Bowfishing is the practice of shooting fish with a specialized bow and barbed arrow with a a special line and reel connecting the two.
Bows Most people use the traditional long and re-curve bows to fish, but more and more are beginning to use the compound bow. Crossbows can also be used. Sights although not common can be used. Most look down the arrow in a line-of-sight shooting style.
Arrows Bowfishing arrows are heavier and stronger than regular hunting arrows. They are made out of fiberglass, solid aluminum, carbon fiber, and carbon fiber reinforced fiberglass. You don't use fletchings on bowfishing arrows because they are not needed for the short distance shots, and they can cause the arrow to flare off when they hit the water.
Line Bowfishing line is braided nylon, Dacron, or Spectra. 80-400lb test is the more common weights used. 600lb test is recommended for shooting sharks and alligators.
Reels There are three types of reels used in bowfishing. A hand-wrap is a custom made spool that sits on the front of your bow that allows your line to free spool off after a shot. You have to wrap your line back on the spool by hand. A spin-cast is a big version of a push button reel on the front of your bow. Make sure that before you shoot using a spin-cast reel that you "Push the Button" so that the line releases from the reel. The retriever is a reel made specifically for bow-fishing. It allows the line to come freely out of a bottle when shot. It also has a stopper to stop or slow down the line being pulled out of it by a fish. This type of reel is recommended for big fish.
Glasses in night time or day time a pair of polarized sun glasses to cut the glare, from sunlight or halogen light, off the water is essential.
Boats Any boat that is made for shallow water or has a platform for shooting can be used for bow-fishing. Air-boats, Jon boats, and Canoes are typically used for freshwater bow-fishing.
Aiming When bowfishing you are shooting in water. The water refracts light. This makes it seem like the fish is higher in your field of view than it really is. But no worries, by using the aiming tip you will become a more successful shooter. Aim 4 inches low for every 10 feet of lateral distance you are from the fish, and add 3 more inches for every foot of water in depth the fish is in. This might be difficult to pick up at first, but practice makes perfect, and shooting is the fun part.
Fresh water Bowfishing Species
Common Carp, Bighead Carp, Silver Carp, Grass Carp, River Carpsucker, Longnose Gar, Shortnose Gar, Spotted Gar, Alligator Gar, Paddlefish, Threadfin Shad, Frog, Bigmouth Buffalo, Smallmouth Buffalo, Freshwater Drum, Catfish, Tilapia, Snakehead, and American Alligators.
Saltwater water Bowfishing Species
Southern Stingray, Cownose Ray, Bullshark, Barracuda, Redfish, Flounder, Sheepshead
Check with you local marine police or game warden to see what species is legal to shoot in your state.
Some key items to checkout are:
Bow-Bear Archery Super Grizzly Recurve
Rest-AMSBowfishing Wave Bow-fishing Arrow Rest
Arrow-Muzzy Carbon Mag Bowfishing Arrow with Carp Point, Safety Slide and Uninock
Line-Muzzy Extreme Bowfishing line
Reels-Bohning Bowfishing Reel (Hand Wrap), AMSBowfishing Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel (Retriever), Zebco 808 Bowfishing Reel(Spincaster).
Kit-AMSBowfishing Fish Hawk Compound Bow Bowfishing Package
Glasses-Sea Striker Sunglasses
Boat-Grizzly 2072 Jon
Remember have fun, be safe, and may God lead your way.
Richard Justin Louhier