Pennsylvanian Angler Claims Vermont’s Newest Big Fish Record

In a snapshot captured in a garage, a man adorned in a Bass Pro Shops hat proudly holds up an enormous longnose gar that entirely fills the frame. The fish, glistening and covered in scales, exhibits a hint of blood at its rear, evidence of its recent gutting.

Pennsylvania bowfisher Jeremy Bicking secured a record-setting longnose gar in Lake Champlain last year, as announced by state officials this week.

Bicking’s remarkable catch measured an impressive 54.75 inches in length and weighed 18.6 pounds, establishing itself as the largest longnose gar ever recorded by bowfishing since the practice’s documentation began in 1969.

The Pennsylvania native, Jeremy Bicking, landed this exceptional fish in May 2023 during his annual visit to Vermont with his younger brother and father to see his Vermonter uncle.

Bowfishing, the technique of using a bow or crossbow with an attached line to catch fish, was employed by Bicking, who utilized a compound bow to capture the award-winning gar.

While many bowfishers opt for nighttime expeditions using lights to illuminate the water, Bicking and his family chose to hunt during daylight hours, aided by polarized lenses. The slightly colder weather in May than their usual visits led to a lengthier search, with Bicking revealing, “We shot a few of the gar, and then I was in front of the boat and saw the bigger one that I shot come through. At the time, we didn’t really realize how big it was.”

Post-capture, Bicking’s younger brother suggested weighing the gar, suspecting it could be close to the state record. To their delight, it surpassed the existing record of a 17.9-pound, 50.5-inch gar shot in 1996 by Tom Casavant. Bicking officially weighed the gar on a state-certified scale the following day, submitted the necessary paperwork to confirm the record, and proceeded to fillet, chunk, and deep-fry the catch.

Bicking adheres to the principle of only harvesting what he plans to eat, a practice instilled in him. Although this longnose gar is the largest caught by bow, a slightly shorter but heavier one was captured by rod and reel in 2007. The state differentiates between records for bow and hook-and-line catches, with bowfishing allowing direct targeting of fish, according to Shawn Good, a fisheries biologist at Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Image/Source: VermontPublic

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