Maybe you want to take your son or daughter on a bowfishing adventure. Because of that, however, you may be wondering if your child can use a youth bow for bowfishing. You believe that a youth bow will be easier for your child to shoot so that he can have more fun bowfishing.
Can you use a youth bow for bowfishing? When you go bowfishing, any bow will work, including a youth bow, but I have found that 50 pounds work the best when bowfishing. A youth compound bow doesn’t rely on strength as much, and your child will have an easier time bowfishing.
How to Choose a Youth Bow
To begin, you will need a tape measure. You have to consider five key factors when you go to choose a youth bow:
- The size and age of your child.
- The required draw weight for your child.
- Is your child left eye or right-eye dominant?
- The length of the bow.
- Consider your budget.
The Size and Age of Your Child
A youth bow will work for bowfishing, and in fact, many children who go bowfishing will use a youth bow because of how much easier it is for them to pull back. To choose a youth bow, you will first want to look at the arm span of your child to help you decide on the draw length of the bow. Draw length looks at how far you can pull the bow back. To measure the draw length, you will have your child stand naturally and use a measuring tape to measure them from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Next, you divide this number by 2.5. With the quotient, you can estimate the draw length for your child’s body size and what type of bow you need to purchase.
The Required Draw Weight for Your Child
The best way that you can learn the draw weight for a child with a youth bow is to visit your local archery shop and have them measure it. Draw weight looks at the amount of weight that you will need to pull back the bow. If you have a longbow or a recurve, it will require a heavier weight to draw it back, which you don’t want for a child. A compound youth bow will normally be your best bet with a younger member of the family because it will be easier for them to draw it back.
Is Your Child Left-Eye or Right-Eye Dominant?
To find the best youth bowfishing bow for your child, you will need to establish if they’re left-eye or right-eye dominant. Some people have given the mistaken advice that your dominant eye will be the same as your dominant hand. In fact, your dominant eye is actually more important in archery over your dominant hand, and it’s not always the same. I’m lefthanded, but I have a dominant right eye.
Identifying the dominant eye, your child will reach his hands open-palm upwards ahead of him. Next, overlap the thumbs, and connect the index fingertips to make a triangle. With the triangle, your child keeps both eyes open. Pick a circular object out in front of your child a few feet away. This object will be placed in the center his triangle from his hands. Close the left eye. If the object remains in front, your child is right eye dominant. If your child can no longer see the circular object, then you have a dominant right eye.
The Length of the Youth Bow
It only takes a few minutes to determine the proper bow size. To select the right youth bow size, all that you have to do is look at the calculated draw length of your child.
Here’s a chart to help you with calculated bow size:
- 14 inches to 16 inches = 48-inch bow
- 17 inches to 20 inches = 54-inch bow
- 20 inches to 22 inches = 58-inch bow
- 22 inches to 24 inches = 62-inch bow
- 24 inches to 26 inches = 64 to 66-inch bow
- 26 inches to 28 inches = 66 to 68-inch bow
- 28 inches to 30 inches = 68 to 70-inch bow
- 31 inches = 70 to 72-inch bow
Consider Your Budget
While bowfishing costs less than some of the other hobbies out there, you can still pay up to $300 or more for getting started. Before you drop that kind of cash on it, you want to make sure that your child likes the sport. For finding a youth bow, you might begin the hunt on Craigslist for a cheaper one. With all that considered, never buy a bow based strictly on price because you also have to look at the specifications to make sure that you will be buying a bow suited to your child. You want a good price, but it should never come at the loss of comfort and enjoyment while bowfishing. Dried out or fringed bowstrings can be dangerous to shoot, and you should keep in mind that restringing a bow will cost you money. At the end of a good bowfishing session, you might apply wax as a way of keeping the bowstring in good condition.
What is a Bowfishing Bow?
To understand why you can use a youth bow just as easily for bowfishing, you have to understand what a bowfishing bow really is. To sum it up, a bowfishing bow will attach a special fishing reel to it. Outside of that, most any bow can be turned into a bowfishing bow, and that’s one of the reasons that you can also use a youth bow. In fact, I would recommend the compound youth bow to be used for bowfishing with a child because they will have an easier time pulling back the string to shoot the arrow. All you have to do in bowfishing is the aim the bow, release the arrow and reel the fish back into the boat.
Compound Youth Bow vs. Recurve Youth Bow
The first big difference that you notice between a compound youth bow and a recurve youth bow comes from the fact that the compound youth bow will have wheels on it, also known as cams. This was built with the intention of lowering the drawback weight needed to pull back the bow—perfect for younger children. Every bowfisherman will give you a different answer when it comes to whether you should choose a compound youth bow or a recurve youth bow. When we compare that to the recurve bow, it doesn’t have the system of cams, which means that the further back you pull, the more strength you will need to pull it back. In addition, a long day out bowfishing can have this wearing effect on your arms. However, some bowfisherman prefer the recurve because it lets them aim and shoot faster. The fish don’t get away. With a child, you might want to start them out with a compound youth bow because it will be a little easier for them to enjoy the sport. Recurve bows also let you catch fish on the move, and they tend to cost less than what you’d pay for a compound youth bow.
Can You Use Your Hunting Bow?
You can make use out of almost any bow. The only thing that you will need is a kit that can help you with transforming the bow into a bowfishing bow. The most common things that a bowfishing kit will include are:
- Fishing reel
- Arrows for bowfishing
Most importantly, you’ll need a fishing reel for your bow, but bowfishing also uses special arrows for the sport. The arrows were built as tougher than normal arrows to handle bowfishing better. In some cases, you can even get the youth bow with the bowfishing kit included, but it depends on the package you have chosen.
Once your child gets going on bowfishing, you may want to buy a youth bow specifically intended for the sport. The last thing that you want is to use your whitetail hunting bow out for bowfishing and have the cam break right before hunting season because you were previously wrestling with a 75-pound alligator gar. It doesn’t open hunting season with a good taste in your mouth.