Bowfishing – Sharing the fun with friends

Hank and I invited one of our friends and his wife (read about her day here) to come to the lake with us for an afternoon of challenge and fun. Our friend is a very successful archery hunter and has never had the fun of shooting a fish. We shared stories, and he shrugged when we would tell them. He thought it was just too easy. His wife has just taken up shooting a compound bow and was excited at the opportunity to bring her skills out into real life. We motored down the lake and perched him with a bow on the front of the boat.

Shooting a fish – Easy, right?

Not exactly. There are challenges. For one, you don’t have a sight on your bow fishing bow. Second, you have a string and a jug to contend with. Then you have the challenge of judging the depth of the fish. There is also no let-off on the bow fishing bow, so you hold full weight at full draw. It can get tiresome. Due to the refraction of light through the water, you have to aim lower than where the fish appears to be.

How low? That all depends on how deep the fish is in the water.

We trolled around the lake and found a carp. Our hunter stood on the bow of the boat. He drew and shot. He missed. Just high of the fish. He is a great instinctive shooter, but he was learning to judge the depth. We continued to troll, and each time we would reach an area that looked like “a good carp spot,” he would draw his bow. He would wait at full draw. Since he trains often and is in great shape, he had no problem holding for long periods. He was ready. As we motored through. Nothing. He let off.

Across the lake to another good spot. He drew. Elbow high in the air. Holding, holding…

A carp!

A shot!

A miss.


A little frustration began, so we had to lighten things up. As an accomplished elk hunter, this was beginning to be upsetting. You can never be too serious. Elk slaying is much different than carp slaying. We joked, laughed, and told stories. All the while explaining bowfishing to his wife. She was going to be next.

Finally, in an unlikely spot. A draw. Hold. Release!

Bowfishing - First carp with a PSE bow

An arrow flew with an orange string trailing. SMACK! Right in the head of a great fish! After so many “swings and misses,” our friend was elated at his catch.


First fish with a bow! Super fun challenge. Who knew shooting at the lake could be so great?! HOOKED on bow fishing. He’ll be back!

Stay tuned for the story of his wife and what she thinks of her first bow-fishing trip too!

It’s always an adventure!

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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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Mia Anstine
MAC Outdoors LLC
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Ignacio, CO 81137-0031 

3 Replies to “Bowfishing – Sharing the fun with friends”

  1. Love it! I recently ordered a bowfishing set up, and am anxious to receive it and play. I need to bone up on my target practice first, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m out stalking carp.

  2. That is GREAT Amy! Take your time. Don’t get frusterated. When I started out, I shot so many times I had blisters on my fingers. It is fun though, and addicting!

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