SUMMARY TABLE

Name

Image

Price

Rating

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CAJUN
Sucker Punch
OUR TOP PICK

Cajun Sucker Punch Bowfishing Bow Kit

4.9  /5

PSE
Discovery 2
BEST VALUE

PSE New 2017 Discovery 2 Muzzy Bowfishing Package RTS Kit Green #1714BZRGN3040

4.8  /5

GEN-X
Cuda

Gen-X Cuda Bowfishing Kit, Blue Water Camo, Right

4.7  /5

BARNETT
Vortex H2O

BARNETT 1108 Vortex H2O Youth Archery Bow, 31-45-Pound

4.6  /5

OUR TOP PICK

Cajun Sucker Punch Bowfishing Bow Kit

Overall Rating

4.9 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Accuracy

4.9

Ease of Use

4.9

Grip & Comfort

4.9

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General Impression

This is one of the hottest bows to hit the fishing scene. It was designed with extreme-adventurers in mind, but it seems a great fit for just about any angler. This opinion is shared widely across the angling community, mainly for its ‘plug-and-play’ type utility. This is further embodied in the bow’s middle of the range dimensions and adjustable draw length that ranges from 17 to 31 inches. The peak draw weight is 50 pounds – suitable for most adventures. You have your choice of constant draw module or draw specific module, with a 60% let off. A notable feature is the deep cam grooves which help reduce string derailment during transportation and ensure your bow is ready to go when the fish arrive. The optional equipment package includes everything you need to get started: a Cajun Winch reel, fishing biscuit arrow rest and two red fiberglass Piranha arrows.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Multiple
MATERIALS: Aluminum riser, composite limbs
WEIGHT: 3.2
BOW LENGTH: 32.25
BOW HEIGHT: 7.25
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 50

PROS

  • This bow is lightweight and easy to transport
  • The 50 lb. peak draw weight will allow you to tackle even the largest trophies
  • An optional equipment package is available and will provide everything you need to start catching fish
  • An adjustable draw length of 17 to 31 inches makes it perfect for all ages

CONS

  • The handgrip is a bit small and difficult to hold firmly when wet
  • Although suitable for saltwater, corrosion is a definite concern
  • Let off is less effective when snap-shooting
BEST VALUE

PSE New 2017 Discovery 2 Muzzy Bowfishing Package RTS Kit Green #1714BZRGN3040

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Accuracy

4.9

Ease of Use

4.8

Grip & Comfort

4.9

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General Impression

PSE’s Discovery bow has long been a secret bowfishing favorite of wood hunters, who picked-up on its versatile utility in the water and pushed it into double duty. Now, PSE has designed a model specifically for the water. This bow features a compact 31.5-inch length, generous 6.5-inch height, an adjustable consent draw weight of 27 to 40 pounds and weighs only 2.7 pounds. Draw length is adjustable up to 30 inches. Green Reaper H2O XL risers and limbs give it a unique look that stands out among the crowd. Anglers have a choice between a right-handed or left-handed setup. The optional equipment package includes an AMS bowfishing reel with line, SnapShot rest, and two fiberglass arrows with safety slide and tip.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Multiple
MATERIALS: Aluminum Rides, Composite Limbs
WEIGHT: Not listed
BOW LENGTH: 31.5
BOW HEIGHT: 6.5
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 40

PROS

  • PSE has taken a tested design and adapted it for bowfishing
  • Adjustable draw weight makes this bow suitable for many age groups – Beginner to Pro!
  • Optional package includes everything you need to start fishing
  • There are both right and left-handed models available

CONS

  • Included arrows are not the best quality
  • The paint used to apply the pattern is prone to chipping

Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow Set Includes Drum Reel with Line, Roller Rest, Arrow with Piranha Point, and Blister Buster Finger Pads

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Accuracy

4.7

Ease of Use

4.9

Grip & Comfort

4.7

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General Impression

If you are an angler who travels but wants to bowfish whenever the opportunity presents itself – you need a bow that is easy to transport but still provides quality and precision. You need the Fish Stick. This takedown-style recurve includes a 5-inch aluminum riser with composite limbs for an overall length of 58 inches. The 45-pound peak draw weight is more than enough for even the biggest trophy. The recurve design is perfect for snap-shooting while the Cajun Rollers provide a consistent draw cycle, shot after shot. Having this roller system also makes retrieval of larger fish easier while reducing wear and tear on equipment.

