Records are meant to be broken, but Michigan wildlife officials hardly expected this one to be broken—again—so soon. It took less than a month after Nashville bowfisherman Garret Reid took his record quillback carpsucker for it to be eclipsed by an even bigger fish. According to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Blake Wilson of Lake Ann arrowed a 9.42-pound carpsucker in Hardy Dam Pond on July 16. The fish measured 25 inches long and weighed almost a pound more than Reid’s catch.
“This is another example of the unique fishing opportunities we have in Michigan – particularly in the northern Lower Peninsula,” said Scott Heintzelman, the DNR’s Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager. “More and more people are enjoying the sport of bowfishing and this water body’s quillback population, but Hardy Dam Pond also produces really nice panfish, walleye, bass, pike and other species.”
Quillbacks are schooling fish that have a heavy carp-like body, a small head, and no barbels. They can be hard to catch on a rod and reel, but have a reputation for being aggressive fighters with a soft bite. Quillbacks are far more popular with bowfishermen due to their relatively large size.
It is no surprise that the new record fish was caught from Hardy Dam Pond, which also produced three of the previous state record quillback carpsuckers. The pond is recognized by both the DNR and local anglers as one of the best places to catch that specific fish in the state. Before Reid, Grand Rapids bowfisherman Benjamin Frey harvested a fish measuring 8.25 pounds and 22.62 inches in 2014. Even further back, the record belonged to Randy Bonter, Jr. of Grant, who caught a 8.12-pound, 23-inch quillback in 2012.
Image courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources