Bowfishing archers find it is a year around sport.  Tactics might change a little but the hard core bowfishermen enjoy the sport anytime of the year.  Fall bowfishing is becoming increasingly popular. 

Time was when archers thought the only time for bowfishing was the carp spawn in late spring.  Gone are the days when archers hang up their tackle after June 1st and turn to practice in the field in preparation for deer season. 

The basic tackle for bowfishing is: a bow of hunting weight, a solid fiberglass arrow with fishing point, (one with retractable or reversible barbs), a bow reel, and fishing line.  With the exception of the bow the remaining tackle can be purchased at a sports shop in a kit form.  The kit also contains a brochure with basic instruction. 

In fall shots at fish tend to be a little longer requiring a slightly heavier arrow.  Use an arrow a couple of inches longer with a heavier head.  The added weight makes for a more stable arrow at a longer distance. 

With longer shots and heavier arrow a heavy monofilament line is a good idea.  The mono gives lighter weight and still maintains the strength required for accurate shots and reliable recovery. 

I prefer to wrap the mono around the spool type of bow reel.  The cranking types, such as fishing reels, tend to be more problematic with long shots when the monofilament line is used as opposed to braided line.  In cold weather the reels with mechanical parts can freeze up and cause problems. 

With the spool type of bow reel the hand is used to wind the line.  The line is held in place by a small metal clip.  Simplicity in action leads to fewer problems down the line. 

Changing weather conditions also mean a need to change clothing.  In cold weather insulated waders are helpful.  It is wise to carry an extra shooting glove or tab.  If the glove gets wet it can be changed.  It is important to stay as dry as possible in cold weather.  Not only is it uncomfortable to be wet it can lead to hypothermia. 

One way to stay dry is to do all the shooting from a boat or on shore.  Most anglers like to use the shore in stalking fish in rivers and lakes.  Slews and swamps force one to wade or use a small boat. 

Fall bowfishermen find the rough fish they pursue are in deeper water.  They are cold blooded animals that become inactive in cold water.  Shallow water is the first to cool in the fall. 

Since deep water tends to vary less in temperature during the day fish find refuge there.  They will venture forth to the shallow water as it warms.  But, they spend most of their time in the water which is most comfortable. 

One advantage to bowfishing in the fall is that the water is generally clearer.  Archers can see fish at deeper depths than in spring.  The heavier arrow allows you to shoot deeper into the water with more impact.  This does aggravate the light deflection. 

As light rays enter the water they are deflected.  It makes objects beneath the water appear closer to the surface than is reality.  You must shoot below the target in order to compensate for light deflection.  Getting the correct aiming point is very difficult.  Only practice will give you the knowledge of where to aim. 

Fall fish are less spooky.  They present a better target in the clearer water.  Because of the cold water they tend to be a more stationary target. 

Locating fish in fall takes stalking skills.  Small streams with deep pools are a good bet.  Even the driest of years will result in some deep pools containing fish.  If the pools have weeds or other cover it is all the better.  If the fish is in an abundance of vegetation the importance of sound is reduced.   When a fish hears a sound via the lateral line they are more alert.  A quiet fish lies still in the water. 

Other things to look for are man made structures such as dams and bridges.  They are usually located near deep water.  Concrete tends to hold the warmth of sunny days.  Water around such structures moves rapidly which in turn increases the oxygen.  Fish love that water. 

Rock outcroppings and bluffs that extend into the water also hold the heat of fall sun.  They heat the water.  Large boulders in the water will hold fish in the area for the same reason. 

Fall bowfishing is a ball.  Why not give it a try?


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