What is Bowfishing?

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If traditional fishing and bowhunting had a love child, it would be bowfishing. This fun sport has been around for centuries and is a version of fishing that is loved by many. It’s simple and easy to learn. All you need is a bow, a bowfishing arrow, a reel, and a location to hunt with plenty of fish.

What Do You Hunt When Bowfishing?

There are many different types of fish that you can hunt when bowfishing. The most common types include common carp, bighead carp, and alligator gar.What makes bowfishing different from bowhunting?

While bowfishing and bowhunting might seem quite similar at first, they have a lot of differences. Unlike bowhunting, which takes place on land, bowfishing usually takes place near a body of water such as: rivers, lakes, and marshes. Bowfishing must take place near some source of water because that is where fish live. Shallow pool areas are perfect places to start hunting because they provide a variety of habitats that are easily accessible by boat or foot.

Another difference to note is aiming. When bowfishing, you usually have to aim lower because the light will be “refracted” when it hits the water. This will make the fish seem like it is farther or closer than it is. In bowfishing, you can’t trust your eyes. If you do so, you’ll be sure to miss. In traditional bowfishing, this is not something that you have to worry about.

When Does Bowfishing Season Start?

The official bowfishing season takes place in the spring and summer. However, in some states, it is a year-long sport.

What Equipment Do You Need For Bowfishing?

With minimal spending and just a few important pieces of equipment, you can easily get started on your bowfishing journey. Here’s what you need.

  • bowfishing bow
  • bowfishing arrow
  • fishing reel

All of this equipment can be found in stores or online. Personally, I purchase my equipment from Amazon, because it ships within a day.

What Type Of Bows Can Be Used For Bowfishing?

Traditional archery bows work perfectly for bowfishing. Most people use their regular compound and recurve bows. Crossbows are another popular option.

What Is The Best Draw Weight For Bowfishing?

A modest bow weight, ranging from 25 to 35 lbs, will be perfect for most fisherman that intend to shoot from a few feet away. I have also seen people commonly use a draw weight that is between 40 and 50 lbs. This is a good weight that is enough to kill a big fish, but not so heavy that you will get tired quickly after a night of shooting. If a heavy bow is not your thing, you can also get away with using a lighter bow, ranging from around 20 to 25 lbs. These bows are usually strong enough to hit fish right below the surface. Therefore, you might even be able to get your kids involved.

What Makes Bowfishing Arrows Different From Traditional Arrows?

Bowfishing arrows serve a different purpose than traditional arrows. Unlike with traditional archery, bowfishing arrows are designed so that you can attach a line to it. This is because even after you hit the fish, they can swim away, only to die and be eaten by other fish later. The line is designed so that you can reel the fish before it has the chance to get away. Obviously, traditional arrows aren’t designed like this. Imagine reeling in an entire moose or turkey from a fishing pole. That image just doesn’t make sense.

Traditional bowhunting arrows, instead, have another purpose. They are usually bigger and heavier, because they are meant for bigger prey. They are also designed to leave a trail of blood, so that hunters can find their prey more efficiently. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible in the water, because it would just wash away.

Why Don’t Bowfishing Arrows Have Fletchings?

Bowfishing arrows don’t have fletchings (the colorful little panes at the end). Fletchings are known compromise your otherwise perfect aim in the water, causing the arrow to steer off course. Therefore, bowfishers stay away from them.

Why Do Bowfishing Arrows Have A Barbed Tips?

Bowfishing arrows have a barbed tip that is useful for keeping the fish on the arrow. It is designed so that the fish doesn’t slip away as it is reeled in.

What Are Bowfishing Arrows Made Of?

The material of an arrow is a worthwhile consideration since it is an indication of its overall quality. Here is a brief description of the most common materials used in bowfishing arrows.

  • Fiberglass: For most individuals, fiberglass arrows are money well-spent. It is a common choice with an economical price tag, which makes it perfect for budget-conscious consumers. The spine of these arrows, however, are prone to damage. Regardless, this material is generally very tough.
  • Carbon: This common material is mostly found among newer bowfishing arrows. They are generally more durable than their fiberglass arrows. Their spines are less prone to breakage and bending, encouraging more accurate shots. These arrows are also designed to handle higher impacts.
  • Hybrids: Hybrid arrows are made of a combination of fiberglass and carbon. They utilize the best characteristics of each material to provide you with an exceptional arrow. You can expect great performance without the need to spend a small fortune.

Do I Need A Reel For Bowfishing?

Yes, you need a reel for bowfishing. If you don’t tie a line to your arrow, the fish will retreat. Due to their anatomy, they can survive several minutes before succumbing to injuries and dying. They can swim away with your arrow. The line prevents this from happening, so that you can get the best of both worlds. First, you catch your prey and, second, you get to keep your arrow. I recommend a line that is made from heavy duty fishing line, so that it won’t be as likely to break.

What Places Are Good For Bowfishing?

Most locations, unless you live in a desert, have plenty of options available. You can go to state or national parks. Local ponds, lakes, and rivers are also great options.

Just make sure to be aware of local bowfishing regulations. There are some species and sizes of fish that you won’t legally be able to shoot unless you want to serve a hefty fine. Your bowfishing trip doesn’t need to be more expensive than it has to.