Yes, Virginia, there IS a bowfin. Get out there and catch her and send those pics!

The Yellow dots indicate the State Record (lb-oz or 00.00 lb), the Red dots are other fin locations that have been revealed to us. They link to Topozone maps that get you in the neighborhood, if not to the exact spot. The Photos name the location the fins were caught (if known). Thanks to Dave D (Osama Bin Bowfin) for this idea.

Lake Cohoon, 16-8, 10/17/04

August 2011, Scandia Lake

My son Parker caught this 4 lb bowfin today at Scandia Lake in Eastern Henrico County...He had a much larger one on the line (probably 8 lbs.) and got it all the way to shore when it rolled and snapped the line...we watched the float that was still attached "swim" around for about thirty minutes. We plan to get heavier line and catch that monster !! Thanks!
Wes S, 08/01/11

July 2011, Chickahominy Reservoir

Here are a few pictures of a couple bowfin we caught the end of last summer on the Chickahominy Lake. The bigger fish was JR's second citation bowfin. My other son Evan just missed his first citation by one inch, or one and a half pounds. JR's was 30" exactly. We have caught many fins in the four to nine pound range in the last three years but have only caught one ( landed ) ten pounder. JR hooked a fish last year at another spot off the Chick River he said he was sure was 36 " long, but didnt have a net, and it broke off. We have found another spot off the Chickahominy River that is loaded with fins in the four to eight pound range. We hooked two monsters the last time we where there but they both broke off, even with 30 pound braided line. As usual they ony hit for maybe 75 minutes but its non stop the whole time. Also here is our newest member of our group and his first fin.Tristan and a 24" . He did really well to get the fish in, all by his self ( he's seven). He's a great little fisherman.
CJ Y, 07/11/11

March 2011, James R (Richmond)

Hi there! I stumbled across your site and thought I'd send you a picture for your collection. I caught this 3.5-4 lbs fella about two years ago in a 4" deep backwater of the James River as it runs through the city of Richmond somewhere between the Nickel Bridge and 42nd Street Park on the Southside of the river on a 1/8 oz. Chartreuse and Black Beetle Spin tied up to 12lbs test on an old medium action spinning combo. I can remember it so well because it was my first bowfin land! I'd missed them for years when they'd hit unexpectedly on my light Crappie and Panfish tackle, but I had the right tools for it that time. After a couple pictures by my fiancee, we let him swim on. Been chasin' after them ever since.
Cameron M, 03/26/11

March 2011, James R (near Osborne Landing dot)

My buddy Eric caught this bowfin. We had shad minnows on bottom rigs. It hit his line and put up a really fun fight. We were both surprised to see it when we netted it. Measured 7lbs, 27" long. This was the first either of us had seen or caught. Our lat/long on Bing Maps was (37.380295, -77.329094). Caught/Released on March 5, 2011.
Tony S, 03/08/11

July 2010,Loc'n Unknown

My friends and I caught this fish on the river by Chesapeake, Va near the North Carolina border. We had no idea what it was. We caught it on a jug made from a water bottle. He broke the line on one jug and got hooked on another. When we got him in the boat he still had both hooks in his mouth. I can't tell you where we caught him though, that's top secret. I caught him on a river in Chesapeake, Va near the North Carolina border.
Matt C and Erik, 07/29/10

July 2010, Chickahominy Reservoir

Hey Bagman,
Here's my first LANDED 'fin! Just caught it on Memorial Day! I hooked my first ever a few weeks ago, several more since then, but this guy smashed a topwater plug. In fact,he ruined it. It had not scratches, but gouges and bent hooks! Wow!...what a serious brawler!..fantastic fighter! I was a little bummed with his ..uuhhh..."deposits" on my b@$$ boat's carpet, but no worries! I know where there are a few more. I have been seeing at least one per trip,and can't wait to tangle with another. I have had good strikes on a soft plastic lure called a Fluke,or even Slug-gos. Topwater works well too for me.
Thanks for the tip! Your website even told me where to go....the Chickahominy(lake)!!! The water is VERY low right now (as of last week) due to lack of rain and a supposed hole in the dam. However, b@$$ are very, very hard to find, as are pickeral. I hooked a tagged MONSTER 'fin on the third of July,at the far end of the Chick...up in the "no wake zone". I nailed him on a black Sumo frog, fought it to boat, handed the rod to my visiting dad, he "played" it some more as I bent to grab him, he spun around slowly and the durn hook fell out!!! I was p@$#@ed off!!!!!!! He never saw a 'fin before and was stunned at this fish's fighting ability. I was using a 7'2" Powell frog rod (stout flipping stick), a BPS Qualifier and 50# braid. I will tell ya, he had that rod BENT!!!! Anyway,he was tagged, a light blue tag was in his back...don't really know what that means,but,it was very,very cool.
I often see the fins before I hook them...check along the shallow bends as you make your way up the Chick (again,the lake). I often see the very shallow and surprisingly easy to approach!
Lee C, 07/15/10

