“Of all the sports, I’ve never met one more pure and fun than bowfishing.”
Curt Cich is an avid outdoorsman. Whenever civilization doesn’t demand his presence you might find Curt playing golf, navigating the backcountry via snowmobile, or demonstrating the effect of BB steel shot on snow geese. Curt is also a bowhunter and fisherman, although at first he was skeptical about intermingling the two disciplines.
“A good friend insisted that I try bowfishing,” said Curt, owner of Edge Bowfishing. “At that time I already spent about 100 days a year hunting and fishing, so I told him ‘I don’t need another hobby!’ But I finally did try it, and let me tell you, it combines the best of two great sports and everything else I love about the great outdoors. You’re out on the water, moving and stalking, talking with friends, and in constant action – and not just at the moment when you finally take your shot.
“Leading your target isn’t all that important when it’s only 10 or 15 feet away and your arrow is flying at 200 feet per second. The sport’s greatest challenge is diffraction. Light bends as it enters the water, so objects appear farther away from you than they actually are. You have to aim under a fish to actually hit it. You might find a fish at any depth and any angle, and of course fish don’t hold still. You have to weigh a lot of factors very quickly to succeed at bowfishing. It’s instinctive shooting, like pheasant hunting.
“My guides and I lead plenty of bowfishing trips during the daytime. Our boats have platforms so we can see the fish from up high, but that still requires a sunny day. Nighttime takes that variable out of the equation, which is why our boats are equipped with big, powerful lights that cut right through the dark and muddy water.
“The lights turn the water into an aquarium. We get to see muskies and northerns, but what we’re really looking for are carp, suckers, dogfish, bullheads, sheepshead and redhorse. You’re only allowed to take rough fish with a bow in the state of Minnesota. We’ll occasionally get a chance to take a gar in the river, and when we’re lucky enough to draw a tag we hunt paddlefish in South Dakota. They’re delicious – just as good or better than walleye. I hope my Minnesota credentials don’t get revoked for saying that!
“We hunt for big, powerful fish. We shot a carp last year that weighed 55 pounds and eight ounces. It would have been a new state record, but by the time we got back to shore too much of it had evaporated. The man who took that carp was bowfishing for the very first time that day. I told him it was all downhill from there!
“My guides and I go bowfishing every day. We know the spots that will give our guests the most opportunities to shoot, often more than 100 times a night. That keeps the level of enthusiasm off the charts, with everyone laughing, jumping up and down and high-fiving all night long.
“We have smaller bows available with 10 to 12 pound draw weights, so boys and girls as young as eight years old get to come out to enjoy the hunt too. I believe kids love bowfishing most of all. They rarely want to stop when the night has ended. Just last summer we had a young man with attention deficit disorder. While we were docked he was all over the boat like it was a jungle gym. But as soon as the trip started, he just stayed put at the front of the boat and didn’t move. All he cared about was searching for fish. His dad said he’d never focused more on one single thing in his entire life.
“I have 14 guides. Each of them has about 15 to 20 spots they prefer to bowfish in. We’ll take our guests to any lake from here to Clearwater, always checking up-to-the-minute weather reports to make sure we enjoy the best weather for bowfishing. If you’d prefer to do a specific lake, we’ll be happy to take you there. At the end of the day it’s all about giving you the best experience. I want you to fall in love with bowfishing just as much as I have!”
Curt and his expert archer-anglers are standing by to show you the time of your life. To learn more about Edge Bowfishing, please visit edgebowfishing.com.
By David Scheller