Port Clinton, Ohio — Brent McGlone gave up most of the archery deer season to pursue trophy bigmouth buffalo by bow.
“It bordered on obsessive,” said McGlone, 38, of Marysville, Ohio.
But it paid off, and on Oct. 11, McGlone arrowed a 40.80-pound bigmouth buffalo on the Ottawa County waters of Lake Erie, breaking the state bowfishing record in the category that is open to all species of buffalo.
The Outdoor Writers of Ohio Record Fish Committee, which is the authority on state fish records, confirmed and certified the record in late October.
It’s actually the second state bowfishing record that McGlone holds (his other is in the category “suckers other than buffalo” for an 11.21-pound sucker he arrowed in 2007). And earlier this year,
McGlone’s fishing buddy, Patrick Johnson of Toledo, also broke a bowfishing record with a 53.65-pound grass carp.
The two fishermen have earned a reputation with their record fish.
“They’re specialists,” said Fred Snyder, chairman of the State Record Fish Committee. “I don’t think I’ve run into any two characters that are working as hard at it as Johnson and McGlone. … There are guys out there that do a lot of bowfishing, but these two guys really strike me as intense about it. They know what they’re doing. They have identified places where these big fish are.”
Just don’t try to get them to share the particulars of those whereabouts.
“I pretty much haven’t told anybody the exact location that I shot it,” said McGlone, fearful that the area could get overfished were it known. “That’s something I’m going to keep to myself.”
So how much time did McGlone put into his attempt at the state record fish?
“I have over 400 hours just this year,” he said. “That’s conservative. That’s fishing two days a week since May. I would go up for two to six days every week, sleep in the truck, and shoot all night.”
It was the third night of a four-day trip that McGlone, fishing solo out of his 18-foot boat, finally found the record, but deep into his trip, he was pretty exhausted, and nearly didn’t wake up in time.
He had been sitting in the truck, waiting for it to get dark, but once darkness arrived, he snoozed until 3 a.m.
“I finally dragged myself out of the truck at 3:30,” he said.
And the fishing was pretty shabby at first.
“I kept seeing smaller fish, and eventually got discouraged,” McGlone said.
He was cold, fingers numb in 45-degree weather, but he decided to hit one last spot on the way back, knowing this could be his last trip of the season.
“It pretty much came down to the wire,” he said. “I knew daylight was coming.”
But it turned out, the record he had been chasing was there, swimming at this last spot.
When he fired at the fish, the arrow passed through the fish, but to McGlone, it appeared he must have missed it. So he put his bow down, and grabbed his secondary bow to fire off another shot.
But he soon realized that his first arrow was a hit, and he quickly grabbed his primary bow before it flew off the boat.
He fought the hefty fish for about 10 minutes.
“It was so fat, it couldn’t swim at top speed,” said McGlone, who put another arrow in the fish before bringing it into the boat. “It had big shoulders. It was a wide fish. I flipped it on its side, and I was pretty sure I had (the record) then.”
The previous record was held by Don Paisley, who arrowed a 37-pound buffalo in Hoover Reservoir on May 14, 1983.
Bigmouth buffalo are a species native to Ohio, but are considered a “rough fish” by the larger angling public. The massive members of it are actually members of the sucker family.
For all of the effort, McGlone said he thinks his fish could be beaten.
The hook and line buffalo record is actually 46.01 pounds, a fish caught by Tim Veit in 1999, also on Hoover Reservoir.
“There’s a couple of guys that could be a threat,” McGlone said, noting that the species can reach 80 pounds. “I think there’s a decent chance it will get broken in the next couple of years.”
While McGlone will continue to pursue record buffalo by bow, he will tone down his effort.
“It got to be obsessive, my main focus in life,” said McGlone, who does have a girlfriend. “Luckily, she was cool with me fishing all of the time.”