Bowfishing! Archery at its finest!

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The art of bowfishing was a sport I first picked up in the summer of 2009. It is shooting specific fish with a bow and arrow, with a special reel attached so you can reel them in.

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In Illinois you are pretty limited on what you can hunt with archery. Deer and turkey are only the specific animals….but fish has always been in there as well.

The only fish you can take are different species of carp, suckers, and gar. Mostly fish that anglers despise. Bull frogs and snapping turtles can be taken during their regulated seasons.

Bowfishing for carp is a year round event, however only the summer is the best time to do it. The place I go to is a little spillway near Lake Bloomington, Illinois. I started with nearly no idea on what I was doing and it took me all summer to land an arrow into any fish.

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As you can see…I got much better

It is a hard sport to master. Every summer I have to retrain my eye to find the spot where I shoot a fish. I do not use sights on this bow and it can be incredibly difficult. First you must spot the fish in the water with a pair of polarized sunglasses. These take the glare of off the water. You aim at the fish and try to shoot directly below it. What we see in the water is just a reflection of where the fish should be, called refraction.

So you never actually aim at the fish you are seeing, just under him where he is truly hiding.

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A couple years of experience into it led to the Asian Carp invasion. Apparently these fish were brought over and were put in private ponds where they would eat all the greenery. However, when the ponds flooded into the river, they got out and they reproduce at a crazy fast pace. They flooded the rivers and soon branched off into creeks and other streams, which led them invading the very place where I bowfish the most.

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I couldn’t have been happier.

I introduced a couple of my best friends Jon Strupek and Matt Wagner to the sport that same year….and Jon made a video of us showing the events.


We caught 104 in two afternoons with only our bows and a couple gigs.

Some of my other best friends, like Amanda Kirchner have also joined in at times. For this summer I am teaching Amanda all the tricks.

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So she can hit fish like this!
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I know there can be a lot of hate towards the sport, but I do it for trophy and food, mainly food. Carp can be delicious if prepared for like a grilled salmon. (There are ways around all the bones and the dreaded mud vein)

Some people refer to this as a “redneck fishing” But I cannot express to you how much I hate that term. I jumped into this activity in this area well before any of the local “rednecks” dove in. On top of that, I enjoy it for the love of the outdoors, not for some “redneck lifestyle.” I love hiking and exploring, following trails and seeing animals and nature all together. Since I mainly just bank fish I find myself surrounded by the outdoors quite a bit and I find myself at peace a lot of the times. On top of that, I am probably better than some of these “rednecks” anyways. I love archery and fishing! It is the perfect combo for people like me.

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“Side note” The bandanna is to keep the sweat from fogging up my sunglasses.

If you ever choose to try it out, please read the rules and regulations and practice safety while using your bow. Bring some friends and have a great time!

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Matt and I after the rain

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Jon and I on the fourth of July
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All three of us celebrating a night time gar

Tyler Wayne (T.F.B.)

I wrote a novel……and did it destroy me?

I recently finished writing a novel. By finished I mean I wrote the book but I need to edit, polish, and make it look like a 4 leaf clover, hoping some lucky soul will find it and show it to the world. Fears set aside, my entire life has been filled with “clues” that I should write a book. I placed twice in young authors in elementary school, and I also entered in junior high, scored really high, but was disqualified for its “adult nature.” High school I did really well in English classes, I wrote screenplays for my digital media classes, one of which won critics choice award at a film festival.
It sucks but oh well…..

In college I took a fiction writing class and during our work shop programs I received a lot of positive feedback for some harsh ass critics. The type of hipsters that sit in coffee shops and read “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” (No hate it sounds interesting) These people were my critics and they pushed me to move forward. I went through a rough patch right after that. I thought a knocked a girl up, (It wasn’t mine) my grandpa died, and I just was caught in between boy and man, but I still needed to find myself. That year was 2010….Its been one hell of a road trip.

2011
I learned a lot this year. I took time off of college to live on a farm and write stories. My girl friend moved in with me and made my life a living hell. Breaking up with her was a curse I wear on my sleeves better than my heart. I have not dated anyone since, partly do to my selfish nature of “soul searching.”

2012
Known also as “the bad year” It was hard to write during this time period. Alcohol and causal sex with ex girlfriends seemed to be my only writing for the first parts of the year. My friends suffered the same fates and we all partied in this one apartment that we slowly destroyed, due to our love of playing drunk volleyball in the kitchen. We all did terrible things this year. I developed a love for whiskey and Nightrain. Near the end of the year I started releasing some of my stories on smashwords. http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ForkNecklace

It was my first real piece of writing I have had since college, but I knew very soon I was going to have to begin a novel.

2013
I began and failed at writing a novel. I talked about it all the time. It was going to be a group of short stories but my heart felt that I was cheating myself. During this year I was trying to end causal hook ups with an ex, followed by catching mono from another girl and I was put on bed rest for a month, while still dealing with my ex girl friend who lied about getting raped, that really fucked with my head.

2014
I began my novel and wrote 70 hard pages over the course of 3 months. I mentally fell apart and was hard on myself during this time period. It all changed when I met an older woman who helped me get back on track with my life and helped me forget about my mistakes of the past. I redid a story I wrote in college and released it online http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/441193
I wrote a bunch of horror movie reviews in October…. speaking of October…

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Drunken Halloween party with a Bee Girl (Blind Melon reference)

On November 1st I started over on a new draft of my novel with the intentions of finishing on May 31st 2015.

2015
Totally finished on time.

However, in these months I have found my social life has fallen apart. I work full time as a dietary manager (host) at a retirement home. I live in a single apartment next door to a strip of college student infested bars. If I spend time with people it usually balls deep in whiskey. I can’t have an honest relationship, because of my writing. I had become obsessed with a every aspect of my novel. It cuts me out from the rest of the world. A lost soul among a pool of fouls. I get really lonely at times, but the feel of writing has always made me feel better. It is a contest cycle of up and down with my feels. A nonstop roller coaster….

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Nightrain makes me feel better too…

I write this to assure myself that I have made it. I am taking a break from “hard writing” to do freestyle indie stuff like smashwords and this blog. I have been wanting to write about other things I enjoy, like food, sex, video games, books, movies, fishing, and whatever weird thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. Trust me, I have tons.

My life has been…strange…but I intend to write about it for the horrors in my head, can be blessings when written in blood…I do not know what that means…I just wrote it. For the record I am a dark fiction writer. Not sure why but that is my style….
So did it destroy me? Not yet…..we shall see……

author
Tyler Wayne (T.F.B.)