Any of you that follow my blog post know that I’m a big catfishing and carp fishing fan. In addition, in the past few years, I’ve also developed quite the addiction to developing, understanding and getting better with bowfishing.
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I was thinking back to when I began and what questions I had along the way. I remember that in the beginning, I didn’t know much of anything about bowfishing.
One of the first questions I ever had was simple in nature. Can you bowfish with any bow? And which bow is the best for bowfishing? Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.
So, can you bowfish with any bow? Yes, you can bowfish with any bow. You can use a recurved bow, a compound bow or a longbow. All you need to get started with bowfishing is the bow, arrows and the reel. A compound bow or recurve bow is recommended due to size and strength.
Therefore, I Aim to Find the Best Bowfishing Bow
For me, the best bowfishing bow doesn’t have to be the most expensive. It’s the one that matches YOUR needs.
In order to help you find the perfect fit for you I break up the bowfishing bows buying advice as:
- Best value for money (price, performance and quality)
- Most user friendly (useful features, materials, durability)
1. Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow Package Ready to Fish (RTF)
The Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow is a compound bow. It is durable bow that is also light and perfectly balanced. It features deep cam grooves to prevent the strings from coming derailed.
The peak draw weight of this bow is 50 pounds, making it perfect for hunting larger and tougher fish. Because of the strong resistance needed to operate this bow, Blister Buster finger pads are included with this bow.
With this specific package, you get more than just a bow. The Ready to Fish (RTF) package includes the Cajun Sucker Punch Bow, Cajun Winch Pro reel, fishing biscuit arrow reset, and two red Fiberglass Piranha arrows.
This is the perfect package for a beginner, as everything you need is included in one purchase, and all the contents work together seamlessly.
This axle-to-axle measurement of this bow is 32.25 inches, and the draw length range is 17 to 31 inches. Brace height is 7.25 inches, which allows for smooth and easy shooting for beginners and pros alike.
If you’re looking for adjustability, this bow has it. There are interchangeable draw modules as well as an adjustable draw length so that you can customize it to your exact specifications.
2. Cajun Sucker Punch Bowfishing Bow Only
This option is for just the Cajun Sucker Punch Bowfishing Bow. There are no other parts included with this purchase. The bow itself has the same features detailed earlier in the article with the package.
Overall, the bow weighs 3.2 pounds and has 50 lbs. of draw weight. It has 60% let off, and includes deep cam grooves to prevent derailed strings. This bow is offered in both right and left-handed designs, however the left-handed bow is more expensive.
When you purchase a bow by itself, there are a few more accessories you must purchase in order to start fishing. First, you must choose a reel that will work well with the bow and suits your style.
Cajun sells reels that pair well with this particular bow. You’ll also need to purchase an arrow rest that is suitable for a compound bow, as well as the arrows that you would like to hunt with.
3. E-Rad (Eradicator) Bowfishing Bow Kit – Left Hand
The Eradicator Bowfishing Bow Kit is designed specifically for left-handed archers. It is equipped with Phaze cams that guarantee an extra smooth draw cycle every single time.
The machined aluminum riser makes this bow strong, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver. This bow also features a molded textured grip that keeps you hand in place with absolutely no slipping, even when it’s wet.
More specifically, the E-Rad bow has a draw weight that ranges from 30 to 60-pounds, giving you the ability to catch fish of all sizes.
The E-Rad Bowfishing Bow Kit includes the E-Rad Bow, an AMS Retriever TNT Tournament Series Reel with blue accents, 35 yards of 350-pound Spectra line, one Lava Crux Carbon Cored Arrow with Cyclone tip, and an AMS Tidal Wave arrow rest.
All these separate pieces are chosen specifically to maximize the power and efficiency of this bow.
4. D&Q Archery Recurve Bowfishing Bow and Arrow Set
- Inexpensive kit with everything included
- Ideal set for beginning bowhunters
- Ergonomic design and 30-40 lbs. of draw weight.
- Line capacity is only 10 lbs.
- Adjustability is not great for a bow that claims to be a good fit for children, men and women.
