Perhaps you have wondered to yourself if bowfishing will kill the fish. As you can imagine, shooting an arrow through fish probably doesn’t bode well for whatever fish suffers this. That said, people probably wonder if it will kill the fish after you have shot it.
Does bowfishing kill the fish? Yes, after you have shot the fish with the bow, it will die. Usually, the arrow passes through crucial organs. For catch-and-release fishermen, that might be a problem, but for people who eat their fish anyway, this doesn’t seem too much different.
Whether you fish with a hook and line or a bow and arrow, we must emphasize responsible fishing practices. That means using the fish taken. Some people look down on bowfishing as a bastardized form of fishing, but in truth, it takes a lot of skill to pull off. People waste the lives of fish even with traditional fishing where they take home fish too small to eat.
As a bowfisherman, I believe in responsible fishing practices. For example, if you take home a truck full of carp, you should be prepared to clean and eat that carp. You don’t shoot carp just for the sake of shooting them, which kills them. That’s partially where bowfishing has gotten a bad name is they kill the fish and waste the meat. I don’t agree with that, and most bowfisherman that I know don’t agree with this. I like a good meal, and you can get used to carp so that it tastes great.
No Difference between Regular Fishing
The only time where you have a noticeable difference between regular fishing and bowfishing is when you have catch and release fishermen. They don’t harm 100 percent of the fish they catch. While I respect that choice, I like the taste of fish. Even when I do regular fishing, I eat the fish I catch. This is the same as in bowfishing. The fish get eaten, and they die.
Catch and Release Not an Option
People can’t practice catch and release with this form of fishing. After you have hit a fish with an arrow, it will die. That has become the biggest point of contention on this subject because of how some fishermen, especially the types that practice catch and release, don’t like to kill the fish. Personally, I always ate the fish, so I don’t see the difference as long as you don’t waste the fish’s life. I don’t agree with that either. The fish should be eaten or used in some way.
Myth: Bowfishermen Don’t Eat the Fish
I even wrote about how to fillet a carp (which shows my intentions to eat it), along a great cooking recipe here. You may have some bowfishermen who don’t eat the fish they catch, but these harmful practices exist in regular fishing as well. In addition, you sometimes have good reasons for why they don’t eat the fish. For example, carp in some places can be dangerous to eat because of how they eat everything in their path. This means that you will be digesting many harmful chemicals that you don’t want to put in your body.
In some cases, they will have a maximum amount of what to eat as well, and you’d be wise to follow it.
Should You Go Bowfishing?
Perhaps you wonder if you should go bowfishing. You don’t necessarily want to kill fish. For those who don’t want to harm the fish, you’d be better off going with a rod and reel because it will be a choice that agrees with your values. Check out the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos. This will allow you to practice catch and release. I respect your choice, but that said, this is largely a site about bowfishing, and I’m in the camp where I believe there’s nothing wrong with bowfishing as long as you eat what you catch or use it in some way. Regular fishermen do the same thing when they eat the fish.
Great Carp Recipe
With that said, now that you know how you can’t practice catch and release with bowfishing, you may find it useful to know some recipes that you could use. I have a great recipe that I like to use.
I find that when I brine the carp, it helps to make it taste better. You get a better flavor. Along with carp, you can do this with chicken, pork chops or turkey. The meat gets a better texture and flavoring. As you brine the carp, it also tenderizes the fish.
Here’s the recipe that I use to brine the carp:
- 1 gallon of water
- 3 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 6 tablespoons of onion powder
- 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of salt
After you brine the carp, in the next step, you put it in the smoker. The brining helps to keep the carp moist as it goes into the smoker. Don’t hesitate to add some herbs or spices to give it some more flavor. You could even add fruit juices like apple to it to see how it tastes. Nevertheless, subtract the fruit juice from the total water volume. You don’t want to affect the concentration levels.
Some of the spices that I have added to the brine includes:
- Liquid smoke
- Onion powder
- Rub mixes
As the process of brining begins, you place the carp meat into the salty water. The solution travels into the meat, which will give it a tastier flavor. In most cases, brining the carp leads to a juicier taste. The brined meat gains both liquid and salt.
After you finish with the solution, you will take the meat in a container and you will refridgerate it for 24 hours.
In short, yes, bowfishing does kill the fish. You can’t practice catch and release with bowfishing, but for a lot of us bowfishers, we still eat the fish that we shoot. In that way, we don’t waste the fish like how a lot of people have said we did. You might have a few who do, but at the same time, that happens with regular fishing as well.