Avid bow hunters that enjoy fishing have learned that bowfishing is an exciting way to combine the two of their favorite activities. Bowfishing is also a great way for archers to further enjoy shooting their bow and arrow by hunting a fish rather than just aiming and shooting at a stationary target. Bowfishing is much more than just a change of pace and scenery, though, as not only does it offer a way to fine-tune one’s hunting skills, it also provides a way to yield an excellent table feast.
Check the Local Laws
Now, before you start bowfishing around your local area, it is important to determine the areas around you that are off-limits for this type of hunting. In some cases, such as wildlife management areas, it is prohibited for individuals to possess any type of archery equipment, which includes a bow for bowfishing. You also want to see if there is an open-season for the hunting of specific fish, as some areas could specify this similar to deer hunting season. It is also imperative to become familiar with any laws associated with bag and size limits.
Once you’ve established the laws, and you feel you are ready, you can start bowfishing. If you are just getting started with bowfishing, here are four basic bowfishing tips, tricks and techniques that will help you take the right step forward:
Aim Low – When bowfishing, you won’t be able to aim directly at the fish. Instead, you will need to aim low when you aim to shoot at the fish. The reason for this is because of water refraction, which distorts the exact location of the fish in the water. How low you need to aim will depend on the water depth, your height about the water’s surface and the distance between you and the fish. Essentially, practice makes perfect, so just keep trying until you are able to target a fish and grab it the first time.
Shallow Water – Beginners should bowfish in shallow water, as this is where the least reflection will be making your bowfishing adventure much more productive. It’s an easy way to get the hang of things before you take your boat out into the open water.
Bowfish at Night – Just like with regular fishing, nighttime is the best time to go bowfishing. The reason for this is because the fish are less likely to spook and swim off. However, it is still important to be as quiet as possible.
Avoid Windy Days – Because you have to deal with water refraction as it is, a windy day will only cause this to be worse. You will miss more targets than you would like, so it’s better to just save it for another day unless you are expertly skilled at tackling the combination of wind and water refraction.
Bowfishing combines fishing, archery and hunting into one sport. However, in order to be effective, you need to utilize the aforementioned tips and techniques, especially if you are just getting started with bowfishing.