It’s hard to believe that a fish grows this fat but knowing the lake and the possibilities for this species to feed so voraciously all year, it doesn’t surprise me one iota.
Bryan Hughes is a longtime friend of mine here in Alabama. He took me on my first bowfishing trip almost 20 years ago and we’ve had a few good ones on Guntersville Lake. He introduced me to Mark Land with Muzzy and Land’s giant bowfishing tank of a boat. And Hughes runs a successful outdoors store here that began with him selling bowfishing gear online.
He’s also a big bowhunter and loves getting into the woods, either by himself or with his kids.
While bowfishing Saturday night on Guntersville Lake — inarguably one of the finest bowfishing lakes in the country — Hughes and Scott Jennings arrowed a monstrous grass carp. It has been certified by the Bowfishing Association of America at 92 pounds as a world record.
It’s no surprise to me this would come from Guntersville Lake. At more than 69,000 acres on the Tennessee River it’s one of the most phenomenal, versatile bowfishing lakes anywhere. You want to try to shoot small gar and shad? Plenty of those for lots of practice. You want numbers? Rack ’em up with different carp, gar, buffalo and catfish. If you’re a trophy hunter then there’s no end to the possibilities for giant fish.
Miles of hydrilla, milfoil and eelgrass along with good flow, clean water, ample shallow backwaters and deeper creeks give all these fish plenty of habitat and forage. The annual Muzzy Classic is held here each April and the Alabama Championship has been on Guntersville Lake numerous times. The City of Guntersville welcomes bowfishermen as part of the recreational family. Now there’s a world record to promote, too.
Here’s what Hughes wrote and sent about the record carp:
Each month Backwater Outdoors located in Gurley, Ala., holds a bowfishing tournament on the area waters including Lake Guntersville in north Alabama. The night started out slow for Backwater owner Bryan Hughes and his teammates Scott Jennings and Madison Browning. The fishing was slow and rain storms had moved in. The team was struggling to find fish for the “Biggest 5 Fish” competition.
But in one moment that all changed. The team was fishing a popular area on Guntersville Lake when they rolled up on the fish of a lifetime. In about 3 feet of water, the team saw a fish they knew immediately was a monster grass carp. Hughes and Jennings immediately got two arrows in the fish, which took off. Jennings’ arrow pulled out, leaving only Hughes to fight the fish. Trying to bring in a fish of this size was going to take some time and careful handling.
After chasing the fish for several minutes they were able to catch up with it for a backup shot, which missed. The fish took off again. After several minutes and a couple more missed backup shots, they were finally able to secure another arrow in the fish. After the fish finally tired, they were able to gaff it. Jennings tried to bring the fish over the front deck but it was simply too heavy. That’s when they knew they had something special.
With help from is team they were finally able to drag this beast in and see its true size. They knew it was big but weren’t sure just how big. The team had a set of 80-pound scales and tried to weigh it, but the carp immediately bottomed out the scale. Upon returning to the boat ramp, another team had a set of 85-pound scales and it bottomed out that scale, too.
They knew then they had a potential record fish on their hands. At the Backwater Tournament weigh in, one team weighed in an 80-pound grass carp and spectators were amazed at its size. Then it came their time to weigh in. When the Backwater team’s fish hit the scales it weighed 93.3 pounds!
This passed the recent Bowfishing Association of America world record of 87.8 pounds. After taking time to find a place open on Sunday with certified scales, the fish was officially certified at 92.0 pounds and will be the Alabama state bowfishing and world bowfishing record grass carp (white amur). It was 51.5 inches long and had a 39-inch girth. Congratulations to this team!
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