The TOP 11 Best Bowfishing Bows in 2020 (Reviews & Buying Gude)


Just when you thought outdoor sports couldn’t get any better, someone invented bowfishing.

(It’s actually been around for centuries – but who’s counting?)

Today, bowfishing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US alone, with more people becoming engaged with the exciting pace, fun, adrenaline, and camaraderie that it has become associated with.

It certainly ain’t as slow as a lazy Sunday on a creek bank (although that has plenty of merit, too).

So, if you’re keen to join in, you’ll need to know about the 11 best bowfishing bows in 2020. Read on to discover the treat you never knew you wanted until now.

A buyer’s guide will follow.

And don’t forget your fishing vest for all kinds of angling-related sports when you’re out on the water.

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

The TOP 11 Best Bowfishing Bows in 2020

Oneida Green Deadfin Osprey Bow

You asked for the best, I’ll give you the best. Oneida Eagle bows are to archery what Micheal Phelps is to swimming. If you can forgive the eye-watering price tag, there simply is no better bowfishing bow than the Osprey Deadfin.

100% USA made, this beast takes bows to the next level, with the smooth draw of a recurve and power of a compound. With the premium-quality design, build, components, and materials, the result is one of the most beautiful bows to shoot, and a bowfishing experience the likes of which many people only ever dream about.

Pros

  • The best of the best.
  • Name to trust.
  • Super lightweight design.
  • Magnesium riser.

Cons

  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

Fire anywhere in the draw cycle with this hybrid shooter that’s made by bowfisher people for bowfisher people. The Oneida Osprey range are easily the best bowfishing bows in the world.

AMSBowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit

Based out of Wisconsin, AMS knows a thing or two about bowfishing, since they were the first company to actually specialize in the sport.

It’s fitting then, that this simple set up is one of the best recurve bows for bowfishing on the market, made for “life on the water.”

With a smooth, 45 lbs pull, it features their AMS Retriever TNT bow reel, that comes complete with 35 yards of 350 lbs Spectra line ready to make your first bow fish harvest a good one.

And the fully water-resistant seal over laminated limbs shows this beauty has been designed with that exact goal in mind.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Well-designed and built.
  • Fiberglass arrow with chaos FX point.
  • Easy to dismantle.

Cons

  • Right-handed only.

Takeaway

A beauty of a take down recurve that has been designed since conception through to birth for the sport of bow fishing. Simple to use but challenging to master – if it’s recurves you’re into – look no further.

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner Compound Bow

When it comes to bowfishing, Cajun are pretty much the ones to beat, and this is their Shore Runner kit that has everything you need to get going in the sport.

The stylish, brush-fire compound bow comes with the Winch-Pro bottle reel, arrow rest, Blister-Buster finger pads, and one red fiberglass “Piranha” arrow.

The deep cam groves prevent derailed springs, while the constant draw cam offers easy tuning no matter your draw length.

And with a 45 lbs peak draw weight, the Shore Runner is guaranteed to pack a punch.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Stylish look and feel.
  • Everything included to get started.

Cons

  • Not the best arrow out there.

Takeaway

Altogether this is a decent set up from one of the best bowfishing companies in the business. You might seriously want to switch out the arrow that comes with the set – which is the only real letdown. Check out this article for better bowfishing arrows, instead.

AMSBowfishing Hooligan Bow Kit

The Hooligan is a purpose built bowfishing bow from AMS that looks, feels, and performs like a beast.

A no let-off, dual-cam bow, it features their RAP (Rapid Adjustment Posts) cam system which requires no bow press to adjust. As a result, it can be fully customized to suit the needs of any shooter, with a silky-smooth draw and the ability to offer a 24-50 lbs pull range.

The rig ensures you have optimum efficiency and power at any draw weight, with a 32-inch maximum draw length, and AMS TNT retriever reel. Probably one of the best compound bows for bowfishing there is.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Everything included to get started.
  • Premium quality design and build.
  • Highly rated in the community.

