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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I have a spot that's chock full of these things. I've spent nearly every day for a month throwing everything I have at them from bluegill poppers to giant purple tarpon toads. I haven't even gotten a look, much less an eat. Anybody catching these things on fly? Info on the interwebs is sparse and what I have seen makes it sound like bowfin on fly is the easiest thing in the world. I've tried fishing in full sun, early morning, cloudy days and in the rain. I give up. Any ideas? Using an 8wt with a floating line, 9ft leader with 8lb tippet.
 

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Mostly Harmless
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My dad used to catch them on plastic worms most consistently, so maybe a longer eel or leech pattern fished slow?

I never had the patience to fish a plastic worm well, so I only caught them on a trot line baited with cut bait for turtles, which doesn’t help you at all.

Nate
 

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I used to catch the hell out of these with Berkley power worms, purple and black. fished slow on the bottom, never caught one on the fly. I've also caught them on topwater with a Zara spook kind of lure. fun as hell to catch.
 

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I'll be following this thread. Our local fly club has them in our tournament in September. I've heard dark flies and slow presentation too, but I have no personal experience. They look fun to catch though.
 

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Ok, so I have a spot that's chock full of these things. I've spent nearly every day for a month throwing everything I have at them from bluegill poppers to giant purple tarpon toads. I haven't even gotten a look, much less an eat. Anybody catching these things on fly? Info on the interwebs is sparse and what I have seen makes it sound like bowfin on fly is the easiest thing in the world. I've tried fishing in full sun, early morning, cloudy days and in the rain. I give up. Any ideas? Using an 8wt with a floating line, 9ft leader with 8lb tippet.
I got a Buddy who sight fishes them with some hybrid weirdo redfish looking shit. Medium dumbell eyes. Cast and drop. They are some ugly beasts. He said they go nuts when hooked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got a Buddy who sight fishes them with some hybrid weirdo redfish looking shit. Medium dumbell eyes. Cast and drop. They are some ugly beasts. He said they go nuts when hooked.
They're awesome to me. I've caught them on conventional gear a few times and in my opinion they put a bass to shame as far as fight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
From what I'm hearing, I may go back to the purple tarpon toad and just strip slower, or try some sort of dumbell head type crustacean pattern. Hell, at least I'm out fishing.
 

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i mean if youre just trying to blind cast for them...i mean good luck. I sight fish them all the time on the harris chain of lakes. You get in an area with eel grass, or even just shallow muddy bottoms and work slowly thru the area. They’ll be ghosting thru with those long back fins rippling. Another way is to watch them come up and gulp air kind of like a tarpon will. They can literally survive in the most polluted lakes. Honestly I’d go with a white baitfish pattern and color the back black or just a mullet pattern. When you see one, you just sight fish him like any other fish. They are normally a lot more tolerant of sight casting because they are pretty much the apex predator in their lakes. And yes...they go nuts when set into. Good luck!!! Do it on a 5-6 wt for more fun :)
 

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Based on my time as a bass angler, I'm going to point you in the opposite direction.

Flashy, and fast. I used to hammer them on spinnerbaits. Not on purpose though.
I remember fishing a bass tournament, getting an eat from a really heavy fish, convinced I had the tournament won, only to find out it was a choupique. That one, and many others I caught had crushed a spinnerbait. They just destroy them.
 

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Bowfin love to eat other fish. I used to catch them all the time on rapala jerkbaits and use game changers now. Maybe predatory responses, but I catch them. Any larger profile streamers will work...I like shad colors around 4-6 inch range. Read their body language and cast perpendicular to their head. Bring it a foot in front of their face and when it turns to look at the fly, give it a quick bump. Quick, sharp twitched of 8-12 inches are the best while letting the fly fall for a second or two. Secondly, if they start chasing the bait, keep it moving. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i mean if youre just trying to blind cast for them...i mean good luck. I sight fish them all the time on the harris chain of lakes. You get in an area with eel grass, or even just shallow muddy bottoms and work slowly thru the area. They’ll be ghosting thru with those long back fins rippling. Another way is to watch them come up and gulp air kind of like a tarpon will. They can literally survive in the most polluted lakes. Honestly I’d go with a white baitfish pattern and color the back black or just a mullet pattern. When you see one, you just sight fish him like any other fish. They are normally a lot more tolerant of sight casting because they are pretty much the apex predator in their lakes. And yes...they go nuts when set into. Good luck!!! Do it on a 5-6 wt for more fun :)
Oh no, I can see the bastards. They mock me.
 

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It depends on water depth. If you on the flats and seeing them just put it in form of them and work it.

In deeper water from my experience when blind casting them working it slow near the bottom was the best way. Granted most of my luck with them has been in the okenfenokee Where they like to set on the depth change between the old river channel and the flats. As it approaches the drop off. You usually get slammed. Hard eat, fight is ok but when they hit the bottom of the boat watch out haha.

I personally like crawfish colored flies for them but that could just be me.
 

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I always caught them in bass tournament years ago and thought I had a woper only to find out bowfin. Always on a plastic worm
 
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