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The Making of a Fish Bow

How to buy the right rig for bowfishing.

March 25, 2016
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The Making of a Fish Bow
The Making of a Fish Bow Bass Pro Shops/Chris Irwin

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The tech person at the Bass Pro Shops archery counter pointed me to a rack of bowfishing bows all rigged and ready to shoot with reel, line, arrow and sights. This, of course, is the Bass Pro Shops way. The bows started in the $300 price range.

“You can start slapping things on any old bow you like, and it will work fine,” the tech said, “But if you get into it, you’ll be spending some money.”

By the time a competitive archer has rigged his perfect fisher, he could easily have more than $700 in it, or more. No wonder John Paul launched his own archery company by buying Oneida.

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The Making of a Fish Bow
The Making of a Fish Bow Bass Pro Shops/Chris Irwin

•The bow is a system of limbs and pulleys that relieves the archer’s arms of half the draw weight of the bow. At the ideal 45 pounds, at full draw, the archer may only have to hold 22 pounds. Heavier draw weights simply break arrows.

•While hunting bows have sights, sighting along the arrow is plenty accurate for fishing’s close range. But many tournament winners add sights anyway.

•Some reels are push-button versions to release the line in preparation for the shot. We kept our reels open. If you forget to push the button, the line will snap and the arrow is lost.

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•The arrow is solid fiberglass for the strength and momentum needed to penetrate water and the tough scales of fish. The point screws in, locking the barbs in place. Sometimes the point and barb need to be removed to get the fish off the arrow.

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