Bowfishing is just one of the many fishing methods gaining massive popularity with fishermen and women of all ages. Unlike fishing with the traditional rod and reel, the bowfishing setup involves specialized archery equipment which allows you to shoot directly at your target fish. For the practiced angler, exploring techniques like these can add another level of challenge and excitement to the sport.
Types of Fishing
BowfishingBowfishing brings tools that are traditionally associated with hunting down to the water. Try this method out to make some unique catches, from stingrays and eels to dogfish and gar.
Fly FishingFly fishing dates back thousands of years and was brought to the U.S. by immigrants in the 1700s. This classic fishing method allows you to hone your skills to become a master at casting and fly tying.
SpearfishingSpearfishing is another ancient fishing method that became widely popularized around World War II. No other fishing method can beat this underwater scenery!
Deep Sea FishingDeep sea fishing is the ultimate fishing trip. Head out for a day or a weekend on the water and get ready to reel in the big game fish, from marlin and shark to tuna and grouper.
Ice FishingIce fishing offers its own challenges that are unlike any other fishing technique. If you enjoy the thrill of the waiting for a fish to bite and don’t mind the cold, this method may be for you.
Bass FishingAlmost 30 million people across the U.S. are estimated to participate in bass fishing. If that doesn’t tell you how exciting this type of fishing is, I don’t know what will.
Honestly, if you haven’t tried one of these yet, you’re missing out. Even just upgrading to fly fishing gear can test your skill level and help you perfect your casting abilities.
If you’re still a newbie and some of these techniques sound intimidating, consider some other alternatives. Try out spearfishing if you aren’t ready for a bow and arrow, or head out on the ice for a completely different fishing experience. Explore these and other fun fishing methods below.
If you’re like me, learning to bowfish sounds like the ultimate challenge. Using this powerful and wicked cool equipment requires a different level of dexterity than a simple rod and reel. Not only that, it also allows you to aim for specific fish, which requires extra focus and patience. If you’re planning to try this method, you need to familiarize yourself with the type of gear you need, as well as the local fishing regulations.
Complete equipment packages are usually the most cost-effective choice for beginners. As for a self-made bowfishing setup, you’ll need the following equipment to get started:
- A bow
- A reel/retriever
- Finger tabs
- An arrow rest
When learning how to bowfish, keep in mind that specific laws vary depending on where you live. Many state regulations limit this method to certain bodies of water or times of the year. In general, you can use archery equipment to target bottom-feeding fish such as catfish, suckers, carp, gars, eels and perch. You can even use a bow and arrow to take stingrays, dogfish and other shark varieties.
- Did You Know? You can use a bow and arrow to take fish from clear, shallow waters of between three and four feet deep. When you locate your target in the water, aim lower rather than higher to reduce your chance of missing.
The fly fishing method has long been a classic, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging or exciting, especially for beginners. While most rod and reel techniques involve heavier or weighted equipment, this method is known for its weightless artificial lures, known as flies, as well as its quick, precise casts. Fly tying in and of itself is a popular past time, which many fishermen and women strive to perfect.
Within this fishing method, there are a few different techniques and gear to take advantage of, depending on where you plan to fish. For example, you would typically use a longer rod to fly fish in larger bodies of water or a shorter rod to take fish from smaller environments.
With the correct fly fishing gear, you can practice your fly tying and casting in order to catch a variety of fish species, such as trout, panfish, bass, carp and salmon. Many affordable fly outfits are available for purchase, which include all of the basic equipment you need such as:
- Fly rods and reels.
- Fly lines.
- Artificial flies.
It is important to know what type of additional gear you will need for the type of fishing you plan to do. Download this fishing guide for beginners to learn more about choosing the right clothing and rods.
If you’re ready to get closer to the action, stock up on some spearfishing gear and prepare to dive in. There’s no law that says you have to fish from a boat or dock, or even above the surface at all (unless you count local regulations regarding this fishing method, of course).
This spearfishing technique is much more involved because it requires you to suit up and face your catch head-on. Before you dive down into the deep and learn to spearfish, you need the following equipment:
- Diving equipment, such as a mask, wetsuit, snorkel, weight belt and fins
- Gloves and socks
- A spearfishing gun, such as a pneumatic or band-powered gun
- A knife
In addition to having the correct spearfishing equipment, you also need to know how to free dive or scuba dive. You can visit your local dive agency or dive shop to get your scuba certification or learn more about free diving.
Deep Sea Fishing
Let’s be honest, nothing beats a day of offshore fishing along the coast. This is where the truly big game fish swim, including swordfish, shark, tuna, marlin and other species that cannot be found in shallow waters. In fact, these large species can be found in ocean waters of 30 feet deep or more, which is where this fishing method gets its name.
Whether you’re chumming, casting or trolling on the ocean waves, you can expect an adventurous trip. Many big game fish grow to over 100 pounds and several feet in length, which makes it a real challenge to pull these bad boys in.
To learn how to deep sea fish in the best possible way, you’ll need a friend with a 35- to 40-foot boat, at least. If you’ve got a bunch of fishing friends and no boat, you can also hire a charter company to take you out and provide everything you need, including a license, life jacket, fishing rod and different types of baits.
- Did You Know? Popular fishing locations for deep sea anglers include Bodega Bay in California, Sitka, Alaska and the Gulf Coast of Florida.
It’s not hard to guess what makes learning to ice fish such a unique experience. Unlike bowfishing and other fishing techniques discussed above, this method can only be performed in the winter, in areas where the ice has frozen over. Typically, the ice needs to be at least four inches thick if you plan to walk on it, or between seven and 12 inches thick if you wish to fish from a portable ice shanty.
Once the body of water freezes over, you carve a hole in the ice using tools like augers and skimmers. Then, you cast your line down this hole and wait to catch lake trout, perch, sturgeon and other varieties of freshwater fish. This often takes a lot of patience, but can be very rewarding. Popular destinations for ice fishing include:
- Lake Metigoshe in North Dakota.
- Lake Erie in Ohio.
- Upper Red Lake in Minnesota.
Fishing for bass is by far one of the most popular sports amongst anglers of all experience levels, especially since many different bass species can be harvested. Popular species include the largemouth or smallmouth bass, black sea bass and striped bass. One of the features that makes this method so great is the versatility. You can catch bass from both freshwater and saltwater environments using several basic angling techniques.
- Tip: Look for bass fish in areas with plenty of vegetation, as they can often be found near weeds, lily pads, grasses and hydrilla.
Now that you know about the many types of fishing available, download our fishing guide for beginners to learn about selecting the perfect rod for the type of fishing you plan to do.