New York

More, please? You're doing a fine job NY, keep it up. What's that? You'll be glad to teach the Texans how to fish?
Send those pics!

We don't know all the hotspots, so if you know of a Bowfin Hotspot, please let us know. Locate your hotspot at Bing Maps and e-mail the link info to me so I can add it to the map. When sending pics, please include location info and all the catch details that you can. Be sure to mention our favorite fish in the "Subject" line. BAGman's address is public and garners lots of junk.

The Yellow dots indicate the State Record (lb-oz or 00.00 lb), the Red dots are other fin locations that have been revealed to us. They link to Topozone maps that get you in the neighborhood, if not to the exact spot. The Photos name the location the fins were caught (if known). Thanks to Dave D (Osama Bin Bowfin) for this idea.

July 2011, Lake Ontario/Oswego

BAGman,
I caught this Bowfin with a b@$$ lure in Oswego. Almost 6lbs.
Tim S, 07/31/11







July 2011, Bashakill

BAGman,
Boot included!
Osama Bin Bowfin, 07/23/11




The season just isn't complete without an OBB boot (we've never seen his face).

June 2011,St. Lawrence River

Hi BAGman,
My 10 year old son, Colin M, caught this bowfin fishing in the St. Lawrence River near Wilson Hill in Louisville, NY 13662 last evening, 6-21-11, about 7pm'ish. My husband was reeling in perch after perch and then he saw this shadow swim by. Colin had a nightcrawler on his hook and dropped it in. The shadow turned and snagged it and he reeled in the strangest looking fish any of us had ever seen! When we got home I googled it and found your site and discovered what he'd caught. My husband estimated the weight at the time to be 7-8lbs and based on it's size next to his foot I'd guess 20-24". It snapped the line and got back into the water and swam away....not that we were prepared to pick it up and measure it in any way!! We did NOT expect to be reeling out prehistoric monsters! LOL! Pictures are attached. Thanks for making such a great reference site -- we've learned a LOT about the bowfin in the last day. Funny thing is, it was a brand new rod and reel, and as we got home from the store Colin picked a penny up off the ground and said, "See a penny pick it up all day long you'll have good luck. Maybe I'll catch a monster!" and put it in his pocket!
Amy P, 06/22/11




June 2011, Little Salmon River, Mexico, NY

Hi BAGman,
I had my 9 year old son hook up a 4" perch on a bobber with a 5' trout rod and 6 lb test. He brought in a 29.5" Bowfin off the docks at Mike's Marina on the Little Salmon River in Mexico, NY. This is the first one I have ever seen, but the owner said many have been caught in this Lake Ontario tributary usually known for it's Steelhead and Salmon. The Bowfin gave a great fight, and we had to use the net.
The Bowfin was 29.5" long, 12.5" girth, and my bad scale looked over 9 lbs.
NickF, 06/15/11




April 2011, Lake Champlain

Hi BAGman,
I recently came across you website and love all the info you have on bowfins. I've been told by fellow anglers up here in Plattsburgh, NY that bowfin are commonly caught in Lake Champlain, but until last year I had never caught one. Then one day I was b@$$ fishing at the mouth of the Salmon River (about 5 miles south of Plattsburgh) and hooked into what I first thought was a decent pike, but when I got him in it turned out to be a bowfin... I was quite surprised!
Then I noticed not 10 feet in front of me, in about 2-3 ft of water, several bowfin just sitting there. Since I had been fishing for b@$$ I had a tube jig on and decided to bounce the jig in front of the closest fin... didn't take but a second and it hit. After a couple short runs I managed to bring the fin in and snapped a picture with my phone (see attached pic). A quick hand measurement put this one around 21". The biggest I caught that day was 25".
I caught one other, but hooked into (and lost) 5 others... guess my hooks weren't sharp enough. I had a blast though!
Phil T, 04/28/11




August 2010, 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River

These two came in back to back so I'm combining them. With Chad's note below, sounds like the 1000 Islands is hot, and David may have hit on the reason.

Bagman
I caught a bowfin last night after dusk in a narrow, deep channel {locally known as "Molly's Gut"} that empties a large weedy and shallow area in The Thousand Islands on the Canadian side of the St Lawrence river. I'v been coming here and casually fishing for 45 years and never caught one of these. I didn't know what it was so I got on the internet and your great site came up. Nice work on this site: thanks for offering so much relevant information in a sensible way.

The St. Lawrence has been inundated with round gobies in the past few years. They are quickly changing the natural fish habitat. I have to ask if the bowfin might be benefitting from the gobie's population explosion. Do bowfin eat gobies? If they do their mercury levels will go through the roof.

I wish I had a picture of the beast, but I didn't have a camera handy and I wanted to get him back in the water. He was 25 to 26 inches long and fat. He was fun to catch and ferocious is the word that comes to mind in describing his character. He tried to bite his way through the net, or at least it seemed that way.
Keep up the good work
David B, 08/05/10

If you want a laugh check out the bowfin caught in the St.Lawerence River,near Alex Bay 1000 Island New York. My wife posted it on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbhRMOKdIRg. In 40 years of fishing, we never saw one. We thought we had a river monster.....ha ha.
Paul A, 08/05/10








August 2010, 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River

Bagman
I caught this one in 1 foot of water, under the boat, with only 2 feet of water between us and the shore! I was dealing with a knot in my line while fishing the 1,000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River, and my plastic worm had dipped into the water as I made progress on the snarl. After finishing up with the knot, I reeled in the slack line and bam! This one didn't know what hit him, and I can say that about the fish too. He went from bottom of the cove to the bottom of the boat in a matter of seconds. 29", verified by none other than "Diggy" M. I found the scale in the boat after we had released it.
Chad "Chum" C, 08/02/10








June 2010, St. Lawrence River

Bagman
I bagged this bowfin today off of CR131 in Massena NY in the St Lawrence River. I had NO idea what I was looking at until my friend's brother told me. 33 years of angling and I've never landed anything that fought like this! It was hooked initially on a perch I threw back as bait, lost it, it attacked my friends frog lure, lost it... then it came back AGAIN and I landed it on a crawler. I have never seen such an aggressive feeder. 25" long and 6.4 ounces. What a weird fish!
Kristen R, 06/21/10








May 2010, Long Pond

Bagman
I caught this bowfin on 5-1-10 on Long Pond in Greece, NY. Mid day on swim bait.
Truplyr, 05/05/10








