I was introduced to bowfishing many years ago when I was barely a teen. In those days we didn’t have specialized equipment manufactured specifically for bowfishing. A real seat and an old Zebco 808 or if you could find one a Retriever Reel. Most of us had an old Fred Bear spool to wrap our string around. Our bows were either our hunting bow with the reel mounted on it or we bought the cheapest junky bow the local pawn shop and fashioned most of our gear from whatever we had on hand. Rests were often fashioned From wood or thick plastic. Reel seats were often made by running a piece of all thread through the handle from an old spin cast rod and our string was a heavy saltwater braided line. That is until Fast Flite came along.
We had to rig our boats out with pure ingenuity. We mounted 500 watt work lights on homemade rigging along the sides of our boats and wired them to loud 7000 watt generators. We built plywood decks on our bass boats as well. We had those decks raised up a foot or 2 off of the original deck. We sure thought we were something special. Many times we would be trolling along the bank on Toledo Bend and be met with a shotgun by some land owner who just knew we were up to no good. One night we were even held at gun point until a deputy arrived to rescue us from a guy who was sure we were stealing his boat.
Today I see fancy air boats rigged out with a price tag well over $20,000. I see special bows costing several hundred dollars and tons of gear aimed just at bowfishing. It is amazing at how far we have come. I say to each his own. If you want to spend 20 or 30 grand to shoot a fish then have at it. I still go bowfishing. I carry my pawn shop recurve bow and stand on the front of my jon boat wearing my $8 Bill Dance polarized sunglasses and I bet I have as much fun as the guy running the big expensive rig. The point is the guy with the expensive rig has a great time and the guy with a $400 jon boat has a great time.
Get out and try it. Look at the great video and articles right here on TF&G by our staff. It is a treasure trove of knowledge. The key is have fun.
Story by Jeff Stewart