Marlin with a bow and no rod and reel. One of the vital thrilling hunts I’ve ever skilled.

This column is in two elements, as a result of I needed to give somewhat historical past on the way it got here to be that I might journey such a protracted distance to pursue my greatest fish with a bow.

I’ve been a bowfishing fan for about so long as I’ve been taking pictures a bow. I began out chasing frogs and carp. I had a blast, however I used to be at all times searching for new adventures and new species of fish to go after with my bow.

Through the summer season months, moreover hogs and a few small recreation, for me, bowfishing was the place the motion was. I used to be after something and every thing that swam and was authorized. I used to be particularly excited concerning the tastier fish. I do know all fish are edible, and smoked carp is scrumptious, and I’ve even had stingray that tasted like scallops. However, if we’re being sincere, carp shouldn’t be the principle go-to within the fish division for wonderful desk fare. And on the danger of sounding like Forrest Gump, it’s darn laborious to beat a fried frog leg, fried catfish, fried gar strap, fried redfish, sheephead, black drum, or the myriad different fish which are manner higher than carp.

My bowfishing excursions took me to completely different locations searching for completely different species. I wished to expertise all of it, and since bowfishing is a comparatively cheap sport, if I might afford gasoline cash, a license, and generally even a bowfishing information, I used to be consistently going someplace.

When it got here to bowfishing, I used to be residing the adage, “jack of all trades, grasp of none.” I wished to study somewhat bit about each species of fish. As soon as I discovered the place to hunt it, hunt it, and what time of day or night time to hunt it, I used to be able to go. As soon as I shot and ate it. I used to be prepared to maneuver on to one thing else. I might typically repeat the super-fun ones, the super-tasty ones, or those that the household and I might do collectively. However for essentially the most half, after harvesting the species I used to be after, I used to be prepared to maneuver on to one thing else.

I turned enthralled with huge fish, and even alligators. I preferred the challenges concerned, in addition to attempting to determine the proper gear for the proper species and scenario. I typically examined new Muzzy bowfishing gear earlier than it hit the market, and I gave my enter on a whole lot of completely different gear. Through the years, I had developed a components for what labored for my part based mostly on what I used to be going after, and the place I used to be going after it.

Whereas speaking with my pal, Ty Miller, who lives in Mexico, we mentioned how cool it will be to bowfish for marlin. To me, a marlin could be the final word bowfishing problem. Not simply the problem of luring one into bow vary, however the problem of deal with a fish that highly effective as soon as it was hit with an arrow.

So, I started a multiyear quest. First, I began researching. I discovered the principle problem was determining the place to legally do it. Whereas I used to be discovering that there have been restricted locations to even go, my pal Ty was within the technique of getting the primary allow ever given in Mexico to permit bowfishing for a marlin. I additionally realized in my analysis that there wasn’t any data on the market on bowfishing marlin. The one factor I might discover was an previous Howard Hill video of him taking pictures a marlin with a bow, however the line then went to a rod and reel and he finally introduced the fish in with the rod. I wished to do it with out a rod and reel. As a result of I couldn’t discover some other data on bowfishing marlin, I needed to rely alone previous experiences, and people of buddies who have been spearfishermen, to assist me determine get it finished.

Principally, I used to be alone on this one…

Ty, of Blue Arrow Expeditions, had obtained the primary allow to information bowfishermen for billfish from Mexico’s equal of our Recreation and Fish Departments. The allow had taken years to acquire, and this was going to be an exploratory proof-of-concept journey.

I used to be joined by my good pal Larry Plunk, who was going to attempt to shoot a marlin along with his Hoyt compound bow, and I used to be going to make use of my Hoyt Satori recurve. My spouse, Michele, and our boys additionally got here alongside for the fishing and the journey.

Whereas researching bowfishing for marlin, the largest impediment was the lack of knowledge. The one particular person I might discover who had ever shot a marlin with a bow was Howard Hill, and his arrow had a line that was connected to a rod and reel. I wished to take one with out preventing the fish on a rod and reel. In addition to getting a marlin in bow vary, I knew my greatest problem could be retrieving the fish.

As the large day grew nearer, my issues about touchdown a marlin grew. Ty felt assured he might get a striped marlin into bow vary through the use of stay bait with a barbless hook to lure a marlin as much as the again of the boat. It was the height of the marlin season, and he felt getting a shot wouldn’t be an issue.

