Year after year the interest in bowfishing grows. I mean, what better way for you to practice your hunting form when you are not able to be out in the woods? The good thing for you, is that if you have a compound, or a recurve bow already, you can add a few parts to your bow and you will be good to go. The manufacturers of the bowfishing accessories have made most of their items compatible with standard pre-fabricated holes on your riser. The following, quick bullet list will cover the items that you would need to hit the ground (or boat) running.
- A durable and dependable reel
- A bow–if you don’t have one already
- An arrow rest
- Bowfishing points
- Bowfishing arrows
I have to start with the reel, because you do not want to skimp on one of the most important pieces of your bowfishing gear. The reel can make or break your trip if it fails. This is why I suggest getting something like the AMS Retriever Reel Pro. This is great if you are just starting out because there are no buttons that you would have to push to take the shot. Once you are more experienced, you can get a standard fishing reel to mimic this same effect. Fishing line that is anywhere from 80 pounds to 150 pounds is optimal to have in your reel.
The archery bow should be a no-brainer. If you are interested in shooting in bowfishing tournaments, then it is best option for you is to get a dedicated bowfishing-rig. Most of the options that are on the market are going to have a blue finish on them. There are offerings out there from many manufacturers but I like the selections from Darton, Parker, Cajun, and PSE. In my opinion, they offer the best “bang for your buck.” Keep the poundage and the let-off in mind when making your selection.
The arrow rest is the easiest choice on this list. You can get a brush rest, like the whisker biscuit, or you can get a twister arrow rest. The only thing that you need to be aware of, is that the arrows for bowfishing are on the heavier end, so durability is key. Plastic is okay, but aluminum or steel is preferred given the weight of the arrows.
Bowfishing points should stay locked in place. One of the biggest issues that I used to have when I would head out to the water is that my points would come loose fairly easily. When purchasing, always ask questions to make certain that the points that you choose will stand up to the abuse that you will be putting them through. I have found that tempered stainless steel is a good option. Double check the size of your shafts so that you know the point will work. You also want to check the barbs; Once you shoot the fish, you don’t want it to get away because of flimsy hooks.
When you get your arrows, you want to make sure that you get something that is going to have high visibility. These are different from archery bow arrows. That is one reason why these arrows are white. These arrows are going to be longer than most–the arrows that I use are 33-34”. This is why you need to take into account the arrow rest that you have chosen. Whatever arrow you get, I suggest that you do not cut them down. The heavier the arrow is, the better. This will allow it to get through the water much more effectively.
Getting your bow setup can seem like a daunting task, but I assure you that it is not. If you know what you should be looking for, then it will be a breeze. As I mentioned earlier, you can transform most of your old [or current] bows into bowfishing bows in no time. If you are looking to take on this sport, then I would suggest that you get a dedicated setup. The reason for this is that you are going to have to continually change and tune the archery accessories that are on your bow before each outing. This could end up being a hassle.