Jurassic Fish!

   Bowfin Buzz! (emails)

BOWFIN   Amia calva [Linnaeus]

Other names -- grinnel, brindle, blackfish, mudfish, dogfish, shoepike, cypress bass, cypress trout, choupique, scaly cat, buglemouth bass, German bass, brindlefish.

Bowfins have one dorsal fin that covers more than half of their total length. They have a large bony plate between their lower jaws. The bowfin and gars are remnants of an ancient group of fishes that was ancestral to most of today's fishes. Amia calva is the only living species in this family.

The bowfin is found primarily in sloughs and ponds of the Mississippi River. It has been observed in collections in the lower reaches of the Cedar-Iowa drainage and is probably present today in the lower reaches of all the major tributaries to the Mississippi River.

In Dec. 2000, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Freshwater & Biological Monitoring listed the bowfin in its Revised List of New Jersey Freshwater Fishes.

In previous years, and although it is listed as a non-native fish in NJ, a few bowfin have been caught in Lake Wanda by local fishermen. Given the bowfin-favorable condition (serious vegetation, muddy bottom, loaded with fish edibles, etc.) of Lake Wanda, it is very likely that a present day aquatic inventory there would probably turn up some specimens of this prehistoric creature. If you have caught one, please let us know (especially if you are the one who caught the bowfin whose picture was displayed on the bulletin board of Mastodon Sporting Goods awhile back.)

The bowfin is a primitive type fish and the sole representative of an ancient fish family dating from the Jurassic period, appx. 180 million years ago.

Although the bowfin's body feels smooth and leathery, it is actually covered with cycloid scales, which are smooth and have no ctenii or rough prickles like some of the other fishes.

Body color of the bowfin is dark olive above with lighter sides and cream-colored belly. The long dorsal fin is dark green with a narrow longitudinal olive-colored band near the top margin and another near the base. The males have a dark spot on the caudal fin, bordered with yellow or orange. Lower fins are green, vivid as fresh paint, during the breeding season. There are 66 to 68 scales in the lateral line. The dorsal fin contains 47 to 5l soft rays and the anal fin 9 or l0 rays. The head is more or less flattened on top and the mouth is large. The teeth are sharp and strongly set in the jaws. Weights of 6 to 8 pounds or more are commonly attained. The swim bladder serves as a lung, giving the bowfin air breathing capability.

Fossil remains of the ancestors of this fish are found in the rocks of Europe and the United States. The present day form exhibits a determination to live under any circumstances it may encounter. It prefers quiet waters and overflow backwaters.

The ability to breathe air is attained early in life and is used most frequently at night and when water temperature is high, coinciding with periods of greatest activity. The bowfin is able to survive prolonged air breathing periods. Young bowfin have been observed surviving for 21 days in a pond with no standing water.

The bowfin spawns in the spring, usually in May, in shallow quiet bays or backwaters of a river. It is a nest-builder and deposits the eggs in a saucer-like depression on the bottom or over sticks and vegetation. The eggs are guarded and tended by the male until they hatch, and the young are herded about in schools until they are able to shift for themselves. Bowfin attain a length of 6 to 8 inches at the end of the first growing season and often reach 2 feet or more at maturity.

The bowfin is primarily carnivorous, feeding largely on fishes of all kinds, frogs, crayfish, large insects and their larvae, leeches and other aquatic life.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has placed the bowfin on its list of candidates for the endangered species list.

Fish account for nearly half of the endangered vertebrate species and subspecies in the United States (Warren and Burr 1994)

On January 29, 1980,a bowfin weighing 21 lb. 8 oz. was caught in Forest Lake, South Carolina

Bowfin Buzz
Ever caught one?

subject: bowfin
Yes, on Lake Sam Rayburn, yesterday!!!
Sent from my iPhone
Donna Moser 1/1/2012

I caught one of these in East Texas at the Lake of the Pines many years ago. I thought it looked like something prehistoric for sure. It weighed in at a little over 8lbs. It scared me to death when I got it in the boat! The color was like an olive green and the eyes were recessed and it had sharp looking teeth. You can see there are scales but it does feel smooth, and the long dorsal fin was the main thing I noticed about it. I am a Texas girl and have seen lots of fish but never one like this. I told the guy at the bait store about it and he told me it was a grennel, and that I had caught the record weight. Sad thing is we let it go cause it looked kinda scarey :0( Oh well.

