Banger Beginner Tips on Bowfishing

Bowfishing is intriguing to people who want to try something different when it comes to fishing. It’s not a passive sport where you sit back with a coldie and wait for a fish to bite on the bait and jump on your hook. 

This is an active sport and rather than waiting for them to come to you, you are actually hunting the fish as they swim past which is very exciting indeed, most archers love it and take to it very quickly. 

If you’re a seasoned bowhunter, you know how much fun it is so give fishing with a bow, a go!

Fishing With a Bow and Arrow

Using a bow and arrow to catch fish is known as bowfishing or simply… fishing with a bow.  Rather than baiting fish with a hook, an arrow is the device wholly responsible for the catch, although both options utilise a pointed metal weapon to catch them.

You may also practise both approaches while standing in shallow water or on a boat. 

Bow and arrow fishing was once thought to be an archery enthusiast’s or bowhunter’s offseason craze. However, during the last decade or two, this fishing approach has become a popular pastime for hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. 

Bowfishing is a fun and unusual sport that requires no prior angling expertise, making it ideal for first-time anglers. You’ve come to the correct spot if you’re wanting to take your initial bowfishing steps.

The term bowfishing refers to the act of fishing with a bow and arrow, as you would have guessed. 

What a concept!

It does however have its quirks. Bowfishing and bowhunting look similar at first glance, but there are a few distinctions between the two sports.

Bowfishing During the Day

To bowfish during the day, you don’t need a decked-out bowfishing boat, just a boat capable of going into shallow waters with either a trolling engine or someone prepared to use a push stick to steer the boat about.

A push stick allows you to get into shallower waters than a trolling motor ever will and is considerably quieter; however, it does need some experience. 

If you’re shooting during the day, don’t forget to bring your polarised lens sunglasses to help you see through the water.

In my foggy old bowfishing river I’ve discovered that the ideal time to hunt during the day is a couple hours after sunrise, when there isn’t much glare and the fish haven’t gone to cool water. 

When you’re getting ready to shoot, be mindful of your shadow; it might frighten the fish. The best possies throughout the day are in shallow water and near the surface. 

And… do not forget your gloves the fish can be very slippery and generally have strong jaws full of razor sharp teeth.

Bowfishing Rigs Have What Type of Arrow Point?

After you have procured most of your gear for your bowfishing excursions, there’s one more thing you’ll need to consider and that’s your arrow tips. You want to get the best whether you are new to the sport or need replacement tips. 

So, which ones should I get?

AMS, Cajun Archery, and Muzzy make the best bowfishing arrow tips. A newbie bowfisher, on the other hand, may choose to purchase a more cost effective bow.

Options to consider are the kind of  point and if you want fast release barbs, and minimum size entrance hole and holding area are all things to consider. 

You’ve come to the right place if you’re undecided about which bowfishing arrow tips to choose. We’ll spotlight the major players and offer you with a comprehensive list of arrow tips. 

My guide will address any questions you have about bowfishing and the arrow tips available. 

The arrow point that you will finally choose will more than likely be based on the type of bowfishing that you’re interested in.

  • If you want to shoot in shallow water, a simple point will suffice. If your plan is to catch a  lot of fish then removing the barbs after each catch will not seem like a huge issue. 

  • However, a tip that features a spring release, such as the Tru-Glo, could be well worth a little extra money. 

  • If you intend to target huge species, such as paddlefish and carp, a longer quick-release bowfishing point may be required.
  • If you want to bowfish on rocky river or lake bottoms, you’ll need to carry spare tips.

Bowfishing Practice Targets

It’s not uncommon for bowfishing targets to be a great deal closer than those found in the woods.

A beginner’s entry into the sport is facilitated by the lack of long-range shooting abilities required. Aside from that, a lot of specialist equipment isn’t needed while shooting at close range. 

