Can You Bowfish With Any Bow?

Written by Joshua in Fishing
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

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 bow fishing

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? 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.

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 Reel

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?

No, sights are optional with bowfishing. They 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? When Are You Going to Begin Bowfishing?

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.

About Joshua
My name i Joshua, and i am one of the authors on BonFireBob - I especially like fishing and gear.

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