An optional equipment package includes a drum reel with 50 ft of an 80-pound test line, roller arrow rest, 2 arrows with Piranha Point and Blister Buster finger guard.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Beginner, Intermediate
MATERIALS: Aluminum Riser, Composite limbs
WEIGHT: 3.2
BOW LENGTH: 56
BOW HEIGHT: 20
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 45

PROS

  • The best bow for travelling
  • Recurve design is perfect for snap shooting
  • This bow can also be used for traditional archery hunting
  • When taken down, this bow is very easy to transport

CONS

  • There is no bowstring included in the package
  • Only available in a right-handed model

PSE Archery KingFisher Bowfishing Recurve Bow Package - 56-45

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Accuracy

4.7

Ease of Use

4.7

Grip & Comfort

4.7

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General Impression

The Kingfisher is a bow built for fishing by a company that specialises in bowhunting. It includes all the features anglers are looking for in a bowfishing bow- easy to maneuver, a manageable draw weight that is still capable of taking large fish and is manufactured by a company that knows all there is to know about bows. Because it is a recurve, there are fewer moving parts and shooting is as simple as to draw, aim & release. Beginners will benefit from the simplicity and seasoned anglers will enjoy the ability to make quick snapshots. The overall length of 60 inches may appear to make transportation difficult, but thanks to the takedown design, it can easily be stowed in a suitcase. Both available draw weights, 40 & 45 pounds, are light enough for beginners but still strong enough to take larger species such as gar. It is also suitable for traditional archery hunting and could be used for taking deer in most states. The optional fishing kit includes a front-mounted reel with line, 1 fiberglass fishing arrow and a Snap Shoot rest.

Specifications

SUITED TO: intermediate, advanced
MATERIALS: Fiberglass
WEIGHT: 3.3
BOW LENGTH: 56
BOW HEIGHT: 20
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 35,40,45 or 50

PROS

  • A versatile design that can be used for traditional hunting as well as fishing
  • The takedown design makes transportation much easier
  • Draw weight and recurve design is perfect for the beginner

CONS

  • The supplied string is noisy and would need to be replaced for traditional hunting
  • The supplied arrow is not as high quality as the bow

Gen-X Cuda Bowfishing Kit, Blue Water Camo, Right

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Build Quality

4.8

Accuracy

4.7

Ease of Use

4.7

Grip & Comfort

4.7

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General Impression

Beginning bow anglers need a bow that is easy to use, dependable and suitable for a wide range of applications. This is exactly what you get with the Cuda. The 35 ½ inch length & 7 5/8-inch height is a forgiving combination and makes allowance fo technical mistakes without blowing the shot. The 25 to 40-pound draw weight and 21 to 30-inch draw length allows the bow to be adjusted for a wide range of users of any age and at only 3.1 pounds, smaller shooters will not be fatigued holding it. The optional accessory kit includes a Zebco 808 reel spooled with a 200-pound test line, a fiberglass arrow with safety slide, arrow rest and finger tab.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Multiple
MATERIALS: Aluminum riser, composite limbs
WEIGHT: 3.4
BOW LENGTH: 35.5
BOW HEIGHT: 7.625
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 40

PROS

  • Traditional closed face reel is easier to use and perfect for beginners
  • Heavy test line is well suited for larger species
  • Progressive Let-Off technology allows for snapshots even from this compound bow

CONS

  • Longer length may be unwieldy in a crowded boat
  • Package only includes one arrow

BARNETT 1108 Vortex H2O Youth Archery Bow, 31-45-Pound

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Accuracy

4.6

Ease of Use

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.6

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General Impression

If you are just getting started in bowfishing you want equipment that is versatile enough to grow with your skill level, or affordable enough to allow you to upgrade later – The Vortex H2O provides both options. Barnett took their popular Vortex youth model and added a high definition Reaper H2O finish, blue accents and a package that doubles as a carry case for out of the box fishing. The 28-inch length is perfect for shooting from small Jon boats. The adjustable draw weight of 31 to 45 pounds is light for a traditional bow but well suited for most fishing adventures. The draw length is adjustable in 1-inch increments from 25 5/8″ to 28. What started as a youth model has morphed into a bowfishing system that can be used by anglers of all experience levels targeting a variety of species.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Beginner
MATERIALS: Aluminum riser, composite limbs
WEIGHT: 3.3
BOW LENGTH: 28.25
BOW HEIGHT: 7.5
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 45

PROS

  • An excellent combination of speed, accuracy, and performance
  • Suitable for a wide range of users at various experience levels
  • Short axel to axel length is well suied for shooting from a boat

