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Bowfishing, Come Join The Fun

by John Mueller 21. April 2011 15:55
John Mueller

Bowfishing is one the fastest growing hunting sports in the industry. There are many reasons why it is becoming so popular. The main one being it’s just plain fun. You can start with the equipment you already have or there is a whole line of specialized equipment designed just for bowfishing.

Many people get into bowfishing simply because there is a lot of action. Unlike while bowhunting for deer, while bowfishing you can have nonstop action. And you don’t have to sit quiet and still in a stand all day. You can whoop it up on the boat or from shore and have a blast. Rough fish are in an overabundance on most of the lakes and rivers in our area. You are actually doing a service to help control the numbers of the non-native species in the waterways. The main targets are gar, common carp, buffalo, silver carp, and big head carp. However, in some states you can actually bowfish for catfish, spoonbill, stingrays, shark and alligator. Be sure to check the regulations for the body of water you are on at the time, as they can vary widely as to what is a legal fish.

A common carp and a couple of gar taken with my AMS Fish Hawk bow made by Mathews.

Like many outdoor activities, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to bowfish, but there is a complete line of specialized equipment out there for the bowfisher. You can get by with an old recurve bow a tin can mounted to the bow to hold your line and a bowfishing arrow rigged with a safety slide. Always use arrows rigged with safety slides. The safety slide keeps the string out in front of the bow so it doesn’t get tangled up on the shot and snap the arrow back at you. Some of the specialty equipment now on the market for bowfishers include.

    1. Bows made specifically for bowfishing.
    2. Solid fiberglass and solid carbon fishing arrows.
    3. Retriever Pro bowfishing reels.
    4. Roller rest arrow rests.
    5. Many different kinds of bowfishing arrow points.

An AMS Retriever Pro Reel, the easiest line control system out there.

A variety of arrows with safety slides and fish points from Muzzy and Cajun Archery.

There are plenty of fish to be shot from the shore, but to really get in on the action it takes a boat rigged up just for bowfishing. The design and layout of these vessels are as different as the people who own them. Anything goes when it comes to bowfishing rigs, from your basic jon boat to full blown air boats. A few things all good bowfishing boats need are.

1. A raised deck for the shooters to stand on.
2. A trolling motor or fan for shallow water movement
3. Lights and a generator for night fishing.
4. A barrel or tub for storing the fish.

My bowfishing rig, an old jon boat with troller, shooting deck, lights and a generator.

A fan powered, custom built bowfishing rig. The "Fantoon"

Two of the more fun species to bowfish for are actually quite new to our waters, the bighead carp and the silver carp, or Asians as they are referred to. These two species of fish have recently entered into many of our river systems. These fish escaped from fish farms when the nearby rivers flooded and released them into the states rivers. They are causing much harm to the native fish in these rivers. The Asians reproduce very rapidly and eat most of the plankton in the waters, interrupting the natural food chain. The silver carp also know as jumpers can cause major damage to boats and also cause severe injury to boaters. These fish have a weird habit of jumping out of the water when startled, like from an outboard motor. Can you imagine getting hit by a 20+ lb fish cruising down the river?  It can be a lot of fun shooting at these silvers from the back of a boat as they rocket out of the water. But it can also be very dangerous having them land in the boat. The bighead carp are a neat species to target because of the size they can reach. The world record taken by bowfishing is just under 100 pounds. Can you imagine having one of those on your line? Bigheads can be found cruising just under the surface as they filter feed through the water.

A couple of Bighead Carp in the 14 lb range from the Illinois River.

Bowfishing at night can also be fun. Most serious bowfishing boats have lights positioned around the shooting platform powered by a generator. Some fish are not spooked by the noise and light at all while others don’t tolerate it very well. The fish show up extremely well in the lights after sundown. And during the summer months, it’s much cooler to go out after dark. And most times you have the water to yourself.

Halogen lights used for bowfishing at night.

If you’re interested in learning more about bowfishing or entering in a bowfishing tournament check out the Illinois Bowfishers website at www.illinoisbowfishers.com  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Blog | bowfishing | Pro Staff

AMS WAVE REST, Tested and Approved

by John Mueller 4. July 2009 07:39
John Mueller

The AMS Wave Rest is the perfect bowfishing rest. Simple yet very rugged so it stands up to the abuse they receive on the water. It offers positive support to the heavy arrows used in bowfishing.

 

AMS Bowfishing gear designed to stand up to the abuse. 

 

 

            The design of the Wave Rest is a roller mounted between 2 side supports to keep the arrow from falling off. The side supports are very important, as often you are swinging your bow quickly to get on surfacing fish. The roller keeps the arrow level throughout the shot. Many traditional hunting rests are not sturdy enough to support a heavy fiberglass bowfishing arrow. The design is quite simple and simple is better when it comes to bowfishing. The equipment takes a lot of abuse when the action gets hot.

 

The side supports help to keep the arrow on the roller.

 

 

            The Wave Rest mounts to your bow just like any other rest with a screw holding it to the bows riser. You can adjust the center shot by loosening a screw with a screw driver and sliding the rest in or out as needed to get your arrows flying true. Straight arrow flight will aid in penetration and accuracy.

 

Mounts to your bow in minutes and your ready to go.

 

And yes they really do work, tested and approved!

 

     What are you waiting for? Go find an old bow, outfit it with some bowfishing accessories and hit the waters. Bowfishing is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports out there right now. And with the introduction of the Asian Carp into many of our waters, the targets are more numerous than they have ever been. You are doing the rest of the fish in our rivers and lakes a favor by removing as many as you can.

