Whilst fishing for bowfin one sometimes catches another species of interest. These are pics of non-bowfin catches that have some socially redeeming value. 2 lb largemouth need not apply. 07/18/11 - This page is historical reference; the fins keep me busy enough!

December 2007, New River, NC

Hopefully this pic can make it to the Incidentals category. It's the most cats we ever caught in one hole. There are 40 cats on the stringer and 7 or 8 more on other stringers and in hands. We threw back just as many as we caught - well over 60 cats for about 5 hours of fishing :) But nothing beats the fins we caught and lost that day. We had some really big slammers on even had a few bite thru 20 pound Power Pro braid. Well that's it for now. Hope ya all don't get tired of all my pics, man, cause I love to fish and share with ya all.
Merry Christmas to all and tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 12/17/07

September 2007, Hudson R, NY

My brother and I went fishing in the Hudson River on Saturday in search of bowfins. No bowfins, although I've seen blurbs about them being in the lower Hudson. However, I did catch a nice sized white catfish. White catfish are shorter than channel catfish, and have tails that are not as forked and wide heads. Almost a cross between a channel catfish and a bullhead. They have white chin barbels, which is the way you can definitely tell it's a white catfish and not a channel catfish. This fish had a massive head. The pictures don't do the head justice on this fish. The head didn't look like it belonged on that body.
Osama Bin Bowfin, 09/25/07

April 2007, New River, NC

We got out this Friday but with the front coming in, it hampered our day badly. We fished 5 hours and no bowfin for the taking, but did manage one sweet cat and this big fella at around 45 to 50 pounds.
Tight lines and screamin' drags.
TimT, NCpierman, 04/18/07

August 2006, MN,ND

Hi there, I enjoy your website. I am attaching pics for your Incidental page. One is a nice softshell turtle taken on cut bait while catfishing and the other is a paddlefish taken during the snagging season in N. Dakota.
Mike C, MN 08/30/06

August 2006, DesPlaines River (North), IL

I caught the catfish (going for Bowfin) on cut bait as well. When they hit, I thought they were bowfin but turned out to be a nice catfish. This albino was a big surprise and gave me one heck of a fight.
-Tim G. IL, 08/17/06

July 2006, Lake Sheen, FL

Hi BAGman,
We we're trying for fins, but look at this fish my brother, my friend, and I caught! It's a plecostomus and weighed four pounds.
Nicholas V, 07/28/06

July 2006, Lake Champlain

Hi BAGman,
Thanks for the response. I've found fins in Mud Bay, Lake Ontario but the fish I'm catching are in Lake Champlain. I just found this spot last year while fishing for cats. The gar there are so common last year we saw about fifty in one day then the next trip none. Weather has a lot to do with whether they're on top or deep and just surfacing ocassionally. Again thanks,
Deerman, 07/06/06

While fishing for gar on the Vermillion R near Utica, IL, Zach hooked this monster flathead on a Lambo Lure (available at Zach kept insisting to Garman he had a big one on. Garman, thinking a 5-6 pound shortnose, was blown away when this punkinhead came up out of the water. Garman took the pics of this 48", 55lb catch of a lifetime

I spent the last year in Thailand where we caught and ate some Giant Snakehead, Cobra Snakehead, & Striped Snakehead. I couldn't wait to try my luck in home waters for our version (the Bowfin). In Thailand, the snakeheads were not bad eating. The small one is a baby Giant Snakehead, while the large one is a grown Giant Snakehead
Mike C 02/24/05

Attached is a picture of my brother and me. Or maybe it's the snapper I caught on cutbait - not sure since the resemblence between the two of them is eerie. Thanks
DustyE 08/08/04

Caught them all in a tributary of Lake Ontario in upstate NY. Discovered this spot in 1992 by luck and have fished it ever since. That is the first catfish I have caught there. Most of the time you catch bowfin and eel.
Kyle F 07/28/04

That eel looks like a fin that fought so hard it grew a foot!

How excited was Garman to land this 8.7 lb drum? You decide.

I went out today and only caught small Fins, about 15 of them. However, I did catch this baby gar. It swam in between my texas-rigged worm and hook and got stuck. It cracked me up, the fish just getting "stuck" like that.
Jeff C 04/23/04

Hi Bagman,
Thanks for posting the pics of my Ice fins. I thought you might like these pic's of a record class Rock Cat fish (Clarias Gariepinus) that I caught in the Limpopo River on the South African/Botswana border last September. I was there on a bowhunting safari and always pack a small rod because you never know when you might get the chance to go fishing, and search out new Bowfin Territory. The bizarre thing about it is the way you fish for these catfish. (you might laugh, you might not). I was told by my guide that these fish lay up in the shallows and wait for doves and small birds to land for a drink, then race up onto shore and snatch them up. I have to tell you that I looked at him kinda funny thinking he was trying to put one over on an American but went with it anyhow.We started off sitting on the bank with a 12 Ga. shot gun and shot a passing dove. I was then instructed to place the dove on the hook (Gamagatsu 4/0) and cast the dove out into the river. At this point I was shaking my head with total disbelief but followed his instructions. It looked like a giant Fly floating there. within thirty seconds one of these catfish came to the surface and inhaled the dove and the fight was on. It took me almost an hour to land this fish because I was using 6lb test Stren and a really loose drag coupled with a lot of running up and down the shore line. If that wasn't enough excitement for me while I'm fighting the fish my guide is yelling at me not to go to close to the waters edge because there are Crocodiles the size of canoes in the river (at this point I believed everything he said) but the result was a 41 LB fish! After the photos and weigh-in he was released. I caught a lot of these "cats" using the above method but this one was the largest. Thanks for your time & good luck fishing!
Jimmy 04/03/04

