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Scavenger deluxe
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know its done,just not exactly how its done,its legal for "trash fish"here and I'm wondering if any of you guys know how to rig up a bow for it?
 

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I have used both (crossbows are legal for bowfishing for rough fish in Illinois by anyone with a fishing license). A compound bow designed for bowfishing works best (my favorite by far is the Oneida Osprey, a real gem of a bowfishing bow). Bowfishing bows typically have low letoff (less than 50%) and relatively long limb length, designed to be shot accurately with fingers vs. a release. Check out the bowfishing outfitters Sully's Bowfishing Stuff, Bowfishing Extreme, and Backwater Bowfishing for supplies.

The best all-around reel is the AMS Retriever. For smaller fish the standard Retriever with 130 to 200 lb Fast Flite line is best. For large fish that are powerful swimmers the slotted Retriever with a float and 400 lb test line is best.

There are a variety of tips available, which one you use depends on the type of fish you are going after and the shooting conditions. This is best learned by experience.

Crossbows have a short arrow and more powerful draw weight causing more undesirable passthrus (where the arrow blasts completely through the fish). In addition, crossbows cannot be short draw snap shot. In most states it is illegal to shoot fish with a crossbow.

Bowfishing is a challenging sport. The best way to learn how to be successful at bowfishing is to join a local club and get some coaching from the experienced members.
 

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Scavenger deluxe
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any kind of reel I can just attach to a bow?I have several just collecting dust and thought I might get some new life out of them,I also have a couple of old recurves that I thought might fit the bill.
 

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Old recurves work fine, the shorter recurves work best because there is less chance the lower limb will hit something (like the side of the boat) when you shoot. You don't need a bow with superior long-range accuracy because most bowfishing shots are fast at relatively close range at moving fish.

You can use a spinning reel with a reel seat adapter (they are not expensive). The reel seat adapter screws into the stabilizer mount of your bow. If your bow doesn't have a stabilizer mount you can get a "gadget adapter" with a stabilizer mount that straps onto the lower limb with heavy duty rubber bands.

You will need to respool your reel with 200 lb Fast Flite or Power Pro. Because this line is thicker than monofilament the larger reels like the Shakespeare Synergy from WalMart or the big Zebcos work best.

The spinning reels have never worked well for me because you must remember to push the release button before you shoot or the line will break and you will lose your arrow. I take my kids bowfishing and they never could remember to push the release button so I had to go with the AMS Retrievers even though they are more expensive.

The best way to learn about bowfishing is to watch some bowfishing videos. Some of my favorites are

Best of Bowfishing with Lance Sullentrop
Bowfishing - The Real Deal I with Jeremy Leu
Bowfishing - The Real Deal II with Jeremy Leu
Mark Land's Muzzy Bowfishing video (can't remember the exact name)
Sam Wood's Bowfishing video (also can't remember the exact name)

The Sam Wood video has some great footage of shooting aerial silver carp on the Illinois River.
 

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A couple more thoughts...

The AMS Retriever mounts to the 2 sight mounting holes on the bow, not to the stabilizer mount like the reel seat adapters. AMS makes spacers of varying thicknesses that you will need to use to get the reel to mount properly without hitting anything on the bow. The position of the reel should be such that you can easily reach the line takeup lever on the reel with the index finger of your hand that holds the bow. AMS makes both left hand and right hand reels depending on whether the bow is a left hand or right hand model. The Retriever is designed so that you can still mount a pin sight on the bow along with the Retriever.

Remember you must aim below the fish because of light refraction, unless the fish are rolling on the surface. Common carp will do this when they are spawning, and during the spawn is the best time for beginners to learn because the fish are plentiful and near the surface. During the spawn it is not unusual to get two or even three fish with one shot. The deeper the fish are below the surface the further below the fish you must aim to hit them. Shooting submerged plastic bottles or foam balls tied to a weight is a good way to learn how to aim at submerged objects. Bowfishing arrows are very heavy compared to hunting arrows and start to drop soon when shooting any distance, so this must be factored in to your aim point as well.

I always use AMS safety slides. Instead of tying the line to a hole in the back of the arrow you tie the line to a slide which slides up and down the arrow shaft. Before shooting the slide is at the front of the arrow near the tip. After shooting the slide moves to the back of the arrow and hits the safety slide stop. Safety slides are not totally foolproof (they are plastic and will occasionally break, especially when reeling in large fish), but they assure that the line will not get tangled up on anything on the bow while shooting. If this happens the arrow can fly back and hit you in the face.

If you are interested in bowfishing with traditional equipment 3 Rivers Archery has an excellent bowfishing video with footage of Byron Ferguson taking carp out of the backwaters.
 

