
Wayne landed the first bowfin at 5 pounds 4 ounces and it was a fatty. He managed the second fish at just over 4 pounds and then a bonus fish at 9 pounds, and even a beautiful gar (see garfishing.com).
Most of my night was hooking up only to lose them at the shore or half way in, but I did manage to get a brute in finally but didn't weigh it. I know it was between 4 and 5 pounds and was a great fight. We only managed to get 3 in this time with at least 10 lost at the bank. The fishing is heating up and it's only gonna get better from here on in. We saw some real monster splashing the surface and can't wait for our next trip out to try again. All fish were caught on modified Carolina rigs with whole finger mullets.
Well that's it for now thanks for posting my reports and for all those going out, tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 04/02/07
Well it was a long day at work and my stepson Wayne called me and asked if I wanted to go after some bowfin tonight after work. Of course I couldn't resist and may be in the dog house now, but I'll be out soon enough.
We got there about 6pm and set up the rods from the bank since the gate was locked; we towed the boat all the way there for nothing. It didn't matter, the fish were still there and slightly hungry.
After missing 2 nice fins and getting cut off 3 times, I managed a nice 4 pounder and my son caught a 5.2 pounder. Mine was a male, his a female, but the best part was I broke a rod on a nice fin and then caught another on the broken rod. This fish was massive to have broken a 7 ft medium heavy rod with 15 pound Power Pro line.
Even though it broke, I was still able to use it for another few casts. The rod broke below the top section of rod by 4 inches. It was no defect, just a very, very large fin most likely the record we're after and we will get this summer. Keep your eyes open; North Carolina is going to have a new state record this year.
This time we were fishing in our other spot on the New River in Jacksonville NC. Come on guys! Get out there and catch those fins and catch me if you can! My challenge is up - come get me if you dare.
Good luck finning all and tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 03/28/07
Just me again. Did ya ever think I'd be your biggest bowfin producer? LOL, just kidding guys! It's hot here and the finning action is just as hot. The bowfin beat up on us bad last night. We were 2 fish landed for 15 lost at the bank and that's no joke.
We hit the creek around 5 pm and the banks were loaded with people, so we moved down stream to a section we don't fish much because of all the hang ups. There were fish jumping every where we looked and they were hungry. We lost many by the bank that had to be in the 10 pound range. It's a lot easier to land these fossils from the boat than it is from the bank that's for sure.
We went thru 2 dozen mullet minnows in about 2 hours,and just as many hooks, but that's par for the course when fishing for one of the oldest living fish around that has double the teeth than most fish do. It won't be long and I'll be sending some more pics and stories for ya all so until then tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 03/27/07
I didn't get out today since my wife wanted to go try for puppy drum on this trip, but my step son Wayne H Jr, my best fishin' partner for bowfin, did along with his friend Pete.
They called me around 11 am and said the bowfin were tearin' them up with whole mullets and cut bluegill.
They told me they were surfacing all over the place from the time they got there till the time they left. They lost a lot of fish but caught a lot too, mostly small ones this time out. Almost all were males with one female. They managed 11 total for the day with one small gar and one lost huge gar right at the bank.
Wayne's bigger bowfin had 5 hooks in its mouth and if that isn't aggressive enough for people I don't know what is. Our weather is warming up and the bowfin fishing is getting hot. Now I can't wait to get back out and hit them again. It was 83 degrees here yesterday and water temps were in the 60's. All fish were caught on our modified Carolina rig with cut bait and whole finger mullets in the 2 to 3 inch ranges. These fish were caught in the New River in Jacksonville NC.
Well that's all for now. I know we'll have another report for ya soon. To all going fishin' for finns, tight lines and screamin drags to ya all.
TimT, NCpierman, 03/26/07
Just my weekly weekend report coming your way again. I was feeling better this trip out. It wasn't as warm as last weekend, but the water temp was still good, in the low 50s. I broke out the frozen mullets around 8 am, called the boy, and off we went. We were the only boat in sight the whole day.