Cons

  • It’s on the pricey side.

Takeaway

A dedicated bowfishing bow that blows the competition right out of the water. An absolute joy to shoot for people of all ages and skill levels, this has been designed for one thing and one thing only – loads of fun.

Muzzy Bowfishing LV-X Bow by Oneida

The design geniuses that work at both Muzzy and Oneida have come together to birth this monster of a bowfishing weapon, the LV-X Lever Bow.

Its state-of-the-art design has been beautifully crafted, offering a tough and durable machine with a super smooth action, and intuitive adjustment so you never have to take your eyes off the prize.

Draw weight and length is easy to customize to the individual shooter’s needs, and the bow can fire arrows up to 340 FPS.

Pros

  • Quality construction throughout.
  • Billet machined aluminum riser.
  • Leading brands in the sport.
  • Powerful limbs.

Cons

  • Reel is extra.
  • Expensive for beginners.

Takeaway

Wow. This is some piece of kit from two of the sport’s heavyweights, and it just might be a game changer in the field.

Barnett 1108 Vortex H2O Youth Archery Bow

I’ve included this youth archery set up as one of the best beginner bowfishing bows available, because it will still get the job done – even if you’re an adult.

Made by reputable, historic British archery specialists Barnett, it has a draw weight of 31-45 lbs, and includes adjustable draw modules to assist in improving your technique and skills.

Designed to be used as a bowfishing set up, it’s lightweight, accessible, and available at a price that won’t break the bank – especially if you’re dipping your toe into bowfishing waters for the first time.

Pros

  • Designed for beginners and youth archers.
  • Excellent price.
  • Arrow rest.
  • Fiber optic sight.

Cons

  • No arrow or reel included.

Takeaway

While you do have to purchase a reel and arrow separately, this is still a great option for the many bow fishers who prefer to customize each piece of hardware independently. And for this price – it’s a great entry-level fish-sticker.

Cajun Bowfishing Fish Stick Pro Bowfishing Bow

Speaking of sticking fish, let’s return to Cajun now with their hugely popular take down recurve bowfishing set up. The aptly-named “Fish Stick” is another excellent beginner option that comes complete with everything you need to get going.

This ready-to-shoot package includes their popular Spin Doctor reel, reel seat, and Brush Fire arrow set, and has a pull strength of up to 45 lbs.

With a non-slip grip and Blister Buster pads, you can be safe in the knowledge you will achieve a consistent shot every time.

Pros

  • Amazing price.
  • Easy to use.
  • Everything included.
  • Versatile to suit your needs.

Cons

  • The reel isn’t the best.
  • No left-handed option.

Takeaway

A quality take down recurve that can be used for target shooting, hunting, and, of course, bowfishing. And with everything included at this price, it’s possibly the best bowfishing bow for the money around.

Muzzy Vice Bowfishing Bow

Bowfishing regulars will know Muzzy as being one of the premium arrow manufacturers on the market, most notably because of their powerful, fix-blade broad head fish stickers.

They bring their expertise to this complete bowfishing kit, designed specially to reel in the big catch. The XD-Pro push-button reel has been pre-spooled with 150 feet of 150 lbs tournament-grade line, with the addition of a reel seat, Muzzy fish hook rest, classic white fish arrow with carp point and nock, and glove-free finger guards pre-installed on the string.

Highly adjustable, you can practice with draw weights anywhere from 30 to 60 lbs, as well as changing the draw length to suit the shooter’s needs.

Pros

  • Pioneering bowfishing company.
  • Pro-level set up.
  • Suitable for all skill levels.
  • Quality accessories.
  • Right and left hand options available.

Cons

  • Left-handed models can be difficult to come by.
  • Might be a bit expensive for beginners.
  • Color scheme might be a bit wild for some.

