Bowfishing the Gar Hole

With lake levels on Kentucky Lake finally popping above summer pool, I knew things would be just about right to catch spawning gar in grassy flats and flooded fields along the banks of the lake. And while gar are way down on my list of favorite fish, I’m pretty easy to please. I just like live targets – and lots of them. It would also be a great time to introduce my 4-year-old boy, Remi, to the sport of bowfishing. He’s been begging to go all spring as he watches his big brothers go time after time. So on a recent sunny day, I stepped away from the computer for a lunch break, told Remi he was gonna swap his naptime for bowfishing time, and we headed to the gar hole.

spawning gar

Shooting gar in the shallows is a ton of fun for little kids…and us big kids too,

As soon as we pulled up, I knew we were in for a fun shoot. I could see fins above the surface, water splashing, and gar cruising the shallow water that had flooded the fields. We had a little hike across the field so I threw Remi up on my shoulders. “I see fish!” Remi said excitedly as we walked up to the water’s edge. He wasn’t sure what to think of these big, toothy fish, so he was eager for me to shoot every one that got anywhere close to him.

Remi on dads shoulders

Bowfishing with a kid on your shoulders isn’t easy, but it sure is fun.

Remi had his Lacrosse knee boots on so I set him down to watch the show as I began to pick off fish that cruised by at our feet. It was the perfect opportunity for Remi to see how the bowfishing game works.

gar in the water with bow

If you like ample target opps with your bow, then you’ll love bowfishing.

Like I expected, the gar were more than plentiful, but there was also an ample supply of silvers, and a few common carp and grassies. The shooting was fast and frequent. I found myself wishing Remi was big enough to fling arrows for himself, but also grateful that he was still small enough to pack around on my back.

bowfishing gar

Little Remi turned out to be quite the cameraboy, capturing several cool shots throughout our lunchtime bowfishing run.

Remi wasn’t thrilled at the idea of watching the show as fish swam by at his feet. He wanted a better view, so he climbed back up on my shoulders where he could take it all in. I soon realized that I could actually shoot quite well with him riding on my shoulders. It was a memory making opportunity that neither one of us will ever forget.

These are the days for catching spawning fish in the shallows. Don’t think for a second that the guys with the big boat rigs have all the fun. Nothing beats wading the shallows, spot-n-stalk style, in search of big fish with your bow. I prefer wearing my Lacrosse hip boots to stay dry and protected from any underwater pokes and snags, but you can also wear an old pair of tennis shoes as well.

Bowfishing is the best of all the outdoor adventure sports combined into one. Give it a try this spring and summer. decal

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