Hey my name is Andy Plauck. I'm a fisheries grad student at SIU. We were shocking fish down on the Ohio River and got what would be the IL state record spotted gar ( a little over 8lbs). Thought you might be interested in the pics. I also attached a picture of a 9lb bowfin from the same locality (OHIO RIVER TRIBUTARIES). Both fish were released unharmed. I'm actually doing a community structure project on the Smithland Pool down on the Ohio. I wouldn't mind researching them but they're kinda hard to come by with electrofishing gear. I wish that I could have captured one of the bowfins that we scared up down there, I just saw the back end (tail) and it was over 15 pounds but we didn't hit it hard enough to get it in the boat. Good luck in 2004 and keep up that great bowfin site!
Andy 01/21/04

A healthy 23" drum, a 13.4 pound bighead carp, and a 4.1 lb wiper (hybrid striped/white bass) that made through the spillway. This is why we love river fishing - you never know what you'll catch.

Snakeheads are GREAT in their natural environment. I'd love to try it. A reminder - a bowfin is NOT a snakehead! Garman got this pic and letter:

Hi Bill,
I came back from my Snakehead trip last Sunday. I first met the Snakehead during a exploratory trip to Srinakarin Lake (Thailand) for the Goonch (Asian Catfish of up to 100 kilos[220lbs]). As conditions for the Goonch were not perfect we also did some Snakehead fishing. The first Snake I hooked (and lost) was later estimated at around 7 kilos [15.5 lbs]. A fish of a lifetime. The sight of the big mother fish with her beautiful colours flashing in the sun under the boat just before the hooks came out haunted me many a sleepless night. I was totally not prepared for the brute force of this relatively small fish. I was used to long steady fights with monster Catfish and Nile perch. So six months later found me back in South East Asia for a rematch. The setting, a remote jungle lake in Malaysia. Francois Helias (a well known international Snakehead fisherman, aka the Guide) would show me the ropes during the first two of the seven-day fishing trip. As a sponge I tried to soak up all his experience which he gathered during many years of battling the mighty Snakehead. Make shorts casts, wait for the boil, spot the baby fry, strike - strike and strike hard. A steep learning curve was needed, as promised Francois was there for me a 100%. The lake and surrounding nature was amazing. The many different sounds of the jungle made it quite an experience. I managed to catch some nice Snakehead, 36 in total, biggest almost 6 kilos [13.2 lbs] (anything over 4 to 5 kilos [8.8-11lbs] is considered a good fish). Now the trip is over I consider myself a Snakehead addict. The many different ways you can fish for it combined with it's beauty and fierce full character make this a more than worthy opponent. Please find enclosed a picture of a 4,5 kilo [9.9 Lb] Snakehead.
Take care,
Wim V Den Haag - The Netherlands 10/5/03

Lambo scores a fine cat whilst hunting fins in So. Il

Now this was a hoot! Garman hooked a good one and during the fight it headed into the downed wood. Not wanting to lose a fish, Garman went into the water and dragged that tree out. Donning his Fireman's hat, Garman then rescued the cat from the tree.

The rescued cat. Now I'll admit we were fishing for gar (no fins in this lake) but with the rain we can't be choosers.

9 pound Pike, snappers, cats - just a few of the incidentals Josh & Nick caught at Pickeral Slough, 6/13/03

This young, beautiful lady is the ever-patient BAGlady. My cajoling got her to hike/wade several miles to catch her first ever gar. Yes, this 26" shortnose gar survived the death grip, but be forewarned - NEVER mess with the BAGlady!

Check out for more on Gar

Here are a couple monster carp we caught last week. My fish was 15 pounds (30" long, 20" girth).

Cole's fish was a 16 1/2 lb. 31"/20" carp.

Hey it's David! I caught this beastly large grass carp last Saturday [4/26/03] and was so excited i had to show everyone! The cool thing is I caught him basically out of my backyard in our 6 acre pond. The average size carp out there is only 6 lbs, but this time I got lucky. Unfortunately there are no bowfin in the pond but oh well, this carp is around the upper 20's to 30 pounds thanks to all that fat. I fought it for a good 5 minutes because I was using my dinky little rod and reel, but luckily I had heavy pound test line. It was quite a fight! I saw Josh L's carp too and its kind of weird how we both caught our biggest carp ever around the same time

David with another incidental - a bait-stealing snappin' turtle!

Hey this isn't Paddlefish Unlimited! I know but as Dictator-For-Life... My first ever, I thought it was a cool looking fish, and it is in the 100,000,000 year old club. Plankton feeders, paddlefish are caught by snagging. These two just ran into our baited hooks; they were not intentionally snagged. The body is like a catfish, but the gillcovers are leopard-print "Spock ears." I wish fins were as easy to handle - both the tail and the paddle are rigid cartilage. Garman's paddle had a deformed beak, broken and long since healed. The fish was healthy though.

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