Pelican Flyer • June 30, 2020
Love fishing? Love hunting? Combine the two with bowfishing! This sport is beloved by tried-and-true outdoorsy types because it’s a unique fusion of two of the most popular sporting niches. With bowfishing, you truly get the best of both worlds: the thrill of stalking and shooting your prey mixed with a relaxing, aquatic environment. All in all, bowfishing is a great way to get outside and put your skills to the test.
When bowfishing for carp, it's best to use a compound or recurve bow with arrows specifically designed to catch Asian carp, including silver, bighead, grass and black carp. These fish are an invasive species that have exploded in population over recent years and pose a threat to the native fish and wildlife habitats in the United States. To catch carp with a bow, you can shoot directly at the surface of the water from the shore or a boat. These fish linger in shallow depths, making them easy to spot. However, that doesn't mean catching one will be easy!
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Bowfishing involves learning how to identify and target fish swimming in shallow water and sneaking up on them before they spook and scurry away. If it’s your first time out, remember to aim low, because the fish is actually deeper than it appears due to water refraction. Some anglers follow the 10-4 rule — if the fish is 10 feet away and 1 foot below the surface, then aim 4 inches low. You can practice with specialty targets in the off-season to boost accuracy.
Besides a fishing license, you'll find most of the gear you need comes from the hunting aisle rather than the fishing aisle. Carp are highly reactive to noise and motion, so you need to be ultra-stealthy and dress like a hunter — camo is your friend! Don't forget a pair of water- and mud-proof boots. Here are a few more bowfishing essentials required for beginners.
In general, the late spring and early summer months are the best time to go bowfishing. These are the seasons when the fish tend to hang out near the surface of lakes and rivers to feed and spawn. As with any bow-related activity, it’s best to head out on days with minimal wind to ensure accuracy. Try to schedule outings on clear, dry days, as clouds and rain can compromise visibility and prevent you from spotting these elusive swimmers.
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Pelican is here to outfit you with the right compound bow case before you head out. With the proper technique, gear and attitude, you may just reel in a record-setter on your very first excursion!
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