Takeaway

If you don’t mind that crazy green paint job, this is a world-class bowfishing set up from a company at the top of their game in the sport. Quality parts, components, and accessories across the board.

D&Q Archery Recurve Bowfishing Bow

Let’s return to the recurve bows now and another great starter set that is simply a really good bowfishing bow for the price.

Aimed at archers of all ages and skill sets, this comes with all you need to get started taking down fish, or it can be used to hunt and target shoot if you prefer.

A high-quality metal reel is included, along with six fishing arrows, arrow rest, finger guard, arm guard, and arrow stabilizer.

The alloy riser and fiberglass limbs are durable, and it’s easy to put together right out-of-the-box so you can get onto the water in no time.

Pros

  • Amazing price for what you get.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Ergonomic riser.
  • 40 lbs pull weight.

Cons

  • Not the highest quality out there.

Takeaway

You get what you pay for, and while this bowfishing kit might not set the world alight with its premium quality, it still deserves its inclusion here for getting beginners into the sport.

PSE Archery The Kingfisher Recurve Bow Set

PSE are a leading archery brand in their own right and have been at the forefront of the sport since 1971. Engineered for pro bowhunters, they quite rightly bring their years of know-how to the bowfishing arena, with this affordable, entry-level recurve bow and drum reel.

This comes with everything you need to get out on the water right out of the package, with a Fish Stick arrow with safety stop and slide, 66 feet of 60 lbs line on the drum reel, and a tide chaser rest.

Kingfisher by name and nature, you’ll be nailing those carp in no time.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Name to trust in archery.
  • Ideal length for bowfishing.
  • Precision machined riser.

Cons

  • As basic as they come.
  • Manual drum reel not for everyone.

Takeaway

A perfect starter set for anyone thinking of getting into the sport of bowfishing – or if you simply fancy the challenge of a basic recurve and drum reel set. This is all you need to be good to go.

Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow Package

It certainly wouldn’t be a very good bowfishing bow review without mentioning the Cajun Sucker Punch. This is a hugely popular platform, a ready-to-shoot compound with a bottle reel and two fiberglass Piranha arrows.

Cajun’s trademark quality is all over this, with Blister Buster finger padding, fishing biscuit arrow rest, and offering a 50 lbs peak draw weight and deep-cam grooves to prevent derailed springs. And the 60% let off and 7.25-inch brace height allow for smooth, easy shooting as the day is long.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Two arrows included.
  • Bottle reel.
  • Distinctive red design.
  • Lightweight and well-balanced.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

Yet another top-quality product to further compliment the range of one of the best bowfishing brands around. There’s a reason the Sucker Punch is so popular – just not with any of the fish.

How to Choose the Best Bowfishing Bow

If you’re new to bowfishing (or even if you just need a refresher) check out the handy buyer’s guide and FAQ section below.

Here’s what you should be looking out for before making a purchase.

camouflage compound bowfishing bow with arrow

Why Bowfishing?

The sport of bowfishing has been on the rise in the US for a number of years now, so much so that popular, established archery brands have started to jump on the bandwagon and get products out there to cater for the demand.

So, why is this? What’s all the big fuss about sticking a fish with an arrow?

Let’s take a look at the environmental plus points first (which is always important when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors.)

Bowfishing greatly reduces the number of rough or trash fish in waterways – the likes of common carp, grass carp, buffalo and gar.

Check out this article on bowfishing for carp for more detailed information. Just remember, you can’t bowfish for everything under the water – certain species are off limits.

But perhaps the number one draw to bowfishing, is just how much fun it is. This is the reason why it’s become so popular in recent years.

It’s an absolute blast.

You don’t have to be quiet, you can get loads of mates together to enjoy it, and you can turn it into a party. The camaraderie aspect is what makes it a special experience.

It’s much more of a thrill than traditional fishing, and the excitement alone gets people interested who wouldn’t normally be keen on this kind of hunt.

