John's Journal...

Bowfishing with Jon Justice

Day 5: The Most Important Ingredients for a Successful Bowfishing Team

Editor’s Note: Jon Justice from Rockmart, Georgia, has been bowfishing for 12 years. Chuck Belmore, one of the hosts of “The Habit” ( TV show, got him started in bowfishing. Today both Chuck and Jon host “The Habit” TV show.

Click for Larger ViewJohn E. Phillips: Jon, we know that you and Chuck Belmore travel together, bowfish together and shoot video for “The Habit” TV show on the Sportsman Channel. But do you ever go bowfishing for fun?

Justice: Sure we do. Remember that bowfishing for fun is the way that Chuck and I got together and began to develop the idea for a bowfishing TV show called “The Habit.” Several times a year, Chuck and I’ll get together and say, “We’re going on a fun bowfishing trip this weekend. We’re leaving the cameras at home.”

Click for Larger ViewWe’ve found that bowfishing for a TV show is very different than bowfishing for fun. We never want to forget that the real pleasure from bowfishing comes not only from shooting fish at night with our bows and arrows, but also from hanging out with our friends and having a good time on the water after dark. This is one of the reasons that the main ingredients for having a good bowfishing team are friends bowfishing together, who enjoy fishing together. Chuck and I have been bowfishing so long with each other that most of the time we don’t even have to talk when we see a fish. Earlier in the week, I mentioned the big grass carp that Bryan Hughes took. Chuck didn’t ask me to get the camera, get in the video tower and film the hunt for the big grass carp. He didn’t have to tell me to turn the camera on and start filming, he didn’t have to tell the person driving the boat to turn around and start going to the spot where we saw the big grass carp, and he didn’t have to tell Bryan, “There’s the big grass carp. Shoot him.”

Click for Larger ViewAll those tasks were performed without ever a word having to be spoken, and that’s the way a well-organized bowfishing team should work. Each member of the team knows what needs to be done, and what role he needs to play. There has to be cohesiveness in a good bowfishing team, so egos don’t get in the way. We all take turns filming, shooting, driving the boat and landing the fish. The only way you get that kind of cohesiveness and ability to communicate without talking is to have friends that you really like to be with and who really like to be with you. People understand that when the team is successful, all the team members share in the pride, the excitement and the memory of a great bowfishing team.

Click for Larger ViewIf there’s only one member of the team who gripes, complains or thinks the trip is all about him or her, then the entire bowfishing team is unhappy and more than likely unsuccessful. A great bowfishing team pulls together like the Budweiser Clydesdales pulling the wagon, and the wagon gets to where it needs to go. Each horse knows his or her responsibility, and they all share in the task required to get the Budweiser wagon to its destination. The real test of a team member on a bowfishing team is: can you be just as happy as the person who’s shot the fish, if you’re driving the boat, filming the hunt or gaffing the fish? I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the team work of bowfishing, but if you really break bowfishing down, it goes all the way back to why I started bowfishing. I really enjoy being on the lake with my buddies, having a good time joking and laughing. If we harvest any fish, that’s a bonus for the trip.

If you need a reference when you’re discussing the things I’ve mentioned, this last segment of the story is really 1 John chapter 1:1-10.

To learn more about Jon Justice, you can go to Facebook at or Jon’s personal Facebook page at jonjustice. Email Jon Justice:; or Chuck Belmore:

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Check back each day this week for more about Bowfishing with Jon Justice

Day 1: Jon Justice - From Bowfishing for Fun to Bowfishing for TV
Day 2: Jon Justice on Bowfishing and Shooting Flying Fish
Day 3: Bowfishing for Two Monsters – Alligator Gar and Grass Carp
Day 4: A Bowfishing Team Takes a Monster Grass Carp While Bowfishing
Day 5: The Most Important Ingredients for a Successful Bowfishing Team

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Entry 876, Day 5