When it comes to a list of fun summer activities, bow fishing always remains at the top of my list. Not only can it be a fun way to spend some time outdoors, but you’re also doing a great thing for the environment. Carp are an invasive species that have taken over many lakes and rivers across the country.
Most of my days were spent chasing grass carp, however the many locations including the Illinois river are now flooded with Asian carp that have become a real nuisance. Regardless of where in the country you live, usually if there is water nearby there is some sort of invasive species that you can shoot with a bow.
As a young kid we spent a good portion of our summer chasing carp in the river with our bows,but luckily gear is continually getting better and makes it easier for people to get involved. If you have an old recurve bow this works great, but you can also take your regular hunting setup and swap it over for a great bow fishing summer setup very easily.
To accomplish this, I recommend taking off your rest, removing your stabilizer and lowering the poundage on your bow. Once this is done, you can get everything you need in a kit which I highly recommend. I like the Muzzy Extreme Duty Bowfishing Kit because it contains everything you could possibly need. Once you’re all setup I also recommend putting in a little practice time before heading out. You can do this by putting a plastic bottle in the yard and shooting or if you’d like to take it to the next step, Rinehart also makes an underwater gar target as well. This helps with learning how refraction works in the water. You can set the target up at different depths so you can understand where exactly you need to aim.
One of the reasons I still like using my regular bow with a lowered poundage is because I get that real time practice while having fun. I’ve left my bow at the regular poundage on a bow fishing trip which is 64lbs and after shooting about 200-300 shots I can promise I was pretty sore the next day! Although this is a great way to build up muscles and get you ready for fall, it’s just as productive to drop poundage down a little and not be as sore the next day!
When everything is said and done and you have a bunch of carp, I recommend trying them in a smoker. Many people think they are a complete waste of time but smoked carp is actually super delicious! So now you have a great way to spend some time out in the sun, practice shooting your bow, build up your muscles and finally something for the smoker! Here’s a fun episode from Winchester Deadly Passion where we put in some time bow fishing carp & gar in Oklahoma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iol782ODgOk&feature=youtu.be