The D&Q Archery Recurve Bowfishing Bow and Arrow Set is a great starter package for a new archer. The bow itself is a recurve bow, and boasts to be perfect for men, women, and children of all ages, sizes, and athletic abilities.
The riser of this bow is made of alloy, and the limbs are laminated with fiberglass to give it the durability it needs to be used frequently. The D&Q recurve bow is available with either 30 or 40 pounds of draw weight, and is made for right-handed operators only.
The D&Q recurve bow is ergonomically designed to fit your hand and body comfortably with its rounded edges.
The wooden handle gives the user ultimate control over their weapon, allowing for smooth shooting and greater accuracy. This bow can be used for fishing, stationary targets, and even long-range.
This set includes the D&Q recurve bow, 6 fishing arrows, a fishing reel, wheel feet, rest, finger guard, arm guard, and bow stabilizer. All of these pieces work together to allow the user to achieve success.
While this bow package is more affordable than others, it is the perfect starting point for someone gauging their interest in the sport.
5. Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow Set
- High-grade aluminum rise and composite limbs for strength and durability
- Consistent and accurate shooting
- Great for both beginners and professionals
- Somewhat difficult to assemble
The last on our list is the Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow Set. This recurve bow has a take-down design, and measures 56 inches long, the longest on our list.
While some archers may find a bow this long to be cumbersome and bulky, others prefer a longer bow because it gives them more maneuverability. The peak draw weight of 45 pounds allows for a wide range of fish. The high-grade aluminum riser and composite limbs are able to withstand a large amount of abuse from constant use and tough fish.
This particular set comes with the Fish Stick Take-Down Bow, drum reel line, roller rest, non-slip rubber grip, Blister Buster finger pads, and an arrow with Piranha point. This bow and set are a great fit for either a beginner or professional.
It is easy to use, lightweight, and feels comfortable in your hands. This bow will give you a consistent shot every time, allowing you to improve on your skill and accuracy over time.
6. AMSBowfishing Hooligan Bowfishing Kit
- Offered for both left and right-handed shooters for the same price
- 24-50 lbs. of draw weight
- Full package includes everything you need to get started
- Only comes with one arrow
The AMS Hooligan Bowfishing Kit has everything you need to get started bowfishing right away.
The kit includes the high-quality Hooligan bow, 1 AMS Tidal Wave, 1 Retriever TNT Installed, and 1 AMS Chaos FX Arrow with EverGlide Safety Slide.
All these products work together seamlessly to give you the best bowfishing experience ever. Also, this bow is offered for both left and right-handed shooters.
An added perk for left-handers is that the left-handed bow costs the same as the right-handed bow. This is not always the case, so when you can find one, it is important to jump on the deal.
The Hooligan bow features 24-50 pounds of draw weight, with a maximum draw length of 32 inches.
The axle-to-axle measurement is 34.75 inches long. It is advertised to work at maximum efficiency in the 40-50 pound range of draw weight, however it works well with any weight.
The Hooligan bow comes with a tool that can be used to adjust the bow to fit your specific needs. And if all of that isn’t enough, this bow is made in the USA, so your purchase is supporting your country!
7. Gen-X Cuda Bowfishing Kit
- Progressive let-off technology
- Easily adjustable
- Full kit is ready-to-hunt upon arrival
- Users don’t love the reel that comes with the kit
The Gen-X Cuda Bowfishing Kit provides you with everything you need to get started bowfishing.
In addition to the Gen-X Cuda bow, you get one fiberglass arrow with safety slide, an arrow rest, and a heavy-grade Zebco Fisher reel that is pre-spooled with 200-pound line.
The axle length of this bow is 35 ½ inches, the ideal length for optimum stability and precision. It also has a brace height of 7 5/8 inches, providing adequate forgiveness for beginners.
The Gen-X Cuda is also designed with progressive let-off technology, giving you the smoothest draw cycle possible.
This bow is the ideal bow for any level of bowfisher. It is easy to adjust as well, so multiple archers can use it easily with ease.
