What Makes The Best Crossbow Fishing Kit? 9 Tips To Know
Crossbow fishing is becoming an increasingly popular fishing activity in the U.S. However, it is important to use the right type of crossbow fishing kit to enhance your fishing experience. Regular bows may not be suitable for fishing because they may not be easy to carry and be shot at a quick pace. Fishing crossbows provide the perfect middle ground between fishing reels and bows. Crossbows have evolved significantly over the last decades; they are now more accurate and easier to use.
However, there are so many fishing crossbows on the market making it difficult for anglers to determine the most suitable for their needs. Here are various factors you should consider when shopping for fishing crossbows.
Tip #1: Understanding Crossbow Fishing
Anglers that use alternative fishing tackle have to learn how to handle the crossbow, load it, and use the bow and trigger. Fishing with this type of weapon is a powerful, exceptionally accurate, and ethical method of fishing. You can use fishing crossbows to target different fish species including bass, walleye, and pike.
If you plan to go for crossbow fishing, it is important to learn how to fish with a crossbow. In addition, you will have to research local laws regarding crossbow fishing and the kind of fish that you can legally target.
Fishing with a crossbow may require you to take training courses. Even if local laws do not forbid crossbow fishing, it is important to learn the safety measures you should take while crossbow fishing. The aim of the safety course is to help you understand the different parts of a fishing crossbow, basic use of the crossbow and arrows, crossbow fishing safety, and ethical fishing.
Safety courses for crossbow fishing are definitely important for young fishing enthusiasts because it helps them understand how to hold, load, and fire the crossbow. In addition, the safety course also helps young anglers understand how to care for the weapon and how to behave in a respectful manner while crossbow fishing. These courses may be available for free or at a fee.
Tip #2: Choosing Your Crossbow
When looking for a crossbow, consider using top quality weapons. Although price is an important consideration when buying a fishing crossbow, it should not be the only determining factor. When shopping for fishing equipment, you will find out that you can buy crossbows and arrows separately or buy an entire kit containing different accessories including arrows, basic scope, arrow tips, and a cocking device among others.
Tip # 3: Draw Weight
The draw weight you require will be determined by the fish you target. If you are targeting big bass, you will require a crossbow with a draw weight of between 50 and 100 pounds. However, research local laws to see if they define draw weights under current fishing laws.
Some fishing crossbows have draw weights in excess of 200 pounds, but such crossbows would be useless to use in areas that do not legally allow bows with such draw weights. The higher the draw weight of your crossbow, the faster the speed of the arrows it shoots. When fishing with a crossbow, arrows that travel faster deliver cleaner kills than slower ones.
Tip #4: Learn The Basics
Pricier fishing crossbows are usually quieter than their cheaper counterparts. They also offer faster arrow speeds. More expensive devices are often fitted with high-tech scopes and adjustable features including red dot scopes. You can also buy fishing crossbows with cocking devices that make it easier for you to cock the device.
Some fishing crossbows come with clip on cranks and clamps. Turning the crank causes the string to pull back slowly. A cocking aid is often recommended for anglers that have trouble pulling back the strings on their crossbows.
Some fishing crossbows come with dampeners on their split limbs as well as retention strings and stirrups. If you crossbow does not have a dampener, you can buy one and add it to your unit. Remember, fishing crossbows release arrows under incredible force and may make some noise doing so.
There are different types of fishing crossbows on the market. A simple recurved fishing bow comes with a single string and a wider profile. On the other hand, a compound bow has two strings. It is important to understand the profile of a bow if you plan to fish in a blind where a crossbow with a smaller profile may be more suitable. Bear in mind that it is easier to repair a recurved bow than a compound crossbow.
Tip #5: Choosing The Arrows
Your fishing crossbow kit packaging should provide information on the kind of arrows you need including the weight and length of the arrows. Using an arrow with an incorrect weight or length can cause them to break, which can be costly and frustrating. In addition, using the wrong arrow creates the risk of having it go off in a direction you never intended. There are various choices when it comes to arrow materials including carbon, aluminum, and carbon and aluminum mix.
Carbon arrows are more durable than aluminum arrows. Some of the drawbacks of aluminum arrows are that they are prone to bending and breaking. Carbon and carbon and aluminum mix arrows are often recommended for beginners instead of straight aluminum arrows that are prone to breaking, bending, and causing unnecessary frustrations. When it comes to weight and length of the desired arrows, consider the fishing crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations.
The flight ability of arrows is determined by their vanes or fletchings. Make sure the vanes that you choose for your arrows are of excellent quality, straight, and properly installed. Deviations in the structure of the fletchings may affect the flight ability of your arrows. Make sure that the nocks of the arrows you buy are specifically created for your fishing crossbow.
Tip #6: The Importance Of Design
The first thing to do before learning fishing crossbow safety is to understand crossbow design. Although the designs of fishing crossbows vary, they do have similar features. The top of the crossbow that points at the target features a foot stirrup.
