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February 11, 2021

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Team Guidesly



Bowfishing, otherwise known as archery fishing, as the name suggests, is all about spotting, stalking, shooting and retrieving fish. Although it might seem like a novel method, it really isn’t. Historically, it dates back to the time when Indians used bows and arrows to hunt for seafood in the Amazon River basin. And with regards to similarity in functioning and yielded results, it won’t be wrong to compare it with spearfishing (introduced as a hunting technique in the 1930s). The only difference lies in case of the propeller used i.e. it’s a bow, with regards to the former, and a hand in case of the latter.

The good thing about this technique is its flexibility i.e. you may bowfish on a boat or in shallow water, at any part of the day or at night. Freshwater species including Drum, Catfish, River Carpsuckers, etc. and saltwater fish like Flounder, Sheepshead and Bullshark are fish that can otherwise not be sought through the generally available fishing options. Hence, bowfishing does come in handy when hunting for such fish.

What to Expect when Bowfishing

When you’re going to bowfish, look forward to get a specialized gear including a bow, reel, line, arrow rest and arrows of course. The plus point is, you can use any bow (compound, recurved, or longbow) readily available at home, and attach relevant bowfishing accessories if you decide not to purchase the whole kit. 

After when you are done collecting the required gear, don’t forget to read the available user guides (online or the ones that come with the gear itself) to learn how things should work. In brief, you shall know how a fishing line is tied through a hole in the arrow shaft of Bowfishing arrows. This line is then wound on a reel which is mounted on the bow used. 

Fun fact: Bowfishing arrows, unlike regular arrows, lack fletching (feathers) and are longer as well. The absence of feathers helps prevent diversion in water, while the extra length adds to the overall weight to impose a greater impact in water.

Tips for Bowfishing

  1. Aim your arrow to hit the thickest part of your prey’s body for it to anchor well.
  2. The phenomenon of refraction can distort your judgement of where the fish is (i.e. it is deeper than what is apparent). So, aim slightly below to where the fish is (preferably 3 inches) for the arrow to hit on spot.
  3. Don’t go into waters deeper than 3 to 4 feet. That’s because water acts to resist the movement of an arrow, hence can slow it down. So, the deeper the water source is, the slower would be the impact of your arrow.
  4. Find your target fish in spots that provide cover e.g. weed and grass in shallow waters.
  5. To have a better visual experience in the day, bring along your polarized sunglasses.
  6. The target fish usually have sharp teeth. Hence when retrieving such fish after your shot, keep its mouth away from yours. That’s because they can unexpectedly jump right onto your face.