subject: Choupique I catch
from:DeAndre Robertson 11/15/11


I recently wrestled with the first of these that I have ever seen, heard of, caught for that matter! the bowfin I caught from a boat launch on lake claiborne in louisiana was a mere 8lbs but fought like it was one of the 50lbs and up catfish I have wrangled. Luckly for me this was one time I wasnt noodling cause it has teeth that reminded me of a small shark my in law caught! To be honest if you have never caught one of these fish, you my friend are missing out on the fight of a lifetime! Ruthless, unpredictable, and just as strong as any large mouth or cat.
Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

from:George Patsaros

Caught this one and the Trenton/Hamilton marsh. /spring lake. In Trenton nj

Subject: bowfin
Jan,14, 2006

I have caught Bowfin by the hundreds at Basher Kill in upstate N.Y. The crazy looking fish took that place over, its all you catch there. People catch em, hit with a flash light and toss em back in the water. Dead Bowfin everywhere. At night in a row boat, they look like eels in the water. Thats the only place i seen them.Maybe somebody used them for bait a long time ago and they survived. They are not native to N.Y


Subject: surprise for aduts as well as kids
Jan 11, 2006

My brother and I and my 9 yr old niece were fishing with shrimp pieces before dusk this evening. We were fishing for the heck of it in a backwater, weed-choked river through the ‘burbs of Tampa, FL. We were into the bluegills pretty good when something took my niece’s bobber below surface into the dark brackish depths. Thinking it to be a carp, I enjoyed watching her pump and crank, but it fought and looked like a bass in the twilight. The fight did not end when we horsed the two--pounder onto shore. Before the thing broke the line on her little Scooby Doo pole and acrobatically flopped back into the water, we got a good look at the creature. I found it in a fishing encyclopedia to be a bowfin—would never eat one; but like the carp, they’re fun to catch.

Daniel Belgrad

Subject: bowfin is just that! not a choupique!
Date: Jan. 8, 2006

Notice my e-mail handle.It's that for a reason!! I was born and raised on the bayou in Louisiana for which the Chou (shoe) pique(pick) fish was actually named. The difference between a bowfin in which I have caught is the bowfin like fin on it's back and the lack of claws on it's fore fins which the Choupique has. Also the bow fin has only one or two rows of tiny teeth.The Choupique has two corn rows of teeth on the bottom and three corn rows of teeth on the top that extend from one jaw around to the other. It too has a bow like fin on the top and two bow like fins on it's belly that start behind the jaw and extend to it's tail in which it's tail is like a Japanese fan that becomes rat-tailed like when setting still in the water or on the bottom. The bowfin swims around all day.The Choupique buries itself in the mud usually near cypress stumps. I have caught these Choupiques and have been bitten by them. They have a venom in their teeth that make a mans arm or leg go numb and nearly render them useless. The bowfin doesn't do that. Although the bowfin may head storm a boat,,, the Choupique will not. The Choupique will rather try to get away unless caught/hooked.It puts up very little fight unless it is picked up bodily in which it WILL try to spin around and bite its attacker. I know this fish very well and where to catch them. The Choupique is a rare find in any circumstance. It should be kept on the endangered list. I used to catch them between 1965 and 1974. Sometimes with my dad or brothers(they make good bate.haha, just kidding). The Choupique is a confusion of fish and reptile. It has tiny scales like a snake,on skin like a catfish and a head and gills like a catfish only a skull round like a ball.IT has eyes like a salamander and is much like a salamander in body structure.It has five appendages on each of its' two fore fins and is able to bend it's fore fins like an elbow.this allows it to crawl on the bottom or from water source to water source.NO I'm not talking about a walking catfish,you ninny! If you cut it open you will see what looks like lungs. I believe this's why it was able to be crawling across the marsh land with out suffering for air. The biggest one I've caught was 3 ft. long in 1968. Sucker tried to take my arm off. The best way to get them with out being bit is to put something in their mouth.They will clamp down just like a snapping turtle,Then shake saw dust on their outer body because they're slimy like a garfish.Well I could go on but I have work to do.So I say if you're ever in south west Louisiana between Sulphur and Vinton Louisiana just look up what looks like a little ditch of water going north and south from interstate 10 .That's got a sign on it that says CHOUPIQUE BAYOU or go to Carlyss and turn off hwy 27 onto pally lawton rd.west,,,you will cross Choupique bayou.Oh, and if those jerks in those fancy houses on the bayou say they have been there since before the 50's or 60's...they're lie-ing .From 1972 back there were never any houses on the choupique bayou in the Carlyss ,La. area. I ought to know .I caught alligators where those houses now stand.Was nothing but tall grass and mud. Anyway as I was saying you might want to grab some scientist friends and investigate these aquatic wonders. I've gotta go.have fun where ever you may go.