 I don’t see the rest in the BH.com store, but if you contact Todd or Justin, they can order you one. You can check out the rest of the bowfishing gear at. http://www.bowhunting.com/shopping/Departments/Bowfishing.aspx  

Categories: bowfishing | Pro Staff

AMS WAVE REST, Tested and Approved

by John Mueller 4. July 2009 01:39
John Mueller

The AMS Wave Rest is the perfect bowfishing rest. Simple yet very rugged so it stands up to the abuse they receive on the water. It offers positive support to the heavy arrows used in bowfishing.

 

AMS Bowfishing gear designed to stand up to the abuse. 

 

 

            The design of the Wave Rest is a roller mounted between 2 side supports to keep the arrow from falling off. The side supports are very important, as often you are swinging your bow quickly to get on surfacing fish. The roller keeps the arrow level throughout the shot. Many traditional hunting rests are not sturdy enough to support a heavy fiberglass bowfishing arrow. The design is quite simple and simple is better when it comes to bowfishing. The equipment takes a lot of abuse when the action gets hot.

 

The side supports help to keep the arrow on the roller.

 

 

            The Wave Rest mounts to your bow just like any other rest with a screw holding it to the bows riser. You can adjust the center shot by loosening a screw with a screw driver and sliding the rest in or out as needed to get your arrows flying true. Straight arrow flight will aid in penetration and accuracy.

 

Mounts to your bow in minutes and your ready to go.

 

And yes they really do work, tested and approved!

 

     What are you waiting for? Go find an old bow, outfit it with some bowfishing accessories and hit the waters. Bowfishing is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports out there right now. And with the introduction of the Asian Carp into many of our waters, the targets are more numerous than they have ever been. You are doing the rest of the fish in our rivers and lakes a favor by removing as many as you can.

 I don’t see the rest in the BH.com store, but if you contact Todd or Justin, they can order you one. You can check out the rest of the bowfishing gear at. http://www.bowhunting.com/shopping/Departments/Bowfishing.aspx  

Categories: bowfishing | Pro Staff

Bowfishing Success with the AMS Bowfishing Kit

by Justin Zarr 27. May 2009 14:43
Justin Zarr

The past several years I've been meaning to do some more bowfishing during the off-season, but just like with many things "life" just seemed to get in the way.  However, this spring I was determined to get out and shoot some fish!  Since I didn't have any bowfishing equipment my first step was to research what I was going to need and order it.  After reading through some of our Bowfishing articles here on Bowhunting.com and talking to some of my bowfishing fanatic friends I settled on some AMS bowfishing gear

AMS is one of the most widely recognized and well respected names in bowfishing, most commonly known for their extremely popular line of Retriever reels.  Unlike the traditional spool that mounts to the front of your bow and has to be manually wound, the Retriever works much like a traditional fishing reel to haul in your line, and your fish.  After looking at the various components I would need like the reel, line, rest, arrows, and tips I elected to purchase the AMS Bowfishing kit, which includes all of these items.  The nice thing about the kit is that it literally comes with everything you need to rig up your bow for some bowfishing action.


The AMS Bowfishing Kit includes everything a beginning bowhunter needs to rig up their bow and hit the water.  The kit includes the AMS Retriever Reel, 2 arrows with tips, an AMS Wave bowfishing rest, extra nocks, extra arrow slides, and an AMS bowfishing DVD.

After my kit was ordered and on it's way I started to think about my bow.  I know bowfishing can be down and dirty, and hard on your equipment, so I wasn't looking forward to stripping down my Diamond Marquis and using it as a fish bow.  So my first thought was to try and pick up and older used bow from my local pro shop and use that.  Fortunately for me I was able to pick up a brand new Parker bow for SUPER cheap.  This bow is a few years old, but has never been shot.  I lucked out here, but would've been just as happy with an old used bow if that's all I could find.

Once my AMS Bowfishing Kit showed up and my new bow was in hand I set out to install all of the accessories.  Much to my surprise, and delight, it only took me about 15 minutes to get everything set up and ready to shoot.  The rest bolted on just like any arrow rest and I used my Easy Eye Laser tool to set up the center shot.  Next I bolted the Retriever Pro reel on, which screws into the sight mount holes, and adusted that to the proper height.  Finally I tied my arrow onto the 130 lb line and I was ready to go.

The following day I met up with my hunting/filming partner Mike Willand for the inaugural flight of the bowfishing arrow.  We were "hunting" a flooded swamp connected to a major river that was litterally FULL of carp.  My first shot of the day was a bit high, which can happen when you're a rookie bowfisherman.  You also have to remember to "aim low" because the refraction of the water makes the fish look higher than it really is.  Lesson learned!

My 2nd shot found it's mark though, and Mike was able to capture it all on film.  Click here or on the image below to see me shoot my first carp of the season, and a few others as well.

Click here to watch some exciting bowfishing action

Mike and I didn't have much time that Saturday but we did manage to shoot 4 or 5 fish in about an hour and a half.  I had a blast and decided to go back on my own the next day. In about 2 hours I was able to shoot a dozen more carp, including some P&Y caliber fish!  Well, they were big to me anyways.


My 2nd day of bowfishing prooved even more productive as I was able to take quite a few fish with my new bowfishing rig.

Bowfishing is a great way to keep busy during the off season, and it's a ton of fun as well.  Mike's bowfishing gear is on order and you can bet you'll be seeing a few more bowfishing blogs from us before the summer is over.  If you're interested in bowfishing I highly recommend you try it!  And if you need bowfishing gear to start your newest hobby, we carry a full selection of products from AMS, Muzzy, Bohning, and more right here at Bowhunting.com.  Click here to purchase bowfishing products in our online store.

  



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