October 2009, Private Pond, Virginia Beach

I knew of a tiny pond at a friend's house. I have driven past it for over 20 years, and never bothered to fish it - until the past 5 days. My friend told me that the pond has huge Bowfin in it. The only Bowfin I have seen would be the artist's rendition in the back of the VA Inland Game and Fisheries Information Literature, showing the difference between a Snake Head and a Bowfin.

The cell phone video shows a Bowfin that was caught on 6lb Line, and a Fluke hook, bobber, and live saltwater minnow. It was one of three we caught. My fishing buddy yesterday landed two of these monsters. His name is Joey C, we both live in VA Beach, VA. The Bowfin was 28 inches long (even with its "docked" tail), and over 14 inches around. The end of its tail was "clipped-off", at what would have been the longest point of the fish, perhaps by a Snapping Turtle in the pond. The scale we had went to 8lbs. Needless to say, it was pegged at 8lbs. This was a huge fish, as we were used to catching 4 lb B@$$ and such. The pond is loaded with Bowfin and yet there is a huge population of White Perch of all sizes, Largemouth b@$$, Sunfish, Catfish, and Shad. It's fresh water, yet spills into brackish water and I actually caught two nice Large Male Blue Crabs in this same pond.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the Video of the big one. It got a bit scuffed up on the spill way, but it was released with the hook removed after its photo debut.
Paul T, 10/27/09

October 2009, Lake Prince

I saw your site online, hope you are still doing this. I caught this bowfin at Lake Prince in Suffolk. Dad and I were bluegills fishing and this one hit on a cricket! I am not lying! 30 1/2 inches and had to be close to 10 lbs.
Chris, 10/19/09

August 2009, Bowie's Pond

I caught this fin in Bowie's pond located in Bowling Green VA (Caroline County). To fish the pond you need a Fort A.P. Hill fishing license. They run $20 for the year. I caught mine using the Rage Tail green pumpkin/pearl frog with 30 lb braid line, fishing in the lily pads. I was out for b@$$ and caught the bowfin. For the fight, the military base fishing license was well worth it. It measures at least over 2 1/2 feet. I didn't check with a tape, but he did weighed 4.4 on my digital scale. He was very aggressive too. I'm going to get grippers so I don't have to use the pliers like I did. I don't like doing that, but he was to mean to grab.
Mike H., 08/03/09

August 2008, Chickahominy R, Roxbury Bridge

Howdy Bagman,
It's been a while since I was able to send you anything. I went to a spot on the Chickahominy River that is a bridge crossing on Roxbury Rd. I don't think it's been mentioned on the site before, but it's downriver from Bottoms Bridge and just upriver from where Chickahominy Lake is. There's some pretty nice fishing spots along the bank there as long as the water isn't high, which isn't an issue right now for sure. Got one male fin, 26", and quite the fighter. Even with the glove, lipping a fin can be quite the challenge. I thought he was going to rip the glove right off a couple of times before he calmed down for the picture. I was just hoping that my thumb wasn't going with the glove. Anyone who has never lipped a fin with a glove on should do it, just for the appreciation of the biting force of these fish. Good Finnin,
Jason B., 08/09/08

June 2008, Nansemond River

My son Parke and I were kayak fishing the Nansemond River in Suffolk, VA the other night and saw numerous fish surfacing all around us. We had had almost a week's worth of 100 degree days, and the river is slow and deoxygenated compared to earlier in the month, but we were still catching blue catfish using Berkley Gulp "Pogy" bodies on a jig head.

