I caught one of these in a lake by my house. It had to be close to 5lbs! It scared me a little. I thought I had a bass, when it got closer to the boat I thought I had a walleye. When I got it in the boat, I was like, what the heck is that thing. I went to Google on my iphone and looked it up. Sure enough it was a Bow fin!
I caught a Bow Fin on the north east shore of lake Erie, in Port Colbourne, Ontario and man it was big (about 4kg) and it faught hard. I had no idea what it was myself until I spent some time reading up. They also go by the name "Dog Fish" around here and they are a very unique fish; as I understand they are an ancient fish with no relatives - they are one of a kind. When I caught the fish my buddy and I were kind of freaked out at first cause it was so unusual. First impression was that it was some type of eel.
Newplanter - Bowfin have been lving with bass for 1000's of years. They are one of the oldest families of fish and native to North America. They have no effect on bass populations because the bass eat them as much as they eat the bass. I had a 2 pound bowfin in a 110G tank many years ago and it became about as tame as you could expect a fish to be. He would take minnows out of my hand and would even jump to do so. Very cool fish. They are not much good with smaller tankmates as they will eat most of them if they can be swallowed. They don't mess with plants though, in fact they lay eggs on them, so good for a planted tank. Lastly, these guys grow into the 12 pound range quickly so a BIG tank is a must.
id have to agree with jasonp. Newplanter, you have no idea what you are talking about.. First off Bowfin's mouths are not big enough to go around eating bass. 2nd, they are an oportunistic feeder, meaning they won't chase and try to eat bass. In the midwest they mostly feed on anything from crayfish to small fish like minnows and little bluegill. Obviously if you put a bluegill on a hook they will eat it, but they won't attack a bass over a few inches because they could never swallow it.
I catch these in the swamp near my house regularly. I can't imagine people keeping them in an aquarium. I have caught several over 10 lbs. They live out of water for several hours. They eat any and everything that moves. I use live tadpoles and small fish for bait. They are fun to catch because they fight hard , but if you aren't setup for them they will cut your line with their teeth.