I found a 24" Bowfin gasping on the bank of the Little Sequatchie years ago. Some boys were camping nearby and i asked about it. They had caught it the night before. I told they what i knew about Bowfins being prehistoric dinosaur fish, fighters and that the males guarded their young, i wanted them to appreciate the fish so they would not continue as their fathers had taught them. When i returned the fish to the river it edged next to a submerged log and stayed there for the time i snorkeled the river. I hoped it recovered. This is a unique site for Bowfin as it is the only site noted and near my home in Chattanooga. I have lead several groups of NANFans to the site over the years but unfortunately the river has turned green and murky from clear cutting the plateau and rock harvesting in the headwaters.
I would like to try one on the dinner plate one day. There seems to be a proper way to do so. I think that to be fresh AND soaked in vinegar for good measure. I do encounter them more often in Tate's Hell so i will give a small one footer a taste test on an upcoming trip.
A mouthful of cotton does not sound good, but i know folks in the know know how to do it.