My son had just caught two nice 3lb. bluecats when suddenly my jig was hit like nothing before. My son started laughing as whatever it was, started tugging me around the river, and even tried to swim under my kayak several times, trying to tip me over. After a few minutes of a great fight, I first saw its "trout-like" head, but it was too big for my net. And it definitely was not going to come in the kayak with me!! Not with those teeth!! My son went over to a nearby dock, and I paddled over, while holding the (finally) tiring fish. He grabbed the line and unhooked it. We measured the 27 1/4 inch fish (estimated at about 8lbs.), but still weren't sure what it was until later in the evening when we looked up Virginia's non-game freshwater fish. Then we stumbled on your website. I told my friends that I felt like I had stumbled onto an unknown fishing cult, of which, I said, I would definitely target these fish again -- especially when the fishing for other "more targeted" species, is slower. The grindle was every bit as exciting to catch as the 4 foot longnose gar I had caught the week before, and even the largemouth bass I catch there in the spring. And now that I know that Suffolk is home to Virginia's state record, I may even look for them, first.

I hooked two more that evening, one larger and one smaller, but they both broke off. And of course we now know that they were all around us surfacing for air, since the water was so warm and stagnant. Sorry the photo of my son holding the bowfin isn't better quality, but I took the shot with my cell phone from my kayak before we released it to fight another day. Thanks for your informative site.
Dan B. , 06/18/08

June 2008, Mattaponi River

Hi Bagman,
Here is a pic Of my oldest, Emily with one her many Bowfin. She caught this one off of a creek on the Rappahannock River (Occupatia Creek). There are many large ones in this area and we plan on hunting them down this summer! Emily's sisters pose with her with a fin that Emily caught on my favorite river, "The Mattaponi River". We have spent many hours on these banks having a blast. They caught several more that day, but unfortunately the batteries in the camera died. Bad Daddy for not being prepared. There will be many pics to come this summer! Have fun Finnin'.
Chuck H, Vafinhunter, 06/17/08

May 2008, Rappahannock R

Hi Bagman,
Thank you for your website. My neighbour is a 70 year old waterman who's been fishing/crabbing the lower Rappahannock River in Virginia his entire life. He came to me on Saturday (May 17th, 2008) and said that he'd caught a fish which he couldn't identify. He said that he'd never seen one like it in all his 70 years. I took one look at it and thought for sure that he'd caught a Northern Snakehead!
Thanks to your site I found that it was a Bowfin. What you might find interesting about this incident was that he (obviously male) was caught in the brackish water of the lower Rappahannock in a CRAB TRAP! There have been some heavy rains in VA in the past few weeks so there's a lot of fresh (and muddy) water coming downriver... We've caught a few catfish in the crab traps but never a bowfin until Saturday!
I just thought you'd like to know...
Martin B., 05/19/08

April 2008, James R, Osborne Landing

Howdy Bagman,
The last few weeks my dad and I have been doing some catfishing on the James river here in VA. There's some HUGE blue cats in the James but I had never caught, or really heard of anyone catching a grinnell from the James. We had some shad chunks out on fish finder rigs and caught both of these grinnell on it. Both fins were caught out from the mouth of the same creek, but on different days. It was the area of the river between Osbourne Landing and Richmond for those familiar with it. Just for some fun info, the spot where we caught the fins is within sight of Jimmy Dean's place on the James. Yep, the Jimmy Dean sausage guy. Can't really miss it, he's got a huge D like on the boxes carved into the grass of his lawn facing the river.
Good Finnin,
Jason B., 04/11/08

February 2008, Chickahominy R, Bottoms Bridge

Howdy Bagman,
Been a while since I've sent anything in but managed to get a couple nice fins yesterday. I know Chickahominy Lake has been mentioned a few times here, but I haven't seen any spots on the actual river mentioned. I got both of these fins from well above Chick Lake. The were from a bridge crossing of Rt. 60. Folks around here know it as Bottoms Bridge. Nice spot if you're lookin for something other than b@$$. Quite a few big pike (chains), and fins in there. I've seen a fin jumpin' down there that is a monster. Funny part of the day was that the bait shop was closed, so I really didn't have any good bait. I took a couple hot dogs down there and Bam!, fins like dogs! Of course, they could have just been in a feeding mood too. Smaller one was 24 inches, and the bigger one was 26 inches.
Good Finnin,
Jason B., 02/20/08

