TAUNTON – The new bowfin state record holder is an accomplished 16-year-old angler from Taunton named Tauri Adamczyk – and that’s no fish tale.
On Sunday July, 23, Tauri and her father were enjoying a day of fishing on the Taunton River in Taunton when she felt a tug on her line and knew she was onto something big, literally.
“When I first set the hook on the fish, he started taking off down the river really fast. I knew he was big,” said Tauri, who has been hooked on fishing with her dad since she was a little girl.
But she didn’t know how big.
“When I finally pulled him into shore my dad said, ‘I’ll just grab him,’ but he was too big to grab, so he had to run to the truck to get a net,” Tauri said.
That big catch weighed in at 7-pounds 14-ounces and 26.5 inches long and turned out to be the very first bowfin officially certified by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
The state agency just started recognizing bowfin as a category a couple of years ago, said Richard Hartley, MassWildlife sport fishing awards program coordinator and fisheries biologist.
Tauri, who brought her catch into the MassWildlife office on Monday to be weighed in, is now the current state record holder, Hartley said.
Hartley said bowfin can grow as big as about 10 pounds, but Tauri’s nearly 8-pound specimen is “a really good start.”
“That’s a respectable bar to have to clear,” Hartley said.
MassWildlife keeps an official tally on its website of the state record for 23 fish species, listing the angler, size of the fish, where it was caught and the year, dating as far back as the 1954 chain pickerel record and as recently as Tauri’s 2017 bowfin feat.
As part of its sport fishing awards program, the agency gives out bronze pins to any angler who catches a fish that meets the minimum weight requirements for any of the 23 species.
And every year, anglers who catch the largest fish in their category receive a gold pin.
“I’ve been giving Tauri pins since she was 6 years old,” Hartley said.
Tauri, an incoming junior at Taunton High School who plans to study biology and wildlife conservation in college, was the MassWildlife 2015 Youth Catch and Keep Angler of the Year, an award given to the person who weighs in the largest number of fish from different species.
She and her dad, Jess Adamczyk, travel all over the state in search of prime fishing spots and to New York for salmon season, Tauri said.
“It’s comforting and it’s a fun sport too, especially to get out into nature and appreciate the wildlife,” she said.
Tauri said they usually eat any fish they keep.
“We don’t like to waste them,” she said.
But her dad might make an exception for the record-setting bowfin. He’s thinking of mounting that one to remember her accomplishment by, Tauri said.
Often, they release the fish they catch to swim off on their way.
“When you get a big fish and reel it in and get to see how beautiful it is – that’s the reward,” Tauri said.
Courtesy of The Taunton Daily Gazette by Rebecca Hyman