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waterbound

Bowfin

30 posts in this topic

So my friend's got it in his head that he's gonna catch the state record bowfin this coming weekend. I don't think he's ever seen a bowfin before, but thats beside the point. I've never targeted them so I was wondering what a couple of shorefishermen could do to target them this time of year. I'm not looking for specific lakes or rivers, just want to know the sort of areas of lakes and rivers they'd be in right now. Thanks ahead of time.

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I would assume they are in fairly shallow with a grassy bottom. I always see them in 5 feet of water or less this time of year.

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Yep, just target them like you would early bass. They love topwater lures this time of year.

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It's tough to explain to a CO that you were targeting bowfin on that spinner, though, so if you're gonna chase them like that, wait until opener. It's not fair, but that's how it is.

I find them in shallow bays and backwaters. They are a tough fish to target. If you are out all day targeting bowfin, one fish is a good day. Two is a great day and if you catch three, holy cow, you should be doing it professionally.

They will hit lots of bass presentations. They will also take live minnows and cutbait. I caught my first on a ball of crawlers. A jig with a twister tail on it is also a great lure. Really, a bowfin will eat just about anything that can fit in his mouth if he's hungry. I would recommend a steel leader.

They can be sight fished, which is probably the most effective way.

They are an awesome fish. One of my favorites. The state record has probably been caught numerous times before, but gets thrown back (or, as is often the case with non-gamefish, beaten with an oar or thrown onto the bank to rot). Best of luck to your friend, and let him know that there's already competition.

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waterbound- tell your friend his record wont stand for long if he does get it. i have been tracking numerous 13lb fins, and a couple at almost 15lbs.

btw. if he needs any tips, have him send me an email, carpmanjake@hotmail.com

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Yep, just target them like you would early bass. They love topwater lures this time of year.

they do like topwater lures. but if you are targeting a state record, then DO NOT use topwater techniques! they are not build to efficiently hunt topwater, and you will miss the fish MANY times, and if you hook a fish, chances are he will throw the hook.

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It's tough to explain to a CO that you were targeting bowfin on that spinner, though, so if you're gonna chase them like that, wait until opener. It's not fair, but that's how it is.

I find them in shallow bays and backwaters. They are a tough fish to target. If you are out all day targeting bowfin, one fish is a good day. Two is a great day and if you catch three, holy cow, you should be doing it professionally.

They will hit lots of bass presentations. They will also take live minnows and cutbait. I caught my first on a ball of crawlers. A jig with a twister tail on it is also a great lure. Really, a bowfin will eat just about anything that can fit in his mouth if he's hungry. I would recommend a steel leader.

They can be sight fished, which is probably the most effective way.

They are an awesome fish. One of my favorites. The state record has probably been caught numerous times before, but gets thrown back (or, as is often the case with non-gamefish, beaten with an oar or thrown onto the bank to rot). Best of luck to your friend, and let him know that there's already competition.

i would like to add, bottom fishing with a shiner head. or float fishing with a shiner head. those are some effective tecniques.

stalking may be the most effective way. maybe not. but its definately the most exciting!

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You can expect to catch numerous fish if on a good lake and the right location. I know its still early but we do pretty good in the reeds and pads in early summer. Use Northland spinners cause their cheaper and chances are they will be worthless when your done catchin a few. We've got them on bottom rigged plastics, minnows, crawlers, Raps, topwater frogs and mice really just about anything

Even a Barbie rod, Daughter didn't want to land the "ugly fish" so handed the rod to her Uncle

46c18998.jpg00d08541.jpg

here it is a 26.5"

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There's a lake right in the middle of the Brainerd/Baxter area that is absolutely loaded with bowfin. If you think three fish in one day makes you a professional then apparently I should be this fish's leading expert.(though any other body of water would have me stumped wink )

If you find a small lake that you know has these fish in them hunt on opening weekend for some white spots in what looks like shallow weedy areas. These "white spots" are nests and are a lot easier to pick up with some polarized shades and a fairly calm day. There is a stretch of shoreline on this lake with at least 20 of these nests, and every one of them has a fish in it. Drop anything in a dogfish's nest and shake it a few times and they're going to bite it, not a hunger thing, just a protection thing. Non-stop action when you can find these nests, and the same fish will bite over and over.

that being said, I always have to show this picture off when someone is on the subject of bowfin. I think i've poste it in this forum before but I'm not sure.

n135400772_30362550_2659.jpg

catch and release state record? haha, if this fish is still swimming there's no question. She hit the scale at 10 but that scale doesn't see the water anymore because it would never read right. wish i would've gotten some measurements on the thing. oh well.

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My trick on catching them is just to go crappie fishing and i normally catch 1 or 2 everytime out haha. What works really good though is to fish with sucker minnows under a big bobber in shallow water with lots of vegetation. I fish this huge bay on a lake nearby that is 5 feet at max and i hook into plenty of them there. Sometimes if the sucker is dead and cut up really good it will work better. Good luck

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haha yeah, needless to say we were both pretty excited. My friend caught that on a rapala skitter walk, so I would say that he was either lucky, or the hooking perecentage for big bowfin on topwaters isn't as bad as carpman might think.

This picture is funny now because both of us own much larger tackle boxes now and a couple more rods, and fish in a smaller boat. 3 tackle boxes, a bag from Reed's, couple of life jackets, a net and a few rods. recipe for a good day.

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it's my friend's fish actually, i was just there to photograph it. He's on here too, riverkid21. Spends most of his time on the muskie forum though.

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great pic bronzeback, no doubt that fin is ALL of 10lbs!

thanks for sharing.

I tell ya what, I'd take tangling with them all day over pulling in a couple of 17" eyes with the rest of the fleet on opener.

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Very nice Bows guys! That big one os a bruser grin

I would say one of the top 5 best days fishing I have ever had was with my oldest son and best friend back in about 2000. The opener had come and gone, but we where fishing for crappies on Mille Lacs. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm morning. As we lurked around the shore line in my boat, out of the blue (I kid you not) we found/stumbled upon the entire population of dog fish in Mille Lacs in football sized area. I thought at first they where late spawn walleyes until we got closer and caught one. They where in this area no deeper than 4' and as thick as can be. You could site fish for the one you wanted. Throw in any retrieving lure and every cast brought up a Bowfin. Tried to reproduce that experience many times after and could not find them in the area.

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As you can see Bowfin will hit anything a northern pike will hit. I don't look for them this time of year because it looks to much like you fishing for Northern or Bass. Bowfin do not have great eye site. So when I target them I go with lures that have alot of flash or vibration and brite colors. You could go with smell but I don't sit in one spot that long.

Bowfin can gulp air off the surface of the water and use there air blatter as a lung. Sometimes they give there position away by doing so. It gets me to throw a white lipless crank bait. If it's not Bowfin it is most likely White Bass.

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Use bass tubes! I catch all the time during the summer fishing the pencil reeds with Bass tubes. Set the hook and a roll and [PoorWordUsage] wrong species but they give up a nice fight!

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If you catch a monster, take the measurement. You won't think of it because its a bowfin. Then after you see the picture you'll realize the size and potential record and think about it for the next 3 years....(and counting).

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8 years ago on local lake a buddie caught 13LB bowfin it was huge never thought anything about it threw it back. what is the rec.

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The current record is 11-4. Is it legal to use small bowfin as bait? The reason I ask is a few years ago we had one mixed in with the sucker minows and I used it. Caught my biggest bowfin on it. Had to be 10+.

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I think the record could fall very soon, and possibly many times over the next few years. 11-4 is pretty attainable.

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