Choupique Bayou Boy

Subject: Bowfin
Date: Dec.10, 2005

I catch these remarkable fish often here in SC. I happen to live on a lake that was dug out years ago for the coquina ( used to mix cement ). Around here they are known best as mudfish! They will hit best right before dark and have always out up a very good fight. I hooked 2 yesterday both around 2 feet. I don't believe people look at them as good eating but I hear they are good in stews. My moronic neighbors say to kill everyone I catch due to the fact they "take over" the lake. Live and let live I say....

Dan C
Myrtle Beach, SC

Subject: bowfin
Date: Nov.28,2005

We catch many bowfin in lake champlain near the canadian border, in 6-8 feet of water, ranging from 6-10 lbs. They put up a great fight and some have jumped several times before getting to the boat. We dont keep them and they crap like a dog in your boat. We do have one great photo of a 9 lb fish prior to release. My son caught a 9 lb bowfin in lake champlain Vermont

Anthony Gouveia

Subject: Grinnel
Date: Nov.15, 2005

When I was younger, living near Lake Palestine in Tyler, TX, we used to catch these things all the time. They had a habit of eating our catch off of our trotlines and even going after bream we had caught before we got them of the water. Ever fight one of these with a cane pole.....woW! We used to keep a snub nosed .22 to deal with them when we fished. Easier than beating them over the head.

Steve Holt

Suject: bowfin
Date: Oct.28, 2005

I have fished all my life and when I caught my first Bowfin, I was the one hooked. The largest one I have ever caught, was 26 inches long. I fish for them in a slough near my home, and in creeks like the Cache River and also at Mermet Lake in Massac County, IL. There is nothing like catching a bass but a Bowfin is a one of a kind fight. We love to eat them as well.

(ziklag1@yahoo.com) Teresa Heffernan
Vienna, IL

Subject: bowfin

My husband and I were fishing near lock and dam 5 on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. My husband hooked what he thought was a big walleye or catfish. The fish, which turned out to be a bowfin, was quite a fighter. Once on land, he certainly did not want to be picked up as he fought hard to get away. After checking out his teeth, we were happy to leave him on the ground. My husband has been fishing this location for 26 years and has never caught or even seen a bowfin...he didn't even know what it was and thought about keeping it. We did return the 8 pounder to the water and had to give him a push because he jumped back onto the shore twice. After two nasty rock bass, it made our night to catch something new.

Jennifer McCurdy
Natrona Heights, PA

Subject: bowfin

I catch them all the time. I usually shift over to them if the bass aren't biting. They are incredible fighting fish. In an average day I will boat 6-8 of them and have several get off because of a poor hook set or they wrap me around stucture. They are a very hardy species of fish that provide an incredible fight. I like to take friends and kids fishing for them because they are very common, easy to target, and aggressive. It can really get them hooked on fresh water fishing while waiting for the more illusive bucket mouth to bite. You can fish for bowfin with the same bait as you would bass with a similar presentation so you are really increasing your chances for some really great fishing. I truly believe they aren't considered "sexy" like bass, however they are like the moped. They are a lot of fun to ride you just don't want to have anyone see you riding it.

Casey B.

Subject: bowfin
May 5, 2005

I caught one yesterday. I had caught four bass in the small Florida lake on which I live. I was paddling back through the canal which leads to my backyard, when I decided to take one more cast with my Rattle-Trap. He hit hard, but then swam towards the boat as I reeled in the slack... He could have been a twelve inch bass as far as I knew. Then..the fight began...AWESOME. That powerful flailing tail splashed me with water twice as he neared the boat. He was 28 inches long and fat. He had to be close to nine pounds. What a way to end the day!

Andrew T
Kissimmee, FL

Subject: bowfin
April 15, 2005

I caught a Bowfin 14 April 2005 in the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania above Lock & Dam No 8 on a minnow it was 20" long. It put up a good fight I thought it was a catfish at first until we landed it. My Pap has fished around there for 50 years and said that was the first one he has seen in this area.

