The idea of hanging out on a boat with great friends and hunting for Stingrays just seemed like a great little adventure. In the back of my mind I hoped I would live up to the Robin Hood nickname, but in reality it was of very little concern. I had never done anything like this before and my mind would storm with ideas and images of how this trip would go until the day came that we met our captain and boarded the boat.
We chartered our trip with Dusk to Dawn Bowfishing. (www.dusktodawnbowfishing.com) Our captain was United States Coast Guard Captain Marc Spagnola, and he was one of the coolest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting. With in minutes of setting out across the water he was cracking jokes and making us all feel at ease about our expedition into (for us) the unknown. Adam (Trail Camera Tuesday) had to wear a life jacket in which he was not thrilled until we reached the fishing grounds. He asked at one point "What happens if I fall off the boat?". As we all got a little laugh out of the question Captain Marc quickly said "Just stand up little brother, you're in a foot and a half of water." At that point all for of us were totally at ease and ready to shoot some Stingrays.
After a short lesson in how to aim and shoot the fishing bow, we made our way to where the hunt would begin. It wasn't long before Captain Marc was shouting directions to us on where to shoot. "2 o'clock , 3 o'clock. Shoot. Shoot. I was the one that was poised to shoot and I had no idea where the Stingray was until it was almost too late. I drew my bow and aimed at what I thought was the Ray and released my arrow, only to hit the sandy bottom of the bay. After my disappointing performance we rotated positions and continued to fish. James missed a large Ray by what appeared to be only 3 inches, and the rest of our little party had even less success.
Now, in our defense, the water was very cloudy and hard to see through even with $200.00 polarized glasses. To no ones fault during our entire trip I can only recall clearly seeing 4 Stingrays. Captain Marc did tell us as our trip was ending that the conditions were not the best for seeing the Rays and being that this was our first time ever doing this that it does take some practice to get it right. Perhaps he was being kind, or maybe he was telling us the truth, but either way it was an awesome experience for me and I can't wait to do it again. There has been mention that this may become an annual H.L.O staff event, and I for one am totally hoping so.
Captain Marc told me as we were about to leave for home (empty handed) that the only way to get better at bowfishing is to go bowfishing. With that advice in mind I am already on the lookout for some good bowfishing equipment in hopes that next year I may actually earn the nickname of Robin Hood of the Sea.