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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

How to Catch Bowfin

How to Catch Bowfin

Bowfin are a fish most fishermen  either love or hate.    Bass anglers despise them because they can really just destroy a spinner bait or a plug but I think most Bass anglers just are not used to unhooking them which can be daunting to some especially since they have teeth.

What's not to like about them??   They get Big,  they fight hard,  they sometimes jump,  they are fairly easy to catch once you figure them out and they are tackle busters.  Come under gunned and they will leave you with your head hanging.  A True Sportfish they are.

So where do you find Bowfin?  Check out the map below.  2/3rds of the Eastern US is Prime Bowfin habitat.
What surprises me about this map is how little Bowfin range in Texas.    I actually feel sorry for people who live outside of where Bowfin Range !

Here is a map courtesy of usgs.gov
 
Anywhere they range you need to look for the backwaters or sluggish areas  and especially areas with lots of weed growth.   For example on my home lake of Jordan lake here in North Carolina they are all over the lake but less common on main lake points and areas w/o cover.   To find an abundance of them you need to go to backs of coves  where it is shallower and /or weedier.  To find a bigger abundance of them find a creek with  a beaver pond on it just above the lake.

I caught my first ever Bowfin  way back in 1982 on the then New Jordan Lake when  she was only a 1yr old lake. This 4 lb bowfin smashed a chartreuse Snagless Sally I was throwing for bass and I was forever hooked.   Now, some years my fishing for them wanes while I pursue other species but I always keep coming back to the incredible Bowfin.   I have caught them up to near 14 lbs but most are going to be 4-7 lbs with a occasional 8-10 lber thrown in.

One  place I fish for them is the Neuse River in Eastern N.C.   Down there it is a medium sized river that has some Cypress trees but to get into the really good bowfin water there you need to go into a feeder creek that is full of Cypress trees and back water areas,  Here the Bowfin is King.

So, remember backwaters, sluggish areas, beaverponds, etc.

Some days you can even see Bowfin gulping air  as they can breath air so if you see them doing this just know you are in a good spot.

So what kind of tackle do you use for Bowfins?    Any reel that can be used for Bass fishing can be used for Bowfins but usually I go a little heavier.  If I am truely Bowfin fishing I use at least 50 lb braid or 20 lb mono.

Tactics-  Bait or Lures

 Bait-   The best way to catch Bowfin  is to put a piece of cutbait on a Carolina rig using a 2 oz sinker and a 3-4/0 Gamagatsu J hook.   The next  best way is to float a minnow, shiner or very small bream 1-2 ' under a cork.

Lures-  IMO the best lure for Bowfins are a 3/8 oz spinnerbait with tandem blades black in color. Chartreuse and white work also. Always use a trailer hook and this is a Bowfin getter for sure.   Other good lures are a Chartreuse Snagless Sally,   Floating Yellow Worms ( Haw River Tackle Floating Worms are the best ) and Pink Senkos Wacky Rigged.    Truth be known they will hit any bass lure but the ones listed are the best IMHO.

      

              Also Note the Fish Gripper in every picture .  This is a MUST when targeting Bowfins





Here are a few videos I have on Bowfin on my YOUTUBE Channel











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THANKS ! MACK

Bowfin fishing
snakehead fishing
North carolina fishing

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Hickory Shad were on Fire today.

March 3rd , 2018
Roanoke River, NC @Weldon
Quarry- Hickory Shad

***You Tube Video Included below***


I have had a great Spring so far and I have made a couple of trips for Shad and managed only One Hickory On February the 12 (my earliest shad ever caught ) and a White shad the other day in another River.   I got a report the Hickory shad were on fire at Weldon so I called my buddy Aki  and asked if he wanted to go???  He said sure! though he told me later he was skeptical about driving for 1.5 hrs to be able to fish for a little over 2 hours.  Anyway we arrived at the boat landing and you could see people reeling in fish.   The first Hour was  somewhat slow but the second hour it really picked up .    Together we caught 45 plus shad and 1 small Striper which is a lot for the limited time we were there.

I started off with a Tandem Rig but quickly changed to  single Jig with a Big Split shot above it to get deeper.



This rig gets deeper than the Tandem cause the 2nd  jig on the tandem doesn't sink like a big ole split shot.

The water was at about 9000 cfm and the water temp right at 50 degrees


The water Temp has dropped. It was 54 2 weeks ago and 52 on March 1st ,  now it is at 49 degrees. The shad are there you just have to slow down the retrieve.


Aki With a nice Hickory Shad


Me with  The lone White Shad caught out of about 45 Hickories



Here is my You tube Video of our Trip




Thank for Looking!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Spring Crappie Bite is on Fire here in North Carolina !!

Thursday February 22, 2018
Location- Central NC

Guys, the Crappie have been on fire here in Central NC for a few weeks but this week has been especially good.  The water Temp in the area lakes and some of the Eastern Creeks  has been in the mid 50's with Jordan hitting 59 degrees yesterday.   This has got the Crappie wanting to spawn and moving into the shallows.  Right now on Jordan and Falls Lake there are many many Crappie in 3 -5 feet of water.    I have had my best luck throwing a 1/16 oz  Monks head with a Kalins Triple Threat Grub In the Acid Rain Color.   I have also been mainly throwing this jig on a 6' Berkeley Med Light Lighting Rod with a Daiwa Tierra 1500 reel spooled with 6 lb line.   I am also throwing a Mini Rattle trap to weed out some of the smaller fish.