Floyd & Zeke

Subject: Bowfin
April 19, 2005

Hello I am a teacher/coach in Texas. One of my students caught one about 14-15 inches long. He caught it in a tributary of the Trinity River

Ed Lee

Subject: bowfin
April 30, 2005

I went fishing with a friend at Wilson Hill in Massena, N.Y.-which is located in the St. Lawrence river. We caught 3 bowfins in the last week. They ranged from 20-22 inchs long-3-4lbs. We have fished here for over 30 years and never seen or caught one before. The DEC said that they were fairly common but myself and others I fished with had never seen them before

Stafford Brown

Subject: Bowfin
May 2, 2005

Yesterday I was catching small fish in the Cache River wetlands in southern Illinois when I came across a cloud of black fry. I assumed they were bullheads since I'd seen bullhead young cluster like that before, but once I took a scoop of them out I noticed they were very different. The elongated dorsal fin and heterocercal tail tipped me off the bowfin. I kept a few and dumped the rest back into the cloud, when I noticed Daddy fish sitting right next to them! It was amazing - he wasn't the least bit scared of me and even tried to ram me ON LAND to frighten me away from the nest (which he did!) He was sitting in less than a foot of water herding those youngsters. It was amazing. I'm now studying the few fry I kept in my native fish tank. What an interesting fish. I was so afraid they were those horrible "flying" Asian carp!

Kat Hentsch
Karnak, IL

Subject: bowfin
May 3, 2005

Here in Southern IL these are called grennal, good to know what they are. Off the ohio is alittle creek/river called saline creek/river i have caught insane amounts of bowfin fish here, along with bass, catfish and just about every other type of fish. The best one i ever caught wasn't on a rod and reel though. My father and I had been catching cat fish off and on all day and it was about 5pm and we had 6 or so foot long channel cats. I noticed the water was turning and the fish were panicing so i pulled them out of the water and there was a 4 1/2 foot bowfin with a cat fish down his throat. The bowfin was rolling in the water like an alligator by the time i got him out of the water and the cat fish outa his mouth he had skinned my fish for me.

bill gates

Subject: bowfin
March 18, 2005

My father and I went fishing down the Tamiami Trail FL a couple weeks ago. On the main trail fishing was slow so we took a chance on the old trail. When we looked down the stream we saw what we thought were fish feeding on bugs in the water. Once we got closer we saw that there were no bugs, rather these fish were snapping at the top of the water, and not just here and there, but everywhere. We suspected Gar fish, and used cut bait with small hooks to try and get a couple. A broken cane pole and several snapped lines later we realized they were mudfish (as we call them). We re-rigged with larger hooks and began landing them until we got tired. It was a good time.

Johnnie Jackson
Navarre FL

Subject: Bowfin
March 17, 2005

My friend's son caught one in Waller, TX in my parents pond last Saturday. This is the first time I've ever seen one, and we left it on the bank. It was BIG - about 20 inches long, and at least 8lbs. It was UGLY - dark green on back with a big spot on the tail (male). I thought it was some sort of freshwater drum due to the spot. Anyway, it's good to know more about this fish.

Steven Romero

Subject: bowfin
March 17,2005

My dad caught quite a few of '' grinnel '' as he calls them, in the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia.
Please e-mail me back if u ever heard of them coming out of that swamp.

Jeremy Ledford

Subject: bowfin
March 16, 2005

I live in Melbourne, Florida and have caught lots of bowfin in the canals west of the Flea Market. The first time I encountered one I was casting a purple worm for bass. They put up a terrific fight. Not uncommon to catch lots of them in a short amount of time. Quality of water doesn't seem to affect them.


Subject: bowfin
March 14,2005

I caught one today at Ed Allen marina in Lanexa Va. Wasn't sure what I had until I asked the owner of the marina. Yup, that's what he is alright. If ya want pictures, e-mail me back.

R. E. Leverett
Richmond, Va.

Subject: bowfin
March 9,2005

I caught a 10 pound grinnell on Lake O' the Pines here in North East Texas. I was fishing a lead headed crappie jig in shallow water. He attacked it immediately after hitting the water and really put up a fight. He would roll over and over but did not come to the surface until I netted it. We weighed it and then turned it loose. A lot of fun to catch. I was not aware that they are good eating fish so I tossed a good meal back.

Longview, TX

Subject: bowfin
March 9, 2005

I caught my first Bowfin on 8 Mar 2004 at Maxwell AFB, AL in one of the lakes near the golf course. I was fishing for catfish with dead cut up minnows when I saw my slip bobber go under the water, as I grabbed my rod out of it's rod holder, the slip bobber went under again, I let the fish run for a few seconds, then I set the hook. I thought I had caught a big catfish, then I thought I had a carp. After I reeled it in closer I was not sure what I had, except that it looked prehistoric. I landed the fish with my "Lock and Weigh" it weighed 5lbs and was between 20 to 25 inches. I ran to my car to get my camera, but then realized that I did not have it with me, I also looked around to ask someone what type of fish it I had caught, of course no one was around. I released the fish back into the lake, went home and did research on the internet to determine what type of fish I had caught. I found an abundance of information on your website and others.