April 2010, Long Pond

Bagman
I caught this bowfin on Long Pond off of Lake Ontario.It is just west of Rochester,N.Y
Tom L, 04/06/10




August 2009, Braddock Bay

BAGman,
I caught this 31 incher at Braddock's Bay in Rochester NY. about two weeks ago, with a wacky worm. Great fight! She bent my hook.
Thanks,
Paul M, 08/25/09




August 2009, Black Lake

BAGman,
Although Black Lake (in Hammond, NY) is already listed as a "Hotspot" on your site, I promised my 13 year old son that I would send in this picture of the bowfin he caught during our weeklong camping trip. It was caught on August 2, 2009, right off the docks at McLear's Campsite on Black Lake. He managed the catch himself, and summoned help from his father (pictured with him) when he realized he had hooked a big fish and needed some extra hands to get it out of the water and unhooked for release.
Most who saw the fish were unaware of what it was, until a passerby mentioned that it looked like a Bowfin. We Googled that and found your site, which Nathan studied with great interest. Not a bad catch for a 13 yr. old boy!! We're not sure of length or weight...but it looked to be about 25 in. or more. His name is Nathan and dad is Victor.
Thanks,
Nicole I, 08/11/09




July 2009, Little Salmon River

BAGman,
My husband caught what he was told was a bullfin fish tonight which was about 24" long. He was fishing Little Salmon River, by the bridge where Drum St intersects with Pike St in Fort Covington, NY. He was told by other fishermen at the site that the bullfin was catch and destroy and also not edible. I found your website when I was searching for more information and learned that was a bunch of hooey. I am sure it is a Bowfin. Sorry the picture isn't the greatest.
Misty, 07/21/09




July 2009, Braddock Bay

Picked up this nice fin on 7/12/09 in Lake Ontario near Braddock Bay, NY. It hit a ¾ oz. Glow/Blue Cleo just before sunset in about 8 feet of water.
JeffM, 07/14/09




July 2009, Bashakill, Boehmler Pond

Hi BAGman,
Friday July 3rd Some friends and I went out to the Bashakill to the bridge on Haven Rd. We were there for quite a while, but we finally caught two bowfin that night. I caught one and my friend caught the other. They were average size, but it felt good getting my first bowfin of the year. I forgot to pack the camera; so no pictures.
Saturday July 4th We went back to the Bashakill and caught a skunk!
Sunday July 5th We decided not to try the Bashakill again; so we tried to go to Boehmler Pond, but we couldn't get to our fishing spot because the stream was high and we couldn't get across to the other side. Usually there are some rocks and logs going across the stream you can hop across, but the stream was a lot higher because of all the rain we've had in June. I'm sure if we were able to make it across the stream there would have been a skunk waiting for us on the other side.
Osama Bin Bowfin, 07/13/09




June 2009, Oswego River

BAGman,
This is another bowfin I caught in the Oswego River. I caught it on a flambéed sun fish. It was 6 pounds and 28 inches. This is my secrect spot.
JohannA, 06/25/09




June 2009, Oswego River

BAGman,
I was about to go home when I just wanted to do one more cast. I hooked up with a nice size fin. I fought it for a while and netted it in. I caught three more after that on the same cut up sunnie. I eat them with salt and butter after I cook them on the grill in tin foil.
JohannA, 06/02/09




June 2009, Oswego River

BAGman,
This is my bowfin I caught May 25th. I live in Fulton, New York and caught it on the Oswego River. It was 35 inches. I caught it using a cut up bluegilll.
JohannA, 06/01/09




May 2009, Black Lake

BAGman,
We just returned from Memorial Day Week-end at Black Lake in NY. Our 13-year old daughter Sydney made a giant catch on Sunday, May 24th that had her father scrambling as he was the only one in the boat that realized how extraordinary her reeled in reward was! Her bowfin measured in at 35 inches! No official weight was taken as we released it immediately. Please see attached photo. We were thrilled to discover your website as it answered a lot of questions pertaining to the approximate weight of Sydney's catch. It would make her day if you could perhaps include her picture on your wonderful site.
Gratefully,
Amy M, 05/28/09




May 2009, Crane Brook/Seneca R

Hi BAGman,
I just found this site. I caught 2 bowfin last summer (August 21, 08) in a small creek off of the Seneca River in Montezuma, NY (Cayuga County). Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of either. Caught on night crawlers while fishing for bullhead. I fought the first one, ~18-20in., for about 5 minutes and thought that I had foul hooked a carp. It came to the surface and my buddy and I thought I possibly was a large snake. Finally, I got it on the bank and it kept fighting. As I put my foot on it, it snapped the line and rolled back into the water. Later we caught a much smaller one. Still not knowing what they were, and that a guy fishing near by thought they were poisonous, I cut the line once we knew it was the same type of fish. Great site - I now know better!
Matt P, 05/18/09




September 2008, Bashakill

Hi BAGman,
Here is another report for you. Had a great weekend fishing for bowfin in the Bashakill. 8/29/08 Friday night, Bashakill - Bridge on Haven Rd. Friends and I went out for bowfins. I caught a single bullhead. It was the only fish of the night. Rained on and off most of the time and very humid.
8/30/08 Saturday night, Bashakill - Bridge on Haven Rd. Total of 6 bowfins caught that night. I caught 4 of them, one of which was over 24 inches.
8/31/08 Sunday night, Bashakill - Bridge on Haven Rd., Total of 6 bowfins caught that night, I caught 3 of them, two of which were over 24 inches. I also caught a largemouth and 2 bullheads.
Attached are some pictures from the weekend. Finally starting to see some great bowfin action this year. Sent a picture of some bowfin puke on my shoe. He chucked when I was trying to get the hook out of his mouth. Whatever it was, it was just goo at that point. I should get some points for that one. Haha!
FOTY: 4 Under = 8pts
4 - 24"-30" = 16pts
2 bags of trash = 10pts
Osama Bin Bowfin, 09/02/08




September 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
I haven't seen any Bowfin in a week or so, until tonight. I've mostly been catching big b@$$, big catfish and huge, huge carp from the dock. This afternoon the Fins made an appearance. I caught this 27" beauty about 5:00 and then half hour later caught this smaller 19". The bigger one ate a lot of fish parts I'd thrown in, before he ever got to my line. I thought he'd swam off, when he circled in from behind and nailed the cut bait. He took my line about 60 feet down river right after I hooked him! Both strong, perfect fish, without a mark on them. Glad to see they're back patrolling the river banks again.
EveretR, 09/02/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