January 2008, North Landing R

Sign me up as a member! My name is Dave M and I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. We catch a lot of grinnel down here in the local rivers and lakes and some get pretty big. Attached is a picture one a caught a while back. She went a little over 8 lbs. on the digital scale. Thanks.
Dave M, 01/15/08

December 2007, Blackwater River

We call them blackfish here in Southeastern Virginia on the Blackwater River in Southampton County. I was looking around your site but saw no one else that fishes for them when and how we do. They can, of course, be caught all year long but for some reason around here between November (mid) and into February, with December usually being the best, is the hot bowfin season. The fish seem to be schooled together and sometimes it is nothing to catch 30 a day up to 10 pounds. The lure of choice is a blade bait jigged off the bottom. Half the time they are snagged, sometimes the bait will not make it to the bottom. You also miss a lot. All this tells me they must be spawning or something to be congregated like this. In this one little cove that is about 14 ft max and about an acre in size shaped like a bowl with no cover on the bottom at all is our top place. There must be hundreds stacked in there at times. So I'm wondering what you think, is it mating or spawning or what ? Jeff T, 12/17/07
Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper

Jeff, It's not spawning - that's a spring ritual, April-June depending on location. We do see fins coloring up for spawn as the water cools in the late fall. They may be stacking in that hole as a place to overwinter. There is not much research on bowfins, so we're usually on our own to guess why they do what they do. Sounds like the spot is suited to their wintering needs - oxygen, food, shelter from the current. Do you get ice over or is this all open water finnin'?
Good Finnin'

Sometimes it ices over, but the majority of the winter it is clear. I work pretty close with the Va. Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries here in Va. I have a biologist friend that works for them that did some minor bowfin sampling this past year. I have been talking to him about funding for more research on bowfin which he is interested in. However the state does not seem that interested. The money will go to the more popular species I'm sure.
Thank you for your insight. I think what you said is the most likely case. If we did not have such blackwater and it was a more clearwater environment I would invest in a fish camera. I think it would be absolutely wild to see all those blackfish stacked up on the bottom of that cove or gut as we call it around here. Have you ever heard of fishing for the bowfin like we do? You should try it of course what works here might not work anywhere else.
JeffT, 12/17/07

October 2007, Chesapeake Area

Dear Bagman,
I was always a saltwater fishing person until about a year ago. My husband, son, and I have been going to different lakes and rivers around our area in Chesapeake, Virginia. Last week my husband caught a fish I had never seen before; it was a bowfin. Yesterday we went fishing again and caught two of them. Thanks to your website, we will be trying them for the first time. One site I was on said that they were not fit to eat. Well, I am going to try for myself. Thank you for putting up your website. Now, I think I might like fresh water fishing. Thanks again.
Angel S, 10/03/07

October 2007, Chickahominy Reservoir

Hey Bagman,
We went fishing with Josh S, my youngest son Evan, his friend Hunter, and my nephew, Baby Doug last weekend on the Chickahominy Lake . The lake is still really low right now, and fishing was pretty slow for the most part. I struck first with this 25 1/2" fish(fat, bald guy in gray shirt) 6 pounder around 8 am. My youngest son Evan, aka Twiggy Smalls, quickly followed with big fish of the day. His fish is eight pounds and 27" long. This fish fought like a beast, but Twiggy won.