You can get anything Crappie related at Monks Crappie. He is located near Liberty, NC but does do mail order.     check out  http://www.monkscrappie.com/

The Frabill E-Z Checker is a must as the area lakes have a 10 inch min size on the Crappie.

The E-Z Checker is 12 inches long so this ole girl is longer than 12


Here is my biggest so far this spring, a fat 14 inch one.


Here is a nice 12 incher I got walking the riprap.


I have kept a few each trip but I am letting go 90 percent of what I catch. Here are 2 gals that went 14 and 13 inches.


Right now since the fish are shallow, fish the back end of coves with overhanging willows , stumps etc.   The back end of coves is where most are going to be but some can be found by walking the Rip rap as well and fan casting.   They will spawn on the Rip rap.

Here are some of the lures I use for Crappie but if I only had one for this time of year it would be the Kalins in Acid Rain. These are not all I use but these are a must have for Crappie.  Starting at the Mini trap and going clockwise are The Mini Trap, Blakemore Roadrunner, the 3rd is a jig with green flake and I think it is out of production I cant remember who makes it. I think it was a company in Virginia. I will post it if I remember the company name.   FOUND IT!!  They are made by the VIRGINIA GUIDE BAIT COMPANY.    Next are 4 grubs by Charlie Brewer then last but not least is the Kalins grub in Acid Rain color.   Purple Rain is also a good color.


Here is a video from my You Tube Channel. Please subscribe to my Blog and my YT Channel !!
Thanks Mack



Good luck and remember to leave some for me!!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Big River Chub on my Unc Virgina Tech Trip

I made the trip to The Roanoke / Blacksburg area for the UNC Va Tech Football game  and even though my team got pounded I had a great time at the game and on Sunday after the Game I fished part of the Roanoke river that I have never fished before.  Not a spectacular day as far as numbers caught but it was a nice day on some good water that holds a lot of potential.

This section is a few miles above Smith Mountain Lake .   I immediately caught a very small smallie on a small Ultralite Rapala Minnow and then I could not get another hit.



  I then switched to a float with a Trout Magnet Jig 2 feet under it.  My presentation was to cast this upstream into current and let it Float back down.   I caught 2 big River chubs using this method and I can tell you that River Chubs are Hard fighters.  This is similar to how I have caught them on the Eno River using a cork with a tube jig under it.




I left this spot and went downstream to another spot and although I caught zilch at the second spot , my hopes and plans to return are high.  When I saw the second spot(first spot too) I immediately thought that the lake Stripers came up here from time to time.  My thoughts were confirmed  when I was getting my rod out and looked over and 3 guys were getting out of their car as well and all had Redfins or big plugs on them.  After speaking with them  it was double confirmed that this section was indeed a Striper hotspot as one of them had caught a 20lber the week before.   Towards dark there were a few big Stripers busting up and down river but I never connected.    Return I will.

Date 10/22/2017
Location - Upper Roanoke River

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Big Catfish and Little Catfish


July 15th my wife and I decided to do a little Catfishing.    Truth be told I decided and she chose to come along.  Normally bait on this river is very hard to come by so I either bring my own frozen cutbait, buy goldfish, or get both.   This time for some dumb reason I decided to buy 5 tubs of night crawlers and see what I could catch with just them.   My wife was like you/we are only going to catch little cats with crawlers!!
I assured her that IF a big Catfish came up on a big glob of crawlers that it was game on!

First, we had to get the boat in the water.


  First stop produced this massive cat!    Now don't laugh it was cool catching this little guy who got a 7/0 hook in his mouth.

Was she right about we were ony going to catch little ones????????

That stop also produced a decent longnose gar that you will have to see in the Video.

We moved a few more times with not much luck.   Our final stop had me put out all  3 rods.
All of the sudden and the spinner is smoking! after an Intense battle I finally subdued the beast by sticking my hand in her mouth and hoisting her aboard.   My wife tried to net her numerous times and with her being a rookie on the net I was getting worried that that would cause me to lose this giant so that is why I lipped her.




 I have included my you tube channel video of this catch but I will confess that this cat fought way better than the video suggest.  I had to cut out a lot of the fight due to the reel just being in front of the camera and this massive cat splashed water on the lens so you couldn't see some of the fight due to it being blury .

Game On!!!!!


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Thanks for Subscribing!



July 15th
Dan River right on the North Carolina Virginia Border
Boat-  Seras Gamefisher 1232
Motor- Mercury 2.5
Outfits-   Shimano 6500 Baitrunner Loaded with 25 lb Shur strike line on a 7' Ugly stik Tiger rod,  Abu Garcia 6500c loaded with 30lb Big game on a 7' Ugly Stik and a 7000c Abu loaded with 40 lb Red Cajun on an American Spirit Night Stik
Hook would be 7/0 Gamagatsu J and Circle hooks
Bait- Night crawlers on a 3 way rig

Friday, June 16, 2017

My OLD TOWN 119 Modifications

This is a  Video of my Modifications to my Old Town 119.  This is my favorite solo River boat by far and a good Lake canoe. If you have any questions please ask either here or on you tube.  Don't forget to subscribe to both!!!



Thanks Mack