Below the stirrup, you will find a riser and limb bolts with a cable and string running one end of the curved unit to the other. The curved section may have split limbs. Most fishing crossbows feature two risers attached to the upper section of the fore grip. A trigger is found on upper portion of the stock.
There are various sight designs and styles. However, the sight is usually attached to the sight bridge on most fishing crossbows. The sight bridge is attached to the main section of the device where the stock ends and the trigger begins. A power stroke and flight groove run along the length of the crossbow.
The main function of the flight grove or arrow track is to hold and direct the arrow when you shoot it. Some fishing crossbows feature a quiver beneath the curved limbs. An arrow retention unit can be found just below the telescopic sight.
Tip #7: Understanding The Speed
If you want a fast fishing crossbow, consider getting one with a longer power stroke. The length of the power stroke plays an important role in determining the speed of the arrow that you release from the crossbow. Some fishing crossbows with longer strokes can shoot arrows at speeds of up to 400 feet per second.
However, it is also important to know that the weight of your arrow can affect its speed when in motion. If you use light arrows on a crossbow with powerful power stroke, the arrow will move extremely fast.
There are no standard speeds when it comes to fishing crossbows; they have varying speeds even if manufacturers claim certain crossbows have similar speeds. When buying fishing crossbows, consider the speed and weight of the arrows you intend to use on the crossbow because these factors play important roles in determining how fast arrows will travel when shot from the crossbow.
Tip #8: Cocking Safety
Most fishing crossbows have similar features for loading and cocking the devices. It is important to follow certain safety measures when loading and cocking your fishing crossbow. First, place the stirrup on the ground or the floor of your boat and clip your foot through the stirrup to ensure that it remains in position while you cock the crossbow. Once the stirrup is secured in place, grab the strings connected to each end of the curved limbs using both hands.
Pulling on one string harder than the other can cause the strings to go off-center affecting the firing accuracy of your fishing crossbow. If you find completing this step challenging, consider buying aids such as elastic straps that will help you cock the crossbow. However, you will still have to pull both strings back until you reach the cocking mechanism even if you decide to use cocking aids.
You will know that the strings are in place once you hear a clicking sound. Do not let go of the strings until you hear the clicking sound, otherwise, they might snap back abruptly and cause injuries.
You may be required to set the safety manually after cocking the bow correctly. Although some fishing crossbows have automatic safety features, it is important to set the safety first to avoid firing the arrow by accident.
You can insert an arrow into the arrow track once the fishing crossbow is cocked and the safety engaged. Make sure the arrow end is in contact with the string and that the straight fletchings rest inside the groove of the crossbow. When fishing with a crossbow, always make sure you are aware of where you are pointing the device, especially when it is cocked and has an arrow on its track.
In addition, examine the pathways in front of the arrow and curved limbs on the fishing crossbow before triggering the release of the arrow. Make sure there is nothing that can alter the path of movement. Obstructions in the pathway can cause injuries because arrows travel at significant speeds once released.
The curved limbs of your crossbow might move when you fire the device. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of clearance from your shooting position before triggering the release of your arrow. Release the crossbow’s safety only when you are totally prepared to fire the arrow. In addition, avoid dry firing your fishing crossbow.
Dry firing your crossbow may result in string breakage or rupture of the upper limb of the device. In fact, dry firing may cause multiple fractures of the device, which may cause small pieces that break off from the bow to turn into rogue projectiles.
Tip #9: Fishing Ethics
It is important to observe ethics when fishing with a crossbow. Practicing acceptable norms for anglers will ensure that you protect the environment and the safety of fellow anglers. Anglers who are passionate about fishing maintain respect for the environment and other people around them. Safety is a key aspect of ethical fishing.
Respecting nature and others involves ensuring that you do not diminish resources while fishing by not leaving trash or wreaking havoc in your fishing spots. Stick to the rules of fair chase and avoid using chemicals baits.
In addition, do everything you can to ensure that fish is killed humanely so that it does not suffer. This involves training adequately and only taking a shot when you are absolutely sure that it will result in a clean kill.
Avoid injuring or targeting young fish out of respect for nature. Lastly, ensure that nothing of the kill goes to waste; killing fish should be done for the purpose of getting their meat. If you do not intend to eat the fish, then give it to someone who will.
Fishing crossbows are sufficiently silent, but rely more on skills than firepower and force; you have to get quite close to your target before you can shoot it with a crossbow. In addition, many anglers rate crossbows as more accurate than composite bows and can work exceptionally well with telescopic sights.
You can easily shoot your crossbow from a kneeling position and you do not even need to keep the string strain once it is loaded. In simple terms, fishing crossbows can be used by both experts and beginners. Unlike bows, crossbows are perfectly designed for fishing; they offer a more dynamic and exciting fishing experience than conventional bows.
I hope you found this guide useful. You can share your experiences using fishing crossbows in the comments section. You may also share the article with fellow anglers on your social media pages.