Spring and summer is a great time for bow fishing, From carp and suckers to dogfish (small sharks) to even shallow water flounder. It is the most fun, for me, than even hunting big game.
The action is fast and furious. Some times you get more targets faster then you can load an arrow. I like the Muzzy bowfishing rest, the Muzzy 1067 bowfishing reel, along with the 1020 CSS classic arrow with carp point. That combo works for me.
From a boat or land the shooting can fast and furious.
I live about 10 miles from the sea coast of NH and Mass. Since I was about 10 years old I lived within about 3-4 miles of salt water marsh and the carp were in the small creeks in the warm creek water and also in boats in shallows and also in boats in the ocean.
In the creeks you could sneak up to the edge of the banks and shoot at the carp. Depending on the height of the bank and the nice carp at various depth of the water you had to judge how far UNDER them you had to aim. And under them you always have to aim!
It is a blast. The fish, when they are spawning are every where and another fish appears before you get the arrow back to shoot it again!
Aiming must be precise and not spot on. You are more likely to shoot over a fish then under due to light refraction. But, like all archery, practice makes perfect and once you get the hang of where to hold and you hit the first fish, it makes everything easier.
Diversity is the name when bowfishing.
It is much like shooting a recurve instinctively at a target at various distances.
Shooting out of a boat is the same but with some small various differences. If you are chumming for mackerel a lot of times you can watch the mackerel swim into the chum and dogfish (small sharks up to 2-4 feet) come in after the mackerel. Now most of the time they are closer to the surface so a bowfisherman can shoot more directly at them as there is less refraction of the water. When you hit one of these fish you have a battle between man and fish. Not as wild as a man and a crocodile but still a battle. And these sharks also have sharp teeth and swim in packs. I have brought them in by using the hand over hand method with heavy duty “cord” line on a simple old fashioned large wind fish reel, Bear Archery style.
There are more fish around usually then you can possibly shoot at and if you are lucky and get into them, you’ll have your hands full of shooting. But what fun!
Bowfishing is a definite challenge and if the time is right you usually don’t have to wait long and the fish come in schools any where from 6-12 at a time, dogfish as well as carp. So no waiting for hours for one shot. Carp, a trash fish, range from 12 inches to 2-3 feet and roll to the top of the water for some fast shooting.
Shooting Gar is a blast!
Did we say Gar can grow quite large?
So from carp, drums, suckers and gar to dog fish and alligators there is a wide variety of fish just made for bowfishing and it’s a sport everyone can get into. If you have kids too young to go after deer, fish are right in line for them to cut their teeth on.
Bowhunting.net’s Robert Hoague had one exciting time boating this toothy gator.
Equipment is available most retail stores and on the web. Some good places, AMS, Sullivan and Muzzy. There are also some great bowfishing videos and one of the best out there is Muzzy’s ‘Impale A Scale’ on DVD. You will see all kinds of fish and gators taken by Mark Land and friends as they fish the hard way……with bow and arrow.
Jason Balazs tries out the AMS FishHawk bow.
Now is the time to get going and when deer season ends next Jan. don’t put your equipment away, get bowfishing! Better yet, make it a family affair.