Anthony Smith

Subject: bowfin
Jan.29, 2005

I caught a two foot male on January 20, 2005 in Angleton, TX at 3:00 PM. I was fishing with live shrimp on the bottom. I was in a little back bayou called Austin bayou. This bayou is brackish water and leads into Bastrop Bay and then to San Luis Pass, and the gulf. I have fished here for thirty two years and never caught a fish like this in my life. My father has never seen a fish like this one. The fish put up a good fight and was very enjoyable to catch. The colors on this fish were very vibrant and bright.


Subject: bowfin
Jan.22, 2005



Subject: Bowfin
Dec. 23 2004

Yesterday I caught one of these in the Tarpon Springs canal. It was about two feet long. We let it go back. Very interesting fish.


Subject: bowfin
December 1 04

Believe it or not, here in south Louisiana, Bowfin are caught for consumption. We love the taste of a crispy piece of fried choupique (shoe-pick) as we call them. But they are fun to catch also. Have fun fishing and good luck.

Nicholls State University

Subject: Bowfin
19 November 04

I happened upon your site while doing something entirely different but have to say it was very interesting. I can not believe that someone would say the bowfin is not native to NJ. They are native to great lakes and can easily be found in the 5lb plus variety in Thousand Islands of the St Lawrence river. Given the tributary system of those waters and Bowfin (or Grinnel as I know them) habit for moving with flood waters, overflows and backwaters, it would seem unlikely they would not have migrated into NJ in the thousands of years of opportunity.

While they may be of the historic age of the Gar they share few habits a fisherman would notice. Their flesh and internals are also dissimilar.

As for your tales of the bowfin, they ring true with a fisherman, who as a young boy in the swamps and backwaters of Texas, hunted the Grinnel for the excitement of their freighttrain-like hit. Yes they can and do live in areas where the water does not sustatin much oxygen because of high plant growth and heat as well as lack of movement. They also herd up like whales or dolphins. I know of a spot where you can see them porpusing by the dozens all day long. One of their favorite foods is snake and crayfish. You can get a hit on a spoon like a red devil, but the most exciting is on a crippled minow or other fat noisy lure run slowly but at bait-fish jerk and swim retrieve. Yes they like leeches, as I have seem them stuffed with that prey, but I have never gotten a rememberable hit or catch on a leech lure.
If you are a wader, you will feel them bump your legs, as they appear to be teritorial and somewhat unafraid.

Phillip Ace McCoppin
Wood-Ridge NJ
formerly a teenage fisherman from Southeastern Texas

Subject: bowfin
7 September 04

My first encounter with these ( FISH ? ) was a few years ago at cedar creek lake in Texas. We were fishing for catfish off the bridge rocks. I caught one, and showed everyone this unusual catch , but it seemed that no one I was with had ever seen or heard of this THING . I put it on a hook stringer ( ever so carefully ) and was going to wait for someone to come by who might educate us. Then it happened , I caught another fish. And when I set the hook, The bowfin on the stringer came up out of the water. I put the second bowfin on the stringer also. Once again I caught another, and the same thing , Both fish on the stringer jumped out of the water. This happened every time I caught one, About 6 fish. TOO WEIRD !!!

Jody Paris

Subject: bowfin
22 August 04

Thanks for the information on Bowfin fish. While working for the Texas Forestry Dept as a Seabee, building an office building on the lake. I had a chance to do some Bass fishing on Toledo Bend at Mid Lake on the Texas side. I caught my first Bowfin with a topwater lure.
The first time, the Bowfin swished at the lure up close to shore. The second time the fish nailed it and I thought, I got a nice Bass on. When the fish was on the bank, I thought, no that's a catfish. After further examining the fish, it was something I have never seen before.
Once I returned to Kansas, I began my search. I knew it had to be prehistoric. The Bowfin I caught that morning made me forget the bass fishing! The Bowfin was about 5-6 lbs. I noticed on the tail fin and the dorsal fin some red or burgundy color. What an exciting catch for the day!

