Bowfin Country Fishing Journal: Landing a Bowfin from a Kayak

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Battling an angry, powerful fish from a kayak can be a nerve-rattling experience. Anglers must first contend with the thrill of the fight and the steps required to land the fish. Those steps include adjusting the drag setting on the reel, preventing the fish from running into and being wrapped on underwater structure, and any number of other movements (such as holding the rod in one hand while using a landing net with the other). In some cases, a large fish can haul a kayak into dangerous water.

Small, less bruising fishes such as Bluegill, Crappie or White Bass may not prove a great test of strength or kayak management but the motions required to land the fish remain the same. My topic here is how larger sport fishes – Alligator Gar, Muskellunge, Steelhead, giant Largemouth Bass or Bowfin – amplify the mechanics of landing a big, angry fish by requiring added strength as well as attention to detail. And all these movements are  amplified, sometimes to deafening volume, by a tangible risk of physical harm to the angler and the fish.

What will happen when I pull this large fish into the kayak, and its powerful jaws, teeth or tail are in my lap?

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Birth of a Sport: The Rise of Kayak Fishing

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Here is my latest article, courtesy of Pacific Standard magazine, on the state of my favorite sport.

https://psmag.com/kayak-bass-fishing-birth-of-a-sport-1f82bd804768#.b98r81sy8

Bowfin in KBF Magazine

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The latest issue of KBF magazine mentions the Bowfin in two separate articles and quotes yours truly in one of them. The one in which I am quoted is a feature story by angler Drew Haerer on the topic of fishing for primitive fishes. The article “The Forgotten” (p. 96-99) also features a photo I took of a friend and fellow angler while we fished for Bowfin at Core Creek, N.C., in 2012. You can read it free here:
https://issuu.com/chrispayne94/docs/spring_2016_kbfmag

Bowfin Country Fishing Journal: Osprey Strike

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There’s a plague in Bowfin Country, and I’m in quarantine. I have the fishing bug real bad this season. As a result, I’ve been fishing after work; yesterday I captured something exceptional on my little video camera. For years, I’ve been watching Ospreys descend from the sky and pull fish from nearby water. They’ll fall in a controlled flight, almost vertically at times, and gently pluck their prey from the surface. Yesterday, an Osprey made a stunning cameo while I was filming some fishing footage. You can see it at the 1:40 mark of this video:

White Bass from a Kayak

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In mid-March, the White Bass make a spawning run, and the Bowfin are generally mixed in with the schools. We launch to look for Bowfin but the White Bass are so aggressive they usually grab the lures before they reach the Bowfin.

I put a Camera mount on my Tarpon 120 and shot some footage as we locked into a school of White Bass in the lower Eno River last week. We landed about 40 small males before we moved on…..

http://youtu.be/HYInU5OOlbo

Video

How to Lose a Bowfin

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It’s late February, a time for the Bowfin angler to remember the taste of defeat.Winter lulls the senses, and our memories of last year’s battles with fish dissipate – mercifully – with the cold. Yes, we recall the one that got away. It grows larger with each telling. But we forget how we lost it, and that defeat is often an angler’s fault.

Late winter Bowfin are experts in reminding us of our errors.

I will dedicate this blog post to a typical late winter event: the loss of a large fish from the end of the line. First, a few points about how to set a hook in a Bowfin’s bony mouth. Continue reading