BOW FISHING is a sport that is a lot of fun and a great challenge. However not every country allows bow fishing so make sure you know the laws before venturing out.

The bow most people use is usually an older bow. A bow that is past its hunting or target life, but still shoots well. Compound, Longbows and Recurve bows all work well. Shooting with fingers is always best as fingers are trouble free in a wet and sometimes salty environment. Plus fingers are faster when there is plenty of fast action, you don't have a trigger release getting caught up in the act of retrieving the arrow and or fish. Having said that, there is no real reason other than already stated why a trigger release cannot be used. If fingers are used then a longer bow is preferable to help eliminate finger pinch.

For small to medium fish 45lb is adequate although 50 - 60lb is always better and if larger fish are the target then the higher poundage will aid in better penetration. A single sight pin can be used or you can shoot instinctive.

The arrow to use is of solid fibre glass and weighs around 900-1000 grains, the heavy weight gives it the drive required to travel without deviation through the water. The arrow has a nock and a hole at one end (to tie the string to) the business end has a toughened point with a large barb, to prevent the fish from coming off. Probably the best bow fishing arrow and points plus a sliding cable attachment for the retrieving string is made by Muzzy.

Muzzy also make one of the best retrievers, which is attached to the bow. There are two basic types of retriever reals.

The first has a plastic bottle attached to the retriever which holds the string. When the arrow is fired the string comes out unencumbered. To retrieve the arrow just wind the real and the string coils back into the bottle ready for the next shot.
The second type is in appearance, the same as the first. It however has a slot in the side of the retriever which allows the tail end of the string to be fastened to a buoy, when hunting larger fish. When the string empties out of the bottle, the slot allows the string to run clear of the retriever and as the larger fish makes its run it is towing the buoy.

There are several methods to use for small to medium fish - Mullet, Carp and Flounder etc.

The wading method is very common however this puts you low in the water making the fish harder to see, plus the longer angle brings in greater refraction (distortion) making it a real challenge to work out the shot angle.

The higher a bow hunter can stand the easier it is to see lurking fish. Plus shooting down at a steeper angle makes the shot easier to judge.

A boat with a raised shooting platform is great. Also a raised fixed platform beside a channel or estuary can produce good results.

When hunting larger prey e.g. Sharks and Rays a boat is a must, as you need to follow the buoy until the fish is exhausted. Plus unless you want to suddenly find your self bare foot skiing, or worst having your bow pulled out of your hand, never shoot at any thing too large to handle while wading or shooting from a fixed stand.

Other equipment required are; Good Polaroid sun glasses, insect repellent, sun hat, something in which to put your fish, and in the case of some sharp eyed fish camo clothing.

Bow fishing can be a great way to spend time out hunting when the off season is upon us.

We would like to thank Ray Scott from Dream Rider Charters in New Zealand for the very informative article on Bow Fishing. Contact Ray for your next fishing trip.

Ray is one of our repeat hunters and will again be hunting with VIERANAS SAFARIS, Namibia during July 2009.

I look forward to sharing a blind with you again my friend, the Dove Challenge is less then two months away! - Roger-