Former Augusta resident Patrick Eger has fond memories of hunting and fishing across Georgia during his Army days at Fort Gordon.
Today, the Wisconsin man is still enjoying the outdoors – as host of Big E TV, which produces hunting shows that feature unusual tactics and methods.
That’s how he ended up bowfishing in June off the California coast, where he arrowed what turned out to be a world record mako shark that took more than two hours to land.
Accompanying him on the Father’s Day adventure out of Huntington Beach was his son Brandon, an Augusta native who is also Eger’s primary cameraman.
The plan was to hunt a big mako to draw attention to the Bowfishing Association of America, which promotes the sport and its tournaments and can also certify records.
The big shark was first spotted by their guide, Capt. “Mako” Matt Potter, who was watching a trail of chum at the stern of the boat, Eger said.
The shark made several passes before everyone agreed it was large enough to harvest and would claim the record they were looking for.
With cameras rolling, Eger released a single arrow that penetrated the shark’s jaw and secured a steel leader attached to a 200-pound-test line and a reel.
After a two-hour fight, the fish was brought aboard.
The shark was later measured at 10 feet, 6 inches and yielded a certified weight of 544 pounds, 8 ounces, Eger said, which more than doubled the previous bowfishing record for any species.
The episode featuring the shark hunt is set to air in September in the show’s local market area; and nationally in January 2015.
BRIDGE RECYCLING: Portions of the new 1,680-foot bridge over Thurmond Lake between Lincolnton, Ga., and McCormick, S.C., are being demolished and recycled into submerged fish attractors.
The bridge project has been under way since April 2010 but work was halted in 2012 after anomalies were detected in six underwater support columns, which the Georgia Department of Transportation ultimately decided to rebuild.
Under an agreement announced last week by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Georgia and South Carolina departments of natural resources, Georgia DOT and Scott’s Bridge Company will execute a plan to re-use the concrete.
Corps fisheries biologist Jamie Sykes said the concrete pieces will function like an artificial reef in the reservoir.
“This material will provide shelter and cover for small fish; and provide a substrate for algae growth, which benefits feeding habitat,” Sykes said. “This type of habitat attracts larger predatory fish such as striped bass.”
Now through late August, crews will use a barge to submerge concrete at depths of 25 to 30 feet in six different clusters, each spanning 40 to 50 feet of the lake’s bottom with piles about eight feet high.
GATOR TAG DEADLINE: If you want to apply for one of Georgia’s 850 coveted gator permits this year, you have until midnight July 31 or you’ll have to wait until next year.
“We anticipate that alligator quota hunt application interest will be on par with past years, and expect more than 10,000 applicants,” said John Bowers, Georgia’s game management section chief.
Once the deadline passes, Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division will select the winners by lottery.
To apply, go to www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/quota. The 2014 alligator hunting season runs Sept. 6 to Oct. 5.