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Bowfishing is arguably the most exhilarating way to bring in a catch, yet few people will ever experience this thrill.
If you want to join in on the excitement, you will need the proper equipment.
The first step in building your bowfishing tackle box is to find the best bow for bowfishing, which this article will tell you more about.
What to know about bowfishing and the equipment needed
You will only be targeting a few types of fish while bowfishing.
When you pick up the bow instead of your typical rod and reel, you will be seeking out species such as alligator gar, catfish, bowfin, tilapia, and carp in freshwater.
In saltwater environments, you will be fishing for prey including barracuda and flounder.
You will need different equipment for bowfishing than you will need with any other sport. Some professionals describe bowfishing as a cross between archery and spearfishing.
While you will use traditional archery principles, bowfishing requires modifications to typical bows and arrows.
Standard arrows used to hunt deer, turkey, or other land based game are constructed of wood or fiberglass and only have to pass through air to connect with their targets.
Bowfishing arrows, however, must move through denser media and must be made of a different construction. They are manufactured using a stronger grade of fiberglass than the material used to make your standard arrows.
Bowfishing arrows must traverse a shorter distance between the bow and point of impact, so they are heavier than standard bows.
To ensure that the arrows maintain contact with their target, the tips are barbed, unlike traditional arrows.
Also, they lack fletching (also known as feathers) because this would cause the arrows to deviate from their trajectory in the water.
Most importantly, bowfishing arrows are attached to a line, which is connected to the reel on your bow so that you can retrieve your fish.
Bowfishing reels function on the same general principle as regular fishing reels, but they use slightly different mechanisms.
The bowfishing reel will be attached directly to your bow, much like reels are attached to your rods.
But, instead of wrapping the line around a spool, you will place your line in a bottle.
Traditional fishing line unwinds from your reel much more slowly than the line that you will use when bowfishing, which must fly at the speed of your arrow. Your bowfishing line would easily snap and tangle if you were using a spool.
To make it easier to track your fish, some reels come equipped with a floatation device. It is your personal preference if you choose to use this technology.
What other gear might you need for a bowfishing trip?
Of course, you will need a boat if you plan to get out on the water.
Flat-bottom boats are best for this use because you will need to gain access to shallow water. Be sure that your boat includes rails to help keep you in the boat when things get dicey or when you need to reach a better shooting angle.
If you plan to wade into the water, you will need rubber hip waders to stay dry. And, you will need gloves to protect your hands from the fish and your line.
Depending on the time of day when you plan to fish, a light may be handy as well. If you are fishing at night, a strong light is essential, but it can also be useful during the fringe hours.
What to look for in a good bowfishing bow
If you are new to the sport, a complete package or kit may be your best option.
Once you gain experience and familiarize yourself with your individual bowfishing preferences and techniques, you will have a much better idea of the features that you most heavily use and need in your bow.
All bow fishers should prioritize bow length, brace height, peak draw, and reel.
- Bow length – The length of the bow from top to bottom. (Do not confuse this with draw length.) Choose a bow that fits your stature and that feels comfortable.
- Brace height – Measured from the string and the deepest part of the bow grip. Shoot with a draw length of 17-30.5 inches, and make sure that your bow is adjustable.
- Draw weight – Look for a 25-40 lbs range. Stronger models may pull up to 50 lbs, and this is all that you will really need for typical bowfishing. If you choose to shoot extremely large fish, you may need a draw weight of over 100 lbs, but this is only useful in very rare circumstances.
Besides these factors, choose a bow that is easy to use and feels comfortable in your hands.
In general, bows with a carrying weight between 2.5 to 3 lbs are ideal for bowfishing.They can pack enough power for a clean kill and are easy to move around to get your best shot.
Best bow for bowfishing
There are a number of bows that can work well for bowfishing, whether you’re looking for a freshwater or saltwater experience. The following products may be a good fit for your next bowfishing adventure.
Be sure to consult an industry professional before attempting to use any new product or equipment.
PSE Kingfisher Right Hand Bowfishing Kit, 45-Pound, Camo
The PSE Kingfisher Right Hand Bowfishing Kit is a great starter kit for the majority of the population.
