MAD CARP DISEASE: Feeding the bowfishing addiction

Bret with a 26lb carp
Bret with a 26lb carp

I gotta fevah.  And the only cure, is more bowfishing.

I can see how this can spawn quickly into an obsession.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my first experience bowfishing. I mentioned that I want to shoot everything with my bow now, and get into the right circumstances on the lake and you can have action that’s faster and more furious than any stupid car movie.

A few weeks earlier you may remember hearing about the 47.8lb carp shot by Matt Kargas and Jeremy Lewerenz of Minnesota Archery.  See the picture here.  They invited me to come out to Meeker County sometime to stick some hogs.  Last night was the agreed upon date and we met at the Minnesota Archery store in Litchfield so I could pick up my new bow.  Then we parked in front of some twine.  Oh, not just any twine, but the largest ball of twine in the world!  The pride of Darwin, Minnesota.

20130613- wango tango twine

20130613- twine

“Zee Wango, Zee tango, 1-2-3-4”  I figured Terrible Ted Nugent would be screaming in my brain all night after seeing the name of the boat, but Ozzy Osbourne’s “Shot in the Dark” became the de facto theme song, as we’d be hitting the lake as the sun went down.

20130613- nick back platform

20130613- jeremy lewerenz troller

Bowfishing at night involves a few factors:

1) Darkness.   You need lights on your boat.  Not just navigational lights, but some sort of lighting system to light up the water.  Those fish will glow like you’re in the backwater of a nuclear power station.  That also brings about the bugs.  But as long as you’re in the dark you should be fine as they’ll hang under the lights.   You should also be aware of the lights around people’s homes and cabins.  They’re probably trying to sleep.

20130614- carp under water

20130613- bugs under front plat 20130613- bugs back

2) Sleeping residents.  That also means you need to keep as quiet as possible around the homes.  Matt’s WT rig included a bank of battery-powered LED lights.  They lit up the water like the Coast Guard, yet required no noisy generator to keep them operating.   One landing was also 10 feet from someone’s bedroom, so we employed the “power load”.  Gettin’ in and out quickly and quietly!  These guys had a system down.

20130613- power load

Bring a headlamp and be conscious of the residents of the lake and get ready to whack ’em and stack ’em!  We fished two different lakes and just like fishing for any species, you have to find the pattern.  The first lake we hit held lots of big fish just two nights earlier, but this day would prove to be tough.  So we power loaded and headed off to a new location, one that seemed promising, but was literally a “shot in the dark”.

20130613- bowfish shoreline

Jackpot.  A shallow bay that narrowed to an outlet was full of carp, along walleyes, catfish and other species that were safe from our arrows.   The Wango Tango patrolled the shoreline with 3 shooters set high atop the bow platform with the troller silently pulling us along like ninjas.  It’s literally hunting on the water; a spot and stalk approach.  Once fish are spotted aim low and let ‘er rip!

20130613- 3 guys on platform

Big, spawning carp occasionally prove to be easy targets as they’ll sometimes stick around a little too long, but the smaller, narrow dogfish can be like shooting branches off an oak tree.  Taking this fish out is not only fun, but provides a service as these invaders can be harmful to the native species and gamefish that we love.  Dogfish can eat thousands of sunfish eggs and even the fish themselves.  Come ‘er little doggy!

20130614- matt kargas carp
Matt Kargas
20130614- jeremy lewerenz carp
Jeremy Lewerenz
20130613- nick besemer
Nick Besemer

Soon it was 1 am and Kargas, who has a baby due any minute now, decided it was time to pull the plug.  He had an early morning doctors appointment and I had an hour and a half of driving with the windows down and the radio cranked in front of me.

Our crew of Kargas, Lewerenz, Nick Besemer and myself power loaded our way out of the lake and headed back from the giant ball of twine, with plans to reel up our strings another day.

Bowfishing can be fun for the whole family, as Besemen recounted the story of his 8 year old son outshooting him a few days earlier on the water.  Stop into your local archery shop, like Minnesota Archery.  Guys like Kargas and Lewerenz are more than willing to help get you set up for bowfishing and introduce new people to the sport!

One comment

  1. I am so jealous. Our boat trailer is still out of order, and I haven’t gone bowfishing yet this year. Those are some huge carp.

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