Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

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GaryDroze
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Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by GaryDroze »

Made lemonade out of lemons yesterday at the State Marks Refuge. Had the place to myself at 8am at the lighthouse, where I netted up a nice haul of finger mullet & mudminnows. The 20 knot inshore winds made even tidal creek fishing dicey, so I tried some sheltered freshwater canals. 8 largemouths from 12-18 inches saved the day. Then...

To escape the increasing wind, I waded into in a swampier, brush-lined canal that lines Stoney Bayou Pool #1, and started pitching my biggest mullet into the dark water. No bass there, but I hit a pod of freakishly big mudfish. Broke off three times before finally wrestling in one of the smaller beasties...27 inches long and 11lbs! I'm going back with 40lb braid, in hopes of landing a FL state record (19lbs).

My brother reminded me that winching in a state record bowfin compares to when he was in high school and tricked out his '73 Ford Pinto to make it the most impressive one in Orlando...

...but it was still nothing to brag about.
DixieReb
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by DixieReb »

Catch you a record-class bowfin(aka as mudfish). You just might see your name in a record book somewhere! :smt005 All jokes aside, those fish pull as hard as anything I've ever caught. And can destroy a balsa lure in their strong jaws. We tried to eat one one time, but the meat was just too soft for us.
Yours in the South
GaryDroze
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by GaryDroze »

I can vouch for those jaws. Yesterday, I got one of the smaller ones almost to the bank before losing it. Had fought for almost a minute - including two jumps - without ever being hooked. That's how hard it was clamped onto the back half of a misfortunate mudminnow.

Wouldn't you know it...there's now a website called www.bowfinanglers.com devoted exclusively to this prehistoric holdover. Includes gobs of recipes, plus tips on how to avoid the mush factor with the meat. I tried to fry one 3 decades ago, with underwhelming results. Gonna keep my promise to self of attempting to cook one every 30 years.
silverking
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by silverking »

:lol:

It may be a dubious honor, but it would still be one for the record books nonetheless. Good luck on your quest. If anyone can pull that off, it would be you! Just be careful about whatever else may be lurking in that dark water. This unseasonably warm weather may have your pet lizards on the move.
"Sun rise and sun sets. Since the beginning, it hasn't changed yet." Little Feat
DixieReb
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by DixieReb »

I wonder if you could make mudfish patties with the meat? :roll:
Yours in the South
Capt Ron
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by Capt Ron »

I have a friend that puts them on the smoker and says that they are excellent. I'm still waiting for a sample.
DixieReb
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by DixieReb »

It might be good, when we catch a good-sized bluefish, we fillet it and soak the fillets in salt water a couple days. Then grill just like you would tuna or mahi mahi. They are surprisingly good that way. :lick:
Yours in the South
GaryDroze
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by GaryDroze »

Finally got around to keeping and cooking a few. Freshness was not an issue. They were still flopping in the cooler when I got home. Sliced 4 decent fillets off a coupla 3 pounders, and followed an online recipe:

Soak 4 hours in buttermilk.
Butter & sliced onions in casserole dish. Preheat to 350 degrees.
Put fillets on top of butter/onions. Slather with Italian dressing & more onions.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until flaky.

Result...

Blah. Not horrible, but bland & kinda mushy. Life is too short to eat these things again unless I'm on some kind of survivor show.
DixieReb
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by DixieReb »

Oh, well, at least you tried them. The way the recipe was reading, I thought you were going to say,"throw away the fish and eat the onions". If you find a good way to cook ladyfish, let us know! :roll:
Yours in the South
FTReelty
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by FTReelty »

fry them cypress trout up-erything good in hot grease!
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big bend gyrene
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by big bend gyrene »

DixieReb wrote:Oh, well, at least you tried them. The way the recipe was reading, I thought you were going to say,"throw away the fish and eat the onions". If you find a good way to cook ladyfish, let us know! :roll:
If memory serves, forum owner Bman swears he's cooked up ladyfish and they were good. Method for cleaning them and prepping them is a bit different but pretty sure this is close to being what Bman did... (caveat -- I have NOT personally tried them yet)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQtfFDipO-E[/video]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NybuleOj5Ag[/video]
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DixieReb
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by DixieReb »

We tried a ladyfish once before we knew any better. It was boney and not very tasty. But they make great bait! A ladyfish belly dragged under a cork will catch some fish.
Yours in the South
BloodyChamp
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by BloodyChamp »

Somebody mentioned patties...the folks I know who eat them make patties similar to salmon patties. They also make cakes similar to crab cakes out of them.

I cleaned some for an old man once and...I'd try um. Never have though.

As for the record, I know where some are on the upper Aucilla River.
eightwt
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by eightwt »

Mr Silvering, will they hit a fly there?
silverking
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Re: Record-class bowfin lurk in Refuge canals

Post by silverking »

I've never tried it, but I don't know why they wouldn't eat a fly.

Maybe a Dahlberg Diver, Puglisi Minnow or a big Clouser?

Sounded like they were all over Gary's live bait, so natural patterns would be the first suggestion. Might not hurt to have a few purple/black or chartreuse in the fly box as well.

Good luck and let us know the results.
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