Finger savers are also included in this package, allowing you to hunt all day long without sore fingers. The draw weight range for this bow is from 25 to 40-pounds, allowing for many different types of fish.
8. AMSBowfishing Hooligan Bow
- RAP Cam System for maximum efficiency and accuracy
- Easily adjustable to fit multiple shooters
- Kryptec Inferno camo design and powder-coated aluminum riser
- Bow only-does not come with other necessary accessories
This description is for the AMS Bowfishing Hooligan Bow only. Not only is this bow high quality, but it’s very stylish as well.
It comes covered in orange Kryptec Inferno camo accents and has a powder-coated aluminum riser. This purchase only comes with the Hooligan bow itself.
Other items that need to be purchased with this product would be a reel, arrows, and rest at the bare minimum.
Many archers prefer to compile their own accessories with a bow instead of purchasing in a kit. That way, you can customize all parts of the bow to fit your preferences without wasting money on an unnecessary reel or arrows that you will replace
The Hooligan bow is a compound bow that is flawlessly designed for maximum efficiency. It has a 24 to 50-pound draw weight, so it can be used to catch strong and active fish.
The maximum draw length offered is 32 inches, while the bow measures 34.75 inches from axle to axle. Another stand-out features of the Hooligan bow is the RAP (Rapid Adjustment Posts) Cam System which allows for perfect accuracy. This bow is also easily adjustable to fit any shooter without requiring a bow press.
9. Southland Archery Supply SAS Recurve Bowfishing Bow with Roller Rest
- Front-mounted reel for smooth release
- Roller arrow rest increases arrow speed
- All-inclusive kit—ready to use upon arrival
- Shorter draw length
- Not very adjustable
The Recurve Bowfishing Bow from Southland Archery Supply is a takedown recurve bow designed with the perfect combination of specs for bowfishing.
It features a 28 inch draw length and a 30 to 40-pound draw weight range to give you a maximum speed of 135 to 156 feet per second. Not only is this bow fast and accurate, but it is durable as well.
The riser is made of Magnesium Alloy and the string is Dacron, both sturdy and durable materials to give you the most out of your bow.
The purchase of this bow includes an entire bowfishing kit. This kit includes the recurve takedown bow, two 31-inch fiberglass pointed arrows, roller arrow rest, and reel with line.
The reel that comes with this SAS Recurve bow is front-mounting, and holds 50 yards of 80 lb. test line, so it is ready to tackle big fish. Also included is the roller arrow rest, which increases your arrow speed up to ten feet per second.
10. AMSBowfishing 2017 Juice Bowfishing Kit with Orange Accent
- Full kit comes assembled and ready-to-use upon arrival
- Easy adjustments at ½ inch increments without a bow press
- Light and easy to carry
- Somewhat uncomfortable grip
The AMSBowfishing Juice Bowfishing Kit with Orange Accent is a great bow for beginners because it arrives completely ready to use.
This kit includes one Juice Bowfishing bow, one 610 AMS Retriever TNT Reel with Orange Accents, 35 yards of 350 lb. braided Spectra line, 1 orange scale pattern, infused fiberglass arrow with Chaos point and Cyclone tip, and AMS Tidal Wave Arrow Rest.
The included reel comes attached right below the notch point, so beginning archers do not have to go through the hassle of having to learn how to attach the reel properly.
The axle-to-axle measurement of the Juice Bowfishing bow is 29 ¼ inches with a brace height of 7 ½ inches.
Draw weight for this bow is 15 to 30 pounds and draw length is anywhere from 17 ½ to 30 inches. Overall, this bow weighs 3.25 pounds, so it is light enough to carry on long walks for a day of fishing.
The Juice Bowfishing bow allows adjustments, without a bow press, in half –inch increments. The orange design and accents make this bow stand out among others of its kind.
Bowfishing Bow Buyer’s Guide (2020)
Before you pull the trigger (literally and figuratively) on a new bowfishing bow, there are many things you should consider. Choosing a bow that’s right for you is important, and will make all the difference in your experience.
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you are a beginner or novice. Below, this buyer’s guide will detail all the main parts of the bow, and the most important qualities to look for when purchasing your own.
