Simon Terry

The Archery and Fishing Connection: Bowfishing

Aside from being one of the most respected Olympic sports, archery is also considered to be a fun alternative for those who love to fish. Although it is not as widely practiced in the same way that people use a rod and reel combination to catch fish, it certainly offers a unique and challenging opportunity for those who are willing to give it a try. Essentially, a line will be attached to a reel, which is generally attached to the underside of the bow. Once an arrow is fired at a passing fish, the line will help you to control the fish once you strike it with the arrow. It’s at this point that the fish can be reeled back, in much the same way as a conventional fishing rod setup.

Bowfishing has gained popularity as more people begin to understand the problem of invasive fish species. One type of fish which is considered to be invasive, is the Asian carp. Asian carp are problematic, especially in the Missouri and Illinois rivers in the United States. They compete with native fish species for food, and they reproduce rapidly. Once you load your boat onto a body of water, it won’t take long to determine whether or not there are Asian carp in your waters. They tend to jump high into the air when spooked, and many archers are able to shoot them in mid-air.

While helping to eliminate invasive species is surely a noble cause for bowfishing, it is also conducted for both food and sport. Catfish, many of which exceed over 100 lbs, are tasty table fare. Blue catfish grow to huge sizes, and they put up a huge fight once they are shot. However, the famous alligator gar is a fish which is targeted in places like the state of Texas. People travel from the UK and other parts of the world to have a shot at a true trophy. These fish also reach huge sizes, so you must be ready for battle. A quality sharp arrowhead is required to penetrate the thick scales on these fish, some of which exceed 200 lbs.

Location is a huge factor when it comes to bowfishing. Most of this type of fishing is conducted in shallow areas within lakes, rivers and streams. The primary reason for this, is that this is a form of sight-fishing. You must see the target in order to place a quality shot on the fish. Additionally, it takes a vast amount of stealth in order to keep from spooking big fish located in shallow waters. Breeding grounds, which are often found in shallow water, are prime sports for bowfishing as well.

If you intend to bowfish, keep in mind that it is important to only take what you intend to harvest. Unlike traditional fishing conducted with a rod and reel, you cannot release a shot fish to live another day. Although ethical issues come into play, local laws also dictate the number and size of fish that you can legally harvest.