Maybe bowfishing

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Well-known member
May 8, 2017
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Southeast Florida (Tri county)
Back in the day, I shot bow at a club with a very old PSE 30% let off compound. The club was kicked off the property and we never found a new spot to shoot and compete in. I stopped bow shooting some 30 odd years ago.

Fast forward to yesterday, I saw the svelte used compound on the wall of a shop and I looked at the tags. 28" (I'm 27" or so) draw, 40 lbs... nice.

I'm 67 and in pretty good shape but I could NOT draw that thing at all!

I figured time and age took their toll, but I researched the bow and found it adjustable 40-65 lbs. and 22" to 29". So, "maybe" the PO goosed it up to max and I'm not as weak as I thought? I'm thinking it's a combination of the two :)

Anyway, I found the single arm dumbbell exercise and I'm doing reps with a 30 lb battery for my right arm, and I do 30 push ups daily which may help keep my left arm from wobbling at full draw. Since I'm lefty and shoot right handed my "strong" left arm should't need much more help.

So, beside the exercises I'm doing, are there any other things I can do to get my upper body toned up?
There are many bowfishing package bows available now ranging in price from $200-$600. Typically people go with either an AMS Retriever bottle reel or a traditional spinning reel setup. Both have advantages and it's personal preference. I hate spinning and love the bottle...and there are people that have the exact opposite opinion. 40# draw weight is what I recommend; it's plenty for bowfishing. Shorter axle-to-axle bows increase finger pinch, so recommend something around the 32" mark.

I have been bowfishing for 15 years now and just last month bought an AMS E-Rad bowfishing bow. I've only had it out 3 times, but so far I like it. Before that all of my fishing bows have been youth bows (Parker Wild Fire to be exact). I've owned 4 of them. Great little bow but Parker just recently went out of business.

Like I said plenty of options these days. A good place to window shop is
More than likely an older bow will need a bow press to change the draw length. (Archer shop) If your DL is 27, IMO you'd be better off pull the 27" or maybe 26.5. It will help you reach the let off sooner. Also again, with those older bows just because it says 65lbs max draw weight, does not mean its so. I had an old 80's model PSE that was marked 70 lbs. max and with the limbs cranked down, it was actually 76 lbs. ( bow scale). Happy shooting
I use lever bows like the Oneida and love them. I do lots of bow fishing though so I can justify the cost of them. Both of mine, an Osprey and a Stealth were bought used because they're kind of pricey new. They're almost an infinitely adjustable bow and can be tailored to almost any type of shooting but the best part is the let off feature. You can set the draw weight about anywhere you want it and the let off will make it seem as though you're holding only 20% of the weight. You want to set your draw weight according to the type of water you're shooting. If the fish are deep use more weight, shallower less draw weight. Pass through can be a pain in the butt. Oh, and an Osprey only weighs about 3 pounds so that will spoil you too.
I used to do quite a bit of competitive bowfishing. My co-angler is/was the world champ, so we learned quite a bit from each other. Granted we are only in our mid 40's currently (though I certainly feel much older).

What I found the most success with is picking something in the 40lb draw with the least letoff as possible. I had several bows and the one I used the most was a little Browning 30" pull (I'm 6'8" and need all 30") that I picked up at a yard sale for $5, and paid a local shop $20 to put a new string on it. Left that bow with the champ; he still uses it to this day. I've shot with recurves and longbows too and those will wear you out quickly, but the excercises you get from them kinda help and they're more traditional in how they shoot. Some like the tradition, some don't. I was fishing for a trophy so I could have cared less. Most of the bowfishing we did was top water or real close, at night (and ALL night from 9pm to 6am during the summer months). At nighttime the gar are on top as are the buffalo, grass carp, whitamur, and bowfin (aka dogfish). Those are the primary rough fish here that most angler fishing experts are targeting, but not all gar....can't shoot Alligator gar without permits here. Long and shortnose and most are longnose. A typical tournament night consisted of 300 fish of different lengths and most of them were small longnose gar. That was combined between 2 people in the boat. The bow I was using (browning) was light weight, small, and the low draw weight helped make things easier when shooting that much. Didn't find myself "holding" the draw much, mostly draw, hold for a half second, then release. Only once in a while have to hold on a faster moving or spooked big buffalo. Usually there were so many fish that you just pick one, draw, release, reel. The lower the draw weight the better as far as getting tired, most of the time 40lb or thereabouts is going to get you close to where you need to be without getting into pass through situations.

Excercises for me were simple. Go out in the yard after work and sometimes before work with the bow, a blank arrow (no string) and just practice. Once you feel somewhat confident, get the boat out and head to the water. Doesn't take long to get back into the swing of things. Main thing is to have fun. I wish I'd have done more of that. It got to be a "job" which is exactly why I left my stuff in his boat. We were guiding professionally and going to tournaments every weekend for 20 weeks out of the year, won good amount of money and made a lot of people happy but it became work and after putting in 8 hours at the shop out in the heat all day, then staying up all night putting in MORE physical work, it wore me down. I grabbed a rod & reel one afternoon after work and went with a friend to do some summer time crappie fishing and it was MUCH more relaxing in comparison; have not looked back either.
crank up Cross bows are a lot of fun for weaker arms and fingers.
I found out that by shooting a lighter draw weight target bow on a consistent basis would help me when it came to drawing the heavier hunting bow, you are using the same muscles and keeping them exercised.
I'm now 75 and went to the crossbow, it's been quite a while since I shot my Jennings arrow star target or the arrow star hunter, and probably can't draw either one of them back anymore!

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