Ozarks Host Largest Bowfishing Tournament in the World

By Grant Sloan | gsloan@kolr10.com

Published 05/02 2014 06:41PM

Updated 05/02 2014 07:51PM

RIDGEDALE, Mo. -- Anglers from across the nation take aim for the largest bow fishing tournament in the world.  The US Open Bow Fishing Championship kicks off May 3 at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Academy in Ridgedale.

The sport is relatively new, but in just its second year, participation in the tournament has nearly doubled.  Last year, the tournament was held only on Table Rock but due to the increase the field is allowed to fish on Bull Shoals Lake as well.

"You're out on the lake at night, there's rarely any other boats, it's glass calm, it's like you have this whole beautiful lake to yourself," says John Paul Morris with Bass Pro Shops.

The Anglers/hunters fish stickily at night between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

"We're actually a little crazy, " says Morris, "Because we don't ever get any sleep."

Morris says due to the size, nearly 900 anglers from 27 different states, the event is being held at the Outdoor Academy event even though It's still under construction.

"It's blown up in the last couple of years, it's huge," says "Born to Kill" team member, Brian Kratochwil.

"It's the true definition of an addict," says Kratochwil's fellow teammate, Ryan Stickland. "Once you get the thrill of getting some fish on these, it's not stop action, you always go out the next time to beat the time before."

In all the midnight action, organizers say there is also a conservation effort taking place.

Morris says the tournament actually helps out game fishermen because the Gar and Carp (prize winners here) normally feed on Bass and Crappie fish eggs. He also says all the fish caught will be recycled and used for fertilizer.

"All the proceeds are going back to the James River Basin partnership, it all to funds the James River clean up in June, "says Morris, " So we're pretty excited about giving back to the area as well."

Before the anglers launch, events like live music, food, and target shooting will start at 2 p.m. on the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Academy grounds.

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