Missouri's Flying Fish

1 decade 2 years 7 months ago Thursday, February 23 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:08:10 PM CST February 23, 2006 in News

The lure of collosal carp and gargantuan gar is enough to make grown men giggle. A lot of people know about this river, but not a lot know what kind of fish are in it.

We won't reveal the river's identity, although we can tell you this is Mike Bommer and Dan Scherer. They're fishing friends and tournament teamates. But, you won't find poles on their boat. Heck, these guys don't even pack any bait!

"Mike, it looks like we've picked another good day," said Scherer.

A good day, because fish come to you--at River "X."

"I've had them jump into the boat, over the boat. I've had 'em land up here on the deck."

"Look out! They're coming to get you!"

"Golly!"

"Just constant fish flying."

"Sometimes you'll see guys with dip nets. One guy will stand on each side of the boat, and fish will come out of the water, and catch them in the dip nets."

But, Mike and Dan don't even need dip nets; they just draw back and shoot the fish--with arrows.

"There's actually people who've tried to get the conservation department to let them come out here with shotguns and shoot these fish," said Scherer.

It's called bowfishing. A combination of angling and archery, using a reel attached to a bow. Their rig shoots an arrow up to 150 feet per second.

"You can imagine coming downriver at 40 miles per hour, and having one of those come in the boat."

That's why these Asian carp are dangerous to boaters. So, by targeting nuisance fish, bowfishermen help preserve endangered species.

"They can eat up to five times their bodyweight in plankton," Bommer explained. "That's also what the endagered river sturgeon eat, as well as small fish. So, they're worried about them depleting the amount of plankton that's in here."

"When the carp won't bite my piece of corn, I usually force feed them a 32-inch arrow."

"Right here! Right here!"

"Good fish! See it?"

So, we tip our hat to the carp control crew. No poles, no bait, just shooting fish people love to hate.

"It's not just an addiction, it's an obsession."

What do Bommer and Scherer do with the fish they shoot on River "X"? They eat some, and donate the others to a raptor rehabilitation project for the birds to eat.

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