Baby Doug was next with a three pounder(white tanktop) around 9 am. That was it until the late evening. Then all heck broke loose. Around 6:30 pm, Josh hooked up with this seven pound, 26 1/2" fish(no shirt). We didnt realize it at that moment but we were in the mother of all honey holes. He quickly caught another four pounder. Then I caught a six and a four. Like a fool, I told him to net the four pounder, who had a crankbait in his mouth. Needless to say, we no longer had a net- only a single glove. His very next cast, he hooked a really big fish. He managed to get it close to the boat, but the fish was not done yet. He stripped off about 20 feet of line then spit the hook. I immediatly cast in that direction and he was on again within seconds. I got him to the boat again, but armed only with one glove, we did not stand a chance. Josh attempted to grab him, but he broke my line. We both agreed this fish was a lot bigger than his citation he caught last month. We had non-stop action for almost 50 minutes, hooking some really big fish but with no net we were unable to land them. I have never seen so many big fish in one place. We did land a few more of the smaller four to six pounders. Then as quickly as it started, the frenzy ended. This was the most exciting hour of fishing I've ever experienced. For the day, I caught two 4's, two 6's. Josh caught a 7, a 6, and one 4 pounder. Twiggy Smalls caught only the one fish, his eight pounder. Baby Doug caught the most- three bows two to four pounds, a couple of small b@$$, two crappie, and about a five pound catfish. Hunter was shut out, but I'm gonna make sure he catches something big this weekend.
Charlie S, 10/03/07

August 2007, Chickahominy Reservoir

Howdy Bagman,
It's been a long while since I was able to send in a picture, but getting out to Chickahominy Lake I had a good feeling I might get one. For those interested in fins around VA, Chick Lake is just awesome. Some of the smaller waters are nice too, but for quantity and quality Chick Lake is hard to beat. Just last year some guy landed a 17.5 lbs fin from there, but didn't get it certified correctly for the state record. This one in the picture was an average one for the lake at about 6-7 lbs, very stout and healthy. We found out just how healthy when we tried to boat it and realized we left our landing net at home. It was a struggle, but man was it fun!
Jason B, 08/15/07

August 2007, Intercoastal Waterway

I caught this 22 inch Fin on August 8th at the Intercoastal Waterway using cut Bluegill...bottom rigged. I have had 4 fins on my line in the past 3 days, including today but this is the only one I was able to land. Two bit my line, the other was on one of my finnesse worms using an Ikey Head and somehow....... he just got off. 1 out of 4 isn't bad I guess although 4 out of 4 sounds better!
LTJG Ron B, 08/10/07

August 2007, Chickahominy Reservoir

Hey Bagman,
This email is on behalf of my 15 year old son, Josh. This past weekend we were doing a little bowfinning on perhaps the hottest day of the year when Josh hooked this little cutie. This fish was 31 inches long and estimated at 16 inches in girth (at least). My hands wouldn't fit around it at its widest. According to the scale on your website it weighs between 11 and 13 pounds, again, at least. This is a citation by Virginia guidelines (30" or 10 lbs). If you look closely at the pictures you will notice the rod and reel he landed this little mule with. It is my youngest son's light action Quantam rod and reel, fitted with eight pound test, which we use for small b@$$ and crappie. Remarkable, since earlier in the day I had another big fish shred the gears in my expensive medium action reel (this has happened to me before). I was unaware of this until he told me later that afternoon while looking at the pictures. Yes, this living relic was released alive and well, after a tremendous battle of wills in the boat, hopefully to be caught again in the future.
He caught that fish at Ed Allens, Chickahominy Lake. That place is loaded with big bowfin. The water level is a little right now due to a breach in the dam, but the fishing is still pretty good.
Thanks for your time.
Charlie S, 08/07/07

February 2007, Harrison Lake

Hey Bagman,
We got out to Harrison Lake this weekend. I didn't have much luck myself, but my dad brought in a pretty nice fin. This particular one looked a bit thin to us compared to ones I've pulled out of here before, measuring at 26 inches and right about 5 pounds. It still had the minnow in it's mouth when we released it, so that'll fatten em up a bit anyhow.
Jason B, 02/26/07

January 2007, Harrison Lake

Hey Bagman,
Just wanted to drop in with another hotspot for fins in VA. With the warm weather lately I've been able to get out a few times. This particular fin was caught at Harrison Lake in Charles City County. I Was fishing with a medium sized minnow at the time and guess this gal thought it was an appetizer. I've hooked quite a few nice size fins at this spot, but getting 'em all in to the bank is a different story (amazing fighters). This fin wound up being 27 inches and about 7 lbs.
Jason B, 01/15/07

