54-Pound Grass Carp Sets Georgia Bowfishing Record

John Trussell | July 13, 2022

J.D. Bond with the Georgia bowfishing state-record grass carp, a 54-pounder he arrowed at Bartletts Ferry on June 30, 2022.

Sometimes when you are shooting fish with a bow from the front of the boat, things are moving fast. The action can happen in a flash. That was the case the evening of June 30 for a group of bowfishermen at Bartletts Ferry, also known as Lake Harding. 

J. D. Bond, of McDonough, saw a very large carp laying on the bottom of the lake in only 2 feet of water, but it was almost right under the boat before he realized it was a fish. Instinctively, he drew back his bow, armed with an AMS solid fiberglass arrow, and drew a bead down the shaft. J.D. let it rip, and in an instant the fish surged and disappeared under the boat. He thought he hit it but wasn’t sure until the line started zipping off his AMS Mega Mount Reel.

The fish didn’t slow down, and soon his bowfishing partners Rodney Witt and David Keener decided they had better start chasing the big carp with the boat before it broke the line. Closing the distance and with J.D. recovering some line, Rodney and David were both able to get arrows into the fish and get it anchored. When they hoisted the carp into the boat, Rodney said. “Hey, I think we got a record, that’s a big ol’ carp!”

Sure enough, they got it weighed on certified scales and it set a new BAA (Bowfishing Association of America) official state record at 54 pounds for grass carp. The BAA records are available online. 

The three were slowly moving around the shallows of Bartletts Ferry, which is located on the Georgia-Alabama border on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, when they spotted this fish in the evening hours after the sun went down on June 30. They bowfish out of a Weldbilt model 2070 boat with a small 9.9 horsepower motor, customized for bowfishing with raised shooting platforms and strong flood lights so they can see fish on the shallow-bottom areas.

Rodney is retired from Clayton County Water authority, while David still works there. J. D builds houses and bowfishes with this group every chance he gets. They say, ‘Try it and you’ll like it!”

Feature Article On Bowfishing

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