Wednesday, April 20, 2005

First Post, First Fish - The Bowfin

Welcome to Anglerama, a blog dedicated to fish and those who feel compelled to chase them around in boats and waders, through mud and weeds, while in turn being chased by mosquitoes, flies, leeches, and worse. I've been fishing since I was 4 and I can't seem to shake the habit - and since I'm so thoroughly hooked (hah! funny guy) starting a blog on the subject seemed the logical next step.

Rather than honor a popular fish you can find on the cover of a fishing magazine any week of the year (hello, bass), I've decided to dedicate this first post to the bowfin, an ancient, underappreciated fish you'll find lurking in ponds, lakes, and waterways around North America.


These strange beasts have been around a long time - much longer than us, though that isn't really saying a lot. You could find them chasing down insects, crustaceans and unlucky fish way back in the Mesozoic Era, over 100,000,000 (yes, that's one hundred million) years ago.

Today they're pursued by a rare and noble breed, the bowfin angler. They even have their own club - check it out! They've got some amazing bowfin pics in their photo section.

Bowfin are found throughout much of the American Midwest, down into the South and Florida, and over into Texas as well. They're found in many of the same places you'd catch bass, and will respond to bass tackle as well as live bait - in fact, I suspect a lot of bowfin fishermen first hooked into one while out casting for bass. But be warned, bowfin are renowned for fighting like crazy...and watch out for the teeth!

Some fun bowfin trivia:
  • They can reach over three feet in length and weigh over 20 pounds.
  • Bowfin have a primitive lung and can actually breathe air . In fact, they're often seen gulping air at the surface. This is one of the reasons they can survive in adverse, low-oxygen conditions that would have other fish turning belly-up.
  • Bowfin eggs are sold as "American Caviar" and considered a bit of a delicacy. Does this mean there's big money in bowfin fishing? Hmm...I kinda doubt it.
  • The bowfin goes by many names, including: choupique, cypress trout, dogfish, gaspergou, grindle, grinnel, lawyer, mudfish, runner and shoepick.
Looking for more details on the bowfin? That bowfin anglers page is a great place to start, and the National Wildlife Federation provides this detailed profile of the species as well.

Happy angling!


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