August 2008, Bashakill, Boehmler Pond

Hi BAGman,
FINALLY! My friends and I had a great weekend fishing for bowfin. I have much to report this time. I should make the FOTY list with all of this. I don't have a picture of every single bowfin, but I have quite a few pictures. 1 bowfin caught a new hotspot (Boehmler Pond).
--------------------------------
Friday 8/22/08
New location
Boehmler Pond
A guy I know told me about catching a bowfin at Boehmler Pond. My friends tried about 5 times this year with no success. Until this weekend, all I ended up catching out of there were many undersized bullheads. This weekend I finally caught a bowfin out of there and proved they are actually in the pond. The bowfin wasn't very big, but at least I caught one. The pond is located near the top of Peenpack Trail, half-way between Rt. 42 and Rt. 209. It's not easy to find if you are not local to the area. The best location to fish is the south side of the lake on the earthen dam because the lake is rather shallow and weedy in other locations.
--------------------------------------
Saturday 8/23/08
Bashakill: Bridge on Haven Rd.
This was the best night all year. I ended the night with 10 bowfins.
Sunday 8/24/08
Bashakill: Bridge on Haven Rd.
It was a bit slower this night. I caught 2 bowfins and 2 bullheads. Lost 3 bowfins in the weeds.

FOTY: 11 Under = 22pts
2 - 24"-30" = 8pts
1 bag of trash = 5pts
1 new Spot = 3pts
Osama Bin Bowfin, 08/26/08




August 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
I haven't fished in a couple weeks. The Oswego River has been high and fast and not the best conditions for fishing. They finally closed the flood gates and the water level is back down and slower moving, so I gave it a go tonight and latched on to a real fighter! 26" long! He kept me working for a long time. He eventually got himself hung up in some weeds and I had to wade into the water to net him out. Caught him on a piece of cut bait, as usual. Unfortunately, he swallowed the hook and I had a hard time getting it out. I didn't think I'd injured him too much, but he had a tough time keeping himself upright when I released him. After a few minutes, I waded back in and flipped him over with the net and he swam off further out, but eventually floated upside down again. I don't think he recovered. Too bad. He actually looked like the healthiest of all the fins I've caught. He was certainly one of the most determined to fight back. Even on the dock, he clamped down on my thumb like a vise! This is the first one I didn't successfully release.
EveretR, 08/21/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




August 2008, Bashakill

Hi BAGman,
This has been the worst year I've had catching bowfins since I started fishing for them. There is still some time left to turn it around though. Here is a report from last weekend.
Bashakill report for 8/8/08 My friend and I got to the Kill about 11pm. I had 3 larger bowfins on, but lost all three of them just as they almost into shore. There was a large clump of water weeds they kept getting stuck in. I made visual identification they were all bowfins. I did manage to land one dinky bowfin for the night. Hooray! My friend also missed a bowfin, but did catch a bullhead.
Osama Bin Bowfin, 08/18/08




August 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
Caught this 25 inch beauty on cutbait, around 6:30 PM in about 4 feet of water. Of all the fins I've landed, he was the strongest fighter yet. This guy just didn't want to give up. He was tough just to get a picture of! I was very fortunate to get him in, as it was light line and took over 5 minutes to tire him out, enough to get the net under him. The line broke, just as I was laying him on the dock! Very cool!
EveretR, 08/05/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




August 2008, Irondequoit Bay

BAGman,
Ahoy there! I am a retired Navy man usually fishing off of Key West in a dingy. Up to Irondequoit Bay for the summer. I caught the 8lb 29 inch bowfin the other day. Also a movie clip at http://www.youtube.com/user/navetsusa.
Thanks,
Ed R, 08/01/08




July 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
Last night I tried something different. Caught my usual bait sunfish and decided to slice off a small fillet and fish for catfish. I baited up with the fillet and also baited up the rest of sunfish for the bowfin on my baitcaster. Within minutes, I had hit on the fillet. I worked him for close to 5 minutes, before I ever saw him. Turned out to be a 25" fin! I was really surprised. I took a picture and rebaited with another fillet. Shortly I had another hit. This guy worked me for 10 full minutes before I got a glimpse. Turned out to be a 23 inch catfish.

What's interesting is, when he was in near the dock, two small bowfin's and one HUGE fin came in and seemed to be watching the catfish as he fought to get free. Meanwhile another fin was chomping away at the sunfish on my baitcaster, within sight, right off the dock. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend that pole and he gobbled up the bait, avoiding the hook and swam away. It was a great night, for some big fish! One of these days, I'm going to latch on to one of the HUGE guys. The Oswego River is a heck of a place for fishing!
Everet, 07/29/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




July 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
Caught this guy last night, just before dark. I hadn't tried for one for a couple weeks, but decided to give it a try last night. I caught my usual "bait fish," this time a good sized Sunfish. I cut through his gills, so he'd die quickly and leak some blood and then tried hooking him just above the tail this time, sticking the hook entirely through the bait, so it was hanging out the other side. The current was really strong, so it was difficult to get the bait fish to lay and stay on the bottom of the river, but once I did, it was only a matter of about 10 minutes before a Bowfin came along and swallowed him up in one bite. Pushing the entire hook through the bait, worked very well, as he was hooked immediately after he swallowed the bait.
I've educated a lot of local fishermen, who swear you should kill this fish, as there will be "no other fish around, if they are there." I can attest that the water around my dock is thriving with b@$$, catfish, carp, panfish and more. The Bowfin is just a great addition to the selection and is definitely a pleasure to catch and release!
Everet, 07/28/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




July 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
I gave another go at Bowfin fishing from my dock last night and tonight. Last evening I watched several fins gulp down my 6" rock b@$$ bait and take me for a run, only to drop it, without setting the hook. I also had to wade 30 yards up the river, sliding my pole under tree limbs and branches, under water to eventually unsnag the hook where a fin dragged it to while I was up eating dinner. Tonight I tried a 10" small mouth as bait and watched a really big fin gulp it down. I played him for a couple minutes and swore he was well hooked, but eventually he dropped the fish and didn't return. Half hour later, a smaller fin came along and swallowed the b@$$. He ran out and then back to the dock. When he was right below me, I gave a hefty yank and hooked him through the lip. He's not as big as my first one, but at 27" he's still a big fish! I'm amazed at how many I see swimming by the dock! I always keep my bait within eyesight and watching the Bowfin circle and check out the bait, before they take it in one big gulp, is pretty cool to see!
Everet, 07/16/08
Be sure to visit my NEW online store! www.edrcreations.com




