Bowfishing 101, Start to Finish!

fishermen with loaded bows Grab your cooler and sunglasses and let’s go! As you make your way down the harbor walk to the boat, you will already notice the warm salty air and a lot of attractions going on. Destin is a town that doesn’t sleep very often. Before you take off, you will meet at our booking booth right up the stairs from our boats. Here you will read and sign a release form and also pay for your trip. Once you have done those two things you will be directed down the dock to your boat. Here we will give a thorough demonstration on how the bows work and how to shoot them safely. After all bow fishing is very fun but requires total focus at all times to avoid careless accidents. Once the demo is complete y’all are ready to go.

With gear and crew loaded up, it’s time to fish. From backing out of the boat slip to arriving at the hunting locations, it won’t take more then about 10 minutes. There are special cases where we may ride a little farther depending on where the fish have been schooling at that particular time of the year. Once arrived at the spot, the Captain will give another brief safety instruction on the bows and how to stand on the front of the boat while shooting. For safety, we allow two shooters to stand up on the bow at a time. The captain will be up in the tower spotting fish and driving as close as he can to get y’all an up close shot!

Get ready…

cownose sting rayHere we go; Captain just spotted a school of 10 Cownose Rays straight off the bow 25 feet! Shooters get ready! When the boat is almost on top of them, that’s when you will want to draw back and take your shot! Zing! Zing! Both shooters sling an arrow at them. Shooter 1 misses. Shooter 2 penetrates a ray and it takes off, taking line fast! If you are shooter 1, you will want to reel up your line and get your arrow knocked again for a second shot. Usually the school of fish won’t travel too far away. If you are shooter 2, let the ray run a little bit and then put your bow down and hand line him in. Rays are too strong to reel in manually, you will have to reel in a majority of them in, depending on size. Some rays will take longer to get inside the boat and put up a mean fight while others might give up pretty easily. Once the ray is right beside the boat and you can see your arrow, the captain will come down and either gaff the ray and bring him over the rail or grab onto the arrow and bring him in the boat. Once in the boat, the captain will carefully remove the barb for y’all to take home with you and then take the arrow out of the ray.

Depending on where the ray is shot will determine whether the ray will be released back into the water or if it will be placed in the icebox to be used as crab/shark bait. If a ray has been shot only in the wing, it will be released back into the water. Stingrays are made of mostly cartilage and will heal up a flesh wound almost instantly when placed back in the salt water. If the ray has been shot in the vitals or spine and cannot heel up, we will put it in the icebox to take home with us. Stingrays are some of the best bait you can use for setting crab traps or shark fishing.

Depending on how many shooters you have, you may have to rotate so everyone gets a shot. Our trips are determined to leave you with tired arms! Once the trip is over and time is up, y’all will wrap up the lines, secure the arrows and place the bows back where they go and head back to the dock!

It is time to have some fun so book a charter now!

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