How to Catch Bowfin

How to Catch Bowfin
Bowfin are a very strong and challenging fish for most anglers. While they don't make a great meal, they provide a formidable opponent in the water and are able to survive waters that are too low in oxygen for other fish, such as swamps and backwaters. Bowfins are closely related to gar and are easily identified by their dorsal fin, which spans more than half the length of its back.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod and reel
  • Sturdy fishing line (25-40 lb. test)
  • Bait or lure (preferably worms)
Step 1
Wind your fishing reel with 25- to 40-lb. test line. You will need this extra strength to be able to fight a bowfin without snapping the line.
Step 2
Use fresh bait whenever possible. The best options are worms, minnows, crawfish and bluegill.
Step 3
Fish in areas with heavy cover, where bowfin are likely to be located. Underwater vegetation and rocky bottoms filled with crevices are your best bets.
Step 4
Drop your line into the water and troll the bait along the water bottom.
Step 5
Flick your wrist to set the hook into the fish's mouth when you get a bite, and then be patient. Reel in slowly, letting the bowfin wear itself out. If you try to fight the bowfin early on, the tension will likely snap the line.

Tips & Warnings

Use a palomar knot to tie the line to the hook. This is widely regarded as the strongest fishing line knot and will evenly disperse tension onto all parts of the line, rather than focusing it on one spot.
If live bait is not available, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the most effective lures.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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