One of the most pleasant ways to go bowfishing is by boats. Although standing on the shore can be restful, as can sitting on a fishing platform gazing down into the water and waiting for your catch to swim by, there is little change of scenery with either of these methods. By contrast, using bowfishing boats allows you to glide along many small waterways, exploring nature, seeing different vistas of water, reeds, trees, meadows, and small lakes, possibly encountering other wild animals such as otters, ducks, or herons, which are interesting to see, and generally enjoying the outdoors.
Obviously, not just any type of these bowfishing boats will be adequate for a bowfishing expedition. Taking a sailboat out is a poor idea because you will spend most of your time trimming the sails, rather than watching for fish, and in any case sailboats are extremely poor at navigating the waters you will need to venture into to get your fish, and would soon run aground. Similarly, a speedboat is unlikely to work very well either, since roaring across the water at high speed, churning up a deep frothy wake, will send every sane fish within a mile diving for the depths.
If you are planning on hiring a fishing guide who already has a boat, then this information is of less use to you. However, if you are interested in using your own boat in bowfishing, then you need to find one that meets the specifications of the sport and includes the proper equipment.
Flat-bottomed or very shallow-draft boats are essential for bowfishing, especially in inland waters. Most of your actual bowfishing will be done in the shallows, whether you are after common carp, buffalo, alligator gar or anything in between. Bowfishing boats with a deeper keel is very likely to run aground, or if you observe the depth carefully, simply won’t be able to reach the areas you need to go in order to get your catch. The deck should be large enough for you to comfortably stand and lean over the side to fire your arrow without causing the boats to rock violently or capsize, and it should have a rail to keep you from falling overboard while making your shot.
Boats you choose should also be fairly quiet, since a loud motor will be likely to scare away the fish that you are after – especially the larger and more wary types. The usual motor for bowfishing boats is a trolling motor – most bowfishing supply houses will have some of these motors available, selected for their usability in bowfishing. Any quiet motor will do, however, and once you have found or built a boat with these traits – very shallow draft, rails, a quiet engine – you will be well on your way to enjoying the outdoors and shooting fish to your heart’s content.