Understanding the parts of the bow
It’s quite difficult to pick up a bow and just ‘get started’ without having a true understanding of what you are holding. There are four main components to every bowfishing bow.
Before you get started, make sure you can properly identify them and understand exactly what their purpose is.
Fishing bows are pretty typical in construction. The best ones have an ergonomically
designed handle that fits your hand nicely and is strong to resist large amounts of
pressure. There are basically three types of bows that you will find.
The first is the longbow. The longbow is, you guessed it, longer in construction and is the most typical bow you will find for fishing. They tend to offer about 50-90 pounds of power, suitable for freshwater fishing.
The recurve bow is designed to have a curve at the end of the bow. This design allows them to have a shorter, more maneuverable length, but more power. A recurve bow is the better choice if you are fishing for stronger and larger fish.
The last type of bow is a compound bow.
This bow is designed to be a combination of both the longbow and the recurve. It is easier to load, and has the potential to offer more power than both bows.
Bowfishing arrows are stronger and more durable than traditional bow hunting arrows because they need to travel accurately through water in order to reach their prey.
The best bowfishing arrows are made of materials like fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber.
Proper bowfishing arrows will not have any fletching, as it slows down the speed of thearrow in water.
Bowfishing line is attached to the arrow, and comes in many different types and weights. The preference of line depends on the fisherman and the type of fish that is
A braided line is typically best as it is durable and is more resistant to breakage. The weight of line you need will rise as the fish you hunt gets larger and stronger.
A bowfishing reel is similar to a traditional fishing reel, except for the fact that it is
mounted to the bow. There are basically three types of bowfishing reels.
Spincast reelsare perhaps the most basic kind of reel and work well with all kinds of
bows. This is the ideal type of reel for beginning bowfishers. It is easy to set up, light,
and does not weigh down the bow.
A retriever reelhas a bottle design. The line is placed inside the bottle and can fly easily from the bottle without getting tangled. This type of reel is perfect for catching larger fish, and is most commonly used by professional fishermen. It is also made to be used with a thicker and sturdier line. While this type of reel tends to be more expensive, it is the most durable of all three types of reels and is typically made with high-quality materials.
The last type of reel is a hand wrap drum reel. As the name suggests, this reel requires you to wrap the line around the reel by hand and place it into a line holder. This type of reel requires more time and effort to set-up and maintain, but it is cheaper and tends to last for a very long time. Many weathered bowfishermen prefer the hands-on nature of this line.
How to Choose the Best Bowfishing Bow
Now that you are familiar with all the parts of the bow, you can begin to learn what to look for when shopping for a bow. As with any fishing gear, your decision depends on what type of fish you are planning to hunt.
The best bow for carp will not necessarily be the same as the best bow for dogfish.
Bowfishing bows have lengths that range from anywhere between 30 inches to 50 inches. The length of bow that you choose depends on your height, arm length, and preference.
You need to find a bow that fits nicely in your hands and is a good proportion to your body. Using a bow that is too long or too short will feel uncomfortable and affect your accuracy and power.
The length of the bow that you choose also depends on the type of fish you are planning to hunt. If you are a beginner, the ideal axle to axle length is 31 to 32 inches, while the ideal draw length should be between 17 to 30 inches.
Use these ranges to start with, and you can adjust as you get more comfortable with the bow and find what works for you.
Different bows offer different types of coating or finish. This is meant to protect the material that the bow is made of. Ideally, you are looking for a coating that resists water to protect the material of your bow from corrosion.
Some bows also have protective coatings that fend off salt and other elements to keep your bow in top working condition for a longer period of time.
In general, a shorter brace height will increase arrow speed, while a longer brace height will decrease arrow speed.
Most bow manufacturers make their products with a standard brace height, however some bows give you the option to twist the bowstring to achieve your desired height.
Some bowfishing bows offer adjustable features, while others are not adjustable at all. The length of arrow that you choose is always determined by the draw length.
Ideally, an adjustable bow is what you should be looking for, as it gives you the opportunity to completely customize the fit, speed, and power to your preferences.