January 2007, Blackwater River

When fishing this river for B@$$/Bluegill or whatever it is a rare day that we don’t tie into a large Bowfin or Chain Pickerel. This river is also full of very large Longnose Gar, once I even saw an Alligator Gar swim under my boat although the State Department of Fisheries say there aren’t any in this water.
This is the Blackwater River, located Southeast of Zuni, VA, which is very dark water with a lot of Cypress Trees. A lovely place to fish but is an obstacle course due to shallow areas, moving channel, stumps, logs and downed trees. The river is fed by the Blackwater Swamp and depending on rainfall upriver may very in depth from “get out and push” to as much as 5 to 20 feet in the same spot. The river north of the indicated put in point is only passable for a few hundred yards due to numerous trees down and completely across the river.
Joel M, 01/14/07

January 2007, Intercoastal Waterway

On the 6th I was fishing alone in the Intercoastal Waterway Bridge on Centerville Turnpike again when I got a big hit on a line with a minnow. As I brought him close to shore, I tried to hold him while I climbed down the rocks and grabbed my net, but unfortunately those were 2 tasks too many for this angler today and the fin got away. 30 minutes later, I had a fin on again and this time it bit off my line. It looked bigger than the first.
Today, 7Jan07, armed with my secret weapon, (Aaron, my 7 year old partner), in the same spot it hit again after 3 hrs of patiently waiting. With net in hand my son scooped him out of the water after an adrenaline-filled fight. Twenty-two inches of vindication! But, in the excitement, my son snapped the shot while moving so this fin is a blurry memory!
LTJG Ron B, 01/08/07

October 2006, Intercoastal Waterway

Just wanted to send this in. I was fishing the Intercoastal Waterway in Chesapeake VA off the Centerville TNPK Bridge with my son. We were fishing for Catfish with a cut up spot as bait when we landed this 21.5 inch Bowfin just as it was getting dark. Earlier in the day my buddy had landed a 15in female and my son and I had our lines cut by Bowfins before we got smart and slapped on some metal leaders to our rods. These fish put up a great fight and my son and I have never felt such adrenaline freshwater fishing before.
Mustang Navy "Sursum ab Ordo"

August 2006, Powhatan Creek

I thought I would drop you guys a line with a pic of a 27" bowfin I caught today on Powhatan Creek in James City County, VA (Williamsburg). We were, as usual, kayak fishing, as I spotted this guy next to a bulkhead. I tossed a small Tequilla Sunrise worm at it a couple times, and then the fight started. Obviously, it's not too easy to land a grindle in a kayak, so I stepped in the mud, to beach not only the kayak, but the bowfin too. This creek is right behind the historic Jamestown Island.
JohnO, 08/03/06
Williamsburg Kayak Fishing Association
Peninsula Kayak Anglers

June 2006, Westhampton Lake

Westhampton Lake on the campus of the University of Richmond, May 30, 2006 4-inch watermelon plastic worm Caught by Mark W
MarkW 06/09/06

June 2006, Chickahominy Reservoir

Hi everyone,
I thought I would drop a line and tell you my story from today. My father and I went to Chickahominy Lake to do a little "Finning" and although it started off slow, I did manage to get a few fish by mid morning. I had the day off at work and while fishing the office calls. As soon as I answer the phone,"BAMM!" the bobber is down and cruising fast. I put the phone down set the hook and WHAM! the line snaps! Well I get finished with the call and continue fishing.
I had two jumbo minnows on two rods and a small minnow on a Zebco 33 set up, just going for Ring Perch and other small fish. Phone rings again, it's the office. I'm just beginning to talk when,"BAMM!",the Zebco bobber is down. I set the hook and it ain't no Ring Perch. Monster Bowfin must have wanted a morning snack with the little minnow. I drop the phone and spend about a minute getting him close to the boat. The 8lb test was no match for the "Muckbeast". SNAP!! The line breaks, but not before I saw what was at least a 6-7lb fish. I picked the phone back up and said it's either good luck that you keep calling or bad luck cause the line keeps breaking. I did manage to bring in a couple more and that was without the cell phone.
JeffV 06/02/06

