If you have been on Roosevelt Lake in the spring or summer, you have probably seen boats with an elevated platform and men and women with archery equipment standing on it.
It is quite a sight as they are cruising the brush pockets of the Tonto arm or the backside of many coves.
They are participating in a growing sport: archery bow fishing, something that is really catching on.
I had the opportunity to ask a couple of avid bow-fishermen, Scott Darnell and Jimmy Ridge, a few questions about their sport.
Brian Darnell, a former student at Payson High School, currently holds the existing state record for buffalo fish captured by bow and arrow. Last summer he shot a 48-pound behemoth from Apache Lake.
Bow fishing requires a special reel attached to a bow with 200-pound Power Pro test line. The bow fishermen shoot Muzzy Carp Points and arrows designed to retrieve the fish after it has been shot. The transition from archery big-game hunting to bow fishing is relatively inexpensive and can be done with your existing equipment for less than $100.
Carp and buffalo are the fish targeted by these anglers. These two species are considered non-game, or rough fish, in Arizona.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department on many occasions has used the fish harvested to aid in attracting bears for their field studies done throughout Arizona. When everything is considered, this is a win-win situation for all sportsmen and agencies in Arizona.
There is no limit on the number of fish that can be taken by bow in our local lakes. There is no limit because of the high populations of these rough fish, which are actually in competition with warm water game fish like bass, catfish and crappies.
The best time for bow fishing is approaching. Late March and throughout the summer months are the most opportune times for the sport. A fishing license is required along with a few minor adaptations to archery equipment used in hunting.
If you have an interest in bow fishing and would really like to know more about it, there will be a free seminar at the Tackle Box in Tonto Basin at 9 a.m. March 25. After the seminar, a number of local bow-fishing enthusiasts will actually take novices on their boats to demonstrate and give them hands-on bow fishing advice. This is your chance to learn a new sport, and this weekend take someone fishing and enjoy God's creation.