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Bowfishing – The Beginners Breakdown

I want to start off by saying, bowfishing like most things can be enjoyed year round. Like most things in life, you will continue to improve each trip out , so don’t get discouraged! This will be my first entry regarding bowfishing, so I will cover some basics to hit major points.

Bowfishing doesn’t require archery experience!

But it does require a safe shooting environment! Bowfishing can be an incredible adventure, but be sure you’re onboard with an experience captain! The last thing you want to do is go overboard or have your head nearly knocked off by a bridge. If you don’t feel safe, don’t hesitate to ask to get off the boat.

If you want to stick fish, it comes down to one thing, AIM LOW!

When I say low , I mean don’t shoot directly at the fish, shoot below it. It can take a moment to adjust to, don’t get frustrated. My best advice would be to eye your target, first self check, go lower, second self check,  go even lower, now release . Essentially when you think you’re low enough, best go just a little bit lower until you adjust. Let’s not forget how water tricks the eye.

One major difference in bowhunting and bowfishing is the bow itself.

Unlike hunting bows, majority bowfishing bows are no going to have a “back wall” which means nothing will tell you that you’ve drawn back far enough. Be cautious to not hold or draw back too far , your forearm will be hit upon release and it’s not the worse thing in the world, until you do it multiple times and leave bruised. Let your guide instruct you as much as possible and get some practice shots off prior to actually shooting fish.

There are various species legal to shoot. To list a few from my area.

– Common Carp

-Spotted Gar

-Grass Carp




– Bass

It’s best to ask your guide before you shoot if you’re unsure about what species fish you are seeing in the water. Once you get an idea of what you’re lookin at, you’ll be able to distinguish the types yourself.

My last top tip for this entry would be hand placement, more so fingers!

Be sure to keep a close eye on your finger grips. Keeping them tight will drastically increase your success. Be sure to keep your hands away from the rest. I had a habit of placing a finger on my arrow at rest. Something I have finally conditioned myself out of, but caused me many shot loses prior. Remember all 5 fingers belong on the bow!


Bowfising is done in various ways. Some shoot from boats, banks, wade out , etc. Boats of course require specific set ups and equipment. If you are local to Alabama or surrounding states, be sure to checkout booking a guided trip with Fatal Impact Guided Bowfishing located near central Alabama. I highly recommend this guide company , especially for beginners. Also for those seeking to have a fair chance at big fish! You can learn on the water, in a safe environment without being rushed.


Above all I hope you have a great time and enjoy the outdoors in a new adventure unlike any other.

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