Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Zero

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Zero

You can read my four-part series showing how I plan for a kayak bowfishing trip below:

  • Part one: preliminary research and state-level regulations
  • Part two: how to find launch sites
  • Part three: researching local regulations
  • Part four: finding weather and river data

“Holy crap,” you think, “I have to do all this garbage just to go kayak bowfishing?!”

No.

I don’t always do all of this research. I do it to pass the time between bowfishing trips, when my mind is on the water and I can’t stop thinking about my next adventure.

The only things you need to know before kayak bowfishing can be simplified by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What will I do with my fish? Please stay home if your answer is “Leave them at the boat ramp.” Not only is this illegal, it’s disrespectful and gives those who would prefer bowfishing to be illegal ammo against us. Respect your prey and have a plan to somehow use it.
  2. Is it legal? Find the regs and give them a once-over, then a second-over, then maybe a third. They’re there for a reason.
  3. Is it safe? Use common sense. Careening through freezing snow-melt rapids on a stand-up paddleboard in a thunderstorm while holding a barbed arrow isn’t worth stickin’ a carp (I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea).

Once you have an answer to these three questions, you’re ready. If you simply want to have fun daydreaming about your next trip, follow the links above for some ideas.

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Four

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Four

Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations. Part two continued to discuss finding launch sites. Part three covered local regulations. Check them out if you missed them.

Weather and River Data

You only have to paddle into rough surf, a strong headwind, or a heavy current once to learn a hard lesson about why weather matters when kayaking. If you bowfish from a kayak or canoe, these factors affect you more than your powerboating brethren.

Everyone knows how to check the weather online, so that part is easy. Driving to City X to go bowfishing on the weekend? Look up the forecast for City X on the weekend. I personally use the National Weather Service because it lacks the sensationalist clickbait garbage that plagues most weather sites (I’m looking at you, weather.com!). Is a thunderstorm likely on the day I plan to bowfish? Then I’ll probably try to avoid that area.

Every paddler should also check wind speed and direction, and decide what they’re comfortable paddling in. Continue reading

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Three

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Three

Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations. Part two continued to discuss finding launch sites. Check them out if you missed them.

Local Regulations

I find that local regulations are the greatest impediment to launching a kayak and shooting fish. Therefore, it would make sense for this to be the first step in finding a new place to bowfish – except you have to narrow down where to launch before you can look for local regulations.

Continue reading

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Two

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Two

Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations.

Launch Sites

Kayaks and canoes have a few advantages over power boats, and the biggest one is the ability to launch almost anywhere that land meets water (though we’ll see that local regulations are a big impediment to that later in this series). Paddlers refer to these as “launch sites” and you can find a huge database of them mapped out at paddling.com.

Map of kayak and canoe launch points across North America on paddling.net.

Map of kayak and canoe launch points across North America on paddling.com.

Continue reading