Puxico man sets new state record with Bowfin

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PUXICO, Mo. – A new state record bowfin was taken by bow at Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA) according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Eric Whitehead of Puxico shot the state record bowfin while bow fishing Friday, March 8. The record was just recently certified by MDC. Whitehead also holds the continued spotted gar record in Missouri.

“Eric crushed the old record by two pounds,” said Paul Cieslewicz, MDC fisheries management biologist who certified the record fish.

The fish weighed 13.38 lbs. on certified digital scales at Arab Station and it measured 32.25 inches long.

The previous state record bowfin was taken in March of 2012 at Duck Creek Conservation Area with a bow. The previous record was 11 lbs. 4 ounces.

The bowfin is a stout-bodied, nearly cylindrical fish with a dorsal fin that extends more than half the length of the back and has more than 45 rays. It has a mottled, olive-green color on its back and a pale green belly. Dorsal and tail fins are dark green with darker bands or bars. Adults are usually 15 to 27 inches long and most often weigh from one to five pounds.

Bowfins occur in a variety of habitats but they tend to avoid swift current or excessively turbid waters. In the Mississippi Lowlands, it is found in a variety or habitats ranging from swamps to ditches to pools, such as those at Duck Creek. Along the Mississippi River, bowfins are more often found in backwaters and oxbows than in the main channel.

Adult bowfins eat fish, crayfish, insects, worms and frogs. Gizzard shad are a favorite item, followed by golden shiner, bullheads and sunfish. These fish hide by day in deeper water, and venture into shallow water to feed at night. They surface occasionally to renew the supply of air in the swim bladder, which functions something like a lung.

The bowfin has a respected place in sport fishing, specifically bow fishing, as it displays strength and endurance.