From the crisp and cool waters of snowmelt reservoirs of the Rocky Mountains, to the Great Lakes, to the coast of Florida, bowfishing has struck hold across the United States and throughout favorite fishing holes from around the world. By combining elements of both hunting and fishing, bowfishing attracts men and women that enjoy skill-based and action-oriented activities that are additionally able to yield an adrenaline rush. Rather than pulling a line from behind a boat while trolling, or casting from ashore and watching a bobber, bowfishing adds enhanced excitement and thrill to fishing and creates a sport.
Before driving to the nearest sporting goods outlet or cruising the internet to purchase a bowfishing bow, it is important to take into consideration the factors that will help make bowfishing a success. In addition to having a strong overview of bowfishing and tips that will make you successful along the way, current knowledge about bows and related equipment that will help you get the results desired is key. In the following sections, we will take a look at a guide to bowfishing bows with highlights and tips for beginners as well as a full review of the Top 5 best bowfishing bows for the money.
Top 5 Best Bowfishing Bows of 2017 Comparison Table
|Our Rating (out of 5.0)
|PSE Discovery Bowfishing Package
|PSE Kingfisher Bowfishing Kit
|Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch
|Martin Archery Water Wolf
Guide to Choosing Bowfishing Bows
The adrenaline is already pumping and you are ready to head out with your best group of friends for a weekend on the lake to bowfish. Now, let’s take a look at some of the key points of bowfishing and help get you ready for a fun and successful experience, not only this weekend but for many years to come.
Overview of Bowfishing
Bowfishing is a centuries-old activity that has been used in all parts of the globe as a way to provide for nourishment and has gained enhanced popularity in recent years among outdoor enthusiasts and those who particularly enjoy hunting and fishing. By utilizing a specialized set of equipment that includes a bow, barbed arrow, line, and a mounted reel, bowfishers set out to shoot several species of fish. Most commonly, carp, gar, paddlefish and stingray are pursued in bowfishing; however, it is important to check with your State’s Division of Wildlife to determine the approved species of bowfishing in your area and additional regulations that may be in place.
Utilizing a fiberglass arrow, attached with specialized line via a reel that is attached to the front of a bow, bowfishers shoot from boats, kayaks or shoreline, aiming at fish located near to, or breaking, the surface. After shooting an arrow through the surface of the water, and into the targeted fish, a bowfisher then utilizes the attached reel to bring the prize back and is able to rewind the line into the reel and continue shooting. The excitement and challenge of bowfishing have “hooked” countless of enthusiasts in recent years and keeps them coming back for more.
Aiming! Here’s a Tip!
Just as practice is needed for other types of archery and hunting, bowfishing is no different. It is most likely going to take more than one attempt to hit your first fish, but don’t get discouraged as being able to adjust viewing angles that break through the surface of water can be challenging to begin with and takes some practice. To help make the process easier when starting out, try and remember the “6-inch Rule.” For every 1-foot the fish appears to be under the surface, aim 6 inches below the body of the fish as light deflection causes an optical illusion to the actual depth of the target. Remember, do not get discouraged after several shots- even those with years of experience miss when bowfishing.
Let’s take a look at the equipment that will help make bowfishing adventures a success!
Equipment in Bowfishing
Experience gained through practice in shooting during bowfishing is vital to sustaining success in the sport of bowfishing. In addition to the valuable experience gained while out on the water, having the right equipment will help you achieve victory. Beyond a bow, accessories such as line, reels, and arrows each add to the formula of success during bowfishing and can either make the experience memorable or heartbreaking. To help make every experience in bowfishing a success, let’s take a look at some of the main elements to focus on when choosing equipment for bowfishing:
Reel – There are essentially three main types of bowfishing reels that attach to the front of a bow- Hand-wind reels, Spin-cast reels, and Retriever Bowfishing Reels. Hand-wind reels have the least impact on the wallet and require a bowfisher to manually retrieve line that is fired with the arrow toward the target, which can be time-consuming and may limit the target opportunities. Second, a spin-cast reel is essentially very similar to a normal hand-crank reel that one would see on a standard fishing pole. A spin-cast reel on a bow allows for a crank to pull in the line and arrow shot into the water and can help speed up the process; however, if not released properly, snags and line breaks can occur causing missed opportunities and lost resources. The third and most effective type of reel, a Retriever Bowfishing Reel, allows for a bowfisher to have automatic line feed and release when shooting. Although a Retriever reel is more expensive than the other options, the value of efficiency and usability helps yield optimal results for bowfishers of all skill levels.