Gary Tully
University of Phoenix email

Subject: (Bowfin)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 15:28:39 -0500

ive caught tons of bowfin, they are amazing fighters and great fish, those who throw them on the bank to die are not true fisherman who enjoy a fighting fish cause these fish are TOUGH, with the ability to live in the most acidic trashed up water, breathe air, bury themselves in mud for periods of time of droubt... no wonder they have survived for so long, and the uneducated idiots who say they are a threat to gamefish... well they have been around before most gamefish evolved... if they havent ruined anything yet they never will...

David G

Subject: bowfin
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 16:39:39 EST

are there any fingerling Bowfins found there ? thanking you for your reply in advance
i'd like to photgraph them and the area they live in
they are so ancient

Pat Ferraro north bergen nj [email]

Subject: bowfin
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 08:44:50 -0600



Subject: bowfin
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 16:16:04 -0800 (PST)

i live in melbourne florida by lake washington and i catch about 5-6 of these fish every time i got out fishing. they are vary common in lake washington and kind of get annyoing because its easy to catch them thn it is any other game fish. ive caught to many of these fish to remember.

Mark Zizian

Subject: I want some live Bowfins
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 05:11:26 GM

Anybody out there who wants to help, I would appreciate it. I want some bowfins for my fish tank but I cant get them up north. If anyone can catch them let me know, I looking for 8 - 12 inch fish.
Thank You
Chris  [email]

Subject: bowfin
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 22:00:29 EDT

while fishing in va. in july I caught a bowfin . It was about 30 inches long and I have a picture of it.


Subject: bowfin
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2003 23:08:35 -0400

A friend and i were fishing sugar creek just outside for Franklin pa using creek chubs for bait and i caught a bowfin that was about 24" didn't weigh it but i would say about 1 1/2 -2 pounds man put up a great fight my friend said throw it on the bank and leave it but i said no way the fight these things put up i want to catch it again anyway here is a picture of it and me by sugar creek


Date:Thu, 21 Aug 2003 21:39:28 -0500

My husband and I have caught quite a few of these fish this summer. I had never even heard of them before.
The largest one we have caught was around 38 inches long and put up quite a fight. That one was caught and released in the Hennepin Canal in Bureau, IL.
Since then we have caught and released quite a few in the canal and lately have been catching them in the IL river.
This one was one of the smaller ones from the IL river.


Subject: bowfin
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2003 05:51:03 EDT

A friend and myself caught (and released) six Bowfins in French Creek (NW PA) on 8/14/03. The size ranged from 14" to 24." The location was about 6 mi south of Edinborough PA.


Subject: bowfin
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 21:38:59 -0400

I caught a bowfin in Lake Waywayanda last year, 2002, in the end of Aug with a large shiner over a weed bed. This year my dad caught a bowfin in the same lake using a yellow spinnerbait with a silver hammered colorado blade, 3/8oz, again over a weedbed. He caught his in the middle of this month, June. Both were succesfully CNR'd They were both about the same size 14-15in. I didn't weigh either of them. I have talked to and read reports of others catching these prehistoric fish in this lake in the past 2 years. Bowfin have an aggressive bite but then they just sort of hang there like dead weight. They feel alot bigger than they are. I would be interested to find out where in NJ have others caught a bowfin since they are so rare here in NJ and along the Appalachian Mountain range. If you have the time you can post some reports over at Catcherman.com. It's a great forum for all types of fishing both for freshwater guys and for the guys who like it a bit more salty.


Subject: bowfin
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 21:22:42 -0400

I caught what I am 99% sure is a bowfin fish, I caught him in the Catawba River near Rock Hill, SC. It is approximately 12 inches long and weighs approximately 1 pound, has the characteristics described in your webpage. It was in swift water, using a small live brim as bait. I still have fish frozen and have pictures of decent quality. I kept this fish because I had never seen anything like it come out of waters around here, and neither has anyone that I talked to.

Jerry Turner

Subject: bowfin
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 06:18:00 -0000

I am from a town called Thibodaux in south Louisiana. The Bowfin which we call Choupique (Shoe-pic) is the best tast'in fish ever known to man. I am currently in the U. S. Army stationed in Japan and I have to say that Choupique along with crawfish are the two most missed items for me. If I could I would introduce the fish to the Japanese because they know good fish when they see one. I have cought many of these fish growing up and can't wait to get home and fry up some more.

Trent Tillman

Subject: bowfin
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 23:17:41 EST

my hubby caught one of these fish the other day we had to call a fish place and ask them what it was he told us to take a picture of it but we found out that night that the creek behide are house is full of them we live in seven points tx how did get get here