A Guide to Starting Bow Fishing

Do you love hunting or shooting with bows? Or, do you enjoy fishing? Have you ever thought about fishing with a bow or bow fishing? Bow fishing is a fun and rewarding sport. Here is my personal experience practising bow fishing.

As I was growing up in a place not too far from a wonderful creek in the farmlands of the Midwestern United States, I got to learn that if you can’t catch’em with a hook and line, just shoot’em. So, I decided to try bow fishing to catch some Carp.

How I Started Bow Fishing

Like most kids, I was very adventurous in my early years. I used to try everything from making weapons to shooting arrows with makeshift bows. I was lucky to have shot some rifles and shotguns as a kid. I also made slingshots and even made a sling very similar to the one David used on Goliath in the bible. But, somehow the bow and arrow seemed to be my weapon of choice. There was one issue however. I couldn’t make a good bow and arrow all by myself and I didn’t have enough cash to purchase them as a kid.

On one summer vacation while in Carr Lake in Northern Indiana, my dad and I went to a local hardware store to look for some supplies. The store had the usual tools and equipment, some fishing gear and even some bows and arrows. While looking around,  I stumbled on a fine 45 lb pull recurve bow that was being sold for $20. I immediately decided to gather some money from doing chores like cutting grass and come back for the bow.

I ended up mowing lawns all across towns for several bucks each and after a few weeks, I had gathered enough money to buy the bow. I went back to the exact hardware store where I had seen the bow only to find that it’s price had been increased. I was very disappointed, something that even the hardware store attendant realized and asked if everything was okay. I told the attendant that I had seen the bow a couple of weeks back and it was being sold for $20 but now the price had gone up. I explained that I had to work really hard to get the money for the bow but now I didn’t have enough to get it. Helplessly, he told me that he was sorry and that there was nothing he could do about the price.

Luckily, the owner of the hardware store owner was present and overheard our talk. He came over and talked to the attendant. The attendant apologized  and told me that the bow had been mispriced and that the price had been adjusted. The store owner then approached me and asked a few questions, and then instructed the attendant to let me purchase the bow for $20. At first, I didn’t believe it. I was very ecstatic and I guess that is why I ended up becoming such an excellent bow hunter. I quickly rushed home and started teaching myself how to shoot. I set up numerous targets all over my back yard. It didn’t take long before I had mastered the art of shooting. My bow became my weapon of choice for all manner of sports and games.

Use A Longbow or Recurve Bow For Instinctive Bow Fishing

A longbow or recurve bow is perfect for bow hunting. I found that with practice I could instinctively hit targets with ease. I didn’t need to do much to hit targets. Later on, I purchased a compound bow that I now use to hunt big game but with it, I could never hit targets instinctively. I know that there are many people who currently use compound bows for bow fishing but from experience I have learned that this is not the best bow for fishing. This is because when shooting fish swimming under water, you don’t shoot directly at the target lest you miss. With bow fishing, you must learn to shoot beneath the target.

Learning Bow Fishing – The First Carp I Caught With An Arrow

I learned about bow fishing as a sport through a magazine article. It seemed fun and after checking the local fishing regulations, I found that it was okay to catch carp using a bow and arrow. I remembered how there were plenty of big carp swimming in the creek and so I decided that I would go bow fishing. There was one problem though, I didn’t have the bow mounted string reel, string and fiberglass arrows that were described in the article. I asked myself what would happen if i shot a carp with one of the wooden arrows that I had commonly used for target practice.

There was only one way to find out. I went to the creek which was medium in size meaning water could not go past the knee. The holes in the creek were also not that big and so the water could not go past the waist. I was not afraid to walk through the water. I was already used to fishing that way. it was much more convenient and easier this way than to maneuver through brush and weeds along banks. I was able to identify where the holes were and find the best places to fish with my bow steadily in hand.

It was not long before I came across some carp swimming around my vicinity and I immediately took my shot. Wow, I missed! I didn’t understand how I could miss that. The fish was right there. I saw another one and took my shot only to miss again. What was going on? I thought I was a dead shot by now. How could I be missing targets that were so close. Next I saw a carp that was right at the surface of the water with its dorsal fin perfectly visible, I took the shot and got him.

Off he went on swimming fast with the arrow sticking out of his body. I quickly chased after him but he couldn’t swim fast enough and decided to hide in the deepest hole he could find. The arrow was protruding from one of the holes so I grabbed it and pulled it upwards forcing the fish out of the water. I finally caught one and he didn’t manage to escape.

How To Hit A Fish – Aiming Underwater Targets

That day, I learned a couple of things. I went back home and read up all I could on bow fishing. I learned that because of refraction in water, fish are not always where they appear to be. Fish in water appear to above their actual position. With this new found knowledge, I learned that I should shoot about 3 inches below the position the fish appeared to be. I hardly missed a target from then henceforth.

The deeper the position of the fish, the more refraction you can expect. You must always remember this fact in order to make the necessary adjustments to your bow and arrow. It may seem a little awkward shooting at a location where nothing appears to be but after some time, you will be able to know instinctively where to position your bull’s eye.

Is All That Bow Fishing Equipment Really Necessary?

Something else I learned is that you do not necessarily need a whole bunch of bow fishing equipment especially if you are fishing in a small or medium sized creek with shallow holes. However, If you are bow fishing in a big river or lake, you may need to have some barbed arrows, reel and string so that you do not have to chase after the fish after you have caught them.

Ted Thomas
 

Hi there, I'm Ted Thomas, an ardent adventure writer. I write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the great outdoors. By sharing my experiences camping, hunting and fishing, I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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