In this latest blog from brand ambassador Lindsey Hayes, read about her bowfishing trip and why she uses Ranger Ready Repellents while on the water at night.
Bowfishing in Wisconsin and Virginia
When we say “a fun Friday night under the lights,” we aren’t watching football this week, we're bowfishing! Bowfishing combines fishing and archery. We shoot a bow and arrow, yet reel in our catch much like you do when fishing. For our adventure, we are targeting the invasive species, common carp, in Green Bay, Wisconsin and also, traveling to Virginia to bowfish snakehead, gar, carp, goldfish and catfish. You can bowfish during the day or at night, but our group says “ prime time is night time!”
This fun, face-paced sport continues to gain momentum and is great for all ages. To make sure everyone has an enjoyable time out on the water, it is important to pack the right gear and lots of Ranger Ready repellant. The bowfishing boat has dozens of LED lights to illuminate the water. This helps see the fish better in the dark, but also attracts bugs from seven different counties! One night, it was calm without wind and the bugs got so thick, we had limited visibility! The good news: Ranger Ready repellent helped protect us from getting eaten alive and I can report the entire week I did not have one mosquito or bug bite of any kind.
We had a few goals for this trip: encourage teens to learn more about bowfishing, target an invasive species, film a television show and most importantly, make memories/have fun. I am happy to report, we accomplished all of our missions! Our youth bowfishers, Kayla and Garrett, have only gone bowfishing a handful of times. It was so fun to watch them smile, laugh, learn and enjoy bowfishing.
Targeting Invasive Species
In the United States, we have a growing problem with the number of common carp. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, they are one of the main invasive species destroying the ecosystem of the local fisheries for native fish like walleye, bass, perch or muskie. Asian carp typically grow from 10 to 40 pounds. Our biggest catch of the night was 35 pounds. We fished the spawn and saw first hand the regional problem. Thousands of common carp came into shallow water to spawn. When spawning, they travel in pods of four of five: one female and four or five males. You can see their backs sticking out of the water as they thrash and splash around. The males are pushing on the sides of the female which makes her release almost two million eggs. During our day trip, we saw hundreds of pods in one little area. This is a fascinating site, yet also sad to see. The kids had ample opportunities to see fish within one foot of the boat and had a lot of success shooting too.
We do not eat these carp due to high levels of phosphorus, however they don’t go to waste. Garrett is also a deer hunter and he will use these carp as fertilizer for his food plots at home. In Wisconsin, it is illegal to release or return a carp taken by bow and arrow (dead or alive) back into state waters.
The kids enjoyed staying up all night and being out on the water. Garrett and Kayla doubled up on carp at the same time. This was followed by lots of cheering, laughs, high fives and even a special handshake. Too cute and fun! Kayla’s reaction was, “oh my goodness, I love this!” Garrett shouted, “Bowfishing baby, got to love it!” Family bonding for this brother and sister duo was special to witness. They both wanted the other to have success, but also were very competitive.
BEGINNER TIPS FOR BOWFISHING
If you are new to bowfishing:
- Practice shooting to understand water refraction before you head out on the water
- Make sure you know local rules and regulations and what type of license you need
- Protect yourself from the elements and bugs, so you can focus on bowfishing ( Ranger Ready Repellent on both yourself and your clothes)
- Make sure you understand the importance of the safety slide on your arrow
- Have a bowfishing plan for disposal of these invasive species
- Make sure you are confident in IDing different species of fish, so you know what to shoot and what not to
- Have fun and take lots of pictures for social media!
On our trip to Virginia, we had another amazing experience with more youth bowfishers. They successfully caught carp, gar, goldfish and catfish. It is important to know how to ID fish in less than a few seconds and the kids did great. The fan favorite that night was the jumbo goldfish. Goldfish are not native to the Potomac River, which means they most likely entered these waters because they were a discarded pet. PSA: do not flush your goldfish down the toilet or set them free in the local river. They grow to be as large as jumbo perch!! Here is your proof.
100% RECOMMEND RANGER READY REPELLANTS
Both adventures were more enjoyable because everyone was protected from mosquitoes, nats, biting insects thanks to Ranger Ready Repellents. Parents love that it is effective and safe for children. I love that it smells good, is DEET-free, and protects against biting insects with Picaridin 20%. I recommend any of the scents or no scent too. Amber might be my favorite! You don’t have to smell like bug spray anymore!! I also spray my clothes prior to the trip with Ranger Ready Permethrin Repellent too for long lasting protection. An essential item in the bowfishing boat is repellent; choose Ranger Ready!