With a hefty 45 lb draw, you have plenty of power to shoot down monster fish cleanly and swiftly.
The downside is that this bow is only formatted for right handed hunters.
However, if you are in this boat, it is a terrific option. Coated with an all season camo finish, it will help conceal you from your prey during all points of the year.
This bow is an absolute workhorse. It’s durable and designed to take down even the toughest of fish.
It is also an affordable option compared with its competitors.
So you are ready for the water, it comes with a front-mounting reel pre-spooled with 50 feet of 80 pound test line.
31” solid fiberglass bowfishing arrows with sharp points, and a snap-shot rest for swift firing and accurate shots are also included.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this bow might work for you.
Pros and features:
- Built to endure and successfully take down the largest of fish
- Strong yet affordable
- front-mounting reel pre-spooled with 50 feet of 80 lb test line
- 31” solid fiberglass arrow
- Bowfishing arrow with point
- All season camo finish so you are always ready for the hunt
- Snap Shot rest
- Right hand only
Carbon Express Muzzy Bowfishing Vice Bowfishing Kit with Compound Bow, Pre-Spooled Reel, Arrow Rest and Arrow – Right Hand
The Muzzy Bowfishing Vice Bowfishing Kit with Compound Bow is the complete weapon setup that you will need to get out on the water and start taking down fish.
Designed to bring down monsters, this set is packed with advanced features and top of the line specifications.
It includes an XD Pro Push Button Reel that comes pre-spooled with 150’ of 150 lb tournament line. It also has an integrated reel seat, Muzzy Fish Hook rest, and a Classic White Fish Arrow with a Carp Point and nock.
So that you can have a tight grip even in the most dicey conditions, glove-free finger guards have been pre-installed on the string.
Muzzy’s model is also adjustable. You can draw weight from 30-60 lbs and choose lengths from 24. 5-31″ to help you personalize your bow to your desired settings. This is important to give you more stamina on the hunt and increase your catch.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for your bowfishing needs.
- 30″ axle-to-axle bow
- Can fire arrows up to 320 fps
- 75% Let-Off
- : 7. 5″ brace height
- Weighs 3. 8 lbs
- Right or left hand options
Pros and features:
- Easy to maneuver
- XD Pro Push Button Reel pre-spooled with 150’ of 150 lb tournament line
- integrated reel seat
- Muzzy Fish Hook rest
- Classic White Fish Arrow with a Carp Point and nock
- Pre-installed glove-free finger guards
- Adjustable from 30-60 lbs and 24. 5-31″ in length
Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow Set Includes Drum Reel with Line, Roller Rest, Arrow with Piranha Point, and Blister Buster Finger Pads by Cajun Bowfishing
The Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow is a tool to be reckoned with.
Measuring 56 in. in length with a 45 lbs peak draw weight, it packs a solid punch.
It is made of a high grade aluminum riser, complemented by composite limbs.
It’s no secret that bowfishing equipment takes a beating. With this sturdy structure, you will not have to worry about the frailty of your bow. It can take all of the damage incurred in the sport.
This package includes a drum reel with line, a roller rest, and an arrow with Piranha point technology.
You need a bow that is easy to hold on to, and Cajun Fish Stick’s no-slip grip will help you keep a steady hand on your weapon.
The grip is designed to be comfortable as well. Blister Buster finger pads combat blister formation and help ease the pain in your hands. They also assist you in firing a consistent shot again and again.
Threaded holes for mounting sites, reels, or accessories are also included. This bow is compatible with Cajun Winch Pro and Winch Pro.
As you can see, this bowfishing package covers all the bases of what you need to successfully take down fish.
A very versatile bow, it can be used to tackle Commons in the North to Gator Gar in the southern swamps.
This bow is tough enough to help you take on monsters and bring them home.
View at Amazon for more information on the potential of this product to work for you.
- 56 in. long
- 45 lbs max draw weight
- Tough aluminum riser supported by composite limbs
- Drum reel with line
- Roller rest
- Arrow with Piranha point
- No-slip grip with blister buster pads
- Threaded holes for mounting sites and reels
- Compatible with Cajun Winch Pro and Winch Pro
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