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Nationally Known Bowfisherman Chuck Belmore on Learning to Bowfish

Chuck Belmore bowfisherman

When you’re learning to bowfish, don’t be intimidated when you miss a shot. Here’s what I tell all the folks who call me up and want to go bowfishing, if you’re already asking questions, you’re hooked. Every person I’ve ever taken with me bowfishing from 8-80 years old always says afterwards, “I can’t wait to do this again. I’m so excited! I’m so glad I came and learned all about bowfishing.”

I’ve never had anyone not enjoy a night of bowfishing, mainly because bowfishing is action-packed. You don’t have to be quiet, the weather’s not cold, you’re not pulling a bow with heavy poundage that you must fight when you come to full draw, and you can laugh and have fun with your buddies. When bowfishing, everyone enjoys a laugh when someone shoots and misses, and everyone whoops and hollers when someone connects with a fish. 

Go to lakes, streams and ponds near your home, and look for fish close to shore that you can shoot. Visit your local sporting goods dealer, and ask him if he knows anyone who bowfishes who won’t mind if you tag along and go with him. Another tip that will help you is the Bowfishing Association of America’s Facebook page. Each state will have one or two representatives in that group that you can ask questions of and learn where to find the most productive bowfishing close you, where to get bowfishing equipment, and who to call for a guided bowfishing trip. That guide will have all the equipment you’ll need and show you and teach you how to bowfish. If you go with a guide, show up, and plan to have a good time. The average price in most sections of the country for two people to be guided on a 4-hour bowfishing trip is about $150. 

If you’ve already made up your mind that you want to bowfish, all you need is a recurve bow or a compound bow, a fish arrow and a pair of tennis shoes to wear while wading. Each state has different rules and regulations about what fish you can harvest with your bow and arrow on the water, so check with the Fisheries Section of your state’s Department of Conservation before going. For instance, some states allow you to legally harvest catfish, but in some states you can’t. 

I stay so busy now that I don’t guide anymore, because I usually do 13 new TV shows every season for my TV show, “The Habit,” available on the Mossy Oak GO App, to reach more of a target audience, although we’ve been on the Sportsman’s channel for 4 years. People can get the shows on their phones, tablets, computers and any other devices they may have that allows them to connect to the internet. About half of those shows will be about bowfishing, and the other half of the TV shows will focus on bowhunting. 

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