Please note: Bowfishers can attract a negative press from regular fisher people for a number of reasons. Be aware that you’re sharing the rivers, lakes, and waterways with others when you’re enjoying the sport.

Type of Bow

Hunting bows come in all shapes and sizes, but there are three main designs that have been tried and trusted in the field for decades.

And any one of these can be kitted out to perform as a bowfishing weapon – with the right attachments and accessories.

However, for the purpose of this article, we will assume that each bow type has been designed for bowfishing and already comes with the relevant hardware.

If you’re seeking a more traditional bow hunting experience, then a recurve/take down bow should be what you’re looking for.

They’re powerful, accessible for beginners, fast and light, great for snap shooting, and on the whole much cheaper than compound versions. You can also dismantle take down bows for transport and storage.

However, they’re much harder to draw and aim, and their larger size can pose problems with clearance and mobility.

Compound bows might look and feel more complex with their wheels and pulley systems, but this ensures they are much easier to pull than recurves, achieving high power while spending less energy on the draw.

Smooth and efficient, their design enables a steady draw and aim, holding this position for almost as long as you like without fatigue or shakes setting in.

As such, they’re often popular with younger archers.

Compounds are highly customizable, and you can adjust the weapon to suit the shooter’s needs, fine-tuning the rig until it’s a near-perfect set up.

And with plenty of accessory options, compound bows are usually the preferred choice for beginners and tournament bowfishers alike.

Finally, you will find crossbows can be adapted to work as bowfishing weapons, but with a slow rate of fire they’re not particularly popular.

Pull Weight

Weight is important when it comes to archery. Not just the physical weight of the bow and rig itself, but the amount of pull weight it requires to draw the string back.

And this is exactly the same in bowfishing.

You need to choose a bow that you’re going to be comfortable holding. Obviously, the added weight of reel, line, and more heavyweight arrows might make a big difference.

But perhaps more importantly, you should be able to comfortably pull the bow back. This is where compound bows can be more forgiving – and they’re ideal for younger shooters and beginners.

Figuring out the correct draw weight for you is an important part of choosing the right bow. Check out the video below on bowfishing draw weights for more information.

Reels

Like the bows themselves, bowfishing reels are available in three distinct types.

Drum reels are the most basic, given the fact that they’re also called “hand” reels for obvious reasons. Upon striking a fish, you need to manually pull it in by wrapping the line around the drum.

While this might sound problematic, drum reels have the advantage of having no moving parts, require virtually zero maintenance, and cost next to nothing to purchase.

Moving on up, we have spin reels, which are very similar to spin cast reels that are popular in traditional fishing. This time, however, they’re mounted on a reel seat at the front of the bow.

When you release the arrow, the reel allows the line to feed out, ready to be retrieved with the crank should your aim be true.

However, button-operated spinners are to be avoided, as complications can occur if you forget to release the line prior to shooting. Trigger spin reels are preferable.

Finally, retriever/bottle reels are by far the most popular option when it comes to bowfishing reels. Easy to identify, the line is bailed into a bottle rather than around a spool.

Drag can be applied by switching a lever, but many bottle reels don’t even need this system to snag medium to large-sized fish for drag-free shots.

The type you choose will depend on what you feel most comfortable using, what you’re fishing for, or even what your first bowfishing set comes with.

Line

Like just about everything in bowfishing, the line itself is different to that of regular fishing line. Check out the video below which puts the leading brands against each other to help you choose the right line for your rig.

Arrows

As you might expect, bowfishing arrows have significant differences to regular archery counterparts.

They’re designed to be much stronger, and are most commonly constructed of fiberglass. Solid aluminum and carbon fiber arrows are also available.

In place of the regular pile of a traditional flight, you’ll find a barbed head in order to successfully skewer the fish and reel it in.

Most bowfishing kits come complete with an arrow included – but you might find that it’s not up to scratch (in order to keep costs down) and you should think about upgrading if you deem it necessary.