CONS

  • Only available as a right-handed model
  • The reel and arrows are not included
  • The draw length is not very adjustable and may not accommodate taller anglers

AMSBowfishing Hooligan Bow Kit (Right)

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Build Quality

4.6

Accuracy

4.5

Ease of Use

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.5

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General Impression

This bow is at the top of the bowfishing pyramid, providing a high-quality design that includes all the features serious anglers are looking for. With a 34 ¾ inch length and maximum 30-inch draw length, it is even suitable for tall anglers. The 25 to 50-pound draw weight is perfect for larger species but capable of being used by younger shooters as well. With an aluminum riser and fiberglass limbs, it is less prone to corrosion and well suited for use in wet environments. The optional accessory kit includes an arrow, pre-installed drum reel with retrieving crank and fishing line. Having the crank is a real benefit as it means you do not have to pull in the line by hand.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Beginner, intermediate
MATERIALS: Aluminum riser, fiberglass limbs
WEIGHT: 3.25
BOW LENGTH: 34.75
BOW HEIGHT: 7.5
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 50

PROS

  • Available with a complete fishing kit that lets you hit the water immediately
  • The retrieving crank makes reeling in your line much easier than other models
  • Available in both right- and left-hand models
  • No bow press is required to adjust

CONS

  • Longer length may be difficult to manage in tight spaces or on smaller boats
  • Only ships with a single arrow

Precision Shooting Equipment Mudd Dawg Bowfishing Package with Muzzy Kit, Right

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.8

Accuracy

4.9

Ease of Use

4.7

Grip & Comfort

4.9

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General Impression

The Mudd Dawg provides bow anglers with the most advanced, lightweight design meant to perform under the harshest conditions. With a length of only 32 inches and a height of 6 inches, this bow is built for precision shooting. The adjustable draw weight of 30 to 40 pounds is well suited for even bigger species but can be taken down for the beginner or younger shooter. The 15 to 30-inch draw length provides one of the greatest ranges on the market. The optional fishing package includes an RT-3500 spinning reel with seat, SnapShot rest and Fish Stick Arrow with safety stop & safety slide.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Intermediate, Advanced
MATERIALS: Aluminum Riser, Composite limbs, stainlesss hardware
WEIGHT: 3.6
BOW LENGTH: 32.25
BOW HEIGHT: 6
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 40

PROS

  • This bow is lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • The draw length can be adjusted more than most other bows, allowing use by a wide range of anglers
  • An exceptional design that takes advantage of all the latest developments in bow technology

CONS

  • A precision bow that is not as forgiving as other models
  • Due to the design and advanced technology, additional routine maintenance is required

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package, Black Ops, Right Hand

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Build Quality

4.8

Accuracy

4.9

Ease of Use

4.8

Grip & Comfort

4.6

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General Impression

The Infinite Edge is one of the best-selling, most popular bows on the market – both for traditional hunting and bowfishing. Why? Because it is suitable for any shooter, made entirely in the United States of America and affordable. Whether you are a teenaged beginner or a 5o-year-old seasoned veteran, the Infinite Edge will meet your needs. It is available in either a right-hand or left-hand configuration. The draw length can be adjusted from 13-inches to 31-inches and the draw weight from a mere 5 pounds to an astonishing 70 pounds. The 31-inch length and 7-inch height provides moderate forgiveness, allowing for some basic mistakes without a lost shot and the 80% let-off allows even smaller users to manage higher draw weights. When using the Infinite setting there is zero let-off which allows the bow to be set at a lower draw weight and used in a snap-shooting manner.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Multiple
MATERIALS: Aluminum riser, composite limbs
WEIGHT: 3.2
BOW LENGTH: 31
BOW HEIGHT: 7
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 70

PROS

  • 100% made in America
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty
  • Beginner-friendly but able to be used by seasoned veterans as well
  • Can be adjusted for a wide range of draw weights and lengths

CONS

  • There is no fishing package available, they will need to be purchased separately
  • If you are only planning on using this bow for bowfishing, the higher draw weight can be an overkill

AMSBowfishing E-RAD Bow with Bowfishing Kit, Right Hand B505-ERD-RH

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Build Quality

4.9

Accuracy

4.9

Ease of Use

4.5

Grip & Comfort

4.9

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General Impression

AMS partnered with G5 to produce one of the best fishing bows available with only the best accessories. The E-Rad is designed for serious anglers who are serious about fishing. The parallel limb design and aluminum riser are the latest in bow design and provides an extremely smooth draw. At only 3.6 pounds, it is well suited for all-day fishing. The draw weight is adjustable from 30 to 6o pounds and is more than enough for any species you are chasing. The draw length, which is adjustable from 15 to 31 inches, is well suited for quick snapshots. Dual Phaze cams and the 7 ½ inch height provide a smooth draw and easy shooting even for a beginner who makes some mistakes. The available fishing package includes a TNT tournament series reel with blue accents & 35 yards of 350 LB test line, Lava Cruz carbon cored arrow, AnKor FX point, Tidal Wave rest, installed String Things, set nock point and instructional DVD.

