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bowfin picture, information, description


OTHER NAMES: mudfish, mud pike, dogfish, grindle, blackfish, cotton fish, swamp bass, cypress trout.

RANGE: Found throughout Florida's freshwater lakes and rivers.

HABITAT: Prefers swamps, sloughs and pools, backwaters of lowland streams. Usually found near vegetation. They live in warm, poorly oxygenated waters that are uninhabitable to most fishes.

DESCRIPTION: The bowfin is the only living representative of an ancient family of fishes. It has an air-bladder which functions somewhat like a lung, and they are often seen near the surface of the water gulping mouthfuls of air. They are easily recognized by its flattened head; long, stout body; large mouth full of small, sharp teeth; long dorsal fin that extends along most of the back; and rounded tail. The pelvic fins are set far back on the belly near the middle of the body and the pectoral fins are low on the sides so that the overall appearance is one of three sets of fins in a row; the pectorals behind the head, the pelvic near the mid-body, and the anal fin near the tail. Also, two short tube-like barbells are located near the nostrils. The body is olive-green above, shading to pale yellow or cream on the belly. Several dark brown, horizontal bars are often evident on the cheeks. Males have a dark spot with a bright orange halo, on the upper part of the tail fin. The spot is absent or inconspicuous on females.

SIZE: Growth is very rapid. Bowfin may grow to over three feet long and weigh over 15 pounds.

FLORIDA RECORD : 19 pounds, caught in Lake Kissimmee in 1984.

FOOD VALUE: none, Flesh is soft, jelly like and tastes strong.

GAME QUALITIES: Bowfin are caught often by sport fishermen, but are considered nuisances. Many anglers fishing for bass have been surprised to find that a bowfin has taken their lure.

TACKLE AND BAITS: While it will strike topwater and deep-running artificial lures, it is most often caught in the spring and early summer on minnows, worms, frogs, crayfish or cut bait. It is an excellent fighter, better than some highly rated game fish.

FISHING TECHNIQUES: Still Fishing; Live Bait; Casting.


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