Beginning Bowfishing: Equipment, Fish and Cooking

An afternoon's daylight bowfishing on Georgia's Lake Oconee. I was shooting by myself, in daylight and paddling up to the fish. Two guys, shooting in competition often take 1000 fish a night.

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  In many cases the beginning bowfisherman starts out by himself, picks up whatever can be purchased near where he lives and thrashes around trying to shoot few fish. If he persist, he will run into someone who is more experienced and start to learn the basics.

  My book, Practical Bowfishing, contains considerable useful information on the sport, equipment and what to do with the fish once you get them. This is an excellent way to get started. Some copies are available through retail channels, but the book is out of print. I still have copies  for $20.00. The best way to get one is to send me a check to Hovey Smith, 1325 Jordan Mill Pond Rd. Sandersville, GA 31082. I also have the book on, but the least expensive way to get the book is to order it from me.

  For more information  go to my website: The book will be the third title on the welcome page. Orders may be placed by activating the PayPal link below the book’s description.

  Bowfishing is an exciting sport, can be done almost anywhere, almost anytime there is open water, result in taking some of the best-eating fish that exist and improves the fishery at the same time. Now during the spring spawn in March-April, carp and gar come into the shallows and can be easily taken in a few inches of water. These fish can be shot by wading, from the shore, from shallow-draft boats and either day or night.

  When derived from clean waters (check with your state fish and game department for any advisories) they are good eating. In future postings, I will take you through the fishing, cleaning and cooking processes.

  For equipment you need a low-pull weight bow (about 40-lbs, and an old double wheel compound or recurve will do fine)  a reel seat, reel (you can order these from Muzzy and other suppliers), some 200 lb. bowfishing line and fiberglass bowfishing arrows. The first thing that you will have to learn is how to tie a knot with a standing loop so that you do not lose all your arrows (as well as your fish).

  A simple knot is to take your line and about 5-inches up tie an overhand loop leaving the loop open (a granny knot). Then take the leading (running) part of the line pass it through the hole in the back of your arrow and then through the open loop. Tie another overhand loop and then pull everything tight. The result will be a non-slip knot with a long open loop.

  The next decision, even before you start bowfishing, is to decide what you are going to do with your fish. These can go into the garden for fertilizer or, when taken from good water, can provide some of the best eats ever. My book also has recipes for carp, gar, paddlefish, suckers and stingrays, among other species.

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