Bowfishing, on the other hand, is not without its own peculiarities. After all, you’re aiming for a moving underwater target. There are several types of fish that may be caught with a bow, as well as a variety of bowfishing techniques that you can explore.

Night Bowfishing Tips

Between bowfishing and fishing, there is a narrow line. Fishermen use a hook or net and wait for the fish to be captured without you being aware that they’re even there. Here we attempt to describe what  bowfishing at nights all about.

When hunting for fish you must locate them, aim and fire using a bow and arrow. A seemingly simple activity that, in reality, needs expertise and patience in order to do it well. Bow fishing becomes more of a hunt than a sport. 

Most states consider bow fishing to be fishing, therefore you will need a fishing licence. You will need to know the fish that can be hunted, it’s important to be fully aware of that.

Knowing which fish species are protected or endangered is crucial knowledge. 

Bow fishing does not include “catch and release” like anglers do when they’re fishing with a rod and reel. 

During the day, there isn’t much to prepare for, other than getting polarised sunglasses to reduce the glare from the sun. When it comes to bow fishing at night, the focus is on how to do it. 

One of the benefits of might bowfishing is that you can do it at any time of the year. In April, though, when the fish are spawning, fishing yields are likely to be at their peak.

Because the fish are more active at night, bow fishing at night is likely to be more successful than bow fishing during the day.

It’s a waste of time to rely only on a full moon’s illumination when you may get better results by utilising artificial light to make the fish more visible so you can shoot with greater accuracy.

Bowfishing Tips on Aiming

Because of the refraction of light, fish appear to be closer to the surface than they actually are. When aiming for a fish, it’s important to keep in mind how far away you are from it and how far below the surface it is.

Aim four inches lower than the fish is the golden rule if the water is a foot deep. The first thing I advise new bowfishermen is to “aim low.” Most people fire over the top of a fish the first time they shoot.

My bows always seem to stir up the question “Do you use sights?” 

The answer is a resounding… NO! 

Learning to shoot instinctively is the key to bowfishing. If you shoot on a regular basis , your eye-hand synchronisation and aim become automatic since you shoot, believe it or not even on your first night out. Throwing a  ball of paper into a basket from around 6-10 feet away goes somewhere to explain learning how to shoot fish in water.

After you’ve tried to ring that trash about 20 times, you know how much force to use and how to make the throw. When bowfishing, once you’ve made 20-30 shots, you begin to understand how the bow shoots, how the arrow flies, and how to aim to hit a fish. After that, your eye-hand coordination kicks in, and you start making much better shots. 

Throw the paper ball 20 or 30 times at the basket and you’ll have some idea around how hard you need to throw.  You begin to grasp how the bow fires, how the arrow flies, and how to aim for a fish after you’ve fired 20-30 rounds. Soon, your eye-hand coordination improves and you begin making better shots. 

Shooting a silver carp is the most enjoyable experience. In areas where they’re plentiful, they’ll begin to leap when you pass by. Time your leap and aim for the fish as it flies by. When a carp is jumping and flying in the air while your boat is moving, many people struggle to understand how to shoot it.

You have to think about how you would shoot a duck or a pidgeon in order to execute that shot. It’s important to time your lead so that when the carp flushes after you’ve recovered from the first shock of spotting it, you aim where the carp is heading rather than right at it.

In time, you’ll be able to predict how far the carp will jump and in which direction it’ll fly, and you’ll be able to time your shot to coincide with the carp’s steady flight path.

Winter Bowfishing Tips

In the winter, the behavior fish changes somewhat. They won’t be as active in the winter as they are in summer, they’ll be slowing down and resting. With a hook, this might be problematic since they will go for the bait at a much slower pace. 

Because bowfishing doesn’t involve bait, which is extremely beneficial, you just need find the fish and shoot them, simple. Very similar spearing fish in that you’re not dependant on them making a decision to bite.