As I’ve finished with alligators and sharks, I would want to make use of jugs to gradual the marlin down and preserve it in sight. I wasn’t positive what number of jugs I’d want, and I additionally had issues with the arrow pulling out and shedding the fish. Too many jugs and the fish might simply pull off of my Muzzy arrow. I additionally was frightened a few shark attacking the struggling marlin earlier than I might get it into the boat.

I received nice recommendation from one other pal, Michael Jensz, who’s an avid spearfisherman and conventional bowhunter in Australia. He suggested utilizing a kind of rubber bungee wire with two bullet-headed floats and the road operating by way of the rubber. This aids spearfishermen when taking pictures giant fish, as a result of the stretch within the rubber prevents the spear from pulling out of the fish.

We have been met on the airport in Loreto, Mexico, by one in every of Ty’s buddies, and brought to an exquisite resort on the seaside, which was included within the worth. Sadly, the climate was too tough to journey to our vacation spot the following day, however the resort, meals, and our hosts made {that a} fairly simple delay to cope with.

As soon as the climate improved, we have been pushed to Adolpho Lopez Mateos, a small coastal city the place we loaded into two small boats and ran to Magdalena Island, positioned off the Baja California Peninsula on the Pacific Ocean facet. After beaching the boats, we jumped into two automobiles and drove over an hour on the seaside at low tide (the one time you might drive that stretch) to a distant seasonal fishing camp. Simply the drive alongside the seaside was unbelievable; we noticed whales, sea turtles, a number of coyotes, and an unbelievable sundown.

The small fishing camp was on a bluff overlooking the bay, and the view was wonderful. The subsequent day, we loaded up in two boats. My household was going fishing on one boat, whereas Larry and I have been going after striped marlin within the different vessel. Sadly, the climate kicked up and large swells compelled us to retreat again to camp. We went out to a small estuary that was shielded from the wind, and within the mangroves I managed to shoot an enormous mullet, which gave our guides confidence in our taking pictures skills.

The subsequent day, we went out once more and had some shut calls, however neither of us scored on a marlin. It was a studying expertise for us, in addition to for Ty and his crew. Regardless of our failure, Michele and the youngsters had a blast catching marlin and mahi mahi on rod and reel.

The next day, we noticed tons of marlin however simply couldn’t shut the deal. Each time we received a marlin in shut was a studying expertise. We discovered what they might tolerate, and what they wouldn’t. We each additionally missed a number of pictures after we have been too anxious and shot when the fish was too deep, or too far-off.

The misses and shut calls taught us one thing each time. I discovered that attempting to shoot a marlin that’s darting left and proper and up and down and generally each within the blink of a watch is de facto tough. Throw in a ship transferring 10-15 miles per hour and rolling in swells, and also you’ll perceive why I used to be considering I had probably bitten off greater than I might chew. I needed to discover my persistence, and I instructed myself I used to be solely going to take a shot that was excellent from that time on.

Ty and his crew put a number of marlin proper previous me, however as I drew, the fish would both spot me or simply break off from chasing the bait. Lastly, a marlin got here in laborious and quick chasing the bait. His invoice was slashing on the bait and I noticed my likelihood. As quickly because the Muzzy fishpoint hit, I might see it was utterly by way of the seven-foot-plus marlin.

When the floats deployed easily, I used to be a basket case. Larry and Ty and the primary mate, David, have been all congratulating me, and we have been all yelling in pleasure. My marlin went a brief distance, tugging the floats, however the struggle was gone out of him. I used to be nonetheless nervous till we lastly had the marlin on board the boat.

The right finish to this journey was when lower than an hour after boating my marlin, my buddy Larry made an awesome shot and stoned an exquisite marlin. Two marlins hit, and two boated. In my view, it doesn’t get a lot better than that. As an added bonus, the meat was the very best a part of these trophies. We received to take pleasure in marlin fried, smoked, grilled, and at the same time as sashimi.

Though we did kill and make the most of the meat from these billfish, we had no extra influence on the thriving marlin inhabitants than in the event that they have been caught on rod and reel and launched.

Intensive tagging research on launched marlin have proven the mortality price of fish inside 5 days of being launched at a minimal of 10 %, and a few research have proven a excessive of 26 %. Extraordinarily restricted bowfishing kills don’t have any extra influence than catch-and-release fishing on marlin numbers.

In the event you’re serious about your individual marlin journey, contact Ty Miller at It’s $2,750 to go, and that features meals, lodging, boat, captain, and a mate. There may be additionally an inexpensive kill price, which varies relying on what number of species you are taking.

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