Deep Penetration – A bowfishing how-to
From the minute I picked up a bow, I was hooked. It all started when I was in college and a friend and classmate of mine invited me out for a night on the water with him and his roommate. He told me we would go to a local lake that afternoon to fish and work our way into bowfishing that night. I told him I had never been and that I did not have a bow, but he assured me that would not be an issue. So, off we went with me having no idea what I was in store for, but hoping I was going to learn how to bowfish.
The afternoon started off like any other day of fishing on the lake. This particular lake is known to hold some large cats so we anchored up and tossed our lines out as the stories begin to flow. We caught some catfish that were perfect eating size and tossed them in the cooler. As the sun started to fade, I began to get even more excited. Once the darkness took over, we put the rods away and brought out what I have learned many bowfishermen start out with: a spot light hooked up to a car battery. Since it isn’t quite possible to hold a spot light and shoot a bow, one of the guys held the light and the other drove the boat while they let me shoot first. In the beginning, I had to be instructed which fish I could shoot and which were off limits. Because of this, I was slow to shoot and missed the first several fish. Multiple times they reminded me to aim low, something that resonates in the bowfishing community. The light refraction in the water plays tricks on your eyes and makes the fish look higher in the water than they actually are. Finally, I connected! A small grass carp was my first fish, and after that, it was on. From there, I picked it up fairly quickly and had a hard time putting the bow down to swap out, but eventually I let the other guys have a turn. It was one of my most fun bowfishing trips I have ever been on and a great learning experience on how to bowfish.
For newcomers to the sport, start out with a cheap bow. There is no reason to go buy the highest dollar bows out there. PSE makes some good cheap long bows that are great for starting out since you can shoot them much faster than a typical compound. Since my initial bowfishing trip, I have learned that bowfishing during the day can be just as much fun as spending all night on the water. This does, of course, depend on water clarity and a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Once you get yourself rigged up with the right gear, be sure to read up on all the bowfishing laws for your state and always follow the law. Hopefully this gets you a little closer to learning how to bowfish. Now get out there and remember, AIM LOW!
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