July 2008, Bashakill

Hi BAGman,
My friends and I fished Thursday through Monday and was skunked every night except for Saturday night on the Bashakill. Several trips to Hainesville and several trips to Bashakill. At the Bashakill, on Saturday night, I ended up catching two bowfins around 3am (Sunday morning technically). Brother and my friend each caught a bullhead around the same time. I'm hoping that next few months will be better than the last few.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 07/09/08




July 2008, Black Lake

BAGman,
My name is John M and I came across your site while searching for more info. This was a great fighter and a mean lil gal once we got her in the boat. I wish I taken better records for you but we had no scale and no tape measure. Felt about 5 or 6 pounds to me but you know how people get when they are excited about a catch. No way to really tell I guess. Great site, very informative. I caught it on a Daredevil. The net man's name is Greg F, my brother in law; we just got back from a week on Black Lake NY.
We picked up a few of these on our fishing trip. The locals say it's a bowfin (or dogfish take your pick), they pretty much considered them a garbage fish and suggested we kill them after we catch them. We had never seen or heard of these before. And we didn't kill any. Strange local critter? Or evidence of lake monsters!! This guy was like 5 or 6 pounds. The guy that ran the camp says that the world record was caught there... Over 20 lbs... People swim in that lake....we saw a hat floating in the lake one day...no sign of the guy that lost it. Makes you wonder.
JohnM, 07/06/08




July 2008, Oswego River

BAGman,
I just caught my first Bowfin today. I've been watching them swim by my dock for quite some time and didn't really know what they were, until I did some Googling and ran across your cool site a few days ago.
After watching a Bowfin snap up a dying sunfish I had thrown into the water, I decided a small fish was a good choice for bait. So yesterday I stopped and bought me a bait caster, some 20 lb. braided line, some #2 hooks and a steel leader. I had several of these fish grab my line and they always snapped the line within seconds, so I was going to be prepared!
Tonight I caught an 8" small mouth b@$$ and decided to give Bowfin fishing a try. First I hooked the bass through the mouth and gill and tossed in the line. Within a couple minutes I had two Bowfin's sniffing around. The first one snapped it up and I let him run and run, but eventually when I tried to hook him, he dropped the bait. I then tried again and had another on the line for a minute or so and the same thing happened. I figured my luck had run out, but I decided to rehook the b@$$ just under the dorsal fin this time and throw him back in. Within a few minutes I had a big one and gave him plenty of time to swallow the bait before I hooked him. What a riot! After 5 minutes or so of playing this beauty, I landed him. 30" long!
My only disappointment was getting out the hook, which was very deep. It took a long time and a lot of work. When I released him, he floated to the bottom. After a couple hours he disappeared, so maybe he made it after all.
July 2, 2008, Oswego River, Hinmansville, NY
Everet, 07/03/08




June 2008, Bashakill

Friday 20th, Bashakill, Bridge on Haven Rd.
Another tough night fishing. Fished from 11:30pm to 3:30am and I caught a single bowfin that night and my brother caught a bullhead. We found a bowfin on the side of road that someone had killed.
-- NJ --
Saturday 21st, Hainesville, SKUNKED!
Osama Bin Bowfin, 06/23/08




June 2008, Bashakill

June, Friday 13th Bashakill Bridge on Haven Rd. Brother and I went out fishing that night. Fishing was a bit slow, but I caught three bowfins and he caught 2 bullheads. All the bowfins were close to 24 inches, but just shy by a few inches. Pictures of the fish that night next to my size 12 boot.

June, Sunday 15th Bashakill Pull-in just past the dam on South Rd. Friend and I went fishing that night. There were already people fishing the bridge on Haven Rd.; so we decided to try a different spot. We fished down at the spot just after the dam where you have to park and walk down the trail to the concrete block. Another slow night of fishing. My friend didn't catch anything and I caught two bowfins. Once again, the bowfins were all close to 24 inches, but just shy by an inch or two.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 06/20/08




May 2008, Ogdensburg

Hello BAGman, My name is Dustin B; I just got out of the U.S. Marine corps after 8 years and moved to upstate New York (Ogdensburg). I average probably about 20-30 hours a week on the water bass, pike, and walleye fishing. Today, I went just under the town dam into a little intake and looked into the water where I seen a massive 2ft-2.5ft fish in the shadows I tossed everything I had at it initially thinking it was a northern pike because the fins were down. A short time later I hooked into another fish just like it on a free floating Senko worm. I mistakenly identified the fish as a snakehead from the rough sketch NY state puts in their fisheries books and not knowing of the bowfin species. The local department of environmental conservation officer stopped by the house and shortly after, and identified it as a bowfin. Hate that the fish had to die due to my ignorance, so I researched the species and found your site very helpful. I hope to catch the big one I saw today in the near future. It would likely be a NY state record for a bowfin but I can assure you it will be returned to the water safely this time. I've enclosed a picture of my first one and I got to agree they put up one heck of a fight. Thank you for your site it helped me out a lot.
Dustin B, 05/19/08




October 2007, Bashakill

Fishing Report for Saturday 10/20/07 at Bashakill, NY
Saturday night we went night fishing at the Bashakill. Temp was about 45 degrees. We didn't catch any bowfins, but my brother caught one bullhead. He missed several bites, but we are pretty sure most of the bites were small bullhead from the way they were biting. However, there was one bite that he lost in the weeds. There was only half a minnow left when he got the end of the line to the shore. Most likely that was a bowfin.
Osama Bin Bowfin, 10/22/07




October 2007, Braddock Bay

This 8 lb. 13 oz. Bowfin hit a white/chartreuse Chatterbait on Friday afternoon, 10/5/07. Same spot as the one last year and the year before. I somehow manage to catch one per year.
JeffM, 10/08/07




September 2007, Bashakill

Bashakill Update 9/23/2007
Went to the kill last night and brought my whole family. The water was rather higher than it usually is, and it was overcast an windy. We arrived at about 5PM and the fishing was o.k.. We caught some b@$$ and catfish, but they were small and we threw them back. My wife hooked a 4-lb bullhead later that snapped her pole right in half. At about 7PM we caught 2 very aggresive 3-4lb bowfin, which faught like champs, but we won.....lol. I caught a few more bowfin up until 930 PM, and lost several more after that. One fin even almost took my pole in the water, snapped my line, and ripped my lighted bobber off. The lighted bobber went under with the fin and NEVER came back up. ALERT: Keep an eye out for other anglers in the bashakill. After I caught the first 2 bowfin, several fisherman tried to convince me to kill them, rather than throw them back. They were convinced that the bowfin eat ALL the other fish there and MUST be killed at all costs. Nobody will kill a fin while I'm there, especially a bigger one that could be fun to catch for years to come.
SurgicalAngler,Scott P., 09/26/07
Photos to follow shortly