Specifications

SUITED TO: Intermediate, advanced
MATERIALS: Aluminum risers, fiberglass limbs
WEIGHT: 3.64
BOW LENGTH: 35
BOW HEIGHT: 7.5
PEAK DRAW WEIGHT: 60

PROS

  • A super tough, lightweight design that is easy to maneuver
  • A molded textured grip for secure use when wet
  • One of the most comprehensive accessory packages available

CONS

  • One of the higher-priced bows on the market
  • The 60-pound maximum draw weight can be slightly excessive for most fishing situations

All you have to do is Google “bowfishing bows” to find that there is page after page of options to choose from. Before you can select the correct bow for You, it is important to know what to look for.

What type of fish will you be targeting?

The first question you need to ask yourself is – “what species do I want to target?”. The most common species are various freshwater carp, gar, paddlefish and catfish or rays & shark in saltwater. Each requires bows with different strengths and features so answering this question will help narrow your search.

Make sure you check local regulations as well. Not all states allow the same species to be taken by bow. A good rule of thumb is if a species has a minimum size requirement (length) before it can be harvested, chances are you will not be able to target it with a bow.

Equipment

You do not need a lot of equipment to get started nor do you need the best gear possible. Many anglers get their start by re-purposing a bow they already have, something they had previously used for hunting or target shooting. However, regardless of whether you re-purpose equipment or start from scratch, there are a few items you must have and some features that will improve your success. These items can be purchased separately although many bow manufacturers do offer packages that include the bow and all necessary basic accessories in one ready to fish set up.

Bow

The first thing you need to remember is speed and power are not as important as when selecting a bow for traditional hunting. Land-based hunters can get away with 50, 60 or even 70-pound draw weights because you are only drawing that bow a few times per day, if at all. Plus, a heavier weight is necessary for accurate shots that will penetrate large game at a distance. But when it comes to bowfishing shots, you will be drawing repeatedly throughout the day and your targets will be much smaller & closer. A minimum draw weight of 35 pounds is recommended and 40 to 50 pounds is more than enough for most species.

There are a few options when it comes to the type of bow, each of which has advantages and disadvantages:

  • Recurve – this is the traditional design that most people associate with archery. They are simple to use, allow quick shots and require lower maintenance due to less moving parts. However, they tend to be longer and therefore less maneuverable in tight spaces and require full strength to draw, which limits the draw weight you will be able to handle.
  • Compound – these are easily recognized due to the pulleys, or cams, at the end of each limb. The design allows for let-off which requires less strength to draw high weights, referred to as let-off, and is more compact. The drawback is that the let-off feature makes it difficult to make quick shots before reaching peak draw. Fortunately, a growing number of manufacturers are designing bows that are lower-powered without the let-off specifically for bowfishing.
  • Crossbows – there is a growing number of anglers using crossbows for angling, probably due to their increase in hunting. On the plus side using a crossbow allows you to re-purpose equipment you already have, they are operated similar to a firearm so it can be easier for beginners to master and have more than enough power for any species you might encounter. Some of the drawbacks are that the available power is often far more than needed, they are more difficult to reload between shots and there are a limited number of manufacturers producing fishing accessories for crossbows.

Arrows

The arrows you use for fishing are not the same ones used for hunting. First, they are generally produced from fiberglass to allows multiple uses even after impact and to provide the additional weight needed to travel through water. Secondly, they are longer than traditional arrows. Lastly, they do not have fletchings (i.e. feathers) as this would cause resistance in the water.

Tips

Unlike hunters you are not shooting your prey and tracking it for recovery, you are retrieving it via a line connected to the arrow. This means that rather than a razor-sharp broadhead designed to kill on the impact you will use a tip equipped with barbs that prevent the fish from escaping.

