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Bow for Fishing (Everything You Need to Know)

It’s only recently that bowfishing has become a popular sport. But its roots go back to thousands of years. Using a bow for fishing has a different sort of thrill to it. Those who do it understand it.

So, if you are planning on grabbing a piece of that thrill, this guide is here to help you. Here, we will be looking into the history, technique, and some other interesting information on bowfishing.

Fishing with a bow is called bowfishing. A bow is used to shoot a barbed arrow attached to a reel. The arrow pierces the fish and then it is reeled in. Some commonly hunted fish include carps, bowfin, sharks, rays, etc.


Bows and arrows have been used for all sorts of hunting for thousands of years. There are archeological findings of bows dating back to 10,000 years and beyond. It’s not easy to pinpoint where or when bowfishing exactly started. But surely a few thousand years at least.

bow for fishing history

The Aboriginals had already used bows and arrows for hunting when Europeans arrived in America. Throughout most of its history bowhunting was done exclusively for hunting food.

After the start of the industrial revolution in 1760, the need for farming, gathering, and hunting slowly decreased. Now, people had more time to kill and the need for recreational activities arose.

At the beginning of the 19th century is when bowfishing started gaining attraction as a recreational sport. But state prohibitions made it difficult to keep the sport alive.

Around 1990, through the formation of various organizations such as the Bowfishing Association of America the sport was brought back to life. In a matter of ten years, bowhunting gained widespread popularity and proper recognition as a sport.

bow for fishing for food

How To Use Bows For Fishing?

Bowfishing can be a bit tricky for first-timers. But following some proper techniques, you can easily learn it.

First of all, proper training is a must. If you don’t know how to use a bow and arrow. This guide won’t be much of a help to you. Get yourself a new bow and some arrows and start learning the fundamentals.

After you have properly trained it is time to go fishing. Make sure you bring all the necessities with you before you go. Check your bow, arrows, and reel. Make sure they are in top condition for use. Don’t forget to bring a sharp knife with you. The sooner you reel the fish in and behead it, the lesser pain you are going to cause.

We recommend that you bring a pair of polarized sunglasses. They will allow you a better view of your target underwater by eliminating reflections caused by the sun.

Make sure you do some research on your desired fish before heading out to fish. Different types of fish require different sorts of tips and draw weight. So, being sure of what you want beforehand is a good idea.

After you are done with the preparation, take your stance and aim. Make sure you aim a little bit lower than what you think feels right. Light refracts underwater. So, the fish is actually a bit lower than what you see from above. Now, take you shot and reel your prize in.

Equipment Used in Bowfishing

Here are somethings that you will require for starting out bowfishing –



First, you have to choose the right bow. The most commonly used bows are recurved and compound bows. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, go with the one you are most experienced with.



Find some good study arrows. Fishing specific arrows are usually solid fiberglass. But there are some new arrows with compound complements that are becoming popular.


Polarized Goggles

As we’ve discussed before polarized goggles are a must when you are fishing. Especially in day time for elimination reflection on water formed by the sun.



The reel will help you to pull in your prey after a successful shot. There are some simple and heavy-duty reels in the market. All of them work well. The difference is mainly in convenience.



You can just shoot a fish and let it bleed to death. That is cruel and prolongs suffering. And it also causes too much mess. The best thing to do is to chop off its head after catching it.



You need your fish to stay fresh while you drive home. So, bring an icebox with you before heading out. Nobody wants smelly rotting fish in their car.



For night time fishing you are going to need a flashlight. Even if you don’t plan on night fishing bring one anyway. It best to be prepared rather than feeling sorry later.


Whisker Biscuit Rest

Whisker biscuit rest will help stabilize the arrow for more precise shooting. But they have a tendency to break while using high draw weight which is common for fishing. So, using your finger instead might be good. But bring them if you think they will help you.



You don’t want to get sunburnt while catching fish, do you? So, bring a bottle of sunscreen.


Bowfishing is an excellently thrilling and rewarding hobby. No wonder it’s becoming more and more popular every year. Yeah sure, you can just grab a fishing rod and do it the old boring way. But the thrill of scoring a kill with a bow is unparalleled by any other fishing methods.

Reading this article, I hope you understand that with the proper practice and knowledge, using a bow for fishing isn’t that hard. All you need is some proper training and techniques.

I hope this article was helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by.

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Fishing Metrics

Fishing Metrics

I am Firoz, a fishing enthusiast. I have created Fishing Metrics to talk about my fishing journey, products that I have used/admire, and lessons that I have learned in my fishing career. Personally, I am a fan of fishing rods, reels, lures, hooks, line, and kayaks. I don’t think there’s anything out there that can replace the journey of fishing life.

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