Michigan Bowfisherman Catches Potential State Record Black Buffalo

   04.20.15

Sage Colegrove of Muskegon, Michigan may have arrowed the state’s next record black buffalo the night of April 12. According to MLive, the massive 45.4-pound fish was caught in an undisclosed location in the Grand River and was so heavy that it bent the gaff hook that Colegrove used to pull the fish up.

“It was very exhilarating,” Colegrove said. “It was really, really cold, but it was worth it.”

If approved by state officials, the fish will beat out the current state record, a 41.25-pound fish caught by Joshua Teunis of Grand Haven last June. That fish came from Muskegon County’s bear lake. According to the International Game Fish Association, the world record for black buffalo goes to a 63-pound, six-ounce fish caught by Jim Winters in the Mississippi River in 1999.

Black buffalo, like many other suckers, are commonly mistaken for carp and as a result are often considered trash fish. In recent years, however, interest in suckers among Michigan anglers has risen and black buffalo have become one of the most highly desired fish among local bowfishermen. Some anglers also like hunting them because they claim black buffalo will often eat the eggs of other game fish such as walleye and brown trout. State officials, however, usually remind fishermen that there is little basis for these claims.

“There are those who believe they compete for food and space with more desirable species,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stated in a press release. “They’ve also been blamed for eating the spawn of other species. However, there appears to be no scientific basis for these beliefs. Suckers have evolved side by side with most species of game fish and seem to coexist quite nicely with them. Most species of suckers demand relatively high water quality; in fact, excellent sucker fishing is available in some of the state’s premier trout streams.”

Colegrove wrote on Facebook that the fish has been certified by a state biologist and he is now waiting for the submission to be approved.

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