Taking someone new out fishing in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s new fishing challenge doesn’t just apply to hook-and-line angling.
Not by a long shot.
Not when there is the action-packed thrills of shooting nongame fish like Asian carp with a bow and arrow to be had in Nebraska waters!
Current, avid bowfishers in Nebraska are being encouraged to get others involved in the new and exciting Nebraska fishing challenge called Take ‘Em Fishing, whereby someone new is introduced or reintroduced to fishing and can win some neat prizes for doing so. Learn more about and enter the challenge by clicking this link.
The bottom line: Fishing is not just limited to casting or trolling, it also includes shooting fish with a bow!
Just last summer I was reintroduced to this great lifestyle, this great life sport of fishing with archery equipment.
The offer to bowfish the backwaters of the Missouri River came from Zac Hickle of Elkhorn, NE, a hardcore, very accomplished tournament bowfisherman.
Zac had all of the necessary gear for me to use aboard his custom-made boat he built for bowfishing.
I had Zac on my Saturday morning outdoor talk radio show to promote bowfishing and bowfishing education late last spring, and following my program, the offer to join him was put forth.
I enthusiastically accepted.
After all, I had not bowfished since my high school days some 40 or more years ago.
On that hot, steamy summer morning last year, I reembarked on bowfishing in the backwaters of the Mighty Mo (Missouri River), and it now ranks among the most memorable of my outdoor experiences!
Though my bow shooting prowess was a little rusty (a lot rusty, actually, HA), I quickly recalled how bowfishing was this fun-filled, highly addicting, unique outdoor activity. I must say that I can hardly wait to get on that big river (Missouri River) and its backwaters to bowfish again this summer with Zac and his now seven year-old son, Gavin.
I had such a good time watching and interacting with Gavin. He is an incredible bowfisherman! I would just be ready to release an arrow at a fish and he would have already fired his string-attached arrow into a fish in the water!
It is certainly the time of year when folks of various ages are gearing up for their bowfishing experiences on rivers, creeks, lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Why not join them? Fishing with archery equipment also appears to be growing increasingly popular among regular anglers and bowhunters. This is evidenced by the popularity of the Bowfishers of Nebraska Facebook public group page. Watch for the logo below and consider joining this group on Facebook.
What makes bowfishing so darned enjoyable?
Let me tell you that it provides nonstop, fast-paced action and requires no prerequisites.
It also is an excellent way for bowhunters to stay sharp with their skills and keep shooting throughout the spring and summer months at considerable numbers of nongame fish, most notably invasive Asian carp species, assisting with reduction of their numbers for conservation purposes.
Bowfishing also gives a person an opportunity to explore the wilds of backwater and wetland habitats, which contain a variety of interesting wildlife species to see.
Unlike hook-and-line fishing and archery hunting for big game, bowfishing does not mandate that you sit still and remain quiet, either. It is an incredibly social sport, often taking place on a moving boat with much conversation and vocal strategy. Some moments are slow, but they quickly can give way to moments of mayhem and thrill when a large school of silver carp are swimming and jumping everywhere and arrows are being flung. Archers can even work together to shoot species of nongame fish.
So, how does a youngster learn about bowfishing if a family member or friend doesn’t bowfish?
Enter the Nebraska Bow Fishing Mentor Program.
This was established by volunteer organizer Nick Tramp of Allen, NE.
The mentorship program has entered its sixth consecutive year.
Tramp, Zac Hickle, Rich Porter and other Bowfishers of Nebraska volunteers serve as instructors and take youngsters of varying ages, along with a parent or guardian, to pre-selected public locations to shoot nongame fish with archery equipment following a classroom session. These free programs, hosted by the Bow Fishers of Nebraska, allow youth to explore the challenge and excitement of harvesting fish with archery gear. They will learn about equipment, safety, regulations, ethics and care for harvested fish, and will shoot from both the shore and a boat. Youth must be at least 10 years old to attend. No experience is needed, and nearly all of the equipment is provided. Space is limited, and registration online is required to save a spot.
Here are the details of the their upcoming spring event.
If you’d like more information on bowfishing, including tons of useful tips, an innovative Asian carp cooking method plus regulation reminders, see my initial blog on shooting fish with archery equipment, go here.
Zac Hickle puts taking youth bowfishing in perspective when he says: “We need to remember that most people don’t discover fishing, it’s a gift that’s given to them. Do your part, take a kid fishing.”