The Asian carp family includes grass, silver, bighead, black and more varieties. These species are native to China and Russia. They were found almost in all major river systems in these countries. Later, the United States authorities imported them to clean their commercial lakes. Gradually, their population increased and spread to the Mississippi River system. Nowadays, they have been a popular target for anglers. People invented many methods to catch fish. Bowfishing seems the most effective one for the Asian carps. So, we are going to share some details about Asian carp bowfishing today.
What is bowfishing?
As the name suggests, bowfishing involves a bow and arrow. The arrow is attached to the bow’s reel with a long line. You can aim for fish from either a cane or the shoreline. After spotting the fish underwater:
- Move closer to them silently.
- Draw the specialized bow and release your arrow towards them. The combination of the right timing and precise aiming will definitely hit your target.
- Drag the fish up on the boat/ground.
The overall process is called bowfishing. The best thing about the carp fishing technique is that it is relatively easy. We don’t have to achieve long-range shooting skills. So, the beginners can try it too.
The unique archery setup requires a few specific items. We bring everything together so that you don’t miss anything.
- Bow: Not all bows works the best for bowfishing. You will need either a compound or a recurve bow. A recurve bow is light and effortless to carry. Even after holding for a long time, there will be less fatigue in your wrists. They lack some beneficial features like wheels and pulleys in a compound bow. The functionalities depend on your strength. You have to deliver more power for drawing. Also, try to be as close as you can to your aim while using them. Contrarily, the compound bows require less practice, less physical strength. They provide higher accuracy even from a long distance. They can accommodate multiple tools, such as stabilizers. But they are heavy and need more maintenance.
- Reels: People who are new to fishing should go for the bottle-style reels. Their simple mainframe contains some moving parts. These durable reels withstand heavy load, mud, sand, etc. You will experience fewer tangles, and by chance you do, the bottle removal is quite easy. Despite being affordable and easily usable, they don’t compromise on performance. But the reel may not be strong enough to drag the big carps. In such a case, you have to pull the line by hand. Another reel for the expert bow-fishermen is called spin-caster. The significant advantage is their ability to reel in big catches. Shooting and fish retrieving will be a matter of some seconds. Besides, they support fishing from a farther distance.
- Line: The length of the line depends on how farther you want to fly the arrows. You need at least a minimum of 25 yards long line. Increase the size for distance shooting. The bottle-style reels can candle thick lines. For spin-caster brands, you should bring thin lines.
- Arrows: The shaft usually consists of fiberglass/composite materials. The heavy construction leads them into the deep-water. These arrows feature barbed screw-in points. They look more like a harpoon. The barbs go through the flesh of the fish and lock its position. It prevents the fish from coming off the arrow during reeling in. A couple of models utilize a sliding apparatus for safe fishing and quick retrieval. They are more costly than conventional arrows. Once you buy one, you can get above 200 fishes.
- Others: Also, you can bring your shooting glove, release kit, sharp knife, etc. Don’t forget to come with a hat/polarized sunglasses and weather-friendly clothes.
You can purchase the equipment separately or together. Lots of companies supply the full gear list for bowfishing.
The weather conditions for catching Asian carps
Early summer and late spring are the best time for bowfishing. The carps shift into the shallow water from deep water for spawning. Morning and evening hours give impressive results for fish hunting. In these hours, carp become very active in both shallow and deep water. The most optimal condition is bright sunny days. Direct sun rays will enable you to spot more fishes. The deep-water hunters find the best opportunities for carp fishing in summer. The water temperature starts to get warm. Then the fishes move into deep water but jump about 3 meters from the water surface.
You can spot them within seconds under bright sunlight. The possibilities of getting more massive fishes are also high. When it comes to winter months, the bites usually more available in the afternoon. Note that Asian carps remain active at night too. Many professionals prefer night hours as they can catch Asian carps at any time of the year. They come along with the perfect light. Precise shooting is needed to catch the species before they escape into the shadows. Skip bowfishing in the early spring, early winter, and late fall. Fishing becomes more challenging in these times. Besides, Check the weather forecast to avoid cloudy, rainy, and windy moments.
Where to Spot Asian Carp
Spotting Asian carps is the first thing you have to do for bowfishing. If you don’t have an idea, you can see help from the local people or other experts. Many potential locations cover more carp than usual. They love to roam in unclean environments. Therefore, target places having calm shallow water. One more trick is fetching the carps based on their food habits. Planktons are the most common food for bighead and silver species. Grass carps prefer underwater plants and dense shoreline vegetation.
Since the oxygen supply is high around the vegetation, you will find other kinds of carps as well. The black carps mainly seek snails and small fishes. When you are looking for a specific type of carp, target areas accordingly. Make sure to wear polarized sunglasses for better carp detection.
How to Recognize Asian Carp
Well, it is not difficult to identify Asian carps. The Bigheads have a narrow body with downward eyes. The coloration is mainly dark gray. It turns into white toward the underside. As you can assume, the head has no size. Also, they have large mouths without teeth. The color of black carps varies from brown to black. It changes into bluish-grey or white on their stomach. The Body shape is long and cylindrical. Silver or flying carp looks excellent with a silver head and white belly. The older fishes have greenish back and silver belly. If you need barbel-less fishes, grass carp is the solution.
The moderately compressed figure carries a broad head and tiny eyes. The dorsal parts and sides look olive-brown and silver, respectively. Since they usually swim in muddy water, you may not obtain the real view. All you can see is a dark, submarine-like shape. Their sucking motion forms a few concentric rings that you can see above water. Additionally, you can be sure of an Asian carp if a long and dark silver line appears on the lake’s surface. The Asian carps have the mark on the top of their back. Some fishes tend to jump out of water in the middle of the river. It makes us spot them easily.
How to Shot Asian Carp
The Asian carps swim very fast and can disappear within a blink of the eyes. Hide so that they can’t see you. Try not to get in touch with water because a slight vibration may ruin the entire plan. We suggest being patient yet fast for shooting. Remember, there is an optical illusion due to the diffraction of light-rays. Hence, the carps seem in a shallower layer than they actually are.
Air low to balance the difference. It is very common to lose fishies while putting the equipment together. Be ready with your bow and arrow because you will not get sufficient time to set them. As soon as you spot a carp, fire the arrow. The beginners often lack precise shooting proficiency. Instead of a single fish, they should target a school of fish. Then, the chances of a hit become higher.
And that’s all for now. Keep it in mind that bowfishing is easy, yet needs some experiences. Don’t expect success every time you shoot the arrow. It is okay to miss a lot of shots. The bright sight is you are learning more. So, keep practicing as much as you can.