The Best Bowfishing Kits
When you say fishing, most people will think of rods and reels, worms and crickets, and maybe a fly rod or ice fishing hole. For the most part bowfishing is still a relatively undiscovered sport. It requires specialized equipment and enough motivation to stay up through the night, so it’s not for the faint of heart!
But it’s an addictive hobby. Once you’ve started bowfishing, you’re not likely to turn back. Standing right over quickly moving fish and lining up a perfect shot through muddy water offers an adrenaline rush unmatched by other fishing methods.
The most important piece of equipment for bowfishing, of course, is the bow! Fishing bows are available as compound or recurve bows, and will almost always be lightweight bows.
You can’t use the same bow for bowfishing that you use for deer hunting—the draw weight would be much too high and the frame too large.
For bowfishing, a bow with a youth-size frame and a draw weight under 30 pounds is best. This allows for easy nocking of arrows and allows you to manipulate the bow for longer periods of time and more shots without tiring out. Fishing bows, obviously, also need a reel mounted on the frame. The arrows have line that runs back to the bow so that the fish can be reeled in and the arrow retrieved.
An even better choice than retrofitting a traditional compound bow is purchasing a bow specifically made for bowfishing. There are many options on the market. Some of the brands that dominate the compound bow market are also the best fishing bows, like PSE (Precision Shooting Equipment). There are also other manufacturers, like Martin, that specialize in fishing bows.
Check out our top 5 recommendations (more info on AMAZON) here:
PSE offers their Kingfisher bow as a kit. This is a great option for getting into bowfishing. The bow is available with a thirty, forty, or forty-five pound draw weight. The thirty pound draw weight will be about right for most anglers.
The heavier options might be appropriate for very large carp or catfish, or for rough or deep water. This is a recurve bow, which means it will be great for launching shot after shot without getting tired.
The package comes with a Snapshot arrow rest and a front-mounting reel with fifty feet of eighty pound line. These accessories are standard for bowfishing. The arrow rest will always be designed specifically for fletch-less arrows, and fishing bows require fairly heavy line.
The Arrow Precision Frenzy kit brings a very low sticker price to a very solid fishing bow. The kit does not include many accessories, though.
The bow has a roller rest, which is a more primitive rest that can allow the arrow to slide off. The Frenzy comes with a spool, not a reel. This means you pull the fish in by hand, simply grabbing the heavy line with your hands and wrapping it around the spool as you pull the fish closer and closer.
This primitive system is certainly reliable but requires more work and is generally not preferred over reel systems. The Frenzy is a stout bow, with forty to forty-five pound draw weight and a non-adjustable thirty-one inch draw length.
For any real success in bowfishing you need specialized equipment. In most states bowfishing is a nighttime activity by law. Therefore, most bowfishing boats have huge lights mounted all over. In turn, those lights require more than a normal boat battery (or two or three) can provide, meaning these intrepid anglers have to haul a generator on board.
To make things even more difficult, bowfishing can really only be accomplished in relatively shallow water because you have to be able to see the fish you’re shooting at. To that end, many bowfishing boats have shallow-drive outboards or mud motors.
The PSE Tidal Wave bow package represents the more common equipment found in bowfishing today. The Tidal Wave is a compound bow with adjustable draw weight, from twenty-seven to forty pounds. The draw length can also be adjusted up to thirty inches, making this bow a good choice for a bowhunter who has some growing left to do.
It’s also a great bow to have for friends to come along because you can adjust the bow to whoever happens to be using it. The entire frame is 32” long, making the bow small enough to be easily maneuvered and stored out of the way on your boat.
Included as well is a front-mounting reel, two arrows with bowfishing points, a Snapshot arrow rest, two finger slides, and eighty-pound line. The entire package comes in at under four pounds, making for a nice, lightweight bow.
Despite being a little obscure in the angling world, there is no shortage of quality bowfishing equipment to choose from. From the more traditional recurves to cutting-edge compound bow technology, top name brands offer a wide range of fishing bows for anglers of all ages and budgets.