It started off like it was going to be a great day with hits as soon as we dropped lines in the first hole, but to our dismay, it was only smallish size cat fish. We stuck it out in that hole for an hour before moving upstream (before the tide was to turn) and we anchored off in another hole where we've caught them before and tossed our lines out.
It took my stepson, Wayne H Jr., about 5 minutes to hook into the first good mudfish. It was about 4.5 pounds. I was still getting cats, not that I mind - I was catching fish, just not the ones I was targeting.
We left that hole and moved to another where I had the same luck with cats and my son Wayne had the same luck with another good bowfin of about 4 or 5 pounds. I did manage to lose one or two bowfin. I never saw them but knew by the hit and the condition of my bait that they were what I was looking for.
It must be getting close to their spawn time here, since we have seen a decrease in the numbers since the water has been warming up. I can't wait for the spawn to get over with so we can get back into the fish heavy again. Both fish landed today were males - not a single female this time out. All fish were caught on frozen mullet on a modified Carolina rig using Alaskan wide gap hooks #3s, very sharp hooks to say the least.
TimT, NCpierman, 03/18/07
It's been a while for me to send ya some pics again, but the new job has been cutting into my fishin' time bad. 12 days straight without a day off.
Today, even though I was very sick, I still had plans to go fishing with my son for bowfin. I was so miserable, I didn't care if I caught anything as long as he did. You can see he did very well with both fish in the 6 pound class. I was kinda glad the fish left me alone today since my pic would've been of me in a heavy jacket with a hoodie on. It was a 70 degree day and I was freezing. Hopefully, I'll be feeling better soon and tearing up the bowfin next time out.
All fish were caught on a modified Carolina rig with fresh bluegill cut bait. By the way the site is looking really great and I see the interest in it is getting a good start in the right direction.
TimT, NCpierman, 03/11/07
I wasn't able to get out this weekend, but my son Wayne and his friend did. They managed to land only one bowfin and lost at least 10 other brutes at the Haywood Landing in Carteret County NC. Here's the pic of Pete, holding on to the fish for dear life. LOL, what a death grip!
Hopefully, I'll be with them next week and we'll have a huge assortment of pics. Our weather is warming up and so are our waters. 50 degree water this weekend, mid 60s weather. Thanks for showing the pictures. We love this site!
TimT, NC Pierman, 02/26/07
Well we slammed them again today on Haywood Landing boat launch. We started about 7:30am and it was a truly beautiful morning to start, cold but bearable temps in the low 40s, water temp was low as well, in the mid 30s.
Our bait of choice was normally whole frozen mullet beat up a bit to make them more appealing. We also cut the tails off and slice the sides to make it more tempting and to get scent into the water.
We landed 6 all together, got pics of 5, and lost another 10 or so by the boat. This was all in about an hours time and they shut off like someone turned out the lights.
I think this year I'll try to get a bowfin tournament going and see how it goes. I'll keep in touch and let you know how it all turns out.
That's it for now, see ya next week with more reports and pics.
TimT, NC Pierman, 02/19/07
P.S This is in Carteret county, a bit south of the spot on the map.
We went out today even though the water and air were extremely cold, but we
needed a bowfin fix. My son, Wayne, and I headed out to try and get our fix.
The water was between 45 and 48 degrees and they were busting top all around us
all day, but we couldn't get then to take the mullet we were offering until later in
the day. I managed to land 2 sweet ones, one male and a female, from the same spot.
We didn't take measurements but they were good fish, nice and
hefty, close to 4 or 5 pounds apiece. We had a scale but didn't take the time to
weigh them since we wanted to get them back in quickly so they could recoup to fight another
They were caught from the same place as the last ones I sent in, Haywood
Landing on the White Oak River, NC. We wanted to set an example that even though it's cold these fish will
still bite, so here ya go my friend. We're still makin' NC the tops!
TimT, NC Pierman, 02/04/07
Even though yesterday morning was extremely cold here, we still went for bowfin in New River NC. We didn't manage any there so we headed to Haywood Landing in NC where we caught these few fish, all in the 2 to 3 pound range.
