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I’m Only Fishing For Encouragement

glistening lake at sunset rimmed by brush and trees.
Just need a push…

Say the Bow Bully has never gone Bow Fishing before…What would you say to that? I know, if you’re a regular reader, I may have encouraged you to make the effort to hit the water during off season a while back and well, I have not yet done that myself because, I may need some encouragement myself. 

A Fish Fry Ahead!

The idea of bow fishing sounds very appealing, and I would love to do it, if for nothing else just to say I did it, (and I do like fish). Especially when I get enough to fire up the Hike Crew 100 QT Seafood Boil Set and host a fish fry! So what do I need? I’ll throw out my findings and if I’m missing anything please add it to my list. 

Things necessary for a bowfishing expedition

  • A body of water because I can’t seem to keep fish alive in my pool. 
  • Either a boat, a dock, or a landing. A boat would be ideal.
  • A bow or two specifically set up for fishing. 
  • Fish bait, oh wait a minute, that’s right you don’t need bait!
  • Live well for your catch, assuming you “catch” What do you call it anyway?
  • (This is where you add to my list).

Any Recommendations?

Since I don’t think my swimming pool is the best option for a multitude of reasons, what is the best body of water to bow fish in? Is it best to fish by banks, out in the open, deep or shallow waters? Determining that, will determine what type of boat you’ll need to have or another option is to pay for a guided trip. 

Ballista BowFishing Kit
Ballista Bow Fishing Kit

What bow or bows would you recommend? Can you bow fish with any kind of bow? I don’t know if you can, but it is possible to bow fish with the Ballista Bat Reverse Compound Crossbow or the CenterPoint Typhon X1. Well…fishing doesn’t really mean you are successful, so yes you can go fishing with just about anything!

We won’t bring fish bait, some may say it’s a good idea to bring some floating bait or a light to lure them to the surface. What method do you suggest? I might suggest bringing some bait for you too, pb&j or cheese and crackers, something to keep your tummy from wanting. 

What Are We Looking For?

Another item on my list is a live well, you’re only going to need that if you do more than fishing and actually catch, it is catch right? Speaking of catching, what type of fish are we going after? There are different kinds in different regions of the country and I’m no fishing expert but, I’m sure there are some that present a bow fisher more shot opportunity than others. So, what do you like to bow fish for?

Intimidation Is Real, Give Me a Push!

There are some intimidating factors to bow fishing when I think about it. I’ve heard you don’t need fancy sights because you don’t have time to really use them. A simple Trophy Ridge Mist 3 pin is sufficient. What does that say to me, it’s a fast paced sport and well, what if I’m not a fast paced shooter? 

Maybe I don’t have the most developed sea legs, or, or, or…Okay I hear ya, I told you I was fishing for encouragement! All these things will only be a mystery to you if you never try it and if you never try it, you may be missing out on what you might find to be the best sport out there with reward! Okay, I get the point, let me get some pointers from my friends here and I’ll book a trip. Sometimes even the Bow Bully needs to be pushed around.

author avatar
The Bow Bully
The Bow Bully discusses a variety of archery topics and offers tips, advice and the occasional nudge to make you a better bowhunter. With years of experience, and an attitude to match, you'll find the Bully has something to offer both beginners and seasoned hunters.

10 thoughts on “I’m Only Fishing For Encouragement”

  1. Growing up in rural Louisiana fishing was like breathing.

    Bow fishing was something that Cajuns did (they have another name for themselves, but I can not use it here).

    I have done it twice over 20 years ago, a friend had a boat set up especially for it, with a large front deck and lighting for night time bow fishing.

    The equipment used depends on what fish and the size of the fish you intend to harvest.

    My friend would regularly shoot gar that were over 100lbs.

    That reel you pictured isn’t going to do it if you are shooting (pun intended) for that class.

    He normally shot a 85lb pull compound bow for deer, but used a 55 lb for fishing I never asked him why.

    It will be interesting to follow your journey.

