Bowfishing Tips FAQ

Last-modified: December 12, 1997
Written by: Jeff Smith (jdsmith@jds24.b30.ingr.com)


There are several different types of fishing arrows to use. Probably the most common and easiest to find is the solid fiberglass shaft which most archery shops carry for around $2.00. There are also solid aluminum and aluminum composite fishing arrows which range in price from around $6.00 to $12.00 depending on the type. I prefer to attach a 275lb. stainless steel leader with two s.s. balls and a 1/0 swivel on the leader from the rear of the arrow to the front of the arrow. A standard drill bit can be matched with the leader size to drill the two holes. This rig allows the line to stay on your reel until you shoot. Which keeps the line from around your bow hand and arm. You can buy a package, I know MUZZY has one, that has the leader, swivel, plastic balls and crimps for around $2.00 or make your own by purchasing the items separately for around $1.25/rig with better stuff IMHO. The arrows tend to get 'sloppy' after 20 to 30 shots and recabling is needed. I've had several of the MUZZY package swivels break on my arrows and the plastic balls break off on a regular basis so I rig my own with large swivels and s.s. balls. The balls go on both sides of the swivel and allow the swivel to slide to the back of the arrow on a shot.

As far as water depth, an arrow can shoot through several feet of water and still penetrate a fish properly. Of course the amount of water depending on alot of factors such as bow poundage, arrow weight, etc... With most setups, 4 to 5 feet of water is the maximum shooting depth for a fish 10 to 12 away. I have shot several carp this year in depths of 3 to 4 feet of water. A pair of polarized fishing glasses is a must for bow fishing. They will far exceed the naked eye AND regular non-polarized sun glasses in the number of fish you see. The rule of thumb for shooting a fish is hold 4 inches low for each foot of water at 10 feet away. Its hard at first to believe how low to hold, especially at night. Sometimes it seems like your going to shoot your foot. If you miss the fish, look at where the arrow is sticking in the bottom and this will give you some indication of how you missed. This only works if the water is swallow enough for the arrow to hit bottom of course.

Carp generally spawn when the water temperature reaches 62 degrees, reaches its peak in 65-68 degrees, decreases sharply when the water hits 79 degrees and ceases at 82 degrees. These numbers are all general and may vary in your area. Here in North Alabama, I found a creek inlet with water around 60 degrees in it and shot around 75 carp over the last two Saturdays and plan to hunt it again tonight also. Most of the fish were around 20 inches long with a few over 30 and one 36 inches. Bow fishing is alot of fun and gives you something to 'hunt' during the nontraditional hunting months. Some of the best action of the year occurs in the spring so give it try, but you've been forewarned its ADDICTIVE.


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Last modified on Friday December 19, 1997