What is Bowfishing?
Bowfishing combines the skill of archery with the thrill of fishing. Bowfishermen use archery equipment with specially designed reels and line. A fish is then shot with a barbed arrow and reeled back. Quite simply, bowfishing is fishing with a bow and arrow.
Bowfishing is also great for the environment. By harvesting hundreds of thousands of “garbage fish” a year, bowfishermen help bring equilibrium back to the ecosystem.
You don’t need anything special for bowfishing. All you need is:
- a bowfishing bow, whether it be a recurve, compound, or a crossbow
- some sort or reel for reeling your arrow back in
- barbed arrow
That’s it, simple enough. The fun part is that everything is so customizable from what bow you shoot, to the arrow tip and even the colors. There is no right or wrong.
There are three main types or bowfishing reels you can have on your bow. One is a standard hand wound reel the screws right in to your stabilizer hole. Another is a big closed face reel. It’s basically a big Zebco fishing reel mounted on a rod that is attached to your bow. Then there is the most popular AMS Bowfishing Retriever reel. This reel is easy enough for beginners to use and even the most experienced bowfishermen use them.
How to Bowfish
There is no right or wrong way to bow fish. You can go during the day, at night, on a boat, wading, or walking the shore. Many people who are into bowfishing hard core have lights on their boats which allows them to fish at night. Night bowfishing is by far the most popular way to bowfish because the fish are more relaxed at night; as a result, you see more at night. Like the old saying goes, “The freaks come out at night.”
There is also a popular saying in bowfishing which is “aim low.” This means when you are shooting at a fish, to aim lower than where the fish actually is. This is a compensation measure to overcome light diffraction.
The best way to see this for your self is to stick a straw in on an angle in a clear glass with water and look through the glass. You will notice that the straw will be appearing bent. What you would be noticing is the affects of light diffraction.
What kinds of fish can you bowfish?
There are many different types of fish you can shoot bowfishing. Many fishermen call these types garbage fish. They include common carp, grass carp, buffalo carp, the different types of gar, and paddle fish. Some people shoot alligators as well, but that could be an entirely different sport by itself!
Before embarking on a bow fishing trip of your own, it would be a wise choice to check your states rules and regulations.
Remember aim low and shoot straight!