The first Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship will be held April 6-7.
During the first weekend in April, residents around Table Rock Lake in The Ozarks of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas will see and hear unfamiliar nighttime activity on the water.
The sights and sounds will be those of the inaugural Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship.
Bowfishing — a method of catching and retrieving fish using specialized archery equipment — is a sport almost as old as man himself. Tens of thousands of years ago, ancient peoples used primitive bows and specialized arrows that enabled them to catch fish and obtain food. Today the sport is still an activity to get food and a competitive way to practice archery skills.
Organizers and sponsors note that bowfishing also helps control invasive fish species that threaten game fish and their habitat. No game fish, such as bass, can be taken during this event. Fish harvested by bowfishing usually include common carp, grass carp, bighead carp, and drum, buffalo and alligator gar, among others. These species of fish disturb game fish beds, stir up mud, which affects water clarity, and are a source of competition for food.
“Bowfishing has a positive effect on sportfishing, as it eliminates invasive species like carp, which feed on the same food as popular game fish like bass and crappie,” Missouri Department of Conservation chief of fisheries Chris Vitello said.
The tournament will start at 7 p.m. on April 6 and continue at 7 a.m. April 7 at the Long Creek Marina on Table Rock Lake.
More than 90 boats with 300 to 400 anglers from about 25 states are expected to participate in the event, which also features prizes that include a new Tracker 1860 bowfishing boat ($18,000 retail), a new bow, or a first-place cash and prize package worth $5,000.