TEXAS TACTICAL by Dustin Ellermann
May 25, 2018
May 25, 2018

Take Up Bow Fishing… Laughter is Healthy!

R EADERS OF THIS COLUMN  know how much I love to bow hunt. Actually, I love to hunt, period—bow or gun, but bow hunting is indeed my passion.

I personally just enjoy the unique challenge that hunting with a bow brings. Getting so close to an animal to ensure a clean, humane shot is definitely a challenge.

To be successful with a stick and string requires hours of practice. I, for one, am a firm believer that you need to make practice fun, or you simply will avoid it altogether.

Now, I know that standing out in the hot Texas sun, flinging a few arrows at a target, is not what I would call a “good time.” However, put me on a boat, hand me a bow and I am ready for many hours of fun doing a little practice while bow fishing! If it is a challenge you are looking for, then believe me, look no further.

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Ken Swenson at his family ranch. I did a little bow hunting for turkeys that day and was thoroughly impressed at the amount of game I saw on his property. 

Located in Southeast Texas, Swenson Outfitters caters to anyone who has a love for the outdoors on land or on sea. For many years, Ken has put smiles on the novice as well as veteran hunters with his bow fishing business.

I recently had the pleasure to talk with Ken about getting down to his neck of the woods to try my luck at bow fishing. Although I have yet to bow fish with Ken, I did learn all about his business.

His operation is not only on Texas water. but extends to Louisiana as well. That’s why he recommends his clients get licenses for both states.

His many clients have had great luck with redfish, drums, catfish and gar to name a few. He has all the gear you need, but he told me you are welcome to bring your own set up if you prefer. He recommends you use a bow with a draw weight of at least 40 pounds.

I think one of the coolest things about Swenson Outfitters is that he makes it a point to film every trip for his clients. How great is that?

You will be able to re-live your successful bow fishing trip over and over again—or your friends can laugh their heads off over and over again abouthow many times you miss. Either way, it will be a good time in his boat and in your living room later. It’s a win, win.

Ken usually books a minimum of four clients at a time at a reasonable price of $175 each. He fishes 6 p.m. to midnight and midnight to 6 a.m.

I can tell you that if you spend six hours with Ken, he will have you in stitches with his humor. I cannot wait to take him up on his offer and fling a few arrows at some fish.

I have bowfished only two other times, but did have some success. I was surprised one day a few years ago when my friend Nathan Jones invited me out on a bow fishing trip.

I happily accepted his invitation and expected to be gone onlt a few hours. Imagine my surprise when, upon my arrival, I saw many bright lights and television cameras. He was filming a segment for his TV show. I had no idea and now the pressure was on.

I had to act like I actually knew what the heck I was doing when, in fact, it was my first attempt at this new sport.

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It seemed the catfish were everywhere, and my shots were everywhere too, just not in one of those catfish. I forced a smile for the camera and spoke to Nathan about how difficult this is.

My saving grace was the fact that the host of the show missed just as much as I did. We were not anchored anywhere. We were on a moving boat (although it was slow) and rocking back and forth. My shoes were untied, the sun was in my eyes—is that enough excuses yet?

I finally was able to arrow one of these fish. For a fleeting moment, I felt like Fred Bear himself, although that was the only fish I was able to pull in the boat.

Nathan could only look into the camera and talk about the do’s and don’ts of bow fishing as I smiled and held my prize in full view of the TV audience. I might mention here that things are much bigger in real life than they appear on television—just wanted to add that.

This sport is not as easy as you might think. That is what makes it so much fun. If I could give you any advice, then it would be to aim low—very low. It is amazing what refraction will do. That fish is not where it looks like it is. It will take many shots before you get the hang of I,t but the action is swift and the fish are many.

One thing I can tell you is this. You will shoot until your arms get sore, laugh until your belly hurts, and miss more often than not. But I guarantee you will have the time of your life!

Hey, it’s June! What else do you have to do? Get off that couch and go have some fun. Do not forget to tell the wife you will be out all night, FISHING!

And be safe out there.

For more information on Swenson Outfitters, call Ken at: (409) 670-3491. Or write him at: P.O. Box 294, Orangefield, Texas 77639.


Email Lou Marullo at [email protected]

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