September 2007, Bashakill

Fishing Report for Friday 9/21/07 at Bashakill, NY
My friends and I went fishing from about 11pm until 3am. It was a very warm night for late September. Everyone was in t-shirts that night, which is definitely unusual for that time of year. I caught two bullheads and a bowfin. My brother caught a small largemouth and a 4 pound bowfin. We were going to do another group photo of the fish, but when we dumped them out of the cooler, all the fish slid down the bank and into the water and swam away. We got a good laugh out of that one. It happened so fast that no one had a chance to grab one; so we don't have any photos for this report.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 09/25/07




September 2007, Black Lake

Hey anglers,
Just wanted to let you know I finally got all the paperwork back from the Fishing Hall of Fame for my "catch & release" Bowfin (see below). I know how all you Bowfin anglers enjoy seeing huge Bowfins recognized....well you got one! The fin I caught is the new World Record for catch & release!!! I was so pumped when I got all the information back. It's amazing this is a world record fish and I can't get New York State to recognize it cause I did not "sacrifice" the fish for their biologists to examine. Thanks again for this awesome and informative site and your enthusiasm with my catch. Take care and best of luck whenever your on the water!

Brian R, 09/18/07 Legendary Auto Interiors

Congrats Brian! That is an impressive C&R record and should stand for some time.


September 2007, 1000 Islands/French Creek

Bagman,
Caught this fish August 25th at the 1000 Islands in Clayton NY at a place called French Creek Marina. Was going for Large Mouth Bass off shore casting under docks and boats. She hit a 5" Yamasto worm and fought for 7 minutes. I had no idea what it was after I caught it. I have heard of Bowfins but had never seen one. Someone said it was a Snakehead and wanted me to kill it. I did not and released it after this picture. I was very surprised to se a mouth full of teeth. I love Northern Pike fishing and was impressed with her straight rows but large teeth. She measured 30" but I didn't weigh her. Now I know what it is, I am going to try to catch more. I was afraid I had caught something bad. DEC website couldn't help me either.
Michael T, 09/07/07




September 2007, Bashakill

Fishing report for Bashakill
8/31 Friday night from 11pm until 3am we went to the Bashakill. When we arrived, we found several bowfin dead on the side of the road, and one bowfin dead in the water. I ended up with 4 bowfin, and my brother caught 1 bowfin, and everyone else was skunked.
9/1 Saturday night from 11pm until midnight. After getting minnows, I decided to stop by Bashakill for an hour on the way to Hainesville, NJ. Caught one bowfin and left.
9/2 Sunday night 11pm until 3am. My one friend caught a bowfin, and I caught two. Rather slow night.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 09/06/07




August 2007, Bashakill

Fishing report for Bashakill for Friday 8/17/07
NY report - Bashakill
Slow night on the Kill. We ended up with a total of three bites. My brother is the only one to catch a fin. *Pictures of fin included*
NJ report - Hainesville
Saturday 8/18
Another slow night at Hainesville. We don't know if it's because of the low water levels, or just a bad weekend. We had a total of 5 bites, but no one was able to successfully land a fish. The closest we came to landing one was when I pulled the fish to the edge of the shore and he fell off. I quickly shined my flashlight in the water to see a bowfin slowly swimming away.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 08/29/07




August 2007, Bashakill

Fishing report for Bashakill for Saturday 8/4/07

Hainesville has been a lot more productive this year; so we haven't fished much at Bashakill, but after we saw the dam was cleaned out and the water level dropped, we decided to try Bashakill again. We had a about 20 hits that night between all of us. We ended up landing 8 bowfin. If I remember correctly, I landed 6 of them, and my brother had one, and our friend had the other. We even kept them all in a beer cooler with two aerators so we could have a group photo. All were returned to the water in good condition.

Osama Bin Bowfin, 08/08/07




July 2007, Oswego River

BAGman,
This fin was caught off the dock with a Barbie pole and worm in Oswego River, Fulton, NY 7/17/07 by Peter S, age 6 of Mechanicville, NY. Good fight!
ArtZ, 07/20/07




June 2007, Black Lake

Hey anglers
I'm new to the site and only found it because I was doing research on Bowfin. I've caught Bowfin here in NY a few times but over Memorial Day weekend on a fishing trip with some friends I caught a monster! I knew you guys would love to hear this story and see the pics.

Here's the short version of the catch. First night there we ran into some hefty Blue Gills. It was almost 8pm so we toyed around with beetle spins. I was using my ultra light with 4 lb. test. Out of know where it felt like a freight train hit my lure. Well after 15 minutes or so of trying to land the fish we finally did and this is what Bowfin measured out to be: 37" in length, 19 1/4 girth around the belly and calculated 17.8 lbs. in weight! The fish snapped my ultra light into 3 pieces!

Come to find out the NYS record was only 12.9 lbs. but I will not get credit for this record fish because I let it go after measuring and photographing it. I now have a whole new perspective on catching Bowfin. I had so much fun trying to get that tank in the boat. I had such an adrenalin rush that my hands were trembling afterwards and I had all to do to get the lure out of its mouth.

When talking to NYS DEC to try and get it posted as a NYS record they sent me the form for the Fresh Water Hall of Fame to submit to. I've already got the paperwork filled out and just have to get my friend to sign it and then have it notarized.

Thanks guys for this site! It really helped me out in learning more on these fish. Take care and happy Bowfinnin'!!!

Brian R, 06/15/07 Legendary Auto Interiors

At time of posting this fin hit #3 on our Top Ten list!


