Editor’s Note: Chris James has been bowfishing for about 15 years. “Bowfishing is a sport that has intrigued me for many years. I guess the reason I got into it was because I was looking for something to hunt after hunting season ended. In the fall and winter, I could hunt deer. During springtime, I could turkey hunt until about the end of April or the middle of May. In the summertime, I could shoot 3D archery, but there was a gap in my ability to hunt from the middle of May until about July. I do like to fish, and I discovered that bowfishing was the perfect combination of both hunting and fishing for me. You get to hunt the fish, and you don’t have to wait on them to bite. When I shoot a big fish, I’m very excited when it’s on the end of my arrow, and I have to play the fish down to get it in the boat. I also enjoy the constant action of bowfishing. You never know when or what kind of fish you’ll see. Once you spot a fish, you quickly have to estimate distance, aim instinctively and shoot. My biggest fish ever taken with a bow was a grass carp that weighed about 40 pounds. Often, you have to get two or three arrows in a fish that big to subdue it, but I made a good shot – hitting that fish right in the head and bringing it to the boat. Sometimes people have the wrong ideas about bowfishing. Here’s what I’ve learned.
- “Bowfishermen Don’t Have to Use Bottle Style Reels: Many bowfishermen may think bottle-style reels are the only type of reels they can shoot when they’re bowfishing, which means they’ll have to pull their lines in by hand. However, some reels on the market – like the Muzzy Professional Tournament Reels (https://www.feradyne.com/muzzy-bowfishing/) – are designed specifically for bowfishing to enable the archer to reel the fish in with the reel mounted on his/her bow.
- “You Don’t Have to Shoot Safety Slides: Bowfishermen may believe they have to shoot safety slides. With most reels, this is true, because most monofilament line is stretchy and has a tendency to break. However, Muzzy reels can handle very-small-diameter coarse lines that are very, very low stretch but with a 150-pound breaking strength on a slow, steady pull. Another reason bowfishermen think they have to shoot safety slides is because if they’re shooting retrieval reels and forget to push the buttons allowing the line to free-spool out of the reel. The archers are concerned that their arrows will snap back and hit them. However, if you have your drag set correctly, and you draw your bow, the worst thing that will happen is the nock will pop off the arrow, and the arrow will fall in the water. So, I feel that shooting bows without safety slides is safer than shooting bows with safety slides.”
To learn more about bowfishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “The Bowfishing Bible,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at http://amzn.to/22zX7Zz. To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Z9W6VC1/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taud_p1_i9 for Kindle, print and Audible versions. You may have to copy and paste these clicks into your browser. When you click on either book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the books for free. On the right side of the page and below the offer for free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click.
I’ve attended the Muzzy Classic Bowfishing Tournament before and enjoyed it. This year’s 2022 Classic will take place in Vicksburg, MS, on June 11-12, with first-place prize being $20,000, after paying a $300 registration fee to participate. https://www.facebook.com/TheMuzzyBowfishing/ or https://www.feradyne.com/muzzy-bowfishing/. You also can visit and observe the Classic without entering.
Tomorrow: You Don’t Have to Spend Much Money to Bowfish