John's Journal...

Bowfishing with Jon Justice

Day 3: Bowfishing for Two Monsters – Alligator Gar and Grass Carp

Editor’s Note: Jon Justice from Rockmart, Georgia, has been bowfishing for 12 years. Chuck Belmore, one of the hosts of “The Habit” ( TV show, got him started in bowfishing. Today both Chuck and Jon host “The Habit” TV show.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewJohn E. Phillips: What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever taken with your bow and arrow?

Justice: Chuck Belmore and I went to south Texas to film a show for “Iron Man Bowfishing,” the name of our show before we started “The Habit.” We had terrible weather. The wind was blowing, there was a good chop on the water, and seeing fish was almost impossible. But I finally spotted a dark shadow in the water that looked like a telephone pole or perhaps a submerged tree. Once I saw it move, I took the shot. When my arrow hit that telephone pole, the water exploded! I saw the biggest fish I’d ever seen while bowfishing. Chuck and another friend of ours were able to place arrows in that alligator gar too, and the three of us fought the fish for about an hour. The big gar would go down and get wrapped around underwater trees that had fallen into the lake. The only thing we could do was hold onto the line until the gar untangled itself from the trees and came to the surface. That was such a monumental trip, and that alligator gar was so big that I’ll never forget him. Before that bowfishing trip I was clean-shaven, but after we took that giant gar, I decided I wouldn’t shave my face. That was the last picture ever made of me when I didn’t have a beard. That alligator gar measured 7’4” long.

Phillips: What’s the biggest carp you’ve ever shot?

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewJustice: One of the biggest grass carp that Chuck and I ever took weighed 78 pounds. We were doing a TV show called the “Campbell Outdoor Challenge” at a tournament at Guntersville, Alabama. Chuck, Bryan Hughes, the owner of Backwater Outdoors ( and I were bowfishing together. The second night of the tournament, we came out of a creek, and I yelled ,“Holy Moly!” I looked over at Chuck, and his eyes were as big as saucers. “Did you see that fish?” I asked Chuck. His only answer was, “Yeah.” We let the boat coast to a stop, I put a new tape in the camera and got all my equipment ready, and I climbed up into the camera stand to video this monster grass carp hunt. I turned the video camera on, and Chuck and Brian got two arrows into the carp and fought the fish for about 10 minutes. This fish was a beast of a grass carp!

To get John’s book, “The Bowfishing Bible,” go to To learn more about hunting and fishing from John E. Phillips’ print and eBooks, go to and

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: A Bowfishing Team Takes a Monster Grass Carp While Bowfishing

Check back each day this week for more about Bowfishing with Jon Justice

Day 1: Jon Justice - From Bowfishing for Fun to Bowfishing for TV
Day 2: Jon Justice on Bowfishing and Shooting Flying Fish
Day 3: Bowfishing for Two Monsters – Alligator Gar and Grass Carp
Day 4: A Bowfishing Team Takes a Monster Grass Carp While Bowfishing
Day 5: The Most Important Ingredients for a Successful Bowfishing Team

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Entry 876, Day 3