Bowfishing: 5 Tips Professionals Use to Shoot More Fish
1 - Finding Fish: the bulk of the fish you are chasing while gigging or bowfishing are going to be in shallow water no deeper than 3 ft deep. Given this, look for clear water where you can maximize your visibility. Another option for maximizing visibility is utilizing the right color tone lights such as the Swamp Eye Lights which can adjust color tones to illuminate deep muddy waters. As the weather warms up in the summer months, fish are hesitant to come in to the shallows until it cools off at night time. The summer heat isn't just hard on us, it's hard on the fish too!
2 - Arrow Tips: the generic two prong arrow tips you see on most commercially available bowfishing arrows at Academy, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, etc. are good primarily for one fish: gar. Gar have thick, tough scales that are very hard to penetrate. The reason these work well on gar is because when you reel the arrow in, it will catch on the tough scales and it won't pull through. However, if you are chasing almost any other fish such as carp, flounder, sheepshead, drum, etc. you should NOT use these 2 prong tips. We recommend "Grapple Tips" which are 3 prongs that are retracted while shooting and spread out upon impact similar to a broadhead. These have 3 wide points of contact that help maintain traction while reeling in your soft fleshed fish and are even good for gar. We recommend these tips as good all around bowfishing arrow tips.
3 - Bowfishing Bow: the difference between a hunting bow and bowfishing bow is quite simply - A LOT. A hunting bow is going to deliver high velocity, high accuracy, with a real long draw back. Hunting bows are both accurate and precise but they can cause extreme fatigue if you were to shoot 500+ times in one night. Bowfishing bows are designed to be light weight, quick draw bows which can accurately hit a fish while only half-way drawing the arrow back. We strongly advise you to not install a bowfishing reel on a hunting bow.
4 - Dial in your bow: The reel, rest, arrow placement, finger savers, etc. all need to be pre-set for an accurate shot, every shot. Similar to bore sighting your new gun, a new bow needs to be tuned to fit your body type, strength, and tendencies. One of the best investments we have made in our bow is the addition of finger savers. If you are shooting hundreds of times a night, they will help prevent blisters from forming on your fingers after pulling the string back over and over.
5 - Scout, scout, and then scout some more. There's more to scouting than just showing up and looking for fish. Do your preliminary research by looking at contour or topography maps of the body of water you want to fish. Most lakes, rivers, and bays have this information publicly available. Ideally you want to look for deep pockets and drop-offs within the shallow lying areas. Most of the bigger shallow water fish will hang out around these areas since they have an easy escape to deeper water. If your bowfishing your local creek or pond, well you should already have an idea of the depth without the public information. If not, go swimming?