How to Catch Fish with a Bow for Survival

how to catch fish with a bow for survival

Guest Post by Lisa Johnson from Fall for Fishing

How to Catch Fish with a Bow for Survival

The strategy of catching fish using a bow is referred to as bow fishing (otherwise called archery fishing). Bowfishing is a combination of the hunting excitement with different archery skills and fishing sports. However, bow fishing might seem unfamiliar to you, but catching fish with bows and arrows most likely is not.

To a learner, bow fishing seems like spearfishing. Both methods make use of pointed objects to make your shot instead of taunting them with a lure. Moreover, you can really apply both techniques in shallow water or in a boat vessel. In bow fishing, the bow is used to impel the arrow.

People have effectively make a good catch in the past using the bow. For instance, Indians who reside around the Amazon River have successfully used bow fishing for catching fish for food and they still use it.

In this article, we will be looking at how you can kick start bow fishing and how to catch angle with a bow in a survival situation.

Bowfishing Equipment

Bowfishing is one of the most flexible adventures on this planet earth. You can bow fish from a little boat or in shallow waters. You can also bow fish either during the day or during night. To begin, you require a bow, reel and different sets of arrows.

Any kind of bow (either compound, long or recurve bow) will deliver the desired result. Recurve and compound bows shares some similarities offer adequate drive force (within the range of 45 and 200 Newtons) to impel an arrow and consumes less boat space.

In bow fishing, different sets of arrows are needed more than any other archery or hunting sports. A good arrow is often made of lightweight wood or fiberglass, possess feathers to impel them through the air and always have a pointed end.

Another important piece of equipment for bow fishing is the reel, which is often found clamping to the bow. The fishing line is normally piled inside a bottle instead of it to be twisted around a spool, as always seen in ordinary reels.

Optional equipment includes the rubber hip waders, which helps to keep you dry in case you find yourself fishing from shore or swimming in a shallow water.

Gloves are a smart thought to ensure your hands are protected whenever you are handling the fishing line.

You also need sunglasses integrated with polarized lenses, which will help to reduce the glare of the fishing water in case you find yourself fishing during the day. In case you will be fishing in the night when the fishes seem more active, you will need to have a good light to see. Light more often attract the fish.

You will require a flat-base vessel that can ride in shallow waters. Ensure it has rails that you can hang on in order to have a clearer shot at your target and a silent engine to avoid driving the fishes away.

How To Bow fish

Step #1: Choose your favorite water body

You need to choose your best water body that can effectively yield the good results for you. In case you choose a shallow water, ensure you fish around for your targeted fish, particularly close to weeds and grasses that give cover.

Preferably, you need to be within the range of 3.0 – 4.6 meters (10 – 15 feet) from the targeted fish. Make sure you abstain from casting a shadow over the fish, which may tend to spook it. You likewise might need to approach it from an upwind location.

Step #2: Aim your targeted fish

When you aim your targeted fish, point your bow and shoot. More so, there is a trick to help you point the bow. The light traveling from one medium to another always refracts or twists. This makes you see the refracted image of any fish (apparent fish) more clearly at the water surface.

If you point directly at the apparent fish, your arrow can go high thereby missing your target. That is the main reason why most bow fishermen always advise beginners to point low.

Step #3: Use the 10-4 run the show

If you observe that the fish is 3 meters (10 feet) away and 30 centimeters (1 foot) underneath the surface, then point 10 centimeters (4 inches) low. If you double either the 3 meters or the 30 centimeters, then you must double the 10 centimeters.

Step #4: Make your Shot

Whenever you make your shot, always go for the first half part of the fish. This part contains many vital organs such as the brain, so the fish will die straight away. Likewise, recall that fish can quickly swim in water, so you do not have much time to point and make your shot.

Additionally, some big fish, similar to alligator gars may need you to have more than one arrow to successfully strike them down. Once the fish is shot, remember to pull in the line. With bow fishing, the chances of killing fishes at one stroke is very high


After reading this article, I believe you now have full knowledge on how you can successfully catch fish with a bow and we believe this discussed tips will set you off on the proper course. Regardless of some of the controversies about bow fishing, it is gradually becoming more popular.

Author Bio:

I’m Lisa. I have a strong understanding and passion for all things related to fishing. When I am not out wetting a line, I am sharing a range of tips and tricks on  – to help others to snag their big catch!

how to catch fish with a bow for survival

Photography by USFWS Mountain-Prairie