Bowfishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and it also gives you a chance to practice archery skills and help conserve the environment. If you have not tried it before, you owe it to yourself to give a go. There are a few different things that you will need, however, before getting started into bowfishing.
Learning how to bowfish and honing those skills will take some time. You should try and budget a few extra hours for your first couple of outings in order to give yourself plenty of time to learn. Most beginners will only manage to shoot a handful of fish on their first try. But you must get plenty of practice in order to get better!
Without plenty of practice, it can be harder to hone your skills. If you cannot find any fish, you can try shooting things like seaweed or underwater targets held in place by weights. Targeting things underwater will help you to practice adjusting your aim for the light refraction. The deeper the fish, the lower you must aim. The practice is the only thing that will help to improve this important skill while bowfishing.
The second thing you must bring to the table is some knowledge and preparation in order to find success when starting to bowfish. You must learn where to find fish to shoot, and then correctly identify which fish that you can actually shoot. Invasive species such as carp, and other “rough’ fish like suckers, are the usual targets. In order to shoot them accurately, you must also learn how to make quick calculations based on varying distances and depths.
While learning many of these skills can only be done while actually shooting, you can come as prepared as possible by doing some research on how to aim, how to shoot, and what types of fish you are targeting. Learning everything that you can about your quarry will help you to better find them and hunt them when the time comes.
You should also do your homework and know all of the state and local laws and regulations pertaining to bowfishing. Having this knowledge will help you stay legal and safe while enjoying the outdoors, and you will never have to worry about accidentally breaking any rules.
Now we are finally at the best part! You will no doubt need different equipment in order to go bowfishing. But this does not necessarily mean that bowfishing has to be expensive or extensive. Some gear that you will need to get started with includes a bow, a reel, some line, arrows, and tips, and your fishing license. Some other gear you may want to consider are gloves, some towels, sunglasses, and a knife.
When it comes to the bow, an old hunting bow can easily be converted for bowfishing. You can also buy a reel, line, and arrows separately or in a bowfishing package. Some of these packages might even include a bow. Whatever route you decide to go, just remember that you do not need to spend a fortune in order to get started!
You will also need the proper reel, line, and arrows that can be used for bowfishing. Bowfishing arrows are very different from regular hunting or target arrows. They are usually much tougher, do not include fletching, and have special tips designed to puncture and hold fish that they hit.
Because fish move quickly, you won’t need things like bow sights or a release aid. These can slow your reaction time, causing you to miss shooting opportunities. You should learn to use your instincts and fingers in order to make quick, accurate shots. Wearing a glove or finger tab can help to protect your fingers if you need it.
The very last thing that you will need in order to start bowfishing is a place to go! Once you are completely geared up and ready, you need to find a place where you can start. If you have done your homework and studied all of your options, you might already have a good idea of a place to get started. While most lakes, ponds, and rivers are very accessible, there are probably going to be some places that are off-limits to bowfishing. Use maps and talk to locals or the game warden to learn what types of habitats that you should focus on when starting to bowfish.
You should also realize that you don’t always need a boat in order to go bowfishing. While a boat can certainly help you access areas that you otherwise couldn’t, plenty of people can bowfish successfully from the shore. Walk slowly around the water’s edge while looking for fish near the surface of the water.
Getting your start in bowfishing can sometimes seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple things - most of which you likely already have or can easily obtain - you can start sticking and stacking carp.
Bowfishing is a great way to spend quality time with your bow each summer. It’s also a good workout and fun way to spend time with your friends. Before heading to the lake or river with hopes of filling your boat with carp, ask yourself: Just what will you do with all those dead fish? Craft a plan to use the fish you shoot productively.
Legal fish species vary depending on where you are in the country. Some of the most common freshwater fish shot are bighead carp, common carp, grass carp, catfish, buffalo and several varieties of gar, including the massive alligator gar. Many of these fall under the category of rough (or trash) fish. Rough fish are those fish which fall outside of the category of sport fish. They are species not commonly eaten and are often invasive species. Because they are not typically targeted by fishermen, bowfishing is a very good means of population control and removal of these often undesirable fish.
To help you get started, we have compiled a quick list of every US state and whether or not bowfishing is legal, some of the rules, and what you should be aware of. We've also included links to each state's fish and game or department of natural resources website for more information. So let’s get started!
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