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Evaluations : Jason Balazs
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Evaluation: AMS FishHawk Bowfishing Bow
By Jason Balazs
Jul 21, 2006, 08:09

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To Jason Balazs web site Blazin Arrows.

Before I get started, I have to admit that I had never tried bowfishing before I did this evaluation.  My first hurdle was to find an area that I would be able to use the bow.   I just moved to Texas from North Carolina and was clueless as to where I could shoot the bow.  So I talked to the local archery shop and they suggested that I try the Trinity River.  Now that I had the knowledge of where to go, I was ready for the evaluation.

   
  
I received the complete package from AMS that included the FishHawk bow, AMS Wave rest, and standard Retriever Reel.  Since the nocking point was already installed, all I needed was arrows to fire the bow.  That is where the folks at Innerloc came in. They sent me two Glow Max arrows to use. One tipped with a two bladed grapple point and the other with a three bladed version. We will cover all aspect of these products, then take them out and see what we can make happen.

The FishHawk bow


The riser on the FishHawk is made from machined aluminum that is comparable to most high-end bows on the market and has a large sight window with plenty of clearance for the arrow to pass. The quad limbs are made from carbon composite materials that store the energy from the bow well.  The grip is made of plastic and fits just perfect in your hand for long hours in the field.  Now since this bow is a single cam, it has the normal idler wheel like most single cam bows, but the custom-engineered "Whiplash" Cam allows for "snap-shooting" by enabling maximum arrow speed at minimum draw lengths.  The FishHawk comes with the draw weight of 30 to 40 lbs and has 20% let-off, yet the draw length is 15 to 30 inches so virtually anyone can shoot the bow.

Accessories   
 

The arrow rest that came with the bow is the AMS Wave Rest.  This rest allows your arrow to glide across a roller that not only increases arrow speed, but reduce the wear on your fishing arrows.   The AMS Wave Rest allows for simple, perfect center shot adjustment and is as rugged and durable as the rest of the AMS Bowfishing line of products.   AMS makes arrow retrieval easier with the standard retriever.  The design of the AMS Retriever allows for zero-drag of the string. The line is stacked in a bottle rather than wound on a drum or spool. This allows the line to flow freely from the bottle with virtually no drag allowing you to shoot father and deeper.
Good accessories like the AMS Retriver Reel

and AMS Wave Rest are important


Arrows


Like I said before, Innerloc sent me two fishing arrows for this.  Both were the Glowmax model arrow and tipped with the Grapple points.  The Glowmax arrow from Innerloc is 5/16th in diameter and is made from the straightest quality fiberglass in the industry and just like the name says, the Glowmax glows in the dark.   Now the Grapple point that is on the Innerloc arrow is awesome.  The blades on the Grapple points are like an expandable broadhead.  When you shoot the arrow, the blades fold back and allow for deeper penetration in the water and straighter arrow flight.  

The Test
 
Like most of you out there, I had watched bowfishing on the Outdoor channel and thought that it was simple.   Boy was I wrong. 

The first day out I took all of my kids down to the river with high expectations.  I had taken a milk jug with me along with 30 yards of rope.  The idea for this was to shoot at the jug as it floated/sank in the water while attached to the rope.  If you have never shot instinctively this would be a great time to learn.  I was thankful that I had shot a recurve for many years before and it was just like riding a bike. 

Shooting the FishHawk was effortless. For a release, I used a normal finger tab glove that I use to use with my recurve.  Snap shooting with this bow was awesome.  You could draw and shoot quickly at any target.  I would have my son throw in the jug and as soon as it would rise, I would draw, aim, and shoot.   The Wave Rest allows you to move with out worrying about the arrow falling off and the Innerloc arrows fly straight and true.   I turned the weight down to 30 lbs and let my kids give it a try.  Since the draw length and weight varies on the FishHawk, all of them were able to shoot it, which made it a great day with the family in the outdoors.

Now I found that every time I shot, I was able to hit the target. That was until the target was fish.  My son was the first to spot the old lethargic Gar swimming under the noon sun.  There he was swimming as if there was no care in the world, and I thought to myself, "Man, this is going to be so easy." 

I was not sure if he heard me thinking that, or he visually saw the speeding arrow flying at him. But as soon as the arrow was in route, he turned and went deep, causing me my first miss and my kids to start laughing.  

I replied to them with, "I was trying to scare the fish to death." For the next couple of hours this process kept repeating itself until I finally connected. The only problem was, I connected with a sunken tree stump and lost my first arrow.   It goes to show you how much penetration the Innerloc arrow has, even at 4 feet underwater.   We decided to call it a day and headed for home.  All the way home the kids talked about how much fun they had and how they wanted to go again.

Jason takes aim

Over the next few days I kept trying to get a fish when ever I could and every day it seemed to be the same thing.  I thought that there is no way I could miss this many fish.  I know it was not the equipment, but the hunter that was missing.  It didn't matter that I was missing the fish, because my kids and I were having a great time chasing these things up and down the river. 

After figuring out where the fish always seemed to be, I snuck around a corner where the water was very shallow.  I had missed at least 3 big carp here the previous few days.  Just like the times before, there was a big carp just feeding along the bottom, not 10 yards away.  This was the closest that I have been to a fish I was shooting at.  I drew the FishHawk, aimed, and let the Grapple Hook fly at him. 

Immediately the fish bolted and I noticed my arrow had gone completely through him.  My line was moving fast and I was reeling away.  There was so much power in the FishHawk, that it sent my arrow completely through the big carp.  Before I knew it the line got taunt, but there was another problem. My arrow was imbedded in another submerged log. 

This left me in a predicament; the fish was on the line, between the bow and the arrow.  The line quickly tightened as the fish swam to deep water.  Then, just like a cheese through a wire cutter, the fish cut itself off.  I waded out in the deep water and tried to pull my arrow out of the stump. At first it would not come, but I was able to break the part that it was dug into and retrieve my arrow.   I heard a splash, and out in the river I could see the carp rolling around as the current took it away.   I was disappointed, yet very satisfied that I had finally connected. I was hooked on this sport and what better way to spend time in the outdoors with your family.

Results


Quality:    

FishHawk: 9.9 out of 10

The FishHawk bow is a great all purpose family bow and it packs a serious punch.  I was able to snap shoot on many fish just like I was shooting my recurve.   The quality of the bow is top notch!

Affordability

FishHawk and accessories: 10!!
 
If you look at www.bowhuntingstore.com, you will see that you can buy the FishHawk, Wave Rest, and Retriever for about $300.00.  That is a great price to pay for entertainment for the whole family.  You would spend that in one day at an amusement park, so if you take care of the equipment, it will last so your grandkids can use it.  


Conclusion

Now that it is all said and done, I would have to say that I am hooked on bowfishing.  There has not been a day that has passed by that my kids have not asked me to take them with the "fish bow." I have already planned on taking a night charter to see if I can really put it to use.  The FishHawk and AMS accessories has both of my thumbs up!

FishHawk Specifications:
  • Draw Weight: 30-40#
  • Draw Length: 15-30"
  • Approximate Let-off: 20%
  • Axle-to-Axle: 35 1/2"
  • Brace Height: 7 3/4"
  • Equivalent to a 55# traditional bow at 28" draw length.
For the Best in Bowfishing gear go to: AMS

Visit Jason Balazs's Website: www.blazinarrows.com
 

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