Best Bowfishing Bows and Kits 2017 – The Definitive Guide
In the following article we will be reviewing the best Bowfishing equipment on the market today.
A Brief Introduction to Bowfishing
Bowfishing is a way of catching fish that has been around for as long as there has been bows. There is evidence of many older cultures from the Aztecs to the Inuits having used Bowfishing alongside Spearfishing to bring home their dinner, over time though it has become an extremely popular sport with numerous competitions and championships available for the more competitive Bowfishers who like to hone their skills amongst other highly skilled hunters.
For traditional Bow Hunters it can be beneficial to learn Bowfishing as well because it can extend the hunting season for them as when the normal season finishes it allows them to continue with Bowfishing.
With so many fish to choose from you will always have a great variety prey for instance if you are in freshwater areas then the Common Carp, Catfish, Bowfin and Grass Carp are just a fraction of the species that regularly attract Bowfishers. For those that are bowfishing in saltwater areas some of the most common species to catch are the Barracuda, Flounders, Rays and Sharks.
- The Hand Wrap
- The Spincast
- The Retriever
As the name suggests, arguably the most important item for Bowfishing is the bow itself.For those who like the more traditional approach there is the longbow or recurve Bowfishing bows which are the more affordable but also much less technical than their more modern counterparts but more importantly in general they are very lightweight which is pretty important when you consider you will be having it in your hand all day or night. For those Bowfishers that have come across from Bowhunting there is kits available to convert your existing recurve bow into a bowfishing bow though it is much better to buy the specialised equipment as they are more hardwearing due to the hard life a bow gets when bowfishing as it can be very tough on the bows.
For those who would like to take advantage of the most modern designs and bleeding edge manufacturing techniques the compound bows are lighter than they have ever been with many similarities to the non-fishing bows but with lots of them have special features designed with the bowfisher in mind. Many compound bows have the advantage of a constant draw weight throughout its draw cycle allowing for snap shooting for when a perfect target appears before the full draw.
When Bowfishing you also need a specially designed bowfishing reel to bring the arrow and its catch back in. There is three main types of bowfishing reels, the hand wrap, the spincast and the retriever.
This is the most basic bowfishing reel, this is not a bad thing as the hand wrap is very hard wearing and also very inexpensive whilst they are not ideal for when you have many fish to shoot in a short time because of having to wrap the line by hand before securing it they can be great when going for larger fish when you are not having many shots in succession.
The spincast bowfisher reel is ideal for the more advanced bowfisher as it is much faster retrieval speed and it’s more precise. These bowsfisher reels are much better than the hand wraps especially when targeting smaller fish and want to able to shoot in quick succession.
Many people swear by the Retriever style of bowfishing reels as although they have a higher price point they are suitable for all skill levels with automatic line feeds and has a bottle to keep the line in place with the automatic features taking a lot of the hassle out of the equation it allows the user more time for concentrating on aiming for those fish.
Whilst traditional bowhunters prefer a lighter arrow bowfishing arrows are designed to be much stronger and heavier as they have to travel through the water with many materials available the most common being fibreglass as it is cheaper and very effective but for those who have a bit more money to spend or are targeting bigger fish or alligators you can also get solid aluminium or carbon fibre.
The line is a very important but often overlooked item of your bowfishing equipment with people using up to 600 pound test for hunting alligators but the majority of hunters targeting regular size fish use between 80 and 600 pound line. Whilst there is many different kinds of line available if you are serious with your bowfishing it is important to use braided Dacron, Spectra or Nylon as these are ideal and tough so you won’t get any breakages.
Our Picks of the Best Bowfishing Bows Available Today
With the sport of bowfishing being more popular today than it has ever been and with so many bows on the market today, making it hard to choose the best equipment for you. To help you find the best bow for your needs we have searched out the best bowfishing bows available and listed them below.
With the stunning looking compound bow Cajun have designed the Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow to be used in even the most extreme environments, this hardwearing compound bow is a must buy for serious bowfishers. With an axle to axle length of 32” (81cm) and a brace height of 7.25” (18.4) the Sucker Punch is a powerful bow but weighing in at only 3.2 pounds you can carry it for a long time without feeling tired from it. Strong enough to be able to catch even alligators this package will be sure to impress.
The Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow is available to buy as just the bow itself but this is the ready to fish package meaning if you purchase this you will receive everything you need to get out and bowfish as soon as it arrives. The RTF package includes Cajuns’ famous Hybrid Bowfishing Reel which gives the user the speed and easy one handed operation of a spin cast reel with the ease of use and safety of a hand wrap or retrieval reel. Also included in the RTF package is two white fibreglass arrows with piranha points allowing for amazingly fast fish removal, Cajun Blister Buster Finger Pads and a Fishing Biscuit Arrow Rest.
