Bowfishing is a great sport that has been ongoing for many years. If you want to get pumped up on a “sportswoman’s high,” you should give it a try. As you’ve probably guessed by the name, bowfishing is a method of fishing that utilizes specialized archery equipment to shoot and retrieve fish. Fish are shot with a barbed arrow that is attached with special line to a reel mounted on the bow.
Opportunities for bowfishing are wide and varied:
Day or night bowfishing
Bank or wading
Shooting from a boat
Big game bowfishing
The start-up costs are relatively low, considering what a blast you will have participating in this sport. The following pricing is considered average, but can vary greatly, depending on the quality and/or brand selected.
There are two main types of bows utilized, traditional (long bow and recurve bow) and compound bows. Aiming is by line-of-sight judgment, sighting down the arrow, as most bowfishing bows do not have sights. They also have light draw weight and little to no let-off. Recurve bow: $125 to $150, compound bow: $250 to $350
The most commonly used retriever is the AMS Standard Retriever. Retriever reels have a bottle that holds the line. Bowfishing spincast reels are designed much like regular fishing spincast reels. Hand-wrap reels are a circular spool with line wrapped onto it by hand and secured in a line-holding slot.
The line for the reels is typically braided nylon, with common line weights ranging from 80- to 400-pound test. 600-pound test line is recommended for alligators. Line colors can be found in neon green, pink, orange and also available in white. Reels or retrievers: $70 to $100
Bowfishing arrows are most commonly constructed of five-sixteenth inch fiberglass, they are also available in solid aluminum and carbon fiber. No fletching is necessary as it can cause the arrow to divert direction underwater, and is not needed at the short range you’ll be shooting. Arrows: $30
Polarized sunglasses make all the difference in the world when it comes to seeing fish in the water. They cut the glare on the surface of the water, enabling you to see below the surface. The lenses are available in different tints and colors, depending on the clarity and color of water you are bowfishing. Polarized sunglasses: $20
Several companies have women’s waders available: Cabela’s, LL Bean, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro and Frogg Toggs, just to name a few. Hip waders: $120 to $150
Some consider night bowfishing from a boat to be the ultimate bowfishing experience, although the added expense of a boat and lighting dramatically increase the cost of this sport. On the other hand, along with increased costs, you increase your bowfishing opportunities tremendously. The boat allows greater mobility and access to varying bodies of water.
Carp, gar, suckers and eel are among the types of fish legal for bowfishing in Missouri. Now, if you’re looking for a more intense challenge in your bowfishing adventure, you could try your hand at big game bowfishing for alligator, shark, Gator gar and Big Southern stringray. This is a whole different league of bowfishing in and of itself. Big game bowfishing requires a heavier-duty bow setup, and most situations would require a boat. This type of bowfishing can be experienced in freshwater lakes, saltwater, marshes and open waters.
The following is personal favorite recipe of mine:
PO’ BOY’S SHRIMP
Unlimited number of carp. After cleaning and preparing carp for consumption, cut into one-inch chunks. Place in a pan of water enough to cover the fish and bring to a boil. Add salt and any preferred seasonings to the boiling water. (Cajun seasoning is a great selection.) Boil the fish until tender, then drain water off. As with shrimp, the carp can be served hot or chilled and served with shrimp cocktail sauce on the side.