If you like bowhunting, but you have no clue what to do off-season, bowfishing is the thing you need. This self-explanatory method consists in fishing with a bow or crossbow. There’s also spearfishing, but that sounds more of an Amazonian trip thing, to me.
Unlike what we have in mind when we say ‘fishing’, bowfishing isn’t about sitting and waiting on the shore or on a boat, you have to stalk and shoot the prey.
You can use your equipment for bowfishing (whether it’s a compound bow, traditional bow or crossbow) to satisfy your hunting skills. But if your wallet is overflowing, you can use some 200 to 400 to get a bowfishing bow. They’re usually compound bows that feature deeper cam grooves and prevent string derailment and allow either snap-shoots or a let-off/no let-off draw.
Either way, you’ll have to get some additions, specially designed for this purpose and you can start by picking a reel.
There’s the simple drum-like device, which unravels the string and lets you wrap it back again. Then there’s the spincast reel, similar to the ones used in regular fishing, the retriever, a really popular reel with a sort of attached bottle, the hybrid and the Aqua Reel, which is a rather new type of spinning reel.
You’ll also need some bowfishing line, of which there are basically two different types. They’re both synthetic but have slightly different prices because of their features.
You don’t normally shoot fish with the same kind of arrows that go for the big game. The ones used for bowfishing are stiffer and heavier than the ones used for target practice or hunting.
They have a shaft or a stopper so that you can attach the bowfishing line and you can choose between carp point and gar point, a difference that stems from the penetration force they provide.
Then there are fiberglass arrows, carbon arrows, carbon-spined, with a fiberglass shaft, and aluminum arrows. Get acquainted with the details of their features, because it’s useful to know how their behavior differs.
To start your bowfishing, you can choose a shallow river or shore, but you’ll soon realize you need a boat. Flat bottom boats for low waters, aluminum or steel raised platforms for shooting, generators for fishing at night and fan propulsion are some of the most typical features you’ll be dealing with.
Taking up bowfishing isn’t be easy because it takes a lot of practice. Water reflection will play jokes on you, so you’ll have to get used to aiming low, as the fish is about 4 inches or more below the point it appears to be. Trash fishing (targeting old cans and bottles under the water) is a good practice, and it cleans the water.
A pair of sunglasses is useful for daylight fishing and so is a fishing license for most areas of the country.