November 4, 2011, 09:50 AM
Ok so I know its not actually hunting... its fishing... or is it hunting fish? I don't know but one thing I do know it I am game. I want to get into this so bad but I am clueless on where to start... Hopefully someone here knows where I can get information on this at. I live in Kentucky btw if that helps with knowing if its even legal in my state. Beyond that, when can I, where can I, do I need anything other then a boat and a bow and arrow with rope? Carbon arrows work or do I need something special?

See what I mean about being clueless. I am far more a hunter then a fisher though I use to fish a lot when I was still in school. However this just seems like a perfect mix!

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November 4, 2011, 02:00 PM
I used to do it a fair bit in my early teens. I used a specially made fiberglass arrow. Not a whole lot to it, get your arrow, and a reel, not sure what works best for line I used some pretty heavy stuff, it affected the flight of the arrow noticeably but I was always afraid to try even heavy fishing line, I figured it would tangle really easy. I hunted from the bank as much as I did a boat. Mostly shot carp up in the shallows. I would walk the bank a lot. Sometimes I would stand on the bow of my jon boat while my brother would ease us through the shallow ends of coves, be careful doing that first time the motor hits a stump you will be wet and muddy.

November 4, 2011, 02:13 PM
Wrong time of year right now.

Flood waters in the shallows in the spring.
Carp spawn in the spring.
So spring is the time to go.

Bow fishing equipment is what you want to make of it.
You do need some fiberglas fishing arrows.
One to shoot and a spare or two.

The reel can be a homemade spool made from an ice cream bucket or coffee can.

To a heavy duty Zebco reel, to a commercial bow fishing reel.

Here is a good read:


November 4, 2011, 02:56 PM
This is where I bought the stuff to add on to one of my compounds. The old rig I had was ok but had many years of use and needed an upgrade. They have pretty good prices and everything a fella/fellearette would need to get started.

November 4, 2011, 06:29 PM
Thanks for all the feedback and links!

November 4, 2011, 09:20 PM
They allow it here in Colorado but it has been real controvercial with the cdow allowing people to spear and shoot pike. The pike fisherman practice catch and release at least most of them do and handle the fish gently. But a cool thing they just opened the kokanee salmon run to bow hunters so if it is legal to snag salmon you can also shoot them too. good luck

Fred in Wisc
November 5, 2011, 11:14 PM
Bowfishing is great fun. Highly recommend a low draw weight bow (about 40 pounds), you will be shooting a lot most of the time. Also the AMS Retriever or Retriever Pro reels are the best thing out there. Easiest to use, fastest to reset and safest. Always use safety slides on your arrows- a 200# test fish line snapping a barbed arrow back into your face would definitely ruin your day.

The arrows used are solid fiberglass or carbon with no fletching. Strictly a short range proposition.

You can get an AMS kit with a Retriever reel, arrow rest, and a couple arrows for about $150. Gander stocks them, or online. Bolt that rig on your old compound bow, crank the draw weight down and go shoot some carp.

Before bowfishing, find a legal spot to dump your carp, a good night can generate 1000 pounds of them. Farmers with manure pits are a good place to start.

November 6, 2011, 07:13 AM
Fred in Wisc is right, it is great fun and you can get overwhelmed with carp. Not only manure pits but ask some hog farmers if they want them.

If you get a couple small ones (4#-5#) when the water is cold consider smoking them. They are somewhat oily but not bad. I had an old guy always ask me for a couple in the spring. He would smoke them and bring them to the local tavern (in Wisconsin where I lived at the time) for everyone to enjoy. They got eaten up and everyone would thank Ray for bring in his smoked "salmon" No one knew any different.

November 6, 2011, 09:33 AM
Is carp about all you can shoot? I don't know if I would want to do it with out the reward of dinner on the table, which is one of the best things about hunting and fishing for me. I hear carp is crap, just full of bones and doesnt taste the greatest either.

November 6, 2011, 02:50 PM
IIRC, they have or used to have a hand gun season for pike in VT.
Anyone more educated than myself have anything to add on this?
Thanks in advance.

November 6, 2011, 09:33 PM
Carp recipe...

Fillet one carp, nail fillets to board type of your choice, I like hickory. Smoke carp for 3-5 days. Remove nails and throw away fillet. Douse board in hot sauce and start chewing. See I told you to use a thinner board.

Anyone actually have any good carp recipes? I've heard people say cut off their tail and bleed them out in cold water. I never have tried carp honestly. I was always a good enough fisherman to not have to.

Fred in Wisc
November 7, 2011, 01:02 AM
Most states only allow bow fishing for rough fish, check your state regulations because there is a lot of variation state to state.

Some intrepid coastal folks bowfish sharks, and some southern states allow alligator hunting with bowfishing gear. Big game like that requires special gear, with floats that detach from the bow (shoot 'em, follow the giant bobber, pull 'em up hand over hand and shoot 'em again, repeat until critter expires....)

The edibility of carp varies a lot. A cool water carp from a pretty clear lake or river is going to be good smoked, maybe even breaded and fried. One from a stagnant 88 degree pond full of scum ain't gonna be so tasty.

In WI, we can also shoot suckers which are darn fine eating- especially for making herring. Also gar, but I've never tried eating one of those prehistoric monsters, though some folks say the big ones are delicious cut in steaks. I remember seeing folks in a video shooting tilapia in Texas, those are common restaurant and market fish. The bighead and silver carp infesting may waters are supposed to be delicious, too- luckily we don't have those, hope we never do (evidently they are the wild boars of the fish world).

Now get out your credit card and buy that AMS kit.

November 7, 2011, 03:18 PM
I've shot buffalo (a boney as hell sucker used for trot line bait) and gar (gar balls the best way to eat 'em). These are more or less trash fish, though gar is similar to me to eating gator tail. Gar have an organ in their swim bladders that absorbs oxygen called a "red body". It's just s concentration of corpuscles On a hot, still day down south when the water is low on dissolved oxygen, the fish will come to the surface and gulp air. They can survive very low DO levels this way. This sets them up for the bow fisherman, though, as they present a pretty good look before going back down. Hunting on hot, sultry, still days is best. Also, hunting them at night under lights is even more productive as they will come to feed on the surface. Down here, guys use flounder boats, a flat bottom set up with a generator/lights and a lawnmower motor pushing a prop for slow propulsion, for night hunting gar. Primary use for these boat set ups is giggin' flounders, thus the name. I suppose one could bow fish flounder since giggin' 'em is legal. Limits have been reduced over the years, though. Hardly worth the gas for me and I don't like being up at night. I'm old and beyond that sort of thing. :D

I had a pontoon/house boat for a while set up at a lake marina. It was good gar fishing over there with the bow, just walk around under the lights at night and watch 'em come up for a shot off the floating piers.

November 7, 2011, 04:16 PM
Think I will still put bow fishing on my bucket list but dont see me doing it too often. I rather catch bass on the rod and reel for some good eating, or better yet get some hotdogs for cat fish...

Thanks for all the input guys!

November 7, 2011, 04:40 PM
It is a lot of fun. It's not always about the eating, ya know. But, gar can be decent made into gar balls or cut in strips and fried like gator tail. It's kind of a tough meat, sorta reptilian.

And, of course, I like to run trot lines sometimes when I'm camping out and have a small john boat on a creek or river. Buffalo suckers make for some good trot line bait. :D

Hell, I live on the gulf coast. If I'm going to FISH, I ain't going to a lake. I'm heading for the bay! :D Bass fishing is BOOOOORing on a lake. I'd rather be under the birds in a school of speckled trout, myself, or poling the flats after tailing reds. :D

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