Bowfishing is fast-paced and exciting under city’s night skyline

Bright lights flood Pittsburgh’s sports stadiums at night, but Jordan Miller of Washington, Pa., said the real action is on the rivers.

Bowfishing, he said, “is the most exciting sport on the water today. … Last year I started going out around the stadiums. It’s really good fishing.”

Admittedly “addicted” to the nighttime hunts since middle school, Miller launched Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing, one of Pennsylvania’s few guide services specializing in bowfishing, and the only state-certified bowfishing charter in western counties.

On Easter Sunday at Youghiogheny River Dam, the new company’s profile got a boost when Miller speared a 43-inch, 49-pound 11-ounce common carp, setting a state record certified by the Bowfishing Association of America. The fish was just a couple of pounds shy of the overall Pennsylvania carp record set in 1962.

Miller takes his clients out mostly at night, mostly in Pittsburgh on the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.

“People really underestimate these waters,” he said. “The fishing we have here is just unbelievable.”

Is it fishing or something more akin to hunting when the game is stalked and speared by a specialized bolt tethered to a line that’s reeled back to the crossbow? The semantics didn’t seem to bother Steve MacBride, owner of The Archer’s Edge in Oakdale, who called his recent trip with Nocturnal Addiction “a blast.”

“The conditions were less than ideal with all of the rain earlier in the day, however, we still shot 38 carp, catfish and suckers,” he said, in a statement. “Jordan is extremely professional and does not stop working. He is very knowledgable of the rivers and knows where the good spots are.”

Miller motors clients into position with a 115-horse power outboard and trolling motor on a custom built extra-wide flat-bottom 20-foot bass boat totally tricked out for bowfishing. A raised platform with safety rails allows up to four bow anglers to get a better angle. Below them, the fish reflect an amber glow under 16 high-pressure sodium lights powered by an onboard generator.

Clients need a fishing license, archery experience is not necessary. Nocturnal Addiction provides the gear, including small, lightweight crossbows with a low draw weight.

“You can shoot fish without all this. I’ve done it during the day and wading in a creek,” Miller said. “But our success rate at night is probably doubled because you can see better. The difference is literally night and day.”

State law permits bowfishing for carp, catfish and suckers only, and not in special regulation waters or stocked trout waters during the closed season. The best time of year is now, Miller said, when waters are approaching 60 degrees and big bronze carp are spawning in the shallows of rivers and lakes.

“If you know the right spots, there are hundreds and hundreds of fish,” he said. “You can only shoot them one at a time.”

Bowhunters accustomed to waiting motionlessly for deer will appreciate the fast action of bowfishing.

“Sometimes the fish get a little spooked — the bigger ones especially get skittish,” Miller saif. “The quicker you can see them the better, and then it’s snap shooting. Shoot, reel, reload. Shoot, reel, reload. It’s very fast. There’s a lot of action.”

Most shots, he said, are taken within 10 feet. In a short training session at the start of each charter, clients are taught to aim 10 inches low to compensate for the water’s refraction of light.

Nothing is wasted on Nocturnal Addiction charters. When clients don’t want to keep the harvest, Miller donates it to the Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center, a nonprofit facility in Verona that rehabilitates injured wild animals.

“We fillet the fish to get the bones out and feed it to birds, but also to raccoons, foxes, opossums,” director Jill Argall said. “It depends on how old the animal is. Some, we feed the whole fish.”

Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing clients get five hours on the waters off Pittsburgh’s nightscape for $125. No charters will be booked July 8-10 when Miller will be in Memphis competing in the U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship on the Mississippi River.

Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing,, 724-747-7768.

By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania Bowfisherman Arrows State-Record Carp

A Pennsylvania man who turned his bowfishing passion into a full-scale commercial venture can now add “state-record holder” to his business cards.

