How to Catch Carp With a Longbow

A guide to catch carp, including equipment used, order of attack, bow fishing, and visibility problems.

| May/June 1975

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    The majority of folks in this country have traditionally been too proud (or too well-fed) to stoop to eating so-called trash fish such as carp.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Figure 1 longbow equipment for shooting carp.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Figure 3 shows how currents can change your fishing tactics.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Special Carp Catchin', Cleanin' and Eatin' Section 

The majority of folks in this country have traditionally been too proud (or too well-fed) to "stoop" to eating so-called "trash" fish such as carp. Which suits a certain minority of reverse-status gourmets just fine. Because if they're properly prepared, carp (and other bottom feeders) can be lip-smackin' good, as the three articles in this special section point out. And, as the authors whose work appears here also note, putting tens — even hundreds — of pounds of that eatin' on the table isn't nearly as difficult as you might have thought.

The cove is still and brown from the feeding of numerous fish In the mud-grown weeds. Highstepping like a heron, you pull your left foot out of 14 inches of 80 degree water and start to slide it back In, toes first. Your attention all this time is on the movements of a barely visible carp nibbling at the roots of a sweet clover plant. Its head is down and the muddy water has kept it from seeing your approach. 

Carefully you raise the longbow you're carrying as your toes approach the bottom when — oh no! — a 12 pound fish makes the water boil under your foot and — in a panic to escape — rams your right leg, nearly knocking you over. As you try to regain your balance, your left foot comes down hard with a noisy splash. 



And now you're in the midst of a stampede. Mud billows up all around. You look for a chance to get off a quick shot, but as usual the rushing carp are too swift and too hard to see. Their only traces are fast-moving wakes on the surface and the feel of pressure waves against your feet. Then all is calm again . . . except your heartbeat! 

The above scene is a common one for those who stalk carp with bow and arrow . . . and it may or may not ruin the day, depending on how the hunt is organized and carried out. Here's how we do it at Grand Coulee Dam's Lake Roosevelt, where the fish we catch range from 3 to 12 pounds in weight and measure in at 16 to 36 inches.






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