Water temps were very cold and the fish were a little sluggish, to say the least. We did see some rising to the surface on and off. My son lost one brute next to the boat that we never did get a glimpse of, but i can say without a doubt it was over ten pounds easy. What a pull! Man, nothin' compares like a bowfin on a cold day.
We caught the last batch of bowfin on the White Oak river which is a tidal flow river and we launched from a landing called Haywood Landing.
TimT, NC Pierman, 01/22/07
I am faculty advisor to the Carolina Fishing Club at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I have been a freshwater angler since I was a boy in the late 1970's, but I only first learned of the bowfin in 2001, when I noticed a large one mounted in a tackle shop in the Mon valley outside Pittsburgh. I read as many articles I could find, saved my link to your fine website, and hoped one day to eventually catch a bowfin.
I recently moved to the Triangle region (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) in North Carolina. When I heard that bowfin were fairly common in these waters, I started to target them using deep running lures. I caught my first in December of last year on light tackle; it was a two pounder, and the ferocity of its fight made me a believer.
We recently had a friend from New Jersey staying at our home, and I decided on a warm day to take him to fish from the shore at the spot where I caught my first bowfin. I was casting with a deep diving, yellow-perch colored crankbait on medium tackle when I felt a strike. I set the hook and sensed immediately that the fish was a big one. After a brief fight, the fish pulled loose before I caught a glimpse of it. I bit my lip and kept casting. I soon felt another strike at the exact location where the first strike happened. To be honest, it felt more like my lure was hooked to a small tractor.
The fish took line despite the fact that my drag was on one of the tightest settings, and it even pulled me along the bank a good five yards. The fish made several hard runs, then thrashed at the surface as it tired. After one last, incredibly hard run, I brought the fish near the shore and lifted it out. When I stood up with the fish's head near my waist, my friend remarked "It's still in the water." Sure enough, it was nearly as long as my leg. I lifted out the fish and measured it. The final measurements: just over 35 inches long, and a girth of about 15 inches.
We took a few quick photos and I gently released the fish back into the water. I checked my tackle and noted the fish had nearly straightened two of the heavier hooks I had used to replace those on the original lure. It was one of my most memorable catches. I've caught large northern pike, smallmouth b@$$, and catfish, and I am convinced now that a large bowfin can rank with the best of them for the ferocity of its bite and the strength of its fight.
I have reason to believe the next world record bowfin may come from NC. The local game warden told me that LM b@$$ anglers regularly catch 10-15 lb fish in one of the reservoir lakes near my house (I've seen the photos). He suspects bigger ones are caught but they aren't reported. The length of the fish I caught was certainly above average - in a few years, that same fish will most likely be a state record. And since I caught it in one of the tributaries of Jordan Lake, which is thousands of acres in size, there are probably much larger bowfin in its waters.
I am completely sold on the sporting value of these ancient and wondrous fish. I'll stay in touch and report any other notable catches.
Thanks for the great website.
Henry V, 01/20/07
I just found your site through a friend from another site and thought I would share some pics and stories with you.
I'm more a saltwater fisherman for red drum, but my son wanted to get me fishing for mudfish and gar. I did give it a try, to say the least. My first few times I wasn't too thrilled with the outcome. I caught every other species except what I was looking for.
I believe it was my third trip with him when I finally landed my first mudfish and since then its been great. For bait, we use whole frozen mullets in the 2 to 6 inch range on a Carolina rig. I have had some real brutes hooked then lost at the boat, since it seems they have one very hard mouth. I'm using circle hooks, size 1\0. After loosing many, I decided to use a second hook along with the first (stinger hook), one hook in the head and one in the tail area. It has seemed to help with my catch ratio.
We have managed between 5 to 10 each trip we on the New River. We fish from a 12ft boat most of the time, but do a lot of bank fishing as well. We use 20 pound Power Pro with 25 pound leaders of fluorocarbon on Daiwa D Shock 3500 series medium-action rods and reels.
Thanks for your time. The site its a great one and I look forward to sending more pics.
TimT, NCpierman, 01/16/07
You NC finners just had too much for one page. Click here for 2006 and earlier or 2008 and newer.