July 2006, Lake Champlain

Hi BAGman,
I am one lucky guy! Here is my girlfriend, Trina, with a Champlain fin. It is her first and was 22 inches long.
Deerman, 07/17/06




July 2006, Bashakill

Hi BAGman,
Here's a pic of a fin I caught today at the Basherkill. The action was slow. I caught him on a crawler on the bottom.
Deerman, 07/10/06




July 2006, Lake Champlain

Hi BAGman,
Thanks for the response. I've found fins in Mud Bay, Lake Ontario but the fish I'm catching are in Lake Champlain. From what I've learned, fins and gar cover the whole north and northeastern NY perimeter. You can find them in the quieter bays. I mostly sight fish for them, like bonefishing. The first fins I ran into were in Ontario where they bit steel leader clips off and broke an obviously inferior rod lol. It took me five years to finally get one. The places I usually fish offer at least half a dozen sitings per hour. I just found this spot last year while fishing for cats. The gar there are so common last year we saw about fifty in one day then the next trip none. Weather has a lot to do with whether they're on top or deep and just surfacing ocassionally. Again thanks,
Deerman, 07/06/06




Hi BAGman,
I love your site - it's great! I live in New York and I fish for gar and bowfins regularly. Please forward the gar to Garman at GASS.
Deerman, 07/04/06




May 2006, Braddock Bay, Lake Ontario

I caught this spawning male tonight just after dusk in about 5 feet of water in Lake Ontario just northwest of Braddock Bay, near Rochester, NY. Nice green fins. He was caught on a 2" red/white daredevle while fishing for pike. I also caught one about the same size last summer in the exact same location.
JeffM, 05/31/06




September 2005, Tributary, Lake Ontario

"My friend, Dave K, caught this Bowfin a couple nights ago with a minnow in a channel leading into a bay in Rochester, NY. We had no clue what it was until we looked it up, we have caught 2 more since but this is the only clear picture we have of the fish. They are one great fight! I really enjoyed bringing one in and I hope you have some tips to help us catch a few more. The boards in the pic are 5-1/2" wide.
Kyle I 09/01/05




June 2005

Onedia River

This is my first Bowfin caught on the Onedia River in Brewerton NY near Syracuse. When I first saw the fish in the shallow water, I thought it was a pike. I cast my worm in front of it and what a fight! The thing went crazy jumping and taking big runs. To my suprise when I landed it I saw it was a 25 inch 5 lb Bowfin. I think I will be targeting this species from now on they are great fighters.The Anglers from left to right are Andy, Michael, and Megan.
Great website, keep up the good work.
LisaW 06/14/05




June 2005, Black Lake

This is the only bowfin I ever hooked. I caught it at Black Lake in upstate NY about 10 years ago. That's my grandfather, Paul, holding it. I would be honored if you posted the picture. From looking at a few other pictures my father had of it, the fish was 36 1/4". He had themeasurement on the back of his pictures. I don't have the girth or weight. The fish was caught up in Black Lake NY near the Canadian border. From what I've heard it's a pretty good bowfin lake, along with musky, pike, and bass. It might be a good lake to add to your map. It's a big lake just off of I-81 close to the border. The bowfin was caught on a big pike top water bait, close to shore along a mat of weeds.
Gary 06/13/05

Thanks to the efforts of many BAG members, we have Weight Tables to calculate the weight of a bowfin from length only. The Tables put the weight of your fin at 15.5 lbs, a great fish in northern waters.




Here is a business card we came up with for fun while fishing for bowfin in the Bashakill. We don't guide at all, but it was fun to think up and make.
MarkR




Farm Pond, New York

Here's a Bowfin story that helps to illustrate how unique each of these fish are. About 8 years ago or so I decided I wanted or needed to catch a Bowfin. I had seen a couple dead ones while on a vacation in Michigan back in the 70's and those fish haunted me. That's a story for another time, but anyways I found a small eutrophic pond just off Lake Ontario that I was told held Bowfin. Sure enough I was able to catch my 1st Bowfin there. It was pretty small, maybe 18" or so, and it came on a creek chub fished below a bobber. It fought OK, not as spectacular as I was expecting. Not a big deal, but at least I'd finally caught one.

About two years later I got the urge to catch more Bowfin, so I went back to a little creek to gather some bait. To my dismay, there were no chubs to be found! All I could muster up with my little bread balls were small pumpkinseed sunfish. Oh well, I thought, it's better than nothing. I caught around 15 to 20 and headed out to the pond. I brought 2 rods each rigged with 10 to 12lb. test. I set myself up with egg sinkers, a swivel and a leader. This pond was a stereotypical Bowfin area. Water had a tannic stain, soft bottom, duck weed and cattails around and a definite bog smell. If you were a **** fisherman you would call it marginal water. Anyways, I rigged up a rod and threw out a sunny. I leaned the rod against a stick I had found and went to rig the other when I saw the tip move. I picked up the rod and gave the fish some line, set the hook and had it on for a few seconds. I lost it when I tried to set the hook a second time. Try again! Went back out with a sunny and got another hit in short order. This one I hooked (or at least I THOUGHT I hooked!). It came in like a weed (or a walleye, take your pick) Just as I thought I had it whipped it jumped about 20' in front of me and shook its head vigorously. It threw the hook! What the hell?

Cast again, get ANOTHER hit! Man it just doesn't get any better than this! This one fought good, with some sweeping motion. Finally landed one. Basically about the same small size as my very first one. Oh well! I threw out another sunny. Got whacked again! I couldn't tell for sure if the fish still had the sunny in its mouth, so I VERY slowly and gently gave the rod a slight pull. The Bowfin responded by giving me a fierce tug! It was like it said "I'M HERE! Let's go!!! I was shocked! When something like this happens, you almost get afraid to set the hook! But I did, and of course all hell broke loose. This was a quality fish. At first it dogged me out deep! All I could think of was those quality 8 to 10lb. Brown Trout I had been catching on Lake Ontario over the past 10 years. He got me in the weeds then decided to run right at me! This primitive fish came right in by my feet in a big "U" and headed for a narrow band of reeds supported by some boggy "stuff". Sure enough, the Bowfin "split the uprights", powerhousing itself over the reeds! That's when my 12lb. test called it quits!!! What a great day! Only landed one, but had the time of my life. That last fish wasn't more than 7lbs. at best! What I learned on this day was that each Bowfin had hit totally differently. No predictability whatsoever, like a Northern or a Bass. None. One fish would tap like a Bullhead and just sit on the bait, another would hit hard once and run out a bunch of line. Every fish was a unique entity. I had to set the hook each time "by ear". The other significant thing I learned is that Bowfin will concentrate in an area when they (apparently) find what they want or need. There was a slight breeze and the skies were sunny. I always had respect for these fish, but I gained a lot more on that hot July day.
John G




October 2004, Bashakill

Nice site you've got! I've been a saltwater fishermen most my life, but I wanted to move up here [NY] and enjoy a new kind of fishing. A few weeks back I got a nice 28in, 7lb + bowfin from the Bashakill. I have a solo kayak, an Old Town, and not a bass boat. When I got that big bowfin she pulled me all over the channel like a sled dog. That fish gave me a bowfin fishing bug now. They are a good fighting fish, and I look at them as the sand sharks of fresh water. Now I'm gettin' a bug for them where I'm only fishing for bowfin.
Moab 10/28/04

The red belly is interesting. We've seen it on spawning fins, but not fall fins. Cool water related? Anyone else seen red bellies other than at spawn?




