Hunting Fish With An Air Rifle: Unconventional Fun

Are you looking for new ways to catch fish? If yes, you can try fishing with an air gun. This fishing method is in practice in several countries around the world. However, the technique is prohibited in some areas and regions.

So, before you head out to purchase an air rifle for your fishing expeditions, find out whether it is within the regulations of that area. In this tutorial, you will learn how to hunt fish with an air rifle.

Even though not many anglers prefer fishing with an air rifle, several still practice it for fun or as a different way to catch their fish.

Fishing with Air rifle

When you go to the nearby store to shop for an air rifle that is suitable for fishing, you will find that there are several makes of fishing guns. How then do you choose the ideal airgun? It all depends on your preference.

The guns that are commonly used for fishing include:

  • Spring-piston air guns: these are very powerful but loud
  • Pre-charged Pneumatic air gun: for the PCP’s, they are quiet. They also have the advantage of holding up and reserving air, which you can release as and when desired.

Air guns work by firing projectiles, whether pellets or BB’s, using air or gas that is compressed. Some air guns are fitted with an arrow on a string and are suitable for retrieving your catch.

Given that you are in an area that allows air gun fishing, you can use the below fishing techniques:

  1. Stick to the Shallows

Fishing with an air gun is almost similar to fishing with a bow. You need to target fish that are near the surface of the water. A standard air gun will fire pellets to a depth of six inches below the surface of the water despite how powerful the air rifle is.

  1. Steady and aim

Most airgun fishing enthusiasts select a key location to lie in wait for the fish in the water. Some perch on trees that are overlooking the water they are fishing, or the banks of the marshes while others choose to sail in small skiffs.

Whatever your choice, always ensure that you are steady. There are many incidences where an angler falls out of the tree where they were perched and into the water, as they fire away, their air guns. It isn’t an experience anyone would want.

Avid air gun anglers aim for fish that are not more than 10 feet away from them. They say that it eliminates the issue of having the pellets ricochet.

III.       Aim right

Just like you would in bow fishing, you need to target some distance from where the fish appears to be. As light travels through the air and into the water, it bends and thus, where the fish appears to be, is not their actual location.

When you aim for the tip of the fish’s head and fire, the bullet will break through the surface, creating a concussion, which will break the air bladder of the fish. In turn, the fish will float on the surface of the water


Advantages Of Using An Air Rifle In Fishing

The practice of shooting at fish with air guns has been banned in several states in America and also in other countries. Even with the many regulations in place, you may find one or two areas where you can practice hunting fish with an air gun.

This method of fishing has its advantages. They include:

  1. Air guns are relatively safe to use. It is so because, when using an airgun, you do not face the risk of the projectile backfiring.
  2. They produce minimal noise. Excessive or loud noise would startle and spook the fish that you are targeting, especially if you miss the target as you fire. Therefore, you can shoot at your target repeatedly if you miss it.
  3. The difficulty of fishing with an air gun makes it an experience to look forward to, for air gun angling enthusiasts.
  4. Pellets are quite cheap and small and thus easy to carry around, unlike having to take a large tackle box with many lures, and fishing supplies. They also have a long shelf life.

Those who are against hunting fish with air rifles claim that when a shot gets fired, it disturbs the peace of birds that are nesting nearby. Also, they point out the fact that many air gun fishing enthusiasts leave the fish they have shot at, dead in the water.

Some anglers rarely retrieve the fish and leave them to rot and thus affecting the habitat of the fish in the area.

Proper care and Maintenance of Airguns

When you invest your hard-earned money in an air gun, you will want to give it proper care for it to last long, and operate efficiently. Here is how you can look after your rifle:

  • Proper Storage

To minimize any safety concerns about your air rifle, you should always treat the gun as if it was always loaded. With this in mind, you will carry it in a case and lock it in. More so if you are around children; you should do the same when you are not using the gun.

  • Cleaning the Barrel

The barrels of air guns are made of brass or soft steel. Both materials wear and tear with regular use of the gun; which then affects the efficacy of the equipment.  You can use a cleaning rod to clean it but always opt for a bar that has a coating of rubber on it, to keep the rubbing from causing wear and tear.

Several other efficient cleaning options exist, e.g. using a flexible cleaning rod to clean the barrel from the breech, or even using the felt cleaning pellets. However, these pellets are not suitable for the spring piston air guns.


If you want to add more action into your fishing adventures, you could try hunting fish with an air rifle. This fishing technique has been in practice for many years. However, with time, various area have banned the practice.

You should have this in mind before you head out to get yourself an air gun for fishing. Most commonly used air rifles in fishing include the Pre-charged Pneumatic air gun and the Spring- Piston. Each has its advantage over the other.

When looking for a powerful gun, then the Spring Piston is the gun for you. However, if you want a gun that produces little noise, you should try the PCP air gun. Firing at fish with an airgun is almost similar to bow fishing.

The pellets do not go way deep into the water. They usually reach depths of six inches maximum. You also need to choose a strategic firing position that will not lead to ricocheting off the pellets.

Most avid anglers fire distances that are not further than 10 feet from their position. Whatever fishing technique you choose to use, always ensure that it is within the regulations of the area.

  I’m Brenda Baldwin and I have a strong passion for fishing. I always update the latest information and share useful tips on to help anybody likes fishing to catch a big haul of fish.

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