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performing monkey
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don't forget the special made fishing arrows & heads, solid fiberglass with holes drilled into the nock end to thread the line into & then into the slip on detachable harpoon head
my limited text-drawing skills below are a very crude approximation

\\\\\
>==============================================[ arrow
/////

\
]=> head
/

also, one of the simple rules of shooting underwater targets is to aim 1 or 2 feet closer to you than the fish appears to be

hope this helps :D
 

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Good points Blob, I'm too old to remember everything.:)

I started out using the white fiberglass arrows but the shafts were crooked in the last batch I got so I quit using them.

Since then I've been using the carbon fiber impregnated fiberglass Yellow Jacket arrows from Cajun Archery and I like them a lot. They're straight and much stiffer than the white fiberglass arrows but some guys find them to be too stiff. There are other options available, Innerloc comes to mind although I have never tried them. Muzzy makes a carbon fiber arrow but it is expensive and I've never tried it but if it's like other Muzzy products I'm sure it's worth the money. The Muzzy carp tip is one of my favorite tips and is one of the most versatile tips out there (the Cajun Piranha tip is similar). The Innerloc 3-barb grappler point is great as long as there are no submerged logs or cattail roots nearby. If you bury a grappler point into a log you can forget about getting it out!
 

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Is there any trick to aiming at a fish underwater since the light is bent when your looking at it causing it to look like its where it really isn't?
 

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There isn't really a "trick" involved as such, you just have to learn to judge where to aim at fish in order to hit them. This only comes with practice and experience. The factors involved are:

1. The depth of the fish below the surface. The further below the surface the fish is the further below the fish you have to aim.
2. The distance between you and the fish. Fish arrows are so heavy they drop quickly, and arrow drop is much more of a factor than with hunting arrows at a given distance. This factor unlike that of light refraction causes you to raise your point of aim.
3. The angle of inclination between you and the surface of the water. If you are directly above a fish light refraction is not a factor. The less the angle of inclination you are from the surface of the water the greater the light refraction. I don't remember the exact formula (it's been years since I've had physics).

This all sounds very complicated (and actually it is) but it becomes instinctive with practice (in my case lots of practice).
 

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Scavenger deluxe
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wonder if I could use that antique Wham-o crossbow I have for this?
 

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If it has the aluminum prod most people advise against using them because they can fail dramatically, sometimes causing injury.

I have heard a couple stories about lawsuits that caused the demise of the Wham-O crossbow. The first is a story about a guy who died when he was hit in the abdomen by the butt of the stock when he was cocking it and the cocking stirrup failed (the stock stirrup is not much more than a piece of wire). The other story is about a guy who was severely injured in the face when the limbs failed dramatically and pieces of the broken prod flew back at him while the bow was cocked and he was aiming to shoot.

These things are useless junk good only as wall hangars. If you are serious about crossbow fishing get an Excalibur Vixen with lite limbs, which drop the draw weight down from 150 lbs to 115 lbs. I have used this setup for years and it is as good as it gets for bowfishing with a crossbow.

By the way a fiber optic pin and peep setup works much better than a scope when bowfishing with a crossbow.
 

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I have a cheap-o pistol crossbow its made of metal so I don't see how it can break and I just use some nylon string... the only thing to be afraid of is if you have arrows that are too small (the sight is a square mounted across the top of the place you lay the arrows); if you have too small an arrow the string can cause it to flip up and backwards as you shoot but the sight keeps the arrow from doing this if the arrow is long enough, crossbow arrows are too expensive for my taste so I have been meaning to get some dowel rods and screw dart tips onto them
 

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Seeker of Knowledge
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I wonder if I could use that antique Wham-o crossbow I have for this?
Hi I would say yes I have one and you can still get bolts made for it or you can order the shaft and points to make your own but as for the fishing you would have to put on a modern line. I have not shot at fish much but. I have seen it done when I was trying also that pistol grip type if it is the flea market type will not, enough power or heavy enough bolts also you have to have the positive load latch so you can point it down without the bolts sliding out..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think I'll just mount the reel on my spare compound,the wham-o sounds like an accident waiting to happen!
 

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There were two styles of triggers on the Wham-Os, an early style with a fairly light trigger and no safety mechanism and a later style with a much heavier trigger and a safety mechanism. I have never had reliability problems with the later style trigger (other than the fact that it is so heavy it can't compare to the excellent Excalibur trigger) but I have had the early style Wham-O trigger release suddenly without warning.

It is initially easier to hit fish with a crossbow but once you get the hang of it the compound or recurve setup works out much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mine's an original run,aluminum prodded simple as a brick thing made in the 60's.
Couldn't hit a bull in the butt with it at 30'.LOL
 
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