When you go bowfishing, you may find yourself wondering if other people have used a release. With the bow, a release is a device that lets you fire your shots more accurately. Instead of using the fingers, it uses a trigger to make a release on the bow.
Do you use a release when bowfishing? In general, no, I would not recommend that you use a release when bowfishing. In fact, you won’t find many bowfishermen who do use a release. Here’s the problem: It takes too long to take the shots, and this slows down how many fish you can shoot.
Does It Hurt Anything?
No, you could use a release if you wanted, but it would most likely only hinder how many fish you shot. That is why most bowfishermen–myself included–don’t use them. I like to shoot as many carp as possible because I find that more exciting. On top of that, learning accuracy matters, but if you use an archery aid like a release, you will never learn how to shoot on your own. You might use a release as training wheels, but you should eventually get rid of the release.
As a lot of people say about the release in bowfishing, it just slows you down. It doesn’t help much. Not to mention, the fish swim close to the boats for your shots, so it makes a release irrelevant for aiming. Along with not using a release, you also don’t have much use for sights on your bow for bowfishing. You mostly take snapshots, and you have to shoot as quickly as you can.
With bowfishing, you don’t have to hold the bow back for long, which is why a lot of bowfishermen don’t even bother with a release. You rarely reach full draw. It’s kind of like a sight in that you could use it, but it mostly just gets in the way.
Alternatives to Using a Release
Sure, you won’t see many bowfishermen that will use a release, but you do have some things that they might use instead of a release. Those two things include either finger savers or an archery glove. This helps save your fingers because you will be shooting all night. I use an archery glove. It helped me to take more accurate shots because I didn’t have to wince as I pulled back the bowstring. After a while of shooting, it makes your fingers sensitive.
Here’s the other thing about using an archery glove. Let’s say that you shoot a giant gar like what they have in Texas. You have to pull on that line to reel in the fish. The gloves save your fingers on the bowstring, but they will also save your fingers on the fishing line. Gar are known for putting up one heck of a fight, and this makes it easier to reel them in.
There you have the main reason that I use an archery glove over finger savers. It makes it much easier to reel in the fish as well, and it serves two purposes. You can’t do that with finger savers, which is the reason that I choose a glove over finger savers.
The other reason that I choose a glove is that it is easy to get started. With finger savers, you have to take your bow into an archery shop to have a specialist install them. This isn’t easy to install on your own, which is why you would probably need to call in an expert.
Important to Note: You may want to take off the archery glove after you have cranked in the fish. Fish are slimy and bloody after a shot, and you don’t want this getting on your archery glove because this can interfere with your shots. In fact, it could even make it dangerous as the string slips from your fingers. Instead, remove your archery glove before you handle the fish. Not only that, but it keeps your archery glove in good condition. It won’t last long if keep handling fish with your glove.
As mentioned above, this could be much harder on a release. You will have a harder time when you go to remove the glove from your hand.
When You Might Use a Release in Bowfishing
You do have one case where a release might come in handy–with that said, I still prefer an archery glove even then. A release would come in handy if you were out bowfishing with your buddies all day long, and you had red-hot action all day. Your fingers get tired at that point. Still, I’d rather use an archery glove because I find it better for this type of archery, and it serves one additional purpose over finger savers.
In some cases, you might find the occasional bowfisherman who uses a release, but with that said, these people count as the exception–they don’t count as the rule.
Most bowfishermen–myself included–find that it interferes with taking fast shots, which are required as you start to see more fish. You often have to take snapshots in bowfishing, which isn’t ideal with a release. Snapshots mean that you don’t even come to a full draw. Also, you don’t necessarily aim so much because the fish will be closer to the boat, and this makes the release irrelevant.
When Might You Use a Release in General
I don’t use a release for bowfishing, but with that said, it can be helpful in other areas of archery. For example, you might use a release for deer hunting because it helps to improve your shot accuracy. The last thing that you want is to be out in the deer stand all week only to miss the only deer that comes upon your path. That is where a release in archery could come in handy.
You use a release more with compound bows than what you do with recurve bows. If you have a recurve bow for bowfishing, I wouldn’t even bother with buying a release. Using a release on a recurve bow makes no sense because it makes it more difficult for you to shoot. That might be fun while doing archery in the backyard with friends, but it isn’t as much fun out on the water and missing every fish that comes swimming along.
A release isn’t really used when it comes to bowfishing because the action tends to be more fast-paced than in other archery sports. It’s a different kind of game. You do have a select handful of bowfisherman who use them, but most who get drawn in by the fast-paced action don’t do it, and I don’t personally even think it makes sense to use a release because it just gets in the way. If you want a better alternative, use an archery glove or even finger savers.