Cost

As you might have guessed in the review above, the cost of purchasing a bowfishing set up can vary wildly depending on the quality of the instrument and accessories you’re interested in.

You can snag yourself a cheap set up for around $100 with everything included, or you can pay thousands of dollars for the best archery bows and kit them out with bowfishing gear.

It’s really up to you.

However, one of the best things about the sport is that – comparatively speaking – it’s relatively cheap to get going. All you need is the bow, a compatible reel, and the right arrow.

So, getting out onto the water for your first hunt doesn’t have to break the bank.

That comes later…

hunter aiming with compound bow on a hill

FAQs

Can I use any bow for bowfishing?

It’s possible to adapt a normal bow with the right compatible hardware and apply its use to hunting fish instead of game.

However, not just “any” bow will do, as it still needs to be a decent rig that won’t break under the pressures of reeling fish in – especially if you intend on hunting for larger species.

The main difference between regular target shooting/hunting and bowfishing is in the arrows and addition of a reel.

What type of fish can I bowfish?

As a rule of thumb, you should always be steering clear of game fish. When it comes to bowfishing, trash or rough fish species are your preferred targets.

Carp, eels, suckers, bigmouth buffalo, perch, catfish, and gar to name a few freshwater options – and derivatives thereof.

Just be sure that before you start letting fly with your deadly arrows you and your party knows exactly what it’s shooting.

Not only will you get into trouble with the law, but you’ll make yourself extremely unpopular in the fishing community if you’re not careful.

Where can I go bowfishing?

Pretty much anywhere. Lakes rivers and ponds, bays, beaches, and estuaries.

The best places to bowfish will be in shallow areas where the water isn’t much more than four feet deep – and is as clear as possible so you can actually see your quarry.

Check online, or ask at your nearest tackle and bait store for local advice on great bowfishing spots.

Compound or recurve bow for bowfishing?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages for bowfishing.

In a nutshell – recurves are faster and cheaper, while offering more of a challenge.

Compounds are easier to draw, generally more powerful and compact.

When you research bowfishing, you’ll see most folks using compound bows for the sport. Especially when it comes to tournaments.

But check out this video below to see them both in action on the water. In the end – it’s what you would most enjoy shooting.

What is the best bow for bowfishing?

Just about any of the beasts that are in the Oneida Eagle Bows back catalog. But if you don’t fancy parting with that amount of money, Cajun, AMS Bowfishing, and PSE Archery offer some more wallet-friendly alternatives.

(Although even some of their products can set you back a fair bit of coin.)

Do you need a license for bowfishing?

Absolutely. A sport fishing license is required anywhere you fish. Bowfishing is classed as game hunting, and as such is in the same category when it comes to legal bindings.

Always check the state or local regulations where you are before embarking on a bowfishing trip. Illegal fishing and hunting activity is just not worth the risk.

What is the best draw weight for bowfishing?

There isn’t one. No weight is better or worse than any other – what you’re looking for is the best draw weight for you.

Any medium-weight draw will be perfectly adequate to get the job done for most fish at a depth of three to four feet.

Unless, of course, you’re hunting a Megalodon.

When should I start bowfishing?

There’s no time like the present – but the best time to go bowfishing is in the early spring and summer when plenty of trash fish have been busy spawning their trashy offspring.

Get stuck in and go take ‘em out.

Can you bow fish for catfish?

Yes, you most certainly can. Catfish are regarded as a nuisance species and you’re more than welcome to help control numbers.

And they’re outstanding baked with lemon and cayenne pepper.

Summary

I hope this review and buyer’s guide has helped point you in the right direction to find the best bowfishing bow of 2020 for you.

Personally, I’d be leaning towards the AMS Water Moc – because I’m a sucker for the challenge of a good recurve.

Let me know in the comments section which one you’ve gone for and why.

I’ll see you out there on the water!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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