5 Tips for Beginner Bowfishing

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Also known as Archery Fishing, this is a sport where you use archery equipment to fish.

So, I have always loved the bow and arrow. And you bet your life I will be going to see the newest Robin Hood movie. Who knows, I will probably buy the sound track and start practicing my aerial archery skills on a trampoline. We’ll see.

Bow hunting archery photo

Can a regular hunting bow can be used for fishing by simply attaching a reel to the front of the bow grip? Yes.

Bow fishing is especially favored by “land” bow hunters when the four legged game, like deer are off season. This way they can continuously hone their skills for whatever season it may be.

Before starting in bow fishing, you might first take into consideration the following:

1. A fisherman must be licensed.

Most states require that adults have a state license to fish. Don’t shoot fish in Prince John’s pond.

2. Equipment.

Most states even have a listed set of approved equipment for archery fishing. Check on that.

3. Archery Safety Course.

Still, it is possible that your state requires people to go through an approved safety course for bow fishing to ensure that the individual is well versed with the proper safety precautions and information regarding applicable laws in fishing. I hope I haven’t scared you off.

4. Seasons.

Bowfishing in some states can only be done in certain seasons. This is to allow the fish to spawn. You don’t want to deny a fish his/her chance to spawn.

5. Species of fish.

Some states have rules forbidding bow fishing for some species of fish. What type of fish were you thinking? Not a shark, I presume.


bow practice archery photo


The following skills are necessary for this sport:

Knot tying.

Though it may seem like a simple task, tying knots that will not slip (line for the arrow) are crucial in bow fishing.


Tuning is making sure that the bow is at its tip top condition. To ensure this, one has to regularly adjust the rest and calibrate the nock.

For a faster tuning process, you may shoot a regular bow-fishing arrow (without the tip) into a target made of cardboard.

Marksmanship or targeting.

Bow fishing and bow hunting, though similar on some aspects, really do differ on many things. Arrows for bow fishing are heavier. They have larger arrow tips. Plus the most obvious one, has a string attached to the arrow.

And since fish are shot in the water, resistance differs as does the angle, due to the distortion of the light from the water. When compared to shooting in the air (for bow hunting of games),

There are various methods or ways of bowfishing. This includes the following:

1. Still hunting.

A fisherman selects a place by the lake in which he would wait for passing fish to shoot its bow at.

2. Stalking.

This can be done on foot or while on a boat. One is in constant motion in an attempt to locate fish.

3. Ambush.

Fish that are best ambushed are the ones that are spawning since they tend to crowd thus increasing chances of target.

OK, so there is one more way. Spearfishing, but that is really for another day. But it is satisfying to conquer in the fish’s playground.

Thanks for reading. Each Tuesday, I publish a youtube video featuring the highlights from this week’s blog.

Have you ever hunted fish with a bow? If so, share your best fish story.

Here is a great Youtube video on Bowfishing 101:


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