Cooking up your bowfish gar

Chris Funk shows Jameson Redding how to prepare and cook up a gar taken during their recent Inside and Out video on bowfishing from paddleboards. In the full version of the show, Funk also cooks up sucker fish and details the why and how he makes use of the carp they shoot with a bow while paddling at night.

While “kill it and grill it” is the downhome way of describing the basic ethic of anyone who participates in the take of wildlife, many folks who don’t gather and kill their own food don’t understand the true respect the men and women who hunt and fish have for the species they target. It’s called honoring your kill and the best way to do that is, well, cook ’em up!

First you have to get at the meat of the bowfish gar. Funk has devised a sharpened metal tool (he notes some use tin snips) to help him penetrate the tough hide of the gar and dig out the boneless white meat fillets inside. Check out how he uses chili sauce as a binder for his batter before he pops the gar in the oil and they pop golden brown ready to eat.

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Ethan Funk pulls in a gar taken on bowfish tackle from a paddleboard. Photo Chris Funk.

When you watch the full version, you’ll see how Funk makes multiple slices in the sucker fillets and then uses a coarse cornmeal breading to keep the cracks open and let the oil fry away the bones.

As for the carp, while considered a delicacy in many parts of the world and plenty good enough to eat in others, Funk explains that the carp in Alabama and Georgia carry levels of mercury that make it not safe for the plate on a regular basis. An invasive/introduced species, carp root around in the mud of rivers and lakes and the dispersed sediment covers spawning beds of native species and destroys native vegetation. Carp do make excellent fertilizer for the farm, garden or deer plot.

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Ethan’s Carp Tops Bowfishing with the Funks