Most fishermen have a passion to catch fish whether they be bass, sac-a-lait, bream, catfish, speckled trout or redfish. But for Rene Baudouin of Luling, his passion lies in taking a big fish with his bow.
Last week Baudouin had a chance to walk the banks of Grand Bayou along the Bayou Gauche Road in search of a big catch.
"The pumps were running and the water was flowing towards the bayou. I could see this large alligator garfish breaking water 100 yards ahead of my location," Baudouin said. "I grabbed my bow and waited on the canal banks."
The big garfish broke the top of the water about 15 yards parallel to the banks. As the garfish started to go down, Baudouin shot an arrow a foot behind the garfish’s head and a foot below his target.
"To my surprise I made a good shot," Baudouin said. "The garfish took off in the clear water. The line attached is rated for 300 pounds and the big fish was taking a lot of line."
So Baudouin called his friend, Alex Dufrene, for help.
"Alex arrived and put another arrow in the garfish with an arrow attached to 500-pound rated line," Baudouin said. "The fish began to weaken about 20 minutes later. We loaded the big garfish in Alex’s truck and went home."
The garfish was 7.5 feet long and weighed 126 pounds. The two cleaned the fish with a hatchet and knives and were able to make 140 ground meat garfish patties.
"We used onions, celery, eggs, green onions, seasoning and flour to make the fish patties," Baudouin said. "It was trial and error for a while to get the fish patties right. We fried the fish patties in hot grease."
Though Baudouin said everyone thinks he is crazy for shooting the big garfish, he shot another one two days later.
"He was bigger than the one I caught, but he broke the arrow after fighting me for 30 minutes," Baudouin said. "There are bigger garfish in the canal and I will be back."
According to the 2012 Louisiana Fishing Regulations, a fisherman needs a valid basic license to possess fish in Louisiana waters using a bow and arrow. There is no size or limit on spotted and alligator garfish.