Also, unfortunately, carp move easily from one body of water to another, one watershed to another, thus explaining their quick dispersal after they were first brought to Minnesota from England in the late 1800s.
In retrospect, a monumental error.
But at the time, importing carp was considered a way to provide high protein food, and not a little sport.
Now, virtually anywhere in Minnesota where there’s water, carp swim. And millions of dollars are spent each year by the state in attempts — so far, in vain — to eradicate them.
This night, Pete was doing his part.
Targeting the now-fleeing carp, he drew back and aligned his arrow instinctively, meaning he didn’t use sights on his bow.
Instead he relied only on hand-eye coordination to match his bow’s movement to the carp’s, and to release the arrow just as the fish reached the boat lights’ nether reaches.
Curiously, the arrow entered the water at what appeared to be a point below where the fish swam. This was Pete accounting for refraction, meaning the fish wasn’t actually where Pete’s sighting eye told him it was.
Rather, the fish swam below that focal point.
So Pete compensated, aimed beneath the fish, released … and stuck it.
Rocketing into the muddy beyond, the carp immediately scurried into the darkness, drawing tight the string that connected the arrow to the bow.
Chaos ensued, and Pete handed his bow to Cole before retrieving the arrow line, hand over hand. As quickly, the carp raced beneath the boat, attempting its escape in the night’s gathering darkness.
Sometimes amid these violent tugs of war, an impaled fish slips the arrow, never to be found. But this carp was held fast by the arrow’s broadhead, and soon was pulled into the boat, where it was dumped into a large plastic barrel, destined to be a farmer’s fertilizer.
Into the night we prowled the ever darker lake, hitting and missing fish, the biggest of which weighed 19 pounds, a chunky specimen Cole arrowed as it finned contentedly in the lake’s shallows.
Not atypically for bowfishermen, ours was the only boat on the lake, while on shore, on this warm night, yellowed lights shone through the windows of cabins and homes.
Humming purposefully from the stern of Pete’s boat, powering our fishing lights, a generator crooned the night song of bowfishermen everywhere.
Not yet 11 p.m., time, we figured, was on our side.