By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
OSKALOOSA — Saturday was a perfect day to get out on the river and do some fishing, but the members of the Iowa Bowfishing Association used bows and arrows instead of fishing tackle to catch their fish.
"This is the Carp Busters Tournament," Iowa Bowfishing Association Vice President Billy Summers said at Eveland Access Saturday afternoon.
The annual event is a benefit and the proceeds are donated to the Veterans Airlift Command, Summers said. "They have a real good organization," he added.
There were about 25 teams of bowfishermen on the water. They could bowfish along the Des Moines River and Lake Red Rock. A typical team has three adult members and one youth member. Youth could bowfish for free as a way to introduce them to the sport, Summers said.
Bowfishermen competed to be in the Top 15 — to have the highest total weight of 15 fish. Also, there were "side pots" where people chip in $10 each for awards such as The Biggest Fish and the Most Total Number of Gar, he said.
Mahaska County Conservation Board Naturalist Laura De Cook and her family were out on the water Saturday.
De Cook thought her group had a successful day.
"We got quite a few species of fish," she said. There were some silvers, grass carp, short-nose gar and shad, she said.
"It got better as the day went on," De Cook said. "It was pretty fun."
Jim Inghram, of Fort Madison, was another bowfisherman who brought family and friends up to fish Saturday.
They were out on the water at 9 a.m., when the tournament began, he said. Inghram had three adults and a youth on his team.
"It's a good time and a good way to spend time with family and friends," he said.
Inghram said he started bowfishing along the bank with a recurve bow. Now, he fishes from a boat.
"It comes from archery," he said of his love of bowfishing. "I bow hunt."
"It's not as easy as it looks," Inghram said of bowfishing.
Inghram said bowfishermen go after rough fish such as carp, gar and shad.
"We had a pretty good day," he said of the 35 total fish his group caught Saturday.
"We've had better days," Inghram said. "It's an up and down year."
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org