The Sucker Punch Bow has many features to make your life easier, as well as the aforementioned Hybrid Bowfishing Reel and high quality Bowfishing Arrows Cajun have designed this to be an easy to pull bow with deep cam grooves so you don’t have to worry about derailed strings alongside the ability to have a 60% let off for more accurate aiming as you will be more relaxed.
For the more tradition users The PSE Kingfisher Right Hand Bowfishing Kit, Camo is a wonderful takedown recurve bow with a stunning design. It is a very rugged bow that you can be sure will last for many years of heavy use and is made from a fibreglass riser and limbs.
The PSE Kingfisher Bowfishing Kit comes with a B500 Dacron string which is great but a little loud so if that kind of thing bothers you it would be a good idea to use string silencers with it. The Kingfisher has bushings for a stabilizer bar, quiver and plunger and is setup for a front mounted reel and whilst it a fairly heavy bow weighing in at almost five pounds it is pretty forgiving even if you don’t have the perfect technique so it is still a good buy for beginners.
This is a very well made bow with AMS safety slides included in the kit to prevent snap back and includes two Sure Shot arrows to easily penetrate the water and the fish’s scales. The Kingfisher kit also includes finger tabs to stop your fingers from getting blistered allowing for many more hours of use.
All of this in one great package means you cannot go wrong if you purchase the PSE Kingfisher Right Hand Bowfishing Kit, Camo with the added bonus of the camouflage design it is a must have purchase.
Next we have the Parker Stingray Open Sight this Bowfishing kit is revolutionary in the fact that Parker have designed this to be the very first fishing crossbow and if you buy this you can feel safe with the knowledge that its sturdy build, quality parts and high performance have been designed with power and accuracy in mind.
Whilst the Parker Stingray Open Sight is good for all styles of bowfishing this amazing compound crossbow is primarily designed for bowfishing from a boat thanks to its small and compact size that is lightweight and probably the most balanced from all the bows we have reviewed here.
The Stingray has is very powerful and ideal for hunting mid to large game and is great even for an alligator hunt. With the ability to adjust the draw weight without needing a bow press or any special tools, you are able to adjust the draw weight anytime you feel the need.
Included in the package is a single bowfishing arrow and while most people will tell you that is enough you do not want to be needing to purchase a new one whilst you on a boat in the middle of nowhere so it would be a good idea to purchase some more bowfishing arrows before your trip, just be sure that you use the 1600 grain arrow that Parker recommend to avoid any unnecessary complications.
The Parker Stingray Open Sight has been designed to be ambidextrous to allow for right or left handed archers though the only drawback for this is that the included retriever bowfishing reel is only setup for a right side crank which could cause some discomfort for left handed users but other than that it is a very nice reel that works just as efficiently for the big catches as it does for the smaller ones.
The Arrow Precision Frenzy Bowfishing Set is a very nice bow with a very low price in comparison to the other bowfishing bows listed here. So if you are looking to try your hand at bowfishing but don’t want to break the bank to do so then this compound bow is the one for you.
Weighing in at a 3.6lbs it is still fairly lightweight for a compact bow and will allow you to spend a lot of hours hunting before you feel the strain.
Arrow Precision use their twin f4 wheel system to allow for quick release snap shots for those times that your target appears before you get a chance for a full draw. The Arrow Precision Frenzy have designed a non-slip textured riser that allows you to add many other standard accessories which is great and cheaper as many other manufacturers design their bowfishing bows to only fit their own accessories. This as well as the low price point is why this bow is ideal for beginners as you do not have to spend too much just to see if you enjoy the sport.
The Arrow Precision Frenzy Bowfishing Set comes with 30 yards of 80lb braided bowfishing line, a standard reel with a heavy duty aluminium reel seat that’s designed to accept traditional fishing reels and a solid fiberglass Bowfishing arrow with a Barbed Torpedo Tip to stop you catch from slipping from the arrow as you reel it in. Arrow Precision have not just designed this for functionality it is also very nice to look at with its dark blue design with carbon fibre dipped limbs.
Our Pick of The Best Bowfishing Reels Available Today
If you are just looking to upgrade you existing equipment or even looking to convert your traditional bow to a bowfishing bow then look no further, here we are listing the best reels available to help you choose.