September 2004, St. Lawrence River

Hey BAGman
I've attached a couple more pics of fins from the St. Lawrence. There is a pic of me, 2 of my brother Nick and 1 of his girlfriend Betsy. Again, they were all caught on topwater and ranged from 17 inches to 28.
Enjoy,
DustyE 09/03/04




August 2004, St. Lawrence River

Hey Chuck,
I attached a couple pictures from my weekend trip to the St.Lawrence River, NY. We managed to get 4 bowfin the entire trip. I got the biggest, 31 inch 9 lbs, on a bubble gum colored Zulu, my brother Nick got 2, one on a worm fishing for bullheads at night and the other on a pearl Zulu, and his girlfriend got one on a pink popper. We didn't have much luck with the cutbait at night...tried but were not successful. It seems that up there they tend not to feed as much on the cutbait and more on live food, especially frogs, at dusk. Of the probably 200 or so bowfin I have caught up there in my life, 99% have come on topwater at dusk.
Thanks
DustyE 08/09/04




St. Lawrence River, Chippewa Creek NY

Here is the map of my Bowfin hot spot. It is Chippewa Creek, an inlet to the St Lawrence River, NY. My family has a cabin in the area. The bowfin angling is terrific in the spring, with topwater action in the late evening and early morning being the best. Catches of 10-15 bowfin a weekend are not uncommon, with almost every fish caught being in the 8 lb range. There may not be as many of them here as there are in other places, but the average size makes up for it.
Dusty E




July 2004

Tributary, Lake Ontario

Here's a couple of pics from ny July 4th Fin trip. Not the big ones I was after, but these are alright. Hope to get out a few more times this summer. Caught them all in a tributary of Lake Ontario in upstate NY. Discovered this spot in 1992 by luck and have fished it ever since. That is the first catfish I have caught there. Most of the time you catch bowfin and eel. I haven't gone fishing for bowfin in a few years until I found your website and saw all the pics and read the stories. It really made me want to get out there. Awesome website!
Sincerely,
BIGVANKYLE




Sodus Bay

This Bowfin weighed a tad over 7 pounds. The fish was caught in Sodus Bay, NY off of Lake Ontario. Dad caught it on a Senko pitched to some lily pads. Great fight, great memory...and the fish was safely released. BTW, up here in NY, they call them "Ling". As is the case in many areas, people are uneducated and see Bowfin as a threat to bass and other "sport fish". They are generally killed whenever caught up here...it's a real shame that ignorance about something somehow threatens people. Oh well...we'll keep letting them go :)
Brett D 07/20/04

Ling is usually reserved for Lota lota, aka burbot, eelpout



February 2004, Bashakill

The rest of us lily-livered "bowfin anglers" got no more excuses for carving a spot on the couch in winter.

Iced Fins from the Bashakill

I always thought that bowfins buried themselves in the mud in the winter (guess not). We were fishing on the Basherkill in about -20 with the wind chill. It was a sunny day and the ice was about 9-12 inches thick (best guess). The water was about 15 ft. deep, and the bottom was that gooey slime mud that you can't even stand in or you would sink in over your head. We were using shiners and small chunks of herring for bait and using Gamagatsu hooks. I really like these hooks because the're as sharp as heck and penetrate the toughest mouths. We were doing pretty well catching Pickerel, largemouth b@$$ and plate-size crappie. I hooked the first fin at about 11am and thought it was the mother of all b@$$. He ran at a slow and steady pace and took out about 20 yds of 12 LB test line (we use tip-ups and small spinning rods.) After about a 5 minute fight, occasionally putting the rod down into the hole, I was able to get the fish up, and realized it was a Mighty Bowfin. My fishing buddy Ted and I, Bowfin "Fin-atics", were really suprised and after a few high five's released the fish immediately. I didn't have a scale but he measured about 28 in. and I would guess around 7lb. Ted caught another fin about 5 minutes later and that fish was also a decent size (around 20-24 in.). It also was released. I didn't have a camera (figures) but managed to get pictures anyway. I'm planning on doing a lot of fishing this spring and summer exclusively for bowfin and will keep you updated along with lots of pic's.
Jim M
1/30/04

Well now we have no excuse other than being pansy-a$#ed wimps (me included). Jim, you and Ted just raised the bar for all us Northerners who call ourselves Bowfin Anglers. Anybody know about ice augers?




August 2003, Bashakill

Here are some pics of some bowfin that my brother, a friend, and I caught this past Friday in the Bashakill. We caught 4 bowfin total; 3 males and 1 female. They were all on the small side, with the males weighing about a pound each, and the female weighing 2 pounds. This is the first year that I've caught this many small bowfin. Usually, they average 3 to 4 pounds. Three of the bowfin were caught almost at the exact same time. The second the moon came out from behind the clouds, which it had been hiding behind the entire night, we each caught a bowfin at almost the same time, with only seconds between each catch.
Osama




Bait, Plastics, Rigging, and NYS Hotspots

I've been fishing for bowfin for about 10 years in Southern New York State. I fish for bowfin more than any other fish. I am lucky in that I live a half hour from the bowfin mecca of NYS, the Bashakill wetlands outside of Wurtsboro. 10 years ago the bowfin also made their way into Gold Creek in Deerpark via the Neversink River, which is only a 5 minute walk from my house. After catching my first bowfin (4 pounds), I dropped Largemouth as my favorite fish and never looked back. The only other fish that I've had comparable fights to the bowfin are large river smallmouths in the 4 pound range. Most of my bowfin fishing is done these days in the Bashakill. I generally catch between 1 or 2 bowfin per trip. The bowfin usually average about 3 or 4 pounds. The largest bowfin I caught was 6 pounds, 27 inches. The state record bowfin was caught out of the Bashakill at nearly 13 pounds. I find that the best time to fish for them in from late dusk to the first few hours of darkness and a few hours of darkness before sunrise on the humid days of the year (July/August). The Bashakill is as swampy as it gets. It's approximately 5 miles long and a mile wide, with the predominant plant being arrowhead. There are narrow channels (about the size of a single lane road) between the arrowhead that you can travel with canoe. There are a few spots to fish on shore, the bridge being the most used. I would make a guess at the depth being between 6 to 8 feet throughout most of the channel with a few 12 foot spots. By mid summer, most of the channels are nearly filled with milfoil. You are left to fish only small holes only a foot or two in depth before hitting milfoil, expect for a large opening near the bridge. There is only one bait to use in the Bashakill and that is minnows. Now, in Gold Creek I caught all of my bowfin on worms (and they were usually a quarter of an earthworm). My brother caught one in Gold Creek off a Ike-con purple rubber worm with pink tail. (They also make lots of glow in the dark worms that I have great luck with for largemouth) http://www.ikecon.com/

