Catching fish with a bow and arrow
It really doesn't take much to get started bowfishing. You
can always add more, but initially all it takes is a bow,
a good reel, some bowfishing arrows, polarized glasses, and
a hat. Different bowfishing situations require different arrow
and tip designs. Make sure you have enough of the right arrows
for your bowfishing outing
In Arizona we are able to fish for two species with a bow
& arrow, they are the Tilapia
and the Bigmouth
Buffalo. In Texas they bowhunt for; Alligator
Gar - needle nose, spotted, short nose. Buffalo, Carp, Tilapia
Gar 290 lbs 96 inches
on 07/08/01 in the Trinity River
by Marty McClellan
We strongly recommend the use
of an arrow
with a cable or slide system to keep
the line in front of the bow on draw back.
Do not tie your line to the back of
A second-hand bow is all you need for starting out.
Compounds, recurves, long bows use what your comfortable with
they all work great for bowfishing. Rummage sales are great
for bowfishing bows I've picked up several for $20.00 a piece.
You can also check the used bow section at you local archery
shop or just ask a few friends if they have an old bow or
if they know of someone who might you'd be surprised.
A nice rig for the more serious bowfisherman
is this pistol crossbow
that can be purchased for under $100
The reel is the most important part of bowfishing. To have
the most fun and to get the most fish you want a reel that
can quickly handle missed shots and when you do connect with
a fish, the reel needs to be able to handle the fish as well.
There are three types of reels. There is the traditional spool
type reels, the closed face reels and the AMS Retriever Reel.
AMS Retriever Bowfishing Reels
The AMS Retriever Bowfishing Reels are all
together different and the reel of choice. There is no bail
to release, no lost arrows. There is nothing to remember to
do before each shot. The Retriever reel is mounted to the
side of the bow in the bow's sight holes. If you choose to
use sights, a sight can be mounted simply over the top. The
line of the Retriever is stacked in a plastic bottle rather
than wound on a spool. When you shoot a fish the line flows
out of the bottle after your arrow with literally no drag.
If you miss the fish, just pull the trigger to crank the line
in. If you hit a smaller fish apply pressure to the trigger
and crank him in. If he's a real fighter or a larger fish
there is no adjustable fighting drag, but with a little practice
you can get him in by pumping your bow. Pull the trigger to
pinch the line, pull the fish in toward you, and crank up
the slack line. A couple more times and you've got your fish.
arrows work great. They are very strong, take lots of abuse
from hitting rocks to bending with a flopping fish and they
spring back in shape for more abuse. There are also aluminum
clad arrows for extra weight and strength but they are quite
a bit more expensive.
DEVICE FOR ARROWS:
cable system or similar device is necessary to increase the
safety of bowfishing. Anytime you tie your line to the tail
of the arrow and shoot it from a bow, you're asking for trouble.
Arrow snap back can result. Upon release, there is a trailing
loop of line that can tangle with the bowstring, the bows'
cabling, the arrow rest, or the archers wrist watch etc. If
the line should tangle with any of these objects serious injury
cable system or AMS's ring sets are the solution to this problem.
Please refer to www.amsretriever.com
for photos of this trailing loop of line, as well as photos
of the line actually tangling with the bowstring and tying
itself to the bow's cabling.
cable system consists of a metal or plastic cable with swivel
that runs from the tip to the tail of the arrow. It is assembled
by drilling holes, feeding the cable through, pulling it tight
and crimping the end clamps,. The line is attached to the
swivel and slides down the cable when in flight. The swivel
allows the archer to control the position of the line while
drawing the bow. By keeping the swivel and bowfishing line
in front of the bow, there is no longer a trailing loop of
line nor any obstacle for it to tangle with.
has recently found a more simple solution. A simple stainless
steel ring with stop screw. The ring slides up and down the
shaft of the arrow similar to that of the swivel and is stopped
by a stop screw that is installed in tail of the arrow. The
function is the same. You tie the line directly to the ring
and it is able to freely slide up and down the arrow shaft.
Before drawing just make sure the line and ring is in front
of the bow no trailing loop of line and no obstacles.
requires the use of special bowfishing tips. Think of a broadhead.
They are designed to go through the target and cause lethal
damage, but thats it. Bowfishing points have barbs that go
through the fish on the shot – when retrieving they
hang on to the fish so that you can get him into your boat.
Muzzy points are very tough and work great for big, hard-sided
fish. They have a removable tip that can be replaced when
necessary. The barbs are fixed with a holding area of
about one inch. To remove a fish with the Muzzy points,
you need to release the barbs before you can release your
fish from the arrow. Just twist the tip a couple times
to release the barbs, turn them back, and pull the arrow
back through the fish.
Shot points are another tough point. They are another
compact design also with fixed barbs, but the tip is not
removable. They offer a little more holding area than
the Muzzy points, but probably less penetration. The great
thing about these tips is that a couple twists of the
arrow shaft will release the barbs and the fish without
having to touch the tip of the arrow.
type of point are the Sting-A-Ree points by Cajun Archery.
The point is quite long and they are great for smaller
fish. The barbs are collapsed as the arrow passes through
the fish. As you pull the arrow back, the barbs catch
on the side of the fish, open up and hold tight to the
fish. The holding diameter of these points is nearly
two inches. As with the Shure shots, a couple twists
of the arrow shaft will allow the barbs to collapse
and the fish to be easily removed.
importance of wearing polarized sunglasses while bowfishing
cannot be emphasized enough. Polarized sunglasses dramatically
reduce the glare of the sun on the water when bowfishing.
By reducing the glare, you can see deeper and further out
into the water. By seeing deeper and further, you can obviously
see more fish. Clip on's work, but we've found that polarized
glasses with side shields seem to work better. The best view
of the fish when bowfishing is with the sun to your back when
your scanning the water for fish, the side shields offer additional
protection for your eyes.
lens color is important. Dark Gray lenses block the most sunlight
and are used for bright and sunny days. Medium Amber lenses
are typically used more for overcast and hazy days. Light
Gray lenses are for used for the first and last light of the
Some information on this page was found at Bowfish
a great resource for bowfishing information.