Also, if more than one person is using your bow, an adjustable bow is necessary as it can be changed to fit each person perfectly.
Peak Draw Weight
Peak draw weight is influenced by the size and strength of the fisherman and the size and strength of the fish. A small child will have a peak draw weight in a 10 to 25-pound range, while the peak draw weight of a large man is anywhere from 45 to 75-pounds. Generally, the higher the draw weight, the larger the fish you can catch. Keeping this in mind, you also do not want to use a draw weight that is too high for your personal strength. This will cause you to be wildly inaccurate and struggle to use the bow properly.
The rest is an important factor in a bow as it greatly affects your comfort while using the bow. A rest does not need to have any fancy features. It needs to sit in a spot that feels normal to you, and be easy to load.
Nothing can be more irritating than a rest that is difficult to load and makes using your bow uncomfortable.
The overall weight of the bow you choose is important as it needs to be something that you can easily carry around with you. If the bow is too heavy for you, you will not be able to shoot with much accuracy.
Oppositely, if the bow is too light for you, you will not achieve the power that you likely desire. In general, you want to look for a bow that does not exceed three pounds.
This means that the bow will be light enough to store and to carry during long walks to the perfect fishing spot. It also will be heavy enough to withstand the pressure of the draw weight.
As with any type of sporting gear, you want your bow to be durable and strong to last you for years to come.
The material that your bow is made of will give it durability, so you need to choose a bow made from a material that will last. Bows made from metal alloys are sturdy, strong, and are made to last for a long time.
You will also find bows that are made from plastic or wood. Synthetic bows can also be extremely durable.
If you are a beginner, you do not need to be concerned with accessories right away. However, if you are interested in pursuing bowfishing as a life-long hobby, you may want to consider purchasing a bow that has multiple available accessories.
This will allow you to slowly upgrade or improve your bow over time and customize it to be the perfect fit for you.
If you are new to bowfishing or are a relatively new beginner, it may be smart to purchase a bowfishing “kit.” All bows can be purchased on their own, but many bowfishing companies offer their bows in a kit or package that includes all the necessary accessories and parts to get started.
Some companies even offer these accessories pre-assembled and attached to the bow, making it even easier to purchase a bow and start hunting.
When searching through kits and packages, look for those that include, at the very least, reels, arrow rests, and arrows.
If you’re lucky, you will be able to find a kit that includes other helpful accessories as well. For example, Blister Buster finger pads are a nice extra to find in a kit, as they help keep your fingers safe while hunting.
Another nice item to find in a kit is a reel that is already equipped with fishing line. If this is the case, you know that the line is suitable for use with the bow, and it saves you from purchasing line separately and potentially making a mistake with your choice.
Breaking Down The Recurve Further. Can You Bowfish With a Recurve?
A recurve bow is a good choice for bowfishing. It may not be the #1 overall pick, but it will get the job done.
Some bowfishermen convert old hunting recurve bows into bowfishing bows and some specifically purchase a recurve bow right out of the gates. All you need to do be set up and ready with a recurve bow is get a special reel mounted to it.
A Big Added Benefit – Recurve Bows Add Speed to Your Bowfishing Adventure
Recurve bows do give you the added benefit of speed when bowfishing.
They are also very lightweight which can draw major appeal for a first time bowfishermen. You could pick up a recurve bow at a garage sale or even using a hold hunting recurve bow to get started.
In most circumstances, recurve bows will need zero maintenance or minimal care. They are the simplest form of bows to get you started when you first begin bowfishing.
The Recurve Bow Does Have A Drawback or Two with Bowfishing
If you are fishing from an elevated standing spot on a boat, you probably won’t have any issues using the recurve bow with bowfishing. However, some of us prefer to bowfish from shore when possible.
With a recurve bow you may issues squeezing into tight spots due to the added length that comes with using the recurve.
In addition, you will need to use a little muscle with the draw on a recurve. A compound bow will be better suited for you if you are looking to exert minimal energy for the maximum draw.