I've tried many times to use lures and worms in Bashakill, but I've only once caught a bowfin on a lure in the Basakill using a giant acme phoebe 1/2 oz (largest). http://www.acmetackle.com/scripts/phoebe.html

There are so many shiners in those waters that live bait is the only thing that I regularly catch anything. I usually use 4 inch shiners. I don't attempt to fish until it's just getting dark. There are so many pickerel in the Bashakill that it's hard to get a bowfin in the daytime. You can come out of there with about 20 pickerel in a few hours in the daytime. I usually start catching bowfin near the end of dusk into night. Since the Kill is filled with milfoil, you are required to use a flotation device. I use the Night Bobby (light up bobber) with the that you can buy in most sporting good stores. http://www.rieadco.com/nightbobby.html

I usually put the hook about 2 foot under the bobber. When the weather starts getting colder in September and the milfoil starts dying then I keep a larger depth because the bowfin hug the bottom more. I usually attach a small glowstick above the swivel to attract the fish. OmniGlow sells "Lunker Lights" that you can buy at most sporting good stores. http://www.omniglow.com/

With this setup I've about 90% certain that when a fish takes the bait that it's a bowfin. Once in a while I'll get a bullhead when it's starting getting colder in September. It's important to get a good hook set with a bowfin because they have plates in their mouth that are hard to penetrate.

Once you get a good hook set then the fun begins. Usually, they will rip a bunch of line out and you won't have much control. I use a 4'11" rod with an med/small reel with 10 pound black fireline with a snap swivel and a medium size hook (depending what is in my tackle box). I lose a lot of the larger bowfin with this set up, but I enjoy the challenge. I usually catch one or two bowfin a night and lose about 2 a night. The two biggest reasons for losing them is milfoil, or they break the line/swivel/hook.

The best way not to break the line/swivel/hook is to keep the drag really loose and play the fish as long as possible. I used to make the mistake of just trying the reel in the bowfin as soon as I hooked them. It usually worked up until the point that I got them a few feet from shore or the canoe and they then go bananas and start thrashing which usually bends the swivel straight or breaks the hook. You want them nice and tired before you get them near shore so they don't thrash as much. Unfortunately, with all the milfoil you can't let the fish run too far. Bowfin have a tendancy to run immediately for the thickest cover they can find when hooked. Sometimes you are fishing in a hole that is only 5 feet in diameter; so you don't have a lot of room to tire the fish. You pull back too hard with ultra-light tackle and you risk breaking line.

Once you tired your bowfin out and get him near shore (or near the canoe) then the fun of getting him begins. When I'm shore fishing I usually get him in the shallows and just kick him up onto the shore by swiping my foot across the side of the fish. I then dive down onto the fish and wrap my arms over top of him to calm him down before I attempt to pick him up. I've lost many fish in the past just trying to grab them out of the water or taking the hook out of their mouth. I looked like a stooge grabbing at a bouncing bowfin as it finally ended up back in the water and splashing me in the face before swimming away. Anyone who has caught one can confirm just how slimy they can get and how they slide right of your hands when they thrash, and when they thrash they can really thrash. You can't lip the fish without thick gloves because of their strong jaws and peg like teeth.

I don't like holding fish by their gills flaps, unless you know you are eating that fish because you can do damage to them that way. When catching them from a canoe I usually use a net, but I usually end up having to untangle the net from his teeth. Anyone that lives near the Port Jervis/Wurstboro, NY area should give the Bashakill a try.
Dave D "Osama Bin Bowfin"





2002, Bashakill

Dave D (Osama Bin Bowfin) sent these Bashakill fins. See the maps!




2002, Oneida Lake

JohnG and a NYS fin




Lake Ontario

I had spent the summer of '96 targeting Bowfin as much as I could. I had to fish from shore as I didn't own a boat at this time. A B@$$ fishing buddy of mine had a boat and we went B@$$ fishing that morning out on Sodus Bay. Had a very good day, catching 7 B@$$ and 14 Pike between the two of us. Of course, I was chomping at the bit because I KNEW Sodus Bay harbored quite a few Bowfin. I brought the topic of Bowfin up, and surprisingly, my friend let me give it a try. I think this was in part due to the great morning we had. He had never caught a Bowfin in the bay even though he had fished it for 15 plus years. I was very confident in my ability to pattern the Grindle because of all the fishing for them I'd been doing. I had brought along a few tiny hooks and took a little ball of bread and put it on a hook point. Within a few minutes I had caught a nice sized golden shiner. I put it in a bucket filled with water and we motored to an area that looked like a "Bowfin neighborhood" to me. Aqua-Ghetto! Stained water, slop and duckweed on top, relatively shallow with a soft bottom ... that spelled Bowfin to me!

My buddy was very skeptical as to whether I could do it. I tied a good sized single hook to my line and pinched on a split shot. My strategy was to pitch the shiner into any open pockets of water I could find nestled within the slop and duckweed. I took a few pitches and didn't get a thing. The wind was kicking up a little bit as well making things a bit harder. I found another opening and in went Mr. Minnow. I let him swim for a little bit, pulled up lightly and felt a hit!!! Oh yeah! I opened my bail and sure enough, the line started running out. I was psyched! I told my buddy "Hey Terry, check this out ... the line's hauling out!" He looked at me like "Yeah, right." He thought it was the wind at the time! The fish stopped and I set the hook. Just then there was a big swirl in the slop! That's when my friend got excited. The Bowfin didn't fight all that great, as it wasn't a really big fish and it was pretty much buried in the slop, but we got him in the net. I was surprised at my buddy's enthusiasm with the net. I figured he wouldn't want it in his boat, but before I could say anything the Bowfin was on the floor of the boat. He looked a little beat up, probably from spawning. I got the hook out, we snapped a few photos and I released the fish. What a great way to end the day.
John G

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