On Easter Sunday, Jordon Miller, 26, pulled a 49.7-pound common carp from the Youghiogheny Reservoir. The Observer-Reporter notes that though Miller has a steady job as a safety coordinator for a gas-and-oil company, this year he kick-started his own bowfishing outfitting business, Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing, on the side. “I would travel the country and go bowfishing, but there wasn’t anybody doing it here,” Miller told the paper. “We have some great fishing here and I thought, Why not? I had been taking my family and friends out the past couple of years but we officially started the company this year.”

After landing the gigantic carp—which the Bowfishing Association of America has already listed as the new Pennsylvania record—Miller wrote on the Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing Facebook page: “We really got into some great fish this weekend. … It wasn’t about quantity; it was about the quality! We shot some monsters! The fish keep getting bigger!”

Miller wasted no time sending the carp to the taxidermist. He told the Observer-Reporter that he plans to have an arrow impaling the mount. “You don’t hear of many people getting carp mounted, but I am,” he said.

The current all-tackle Pennsylvania common carp record, caught in 1962 by George Brown, stands at 52 pounds, but Miller’s is the largest shot with a bow.

Source: Field & Stream Field Notes

Washington man lands state-record carp

A couple of weeks ago, Washington’s Jordon Miller landed a state-state record common carp while working at his side job.

It’s not bad work if you can get it.

Miller, 26, has found he has been able to find quite a bit of action since starting his side job earlier this year, as Nocturnal Addiction Bowfishing has gotten off to a rousing start.

Miller’s state-record carp came in at 49 pounds, 7 ounces. He just sent it off to be mounted, with the mount including an arrow in the massive fish, which was shot in the Youghiogheny Reservoir.

“You don’t hear of many people getting carp mounted, but I am,” Miller said.

What better way to show people just what you can do when bowfishing?

Miller, a Trinity High School graduate and safety coordinator for a local gas and oil company, had been bowfishing for the better part of a decade. But it was only in recent years he started giving thought to opening a a business of his own.

“I would travel the country and go bowfishing, but there wasn’t anybody doing it here,” Miller said. “We have some great fishing here and I thought, why not?

“I had been taking my family and friends out the past couple of years but we officially started the company this year.”

Miller is a licensed professional guide and has his boat set up specifically for bowfishing with specially fitted platforms and lighting. The cost of the boat was $40,000, while each bow he provides for those who go on his charters cost up to $500.

All the of fishing is done at night.

“It truly is fun,” Miller said. “You get a completely different perspective fishing from the boat at night than people do fishing from the bank. You see a lot of different wildlife and when the water is clear, you can see six feet or more down. You’ll see gar, beavers, all kinds of animal life.”

Addiction Bowfishing’s basic trips cost $125 per angler, with a minimum of two shooters and a maximum of four for trips that are within 1 1/2 hours of his base in Washington. Longer trips can be booked for an additional charge.

“I provide all the equipment,” said Miller. “They just have to provide a valid Pa. fishing license.”

And perhaps his next trip out will net the next state record.

To book a trip, visit or call 724-747-7768 or 724-747-8016.

• The Chestnut Ridge Trout Unlimited chapter will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. April 13 at Hampton Inn & Suites in California.

The agenda will include an update from Donna Riggle on watershed activities in Washington County, a presentation by Jason White, president of Marianna Outdoorsmen Association on the club’s upcoming canoe race in Tenmile Creek and fly tying demonstrations in preparation for this year’s cicada hatch.

For information, call 724-554-0119.

• The 21st Pike Run Youth Fishing Festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23 at Rotary Park in California.

The event is free and open to children ages 15 and younger. A parent, guardian or responsible adult must accompany children younger than 13. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

The Pike Run Fishing Festival Committee will stock nearly 600 trout in Pike Run for the event. Stocking will be done at 2 p.m. April 22. Youths are encouraged to attend.

Fishing equipment will be made available.

The festival is organized by California University Parks and Recreation Management program, Parks and Recreation Student Society, the Recreation Program Planning class, California University Eco-Learning Community, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, California Rotary and California Borough along with its recreation authority.

Outdoors Editor F. Dale Lolley can be reached at [email protected].

Source: Washington man lands state-record carp