    Or come over to the airgun side.

    Umarex is introducing an airbow specifically for fishing.

    Called The FishR.


    • Ian,

      My first question was, “Did you like bowfishing?” but if it was over 20 years ago that you went and haven’t been since, I’m guessing you didn’t? If that’s not the case, I’m curious if you enjoyed it? Was it a fast paced sport? Yes, I’ve shot the Umarex FishR, it’s an option. I’d like to try both.

      Thanks for hoping I have a journey to follow.


  2. TBB,

    I’ve bow-fished for carp a couple of times with a friend who was really into it.

    Best spots were were narrow, shallow, weedy areas adjacent to deep water channels in the river that concentrated the fish. Stalking was possible – especially when they were spawning – but the carp were always spooky and difficult to approach. Anchoring (QUIETLY) and waiting for cruising/feeding fish worked best.

    Didn’t do much bow-fishing as I prefer catch and release. For a real challenge and ton of sport try fly-fishing for carp.


    • Hank,

      Thanks for the tips, I’m writing a check list now and those bodies of water are now on it.

      Fly fishing…hmmm, I don’t think I’ve got the right rhythm for that, it looks more like a dance. I was watching a fella fly fish last weekend and I almost felt like I was intruding on a very intimate situation. Is it that way with Fly fishing? I don’t know, I’ve never been.

      Thanks Hank!
      Till next time!


      • TBB,

        Just like in archery, the most important thing in fly-fishing is to have correctly matched equipment that is suitable for the application. Lots of videos on choosing equipment and the reasonably priced (<$100) "Starter Kits" available from places like Cabelas are quite good.

        Basically, where in spin fishing the weight of the lure pulls the line in fly-fishing the weight of the line pulls the fly along. So you have to cast the line.

        The casting in not difficult (some practice is required) and anyone who can hit his mouth with a fork (most of the time 😉 ) can learn to cast well enough to catch fish after 20 minutes instruction.

        You probably already understand the basics – have you ever taken a garden hose and given it a flip to reposition it? The enery put into hose causes a tumbling roll or wave that travels down along the hose causing it to move in the desired direction – that's called called a "roll cast".

        Fly-fishing is EXTREMELY effective because you can present flies that closely imitate food in a way that looks like live, natural food. In appropriate conditions, spinning and even bait fishing can't match fly-fishing.

        A caution about trying fly-fishing is that it can be addictive (so can fly-tying). A beginners rod kit and a pond of bluegills will put a smile on most any angler's face. But then the rabbit-hole appears… a 3-weight outfit for panfish; a 5-weight for trout; a 7-weight for bass; a 10-weight for musky …think you get my drift 🙂

        If you like to fish, I'd highly recommend trying fly-fishing. I can make a couple of suggestions (off line) if you want.

        Have a great weekend!

  3. Don’t get in trouble; stay away from local koi ponds or you’ll get some Karen complaining.

    Disclaimer: this is meant entirely in jest. You have to have these disclaimers in this age; they’re like those “government warning” notices.

  4. FawltyManuel,

    That is a very important point to add to my check list as I would hate to forget that! In the moment when you’re staring at all those Koi fish so bright and such easy targets and all you want is some practice, that could be tempting but I’ll take a look at my list and remind myself to move along!

    Haha, that was a pretty good one! Are you giving advice from your own experience?
    Either way thanks for looking out for me!


  5. I love fish, fried, baked, steamed.

    Sushi, no thank you that is bait for other fish.

    But I am not fond of the texture or taste gar and carp. And the many fine bones in the meat of the rough fish species.

    I enjoyed the experience.
    Fast paced? Shoot, retrieve , then find another.

    It’s faster paced than deer bow hunting.

    Like regular fishing, the fish struggling on the line disturbed the others in close proximity.

    The good thing about bow fishing is you don’t have to wait until they are hungry or being territorial and attacking your bait!

    Oh and don’t let the color of the Gar fish’s bones throw you off. It’s normal.


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