First off we have the excellent AMS Tournament Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel with AMS having a well-earned reputation for some of the best equipment available for Bowfishing they have designed the Tournament Retriever Pro specifically to give the user an edge when competing in tournaments.
With a very sturdy design that has been built in the U.S.A, AMS uses a solid brass pinon and gear allowing for a ridiculously fast gear ratio of 4.3:1. Alongside the handle that is longer than the others available allowing for more leverage when reeling in your catch or even when retrieving a missed shot so you can get your next shot off sooner.
Included with each AMS Tournament Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel is all the necessary mounting hardware with a telescopic clamp, trigger guard with their patented AMS safety slide Brand Arrow Slide and a quiver mount. This bowfishing reel kit also includes 25 yards of 200 lbs of High Visibility Yellow Dacron line so you are ready to simply attach this reel to your existing bowfishing bow safely in the knowledge that you are competition ready.
For those of you who are not going to be competing in any tournaments but would still like the best available reel and feel the tournament version is an overkill then the AMS Retriever Pro Bow Fishing Reel is ideal for you.
With many of the same features as the tournament version this bowfishing reel is a great bit of kit with a great price, unlike other reels there is no button to have to push before you take your shot and you don’t need to hand wind spools as its stacked in a bottle and once you take you shot it flies out as fast as the arrow allows for. To recover your arrow you just pull the trigger and turn the handle.
Included in the package is a Telescoping Clamp with a Quiver Mount which allows for easy adjustment and simple removal. Also included is the arrow storage and a Patented Arrow Slide with a Trigger Guard. As with all their products the AMS Retriever Pro Bow Fishing Reel is made in the U.S.A and includes all the necessary mounting hardware with stainless steel fasteners and heavy duty brass gear and pinion. You can be sure that this bowfishing reel will last you for years to come. You can simply attach the included 25 yd - 200 Pound High Visibility Orange Dacron Line and away you go.
Unlike the other two reels that are listed here the AMS Retriever Pro Combo 200 lb. is specially designed by AMS so if you are an bowhunter or have a bowhunting bow then you can use this to easily convert it into a bowfishing bow.
The AMS Retriever Pro Combo kit includes everything you need to start bowfishing with your existing bow, with a 200lb Dacron line, an AMS Tidal Wave Rest with two of their AMS Chaos Arrows made from fibreglass with Patented AMS Safety Slide Brand Arrow Slides.
Also just so you can feel confident that you know enough to go and start bowfishing once you have mounted the kit to your bow AMS have included an AMS Bowfishing DVD to help you get the best out of your new bowfishing bow and reel.
Our Pick Of The Best Bowfishing Arrows Available Today
You can have the best bowfishing bow and best bowfishing reel that money can buy but if you have the wrong arrows then you will get nowhere here we will show you the best bowfishing arrows on the market today.
Muzzy have long been known to produce extremely good arrows with a great selection depending on you skill level. The Muzzy Bowfishing Classic Fish-Arrow with Gar Point is a very good arrow that has been pre-drilled for cable or string attachment and includes AMS’ Patented Safety Slide System.
The Muzzy Bowfishing Classic Fish-Arrow with Gar Point is ideal for beginners and is made from premium grade solid fibreglass with a Trocar-Tipped Gar point so you can hunt fish with even the toughest of skins.
This arrow is lightweight but that doesn’t stop it from being long lasting as they can last for many years allowing for thousands of fish to be caught with these bowfishing arrows.
As with the above bowfishing arrow the Muzzy Bowfishing Classic Fish-Arrow with Carp Point uses a quality solid fibreglass arrow that is pre-drilled for cable or string attachment and also includes AMS’ Patented Safety Slide System.
Again the Muzzy Bowfishing Classic Fish-Arrow with Carp Point is ideal for beginners and comes with a quick release Trocar-Tipped carp point that is aimed towards those hunting fish with softer skin, the quick release system allows for two turns to easily remove the fish.
Thanks to Muzzys rigorous design process you can be sure that if you buy these arrows you will get many years of use from each purchase.
With a higher price point than the Muzzys, AMS comes in with their AMS Bowfishing Arrow with 3-barb Grapple Point and White Fiberglass Shaft. These are the highest quality arrows available with each shaft manually checked for straightness and all that don’t meet their expectations are discarded you can be sure to get the straightest shot with these.
With the 3 barb grapple point you can be sure to catch some of the biggest fish out there, it is slightly heavier than other similar points so you will need to allow for a heavier draw weight but with this arrow you will get the smoothest, straightest shot a bowfishing arrow can acheive.
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