Lastly, recurve bows are going to be your most limited with potential accessories you can use or mount to them. Compound bows or all in one kit will give you the most freedom for accessories once you are more into the hobby and ready to spend that additional money on gear.
More Questions About Bowfishing!
How Much Draw Weight Do You Need for Bowfishing?
Keep in mind that when bowfishing, the entire key is quick shooting and doing it often.
It’s a shoot and repeat style. 40-50-pound draw weight should be ideal and allows you to shoot time after time without experiencing too much fatigue. Of course, you can gauge this on your own to find out what’s most comfortable for you but most lean in this 40-50lb draw weight range.
What Is the Best Bow for Bowfishing?
This comes down to personal preference.
Personally, I think although the recurve bow has some drawbacks for adding attachments among other things, it still makes the ideal for bowfishing. It’s lightweight and easy to keep firing at a good pace without fatigue. Runner up or a close tie for second place would be a compound bow.
The compound bow will give you much for flexibility with the added gear and come in many more options. At the end of the day, it still comes down to preference only. Find what works for you, practice and get to it get ready to start shooting some fish.
Can You Use Regular Arrows for Bowfishing?
No, unfortunately not. Bowfishing requires arrows that are different from archery or hunting.
With bowfishing, your arrows will be made of fiberglass or wood. The feathers (also known as fletching) will be the driving force to move them through the air.
If given the option, fiberglass is the way to go with your bowfishing arrows.
They are durable and great for repetitive use. When bowfishing, your arrows will also be barbed. This is going to keep your fish on the arrow after the puncture and wound is created. Picture this like you would any fishing hook.
Your line is attached to your arrow using a slide device.
Keep in mind as well, that your bowfishing setup doesn’t work exactly like a fishing pole would. If your fish takes off one direction or another, the drag release on a fishing pole can handle these adjustments.
With bowfishing, once your arrow has punctured the fish and if the fish runs, the line isn’t released in the same smooth fashion.
What Else do I Need For BowFishing?
Can A Bowfishing Arrow Be Too Long?
With bowfishing, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with the length of the arrow. You’re only shooting a matter of a few feet or a few yards at max. Using your normal full-length arrow will do just fine. If you have your barb and it’s attached to a line, you will be in good shape to give bowfishing a try.
Now, we still need to cover a few other aspects of bowfishing and what you should bring with you on your first bowfishing outing/adventure.
We still have one more piece to the puzzle that will help you get started bowfishing. We need a reel. Let’s dive into that for a moment.
Bowfishing reels are designed specifically for, you guessed it. Bowfishing. They release your line when the arrow is released. Once you have either missed or hit your target, the reel will allow you to the pull the fish in.
Bowfishing reels simply clamp to the bow. It almost resembles a paintball gun with the way the line is shoved and spooled inside of a plastic bottle. The reel allows the line to release much faster than a normal fishing pole. This is because it needs to keep with the arrow traveling through the air.
Do You Need Sights for Bowfishing?
You don’t need sights for bowfishing. Sights are not necessary although they can add some distance to your abilities if you opt to use them. Sights can range in price and for the beginner just getting started with bowfishing, I would say to hold off for the time being. It’s something that can be easily added later if that’s the direction you want to go.
What Kind of Bow Are You Going to Use? Many options are available for your bow when bowfishing, as well as the other equipment, involved. You can start for very cheap especially if you convert some old hunting gear over to your fishing adventures.
In addition, you can always check craigslist and other options for finding good used equipment to help shave some cost when you are first getting started.
Learn which set-up will be most comfortable for you. Whether that’s a compound bow or a recurve bow is completely up to you. As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate you. See you next time.
Is it Legal to Fish With a Bow And Arrow?
Yes. Bowfishing should be legal in US, but i am not a lawyer, and you need to have a fishing license. In addition, you need to be sure that you check all local and state regulations to ensure that you are compliant.
Every state is different. Some states have different regulations and only allow for certain fish to be targeted with bowfishing. It’s always worth a quick check on the local DNR website to ensure you are going to get hit with any penalties and fines after a day of bowfishing.
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