Strange creature from Elk River

Discussion in 'WEST VIRGINIA RIVER TALK' started by DANZIG, Aug 8, 2006.


    DANZIG New Member

    West Virginia
    Mmm... it seems that I threw back several thousand dollars worth of fish this spring... LOL!!
    [SIZE=+2]Roane teenager hooks
    strange creature from Elk River

    Jake Stump
    Daily Mail Staff

    [SIZE=-1]Tuesday August 08, 2006[/SIZE]

    PROCIOUS -- It was a little after midnight when 14-year-old Darrell Wayne Welch set his fishing rod down to go get more bait from the house.
    When he returned Friday night, his pole was 120 yards across the Elk River.
    The boy jumped into his boat, paddled to the other side and retrieved the pole. Luckily enough for Darrell, the fish was still hooked as he struggled for 30 minutes to pull it back to shore.
    Obviously, this fish that caused such a ruckus was no ordinary catch.
    Anglers often catch walleye, muskie, bass, perch, catfish and carp from the Elk River in Procious, Clay County.
    But it took three days before someone could identify this monster of a fish.
    Darrell had caught a 25.75-inch, 5-pound, 2-ounce bowfin -- a primitive ray-finned fish.
    Bowfins are like the dinosaurs of fish. The bowfin and the gar are two freshwater fishes that have remained unchanged throughout history, and their existence dates back to the prehistoric, dinosaur days.
    Still, bowfins are such a rare catch in West Virginia that even Division of Natural Resources officials and other wildlife experts seemed puzzled trying to distinguish Darrell's fish.
    "I kept opening its mouth, thinking it was a muskie," said the ninth-grader at Roane County High School. "But then I saw its back fin."
    Bowfins are recognizable for the single, continuous dorsal fin that runs snakelike from the mid-body to the tail.
    These fish aren't easy on the eyes; they usually carry around a large head with two tiny horns, or barbells, that propel from their nose.
    The bowfin is also different from other fish because its swim bladder functions like a lung and allows it to gulp air when oxygen levels run low.
    Darrell isn't the first angler to catch a bowfin in West Virginia. Matt Stender of Barboursville holds the current record for catching a 9-pound, 4-ounce bowfin from an Ohio River backwater in July. In 1995, two men set records at the time for catching bowfins from a Berkeley County pond.
    In and around Procious and Clay County, the bowfin has become the talk of the community.

    No one in the area had spotted one before. Darrell's father, 67-year-old William Darrell Welch, hadn't even seen them after a lifetime of hitting numerous fishing holes throughout the state.
    "Nobody can believe that kind of fish came out of the water," the elder Welch said. "People have fished up to 60 years here and have never seen that before."
    The Welches, who live in Gandeeville, Roane County, visit their summer hangout home in Procious quite often to fish the adjacent Elk River.
    The bowfin made such a splash that family and friends thought "Moby Dick" -- a legendary catfish lurking in the river that no one can catch -- had bit on Darrell's minnow. He'd been fishing for catfish, after all.
    "It scared the bejeebies out of me," said Janet Peters, a friend of the Welches who was fishing with Darrell. "His pole shot out and splashed around in the water, and I dropped my pole and ran."
    The boy is keeping the fish in a makeshift aquarium until he decides what to do with it. Someone even offered him $500 for the slimy devil.
    The catch is probably the proudest of young Darrell's fishing life, but it's not the biggest. Just a few weeks ago, he caught a 51-pound catfish in the same river.
    For as much as he casts his line, he'll probably surpass those feats again.
    "I like feeling the fight of the fish," said Darrell, who normally releases his catches back into their environment. "I've never fished a day in my life where I've never caught one."
    The youngster also enjoys hunting and riding four-wheelers. His family lives on 220 acres of land in Roane County and they keep nine ponds stocked with fish.
    His father figures it's the best pastime a youth can have these days. "You can just sit there and relax," said William Darrell Welch, a retired coal miner. "You don't think of nothing and can just drift off. Plus, if he's up here fishing, I know he's not running around with dopeheads down the road."
  2. jrm11

    jrm11 New Member

    Fairmont, W Va.
    He should of put it back, at one time they were believed to be extinct.
    In fact it may be against the law to keep him !!!
    Also if they are so rare and he took one out. There's one fish that will not spawn. Just my opinion!

  3. MadKater

    MadKater New Member

    thats pretty cool thanks for posting.
    around here a bowfin is considerd a trash fish but i love catching them and spend alot of time targeting bowfin. ive only met on eother guy in my area that fishes for bowfin,normally when they are caught the person that catches them just kills them,its a shame,the bowfin has been around for a long time and can give any angler a work out. when im not chasein cats im after bowfin. as a matter of fact the 2 fish in my avatar are bowfin. :)
  4. squirtspop

    squirtspop New Member

    Glencoe, Arkansas
    I've never seen one so I wouldn't know what it was either.
  5. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    iv never caught one but my brother vlparrish has check his photo's on here to see a bowfin he caught it on green river i think ,prehistoric fish just think if you hung a 20# one wow what a fight
  6. purebonewv

    purebonewv New Member

    west virginia
    i have caught several bowfin in my live i love them because they date back so far they are considered a trash fish around here too but the way i think is they have been around so long whats the harm in letting them live they have not hurt the other species so far