Reel

The reel performs two functions: it holds the line until a shot is made and may assist in retrieving the line (and the fish you have shot). There are three options available:

  • Drum – this is the most basic reel design and while it holds the line until you shoot it does not aid in retrieval. After each shot you will pull in the line by hand, something which can be tiresome and even difficult should you be targeting larger species.
  • Retriever reel – often referred to as a Bottle Reel, this option resembles a plastic water bottle mounted to the side of the bow with a small crank handle at the front. The line is loose in the bottle and upon shooting, plays out quickly, being stopped by a brake lever. The crank allows you to retrieve the line easier than hand over hand and without risk of injury.
  • Spinning reel – this option is almost identical to the closed face spinning reels used for traditional fishing, with a push-button release at the ready and a side-handle. Before the shot, the release button is pushed and when it is time to retrieve the line you simply turn the handle, in the same manner, you would when using a pole. The adjustable drag provides more control and retrieval is faster. However, the design tends to experience more line twists and forgetting to push the release before shooting will cause a misfire and possibly an arrow to come back towards you, which can be dangerous.

Line

The specific type of line used is generally dictated by the reel you select. Drum or retriever reels often allow, and can even demand, the use of larger diameter line. Not only is thinner line harder to re-spool it can cause injury when retrieving in a hand over hand application. Spinning reels almost always use a thinner line as it needs to fit into the closed face’s smaller opening and lay onto the internal reel. Regardless of which type of line you select it will generally be much stronger than that used when targeting the same species with a traditional rod. This larger line is necessary because once you shoot the fish, it is the line alone that absorbs the fight, there is no rod to absorb the shock of a fish that runs, jumps or otherwise attempts to escape.

Accessories

While the bow, reel, arrow plus tips, and line are all that is needed to start catching fish, there are a few additional items you should consider:

Finger protection

Unlike during traditional hunting, you will not be using a release when fishing. The bow is drawn by grasping the string with your fingers, something which can result in fatigue or even injury during a full day of fishing. Many hunters opt to use a finger or shooting tab, wear a glove or install finger tabs onto the string for protection.

Arrow rest

Most bows require a rest on which the arrow lays between shots and during the draw. There are several options available. Which option you choose depends on the bow used as well as personal preference. Use caution when attempting to use a standard arrow rest as many that are designed for traditional hunting will foul the line when fishing, something that can easily result in injury.

1. What is bowfishing?

Bowfishing is a method of fishing that utilizes specialized archery equipment to target fish. Fish are shot with a barbed arrow. The fish is then retrieved via a line that is attached at one end to the arrow and the other to a bow-mounted reel.

2. Will any bow work for bowfishing?

Yes, any bow will work for bowfishing and many beginners get started by re-purposing a bow they already have and use for hunting or target shooting. There are bows specifically designed for bowfishing and using one of these bows will often increase success and provide specific features anglers desire.

3. Can you bowfish with a recurve bow?

Yes, recurve bows are not only very popular with anglers but also well suited for the task.

4. What are some of the regulations surrounding bowfishing?

It is important to review local regulations as they are different from state to state, however, most states have regulations concerning the species of fish you may take with a bow, where you can use archery equipment and the number of fish you can possess. Of course, almost every state will require you to purchase a license as well.

5. What is the best bow for bowfishing?

Our Top Pick is the Cajun Sucker Punch which is recommended due to its all-around quality, dependability, and ease of use.

6. What is the best beginner bow for bowfishing?

The Diamond Infinite Edge is our pick for the best bow for a beginner as it provides a wide range of adjustments to draw weight and draw length, allowing it to be used by beginners of all ages.

7. What is the best cheap bowfishing bow?

The Cajun Fish Stick is an affordable bow that a beginner will not quickly outgrow. As a recurve, it is easy to shoot, and the 45-pound peak draw weight is more than powerful enough for the majority of species you will encounter.

8. What is the best women’s bowfishing bow?

The Cuda X is an excellent choice for female bow anglers as it is lightweight, compact and provides an adjustable draw weight suitable for those with a smaller frame.

9. What is the best fishing arrow?

Although the arrows you choose are as much about personal preference as design – the Muzzy Lighted Carbon Composite Arrow is an excellent choice. The carbon composite material is lighter than fiberglass without sacrificing durability, the bow can be fitted with a variety of tips and the included illuminated nocks are perfect for night fishing.

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

Tom Burrell

Tom is a product expert, a degreed career Conservation Officer, and an avid outdoorsman originally from Northeast Pennsylvania. Tom has spent 23 years as a Conservation Officer, during which time he has fished throughout the Americas. He has targeted some of the most prized fresh and saltwater species using a variety of techniques. His key interests include boating, reading, anything outdoors and spending time with his family. Tom takes unique pride in sharing his love for the outdoors with his young son and teaching him the subtleties of nature.

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