February 2006, Chickahominy Reservoir

I was reading through the posts here and seeing where folks are finding their "fins" and I have yet to see anyone mention Virginia. I run a tackle shop on the Chickahominy River (Lake portion) that is just loaded with bowfin. I have been fishing the "Chick" for about 15yrs and I can say that the average fin here is about 5lbs or better. I have open Tuersday Night "D.A.L.A Tournaments" (anything but a bass) here that we target the fins. AWESOME! You can hook fins on just about any lure here just don't expect the lure to look the same when you get, if you get it back in the boat. One of my personal favorite ways for catching bowfin is topwater fishing over matted duckweed/hydrilla. When fishing like that you still get that explosion on the bait but there is a teltale sound when a fin hits like that. It make a sound like someone just popped a plastic bag. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. We just put a website together for the shop so feel free to check out the pictures in the gallery section under bowfins.
P.S. I believe Va. state record is 16.8 out of Lake Cahoon. The Chick will break that record, mark my word!!
Bill, 02/28/06

June 2005

Mattaponi River

While fishing on the Mattaponi River with my uncle in King William VA. I had caught a small white perch, my uncle suggested I use it for cut bait maybe I could get a catfish. I took a circle hook and a sinker and gave it a toss overboard, about fifteen minutes later the line started peeling out. I thought it was a good sized catfish but to my surprise I came up with this 21 inch bowfin or as they call it in VA a grinnell. As I was about to lip it (not knowing about the teeth) my Uncle stopped me from doing that (thanks, Unc). I had to have him snap a quick picture before I set it free seeing as how I would get skunked every time I would go down to VA from New York, I needed proof that I caught something.
Mark W 06/12/05

Bradford/Chubb Lakes

My 4-year-old son, Samuel, caught his first fish, and it was a Bowfin! What a catch, it fought like a "first fish" should! He caught it on his little Batman fishing reel we got at Wal-Mart, rigged with a plastic lizard with a nice little propeller on it. The fish came out of a small lake behind the house (near Virginia Beach, VA.) Its a nice little place for kids and big kids to fish. Its got a lot of very good size catfish too. Thank for such a cool site for such a "cool fish".
Jackson P. 06/01/05

Bradford/Chubb Lakes

Dear Bagman and Bag members,
I accidentally stumbled upon a Bowfin hotbed, as I am sure many others have. I am an active duty sailor who grew up fishing the waters of South Texas. I recently completed an assignment at NAB Little Creek in Virginia Beach, VA. There is a lake there, part of which is on the base and is called Lake Bradford and there is a fence on one end that separates the off base portion called Chubb Lake. Interestingly enough, it is a freshwater lake that is separated from the Chesapeake Bay by less than 100 yards.

During the last part of my tour of duty, we were assigned to government housing which happened to be right on the lake. My son and I started fishing the lake and began catching these 5 - 8 lb monster-looking fish, the likes of which I had never seen. One day I decided to keep one on a stringer and show it to another angler who proceeded to tell us that we had caught a bowfin. We had a lot of fun catching bowfin; they liked to hover around the numerous lily pads that line the lake. I am back in Texas now and I can't seem to locate a lake that harbors the fierce fighters. If anyone happens through Virginia Beach and wants to bag some bowfin, all they need to do is go to Lake Bradford/Chubb Lake with some shiners and a float and toss them near the lily pads.
LT Lorne S 03/24/05

September 2004, Deep Creek

This is a pic of Thomas with a medium size bowfin caught in Chesapeake Va. in Deep Creek (Christopher is supervising). We have returned several times to the same spot and pulled several 3 to 4 pounders and a couple ranging from 7 to almost 10 lbs. They were caught with an Offshore Angler OM4000 baitcaster and a 7' MH action Inshore rod, Spiderwire 50lb test and Diachi hooks on a bottom rig. For bait, a fresh piece of blue crab backfin caught in the same location. I have found cut white perch to be very productive. On the last trip we pulled 6 from the same spot.
Mike C 09/03/04

May 2004, Loc'n Unknown

My friend and fishing buddy Mike caught this 7 lb. 11 oz. bowfin on 04/24/04 while we were largemouth fishing in a small lake in Virginia. We had ever seen one before and it was pretty exciting. It hit a 5 inch Junebug Senko on 8 lb. line in about 3 ft. of water. We didn't have a net and it was kind of toothy looking so it took a while to get it in. Luckily, a couple of other fishermen were in a boat nearby and saw all of the commotion and came over and netted the thing. It was a real fighter and we released it. I ran across your website doing some research on bowfins and thought you might want another picture.
Keep on Finnin', Glen

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