Bowfishing doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment

There’s probably a peak season for bowfishing, and I confess I don’t know what it is. But as long as the water’s clear enough to see carp, it’s a good time for bowfishing.

I spent a lot of time bowfishing for carp on the Wind River when I was a kid. I started bowfishing each year about the time the ice melted off the river, and I kept at it until fall, when I was using my bow for other things, like chasing antelope and deer.

The bowfishing was easier when the water was clearer, obviously, but even during the spring runoff and after storms, when the water was higher and murkier, I had plenty of luck spearing those suckers.

Now that most of the waters in the state have settled down to some degree, and the flows are a little more clear, the bowfishing should be pretty good. Now’s the time to get out there to try to get a few carp.

If you’ve been putting off bowfishing because you think it’s expensive or gear intensive, think again. All you need is a reel, which will mount on the stabilizer post on your bow; a fishing arrow; and some line. None of that equipment is very expensive.

You can use your hunting bow, if you want, but a lot of bowfishers use a separate recurve or an old compound, instead. That’s because you really don’t need anything fancy. You don’t need a heavy draw weight, since you won’t be shooting long distances.

Actually, the simpler, the better. You’ll have more luck shooting instinctively than with sights, and a basic rest will hold up the heavy fish arrow better than an expensive drop-away.

Once you get out there and nail a carp or two, be sure to clean up after yourself. You can eat carp if you want, but you don’t have to. If you plan to leave them where you kill them, puncture the swim bladder and sink them to the bottom, rather than leave them on the shore where they’ll stink the place up.

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