They Key Differences Between Summer and Winter Bowfishing

I’ve already mentioned that fish behaviour varies greatly. The more fortunate bowfishers ply their craft ‘fish homes’ in the winter instead of boats. In addition, you will be wearing heavier clothing than in the summer months. Depending on the climate you fish in, the clothing could be bulkier to combat the cold. 

Going bowfishing aboard a boat can make it more difficult to get out on the water. A typical landing is not possible in some areas due to a lack of open water and the inability to apply traditional landing techniques when you do locate it.

Less bowfishermen will be out hunting carp and suckers in the winter months. That’s the other distinction between the seasons. The fact that bowfishing may be done in the winter is unknown to many bowfishermen.

This is not to imply that there aren’t any, but there are only a handful of lone surviving bowfishermen. While the rest of the world has moved on to less heroic hobbies such as ice fishing or other pastimes.

A Portable Heater is a Smart Idea

The winter is the perfect time to carry along a portable heater, especially if you’re travelling to a colder region. This gives you the opportunity to warm up if you need to. As a bonus, you can leave the heater on all the time when bowfishing in a fish house. 

It’s of great benefit if you take your heater along with you, it will help keep your hands warm and flexible so you’re ably to shoot your bow much more comfortably and retain greater control.

I Understand Why Some People Simply Refuse to Bowfish During Winter

Many folks who really enjoy bowfishing simply refuse to do it in the winter, I now a few like that. Instead, they would prefer to go ice fishing. Because the fish are less active, bowfishing can be more challenging. 

They appear to be further away and less accessible.

Also, the considered their garments were too heavy and uncomfortable and interfered with the way they shoot. Heavy, waterproof jackets are also required in the winter and this also turns people off because it cramps their style.

The Right Time for Winter Bowfishing

This is mostly determined by where you live. Bowfishermen from Ohio told me that they only used their bows at night in the winter, and that’s when they caught the most fish. Between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in Minnesota and many other states, is when you’ll have the most success, when the sun is at its brightest.

Bowfishing From a Canoe

The question of whether it is possible to engage in bowfishing from a canoe is commonly asked. 

The Answer Yes… and No.

Because of the lack of space, it’s tough to use full-length arrows and a normal-sized bow, especially if you’re using inflatable canoe.

Due to the fact that you are actually seated directly at the water level and it’s impossible to shoot a standard, or even a short bow, without submerging the limbs in the lake. 

There are bowfishers that hold their bow on the horizontal however the arrow acts differently when shot from a bow held this way and thus reduces accuracy, which is vital in bow fishing.

While there are a few workarounds, the crucial aspect of bow fishing is safety.

All the gear I’ll be discussing here is serious shooting equipment and can be dangerous if not handled correctly.

Never shoot full-sized arrows at shallow angles or at huge distances because they can skip like a rock and go long distances at shallow angles. Do not direct any of device at anything that you do not want to shoot, of course!

It’s best to wait until you’re ready to launch an arrow or a dart before knocking it, and to store them safely when not in use, with the points entirely covered. When on the water, always wear a PFD and, as a final note, make sure that your fishing gear complies with local regulations. 

When standing atop something that’s moving, it’s difficult enough to aim at a moving object, but bow fishers also have to consider light refraction.

The 10-4 rule can be used to calculate how much light bends through water. Shoot four inches below the fish if you’re 10 feet away and the fish is one foot beneath the water.

For every 10 feet of distance, add four inches, invest some time practising with submersible targets. 

Sea and freshwater fish are the primary targets of bowfishers, who sight fish during the day and use lights at night to find them. Game fish hunting is prohibited in some states, thus many participants target invasive species like carp and nuisance fish such as sting rays instead.

Due to the fact that it is hard to shoot and release, hunters are forced to eat the fish they kill. Ensure that you are familiar with local restrictions before stepping out on the water

A canoe allows you to visit regions that are too shallow and tight for a motorboat. Although bowfishing from a canoe is challenging, it’s a lot of fun and the payoff is eating your catch.