Line- Similar to standard fishing, there are different weights of bowfishing line that can be utilized. Depending on the type of bow and reel being used as well as the variance in species of fish being pursued, different line weights may be warranted. Always verify with the owner manual of your equipment to determine the best weight of line to use in your bow, ranging from 80lbs line for hand-wind reels to 200lbs line for Retriever reels.
Additional Accessories- There are many additional pieces of equipment that help to make outings on the water more productive and efficient. Ranging from specially-developed bowfishing gloves to bow-mounted and non-mounted lights for night bowfishing, to enhanced arrow points, there is a wealth of equipment available to make each hunt more successful.
Equipment and additional resources are plentiful when starting out in bowfishing and it can be easy for some to become overwhelmed when starting out. To make it easier on a beginner bowfisher, one of the best things to consider is purchasing a bowfishing package that often includes the prime necessities to begin having a great time on the water. Next, we will take a closer look at the best bows on the market that also encompass packages to help get you up and running on your adventure in bowfishing.
Bowfishing Bow Reviews
From variations in draw weight to consumer ratings, we will take a closer look at the best bows that are on the market today, encompassing high quality and convenience through package options that lend potential for both beginner and experienced bowfishers.
#1 PSE Discovery Bowfishing Package Review
The PSE Discovery is recognized for receiving one of the highest consumer ratings and delivers performance in a light and compact design structure. With a constant draw weight of 40lbs, the PSE Discovery allows for enhanced snap shooting that is considered to allow for a smooth motion. Although higher in the spectrum of cost, the PSE Discovery package provides the additional equipment necessary for beginner bowhunters to begin having a great time in the sport with additional items, including AMS Bow Fishing reel with 200lb line, arrows, rest and additional fishing points.
#2 PSE Kingfisher Bowfishing Bow Review
The mid-priced PSE Kingfisher Bowfishing Kit provides the resources for beginner bowfishers to be successful from the first to thousandth outing. Included in the bowfishing kit is a front mounting reel with 50 feet of 80lb line, bowfishing arrow, and rest. The front mounting reel as a part of the kit can be easily upgraded with Retriever Reel options to add enhanced action and more target opportunities while bowfishing. With a solid build and sharp finish, the PSE Kingfisher is able to stand up to the test of outdoor elements and provides a strong foundation for bowfishers of all skillsets.
#3 Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Review
At the higher end of the price spectrum, the Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch package received very high scores in customer satisfaction, with the biggest opportunity for enhancement being found with the included Cajun Hybrid Bow Fishing Reel that sometimes causes snags in the line. Easily interchangeable with improved reels, the Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch package is another great option for beginner bowfishers that want to get the most value per dollar when making an initial purchase that includes accessories such as fiberglass arrows, points, finger pads, and an arrow rest. With 50lbs of draw weight capability, the force behind the Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch is more than ready-to-fish, it is ready for success.
#4 Muzzy 7505 Bowfishing Bow Review
Of the Top 5 bowfishing bows for the money, the Muzzy 7505 is the most cost-effective at the lower-end of the price range, making this a great option for those thinking to give bowfishing a shot for the first time. The simplistic recurve design of the Muzzy 7505 yields optimal results for novice archers or fisher-turned-archers that want to add the excitement of bowfishing to their list of hobbies. Simplicity continues in the package for the Muzzy 7505 with a hand-crank reel and fiberglass arrow with a point to help get a beginner out the door quickly and starting to take aim.
#5 Martin Archery Water Wolf Review
Another mid-ranged priced package option, the Martin Archery Water Wolf receives a compellingly high rating from consumers, highlighting the exceptional quality of the compound bow that provides up to 50lbs of draw. The Water Wolf provides additional customizability that allows bowfishers to utilize either full draw-length or snap shooting and can be adjusted anywhere from 20 to 50lbs of draw weight, making this a great option for bowfishers of all strength levels or age groups. In addition to a high-quality compound bow, the Water Wolf provides a Zebco 808 bowfishing reel with reel seat, arrow set, and rest.
The top 5 bowfishing bow options, ranging from cost-efficiency to high quality in production, provide an exceptional base for beginners and experienced bowfishers to have successful outings on the water. By combining skills gained through experience and practice, along with optimized accessories that provide enhanced efficiency in bowfishing, outdoor enthusiasts can become successful in the sport and activity that is sweeping across the globe in excitement. So, the next time that you head out the door for a weekend fishing trip, leave the bobber and worms at home and grab the bow instead to have an actively exciting experience on the water as a bowfisher and remember to have fun along the way to success.