BOB MAINDELLE: Bowfisherman challenges Stillhouse gar’s record | outdoor sports
For readers unfamiliar with the sport, bowfishing involves harvesting non-game fish species using specialized archery equipment.
Modern bow fishing equipment typically includes a compound bow to which a closed face reel or other form of line catcher is attached. The line from this device is attached to a heavy fiberglass arrow fitted with a barbed tip, all designed to allow the archer to shoot a fish and then retrieve both the fish and the arrow.
Non-game fish species generally include fish to which no length or catch limit applies, such as carp, some species of gar, buffalo, gizzard shad, suckers and others.
Many anglers who frequent our local reservoirs are unaware that bowfishing takes place there, as most bowfishing takes place under cover of darkness when fish tend to pass more time in shallow water, allowing the lights used by bow fishers to illuminate them. shallows, revealing fish shallow enough to shoot.
Two of the biggest challenges in bowfishing are consistently finding fish that are shallow enough to shoot and learning to aim for fish at different depths and distances while accounting for refraction.
Refraction refers to the way light is bent as it enters water, making objects appear not to be where they really are. Due to refraction, many novice bow anglers tend to miss shooting over the top of the fish when aiming directly at a fish. To overcome this, bow anglers learn to aim below where the fish appear to be.
I was recently contacted by Rick Munguia, the owner of Briggs-based Awesome Bowfishing.
Munguia called me as an official weigh station for the Texas Park and Wildlife Department.
Munguia and a few friends – Angel Rivera, Juan Vences, Jacob Howard and Richard Ginsberg – had taken a big, long-nosed guy and wanted to make arrangements to weigh him. Munguia suspected the gar was large enough to challenge the current bowfishing record for Stillhouse Hollow Lake set by Florence firefighter Darrick Gray in April 2018. The fish was over 56 inches long and weighed 25 pounds.
The records of fish that are kept are all based on the weight of the fish, not the length of the fish, while the state of the records for fish that are caught and released are based only on the length of the fish.
Munguia was born and raised in Pampa, where he resided for 40 years. After several visits to the Texas Hill Country, Munguia and his wife decided to move with their two daughters to central Texas.
The family moved to Briggs in 2015, where they have resided ever since.
Munguia works as head of the teardown department at Harold’s Auto Parts in Briggs. It was a connection to his work that led to Munguia’s interest in bow fishing.
“One of our employees has friends who own a bow fishing guide service,” Munguia said. “We booked with them and after the first time I was hooked.”
This guide service was Highly Suspect Bowfishing based in Bertram.
During the night of Saturday, January 29, Munguia and his friends had raked the waters of the Lampasas River, upstream from Stillhouse Hollow.
“We were almost done for the night when we came across the big fish,” Munguia said.
Since he was acting as a guide for his friends, he gave Rivera the first shot at the fish.
“Angel was so excited he missed high,” Munguia said. “I shot and I didn’t miss. I immediately called for reinforcements. Both Ginsberg and Juan shot and missed, crossing the lines above mine. They remained calm and unraveled their lines. Angel had reloaded, and this time he didn’t miss. We worked together to get it on board. What an amazing fish. I caught a lot of longnose, but nothing like her.
After Munguia was introduced to the sport, he started his own part-time bowfishing guide service called Awesome Bowfishing, a sole proprietorship registered in Burnet County.
“Awesome Bowfishing is in its infancy,” Munguia said. “It is my dream to share with others the passion for hunting and fishing at the same time.”
Munguia’s bowfishing rig consists of a Tracker Grizzly 2072 2022 boat fitted with a 36 volt, 112 pound thrust Riptide Fortrex trolling motor from Minn Kota. To light up the night, Munguia relies on its Firman 2,000 watt generator which powers a bank of 12 SeeLite 100 watt bow fishing lights.
Munguia’s selection of archery equipment includes a Zebco 808 closed face reel with a 150 pound test line attached to a Cajun Shore Runner compound bow. Muzzy arrows and safety garillon point arrowheads complete the set.
After working to get the big guy in the boat, Munguia placed the fish in an ice water bath to keep him from dehydrating while figuring out how and where to weigh the fish. Munguia’s own length measurements led him to believe the fish had a chance of eclipsing the lake’s current record.
Shortly after calling me, Munguia and I met where I weighed the fish using a certified scale.
Unfortunately, the fish fell just short of the existing record’s 25 pounds, but the fish was still a personal best for Munguia, and he continues to move forward with plans to make a full mount of the fish.
Munguia can be reached at [email protected] or 806-664-1084.