Can You Bowfish When It’s Cold

In Bowfishing by Devin N.

 

man shooting bow into water

Believe it or not, bowfishing is such a popular sport that many don’t let the weather stop them from doing it.  It is common to think that this would only be a sport played in warmer weather conditions, but this is not always the case.

But it makes sense because if you’re as passionate as the members of the bowfishing community, you won’t let anything stop you from doing what you love.  Here are some tips I’ve found that will not only improve your hunting experience, but will ensure that you are staying warm while doing so as well.  For those just getting into bowfishing, though, here’s the answer you’re looking for.

Can you bowfish when it’s cold? The answer is, yes, you can bowfish in the cold.  Bringing the proper gear to stay warm and right bait for catching certain fish are essential, though.  Bowfishing can be something the whole family can enjoy, but if you don’t have the right supplies, your experience may not go as planned.     

WILL MY BOW BE SAFE IN THE COLD

Luckily, if you have a decent bow, hunting in the cold will not cause any real noticeable damage or changes to your bow, but instead, may have effects on your overall shot because of the bulkiness of the clothes you’re wearing.  Clothing such as gloves, a coat or heavy duty jeans can interfere with your form and cause your shot to be a little off as a result.

To reduce the risk of this, I would recommend replacing your heavy clothes by packing on a few extra tee shirts and wearing a thick hoodie instead.  Depending on how cold it is, this might not cut it.  But, if you feel like you can get away with it in order to better your shot, then go for it.  Buying an all-around lighter coat may also be a better alternative for you.

I know some hunters who are warm-blooded and some who are cold-blooded, so it all depends on you and how much your body can tolerate.

STAYING WARMman shooting bow in the cold

I know I touched on this a little bit in the previous section, but aside from clothing, there are some additional tips and tricks you can do to help keep yourself warm.  Honestly, one of the best ways me and all my hunting buddies stay warm is by just staying active, but since you’re likely on a boat and have no room to really move anywhere, I have some other solutions that may help you.

1) PORTABLE HEATER

Bringing a portable heater with you to warm up can really help to thaw your hands out.  I can’t remember how many times my hands felt like they were going to fall off from the frigid cold but were then saved by just simply putting my hands in front of my mini space heater for a few minutes.

This has worked its way into my bag of must-haves and I feel like more hunters should bring one along as well.

2) STAY DRY

If you’re into boating, you might know that staying dry can sometimes be a challenging task.  Unless you are in a covered boat, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. So, what I recommend is getting a lightweight water-resistant outer layer jacket, pants, and a beanie to keep your hair dry.

Not only will this protect your upper and lower body from the water but will also help you retain more heat that naturally escapes through the head.  If you want to take it a step further, you can invest in a water-resistant poncho to go over all your clothes as well.

3) EATING

This might sound like a weird one, but eating can actually activate your metabolism and as a result, make your body warmer.  Any foods can activate this as our bodies have to process everything we eat, but foods that take more work to process can make our body heat last even longer.

Your food will lose its heat quickly in the cold, so keep your food warm by packing it in a heated meal kit or by storing it in a lunch box with a heat pack.

two men holding a gar fishWHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO CATCH

Not all bowfishers eat their fish after catching them, but for those who do, here’s a little backdrop of commonly caught fish and what taste you can expect from them.

With fish being able to survive the harsh winter weather (somehow), there is no shortage of fish in which we can catch.  Although there are many different species of fish in the world, here are some of the more popular and common ones that you can look forward to catching and even eat… or with some of these fish, not eat…

1) COMMON CARP

If you plan on eating carp, don’t.  It is said by many that they taste horrible and that the water that most of them live in is polluted.  Carp are able to live their whole lives living in dirty, mucky and questionable bodies of body, but eating them is not commonly recommended.

2) EELS

Based on what I’ve found, it seems like eating eel shouldn’t even be legal.  Not only are they scavengers that eat dead, decaying animals and other fish, but their blood in raw form is extremely toxic to humans and mammals as well.

3) SUCKERS

Some hate this fish, but some love it. But, in my opinion, these are really good fish to eat, and for many different reasons.  Aside from the nice, fishy taste they have to them, they are also very rich in protein along with other essential nutrients.  These suckers really are good.

4) PERCH

Although there are many various different species of perch, it is said by many that white perch are the best out of the bunch, and I can definitely attest to that.  Aside from catfish and suckers, this is probably one of my all-time favorites.

5) CATFISH

Unlike store-bought catfish, catfish caught in the ocean, rivers or lakes are considered bottom-feeders.  This means that just like common crappy, they feed on all the nasty and dead stuff that lies at the bottom; including fish poop.  So, if you are accustomed to fish bought at the store, don’t be surprised if the next catfish you catch and eat has a muddy, dissatisfying taste to it.

Depending on where you caught it, though, catfish can be delicious meat to feast on.

6) GAR

The scales on these things can be extremely difficult to get through unless you have the proper equipment and experience skinning them, but once through, the meat they provide is very well worth the work it took to get to it.  Make sure you are being careful not to bust the guts of the gar, though, as this will contaminate the meat and make you very sick.  If this happens, it’d be best just to discard the entire fish.

man wearing camouflage shooting bow into waterWHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO FISH

Well, in colder weather conditions, hunting fish can bring its own set of challenges, and this is usually because the freezing temperatures of the water will make the fish a little more dormant.  So, if you’re out hunting and you don’t see many fish, then this could be the reason why.

With that being said, you will probably want to hunt when your chances of catching something are the greatest, and this will usually be during the warmest part of the day.  The best times to catch fish will typically be between 10 am and 4 pm.  This is when the sun will be the strongest and brightest.

This will obviously differ from state to state, but this is still really useful for those unfortunate enough to live in extremely cold conditions.

CONCLUSION  

With bowfishing, you have to make sure you are taking everything into consideration.  There have been many people who go hunting while still thinking the same rules apply in the weather as they do in the cold, but this is not always true.

Making sure you’re bringing the right clothing, gear and supplies along is essential to having a good hunting experience.  If you forget to bundle up, bring the right bait or simply just don’t know where to find the fish when you arrive at your hunting spot, then your experience could turn into a bad one fast and could cause you to pack up and go home sooner than you expected.

Knowing the fish you are hunting is important because not only can you cause harm to yourself by consuming contaminated meat, but can also end up eating something extremely nasty and unpleasant to your taste buds. Fish are great to eat, but not all of them taste the same, and this can be because of a few factors.  If you’re not sure about a fish you’ve caught, then throw it back and do more research so that you will have more knowledge the next time you decide to hunt.

Also, don’t worry about your bow, I’ve done a ton of research and have found that no one has ever really caused damage to their bow by hunting in the cold.