At first glance -- it looks like any other fishing trip, but the devil is in the details. Matt Moran is going bowfishing on Lake Champlain, a unique sport that blends archery with fishing.
"I just think it's a lot of fun. I love being out on the water. I love to hunt and fish, so it's a perfect combination of it all," said Moran.
According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Matt is one of only a handful of Vermonters who bowfish. While it's more popular in other states, specifically in the midwest, shooting fish with a bow and arrow is perfectly legal here in Vermont, so long as you have a fishing license.
It's best done in water only two to six feet deep, shallow enough that you can clearly see the fish.
"I couldn't hit anything when I started, and I still can't hit stuff most of the time.I bet I shot 100 times before I hit a fish," said Moran. "It's not where you think it is. The fish is actually lower than it appears to be because of the reflection of the water, so when you think you're aiming low enough for the fish aim lower because more commonly people miss right over the top of the fish."
Like traditional hunting, you can't just shoot anything that moves. Archers are on the lookout for specific fish like bowfin, carp, and gar, species often not targeted by other fishermen.
Many archers prefer to bowfish after dark. That's when fish will leave the weeds and head out into deeper water to feed. Most wear sunglasses during the day. That makes it easier to see the fish in the water. Moran reeled in a 26 inch long bowfin on our trip near Sandbar State Park.
"It's a rush. You start shaking and especially when you feel that pull on the bow, because they're heavy fish," said Moran.
All in all in was a successful day of fishing/hunting on Lake Champlain.
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