Bowfishing: Making the Shot

You’ve found some spawning carp or a snakehead finning on the surface. Now comes the fun part: making the shot.

To bowfish, you’ll use the same archery form you use when practicing to bowhunt. Your shots are typically under 20 yards. That seems relatively simple, but bowfishing has a few more challenges.

Where, How to Aim

In bowfishing, you want to hit the fish in its thickest part so the arrow securely anchors. But you can’t aim directly at the fish. Light refraction in the water distorts what you see, meaning the deeper the fish, the lower you must aim. A good rule is to aim 3 inches lower for every foot of depth.

Practicing Your Shots

Shooting at paper plates or solo cups will help with your bowfishing technique.
Photo Credit: ATA

You’ll always shoot down at fish, so practice shooting downward angles to improve your accuracy. It helps to bend at the hips to maintain proper form when shooting downward.

Most people shoot instinctively when bowfishing, which means shooting quickly without using sights. To learn that method, practice shooting at leaves or other floating debris. This practice also teaches you about your bowfishing equipment.

You can also practice your shooting before getting on the water. Remove your arrow’s bowfishing point and install a blunt tip. Spread paper plates across your range. Practice shooting the plates quickly just like you would when bowfishing. To increase the challenge, swap the paper plates for SOLO cups.

Bowfishing is loads of fun. You’ll have many opportunities to hone your shooting skills on the water, so get out there and join the fun!


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