Ever since I took my first bowfishing trip in Delaware for sting rays, I was hooked. It was so much fun and my whole family could go along. My first BAA Jr Bowfishing record I ever shot was a huge carp in Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River. My big brother had set the Adult BAA PA state record carp earlier that spring, and I knew I had to beat him. I was not able to beat him this year, but the Jr records were the first of many to put me on track for Jr Bowfisherman of the Year for 2015.
I remember that warm may night like it was yesterday. My dad and I decided we were going to take a bowfishing trip that night by ourselves. We always like to have at least two adults on the boat, so my dad called his friend Chris, who was more than happy to come along. There had been a lot of rain so we knew the water would be a little dirty, but when we got there it was dirtier than we thought. Dad got the boat off the trailer and fired up the lights only to see mud. This was not going to be good. We decided to give it a shot anyway. We headed upstream only fishing maybe 5 feet from shore because the water was so high and dirty that the fish were up in the bushes. We had shot a ton of big fish that night, but missed just as many. We had fished all night because the fish were everywhere. There was some huge fish in the brush. I am pretty sure I had an even bigger one one, but when it went running, it pulled the arrow right out and me almost overboard. Finally at about 2 am I nailed another monster, and the fight was on. I hit him good and the arrow was stuck deep. He pulled all my line out of my reel and I thought for sure I was going to lose it. I fought and fought to bring that river monster in, just waiting for it to snap off. Dad had the gaff ready, all I had to do was get it close. I had finally got it close to the boat, but my dad missed the fish with the gaff and almost cut my line. I mean, are you kidding me, dad? The next time around he gaffed that big boy right in the face. Once we got it in the boat, I was so excited I thought for sure I had beat my brother. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I couldn't wait for the bait store to open so I could get the fished weighed on a certified scale. It was 37 inches, just a 1/2-inch shy of my brother's. My fish only weighed 24.7 lbs, which was 8 lbs less than my big brother's. Well, maybe this year will be the year to beat him. It's OK; I ended up beating him in 16 other categories this year so gave him the lessons all summer. Looking forward to another awesome year in 2016 and looking for some more records. I'll be working very hard this year. You know our motto: "IT'S HARDCORE OR NOTHING"
Keagan Zelko Hardcore Generation