Bowfishing has become quite popular for a few reasons. First of all, it extends the hunting season. Hunting seasons are in the fall but with bowfishing, you can start as soon as it is warm enough in the spring. Even during the hunting season, in many places you are only allowed to hunt between certain hours, such as a half hour before sunrise to sundown. There is no such limit for bowfishing. You only need proper lighting to hunt fish with a bow all day.
In addition, bowfishing is full of action. A bowfisher does not sit around and wait like a hunter or a fisherman, he or she gets to fire the bow hundreds of times in a hunt, if that’s what it takes. While it’s true that bowfishing is limited to bottom-feeding fish in shallower waters, the adrenaline rush from bowfishing is instantly gratifying, compared to a fisherman having to reel the live fish in, for example.
Finally, bowfishing equipment is affordable. You are not looking to hit targets many yards away so you won’t need an expensive compound bow with immense draw weight. In fact, the draw weight has to be low so that the arrow wouldn’t tear up the fish. All you need is a hardy recurve bow equipped with an arrow stop and a bowfishing reel and line. The whole setup costs a fraction of popular compound bows and crossbows used for hunting. Here are the ones that are as good as it gets.
As the name suggests, the Kingfisher by PSE Archery is designed with bowfishing in mind. It is a 62” recurve bow. 62” might sound long but it’s really not that big in the hands of an adult. The frame of a recurve bow is a 3-piece design with the riser and upper and lower limbs. The curved limbs can store more energy so the recurve bow doesn’t have to be as long as a traditional longbow. With the help of a bow stringer, the Kingfisher is very easy to assemble.
This is a complete bowfishing kit that includes the Kingfisher, a front-mounted reel, 50ft of 80lb line, and a 31” solid fiberglass arrow. The bow comes with the PSE Snap Shot arrow rest, which is a high-quality piece with aluminum and stainless steel parts. You need arrow rest to use an arrow that’s attached to a reel, and a good arrow rest can make a difference in bowfishing.
The solid fiberglass arrow is heavy so it doesn’t fly far but it keeps its trajectory well in water. Experienced bowfishers would tell you to aim low because of light refraction as the light travels from the denser water to air and to your eyes. This is why the best shots are when the fish is swimming away from you. Then you can aim at the target and still hit it.
The Kingfisher has a 45lb draw weight. It is durable and easy to wield and fire. The all-season camo finish is expertly applied. We find the 45lb draw weight to be perfect for the arrow to penetrate the fish without smashing it. In bowfishing, this bow is deadly at up to 30 yards out.
This bow is right-handed only. PSE does not offer a left-handed configuration.
The Samick Sage is the champ of all affordable recurve bows, which gives us an idea. Why not use it for bowfishing?
This proved to be an awesome bowfishing bow. The build quality is incredible for the price. We love the beautiful contrast of the hard maple riser and the maple/black fiberglass limbs. It is durable and can withstand repeated firing. The pull is clean and confidence-inspiring. The Samick Sage is a great bowfishing bow for both beginners and seasoned bowfishers.
This bow comes in a range of draw weight from 25 to 60lb (in 5lb increment). For bowfishing, we recommend 40 to 50lb. It is a takedown bow which means the limbs can be upgraded. We think the Samick Sage is great for bowfishing as is, but if you wish so in the future, you can buy new limbs to change the draw weight or upgrade the bow to a higher end Samick recurve bow.
This 62” bow comes with an arrow rest. It is not a bowfishing kit so you’ll have to purchase the reel, line and arrow separately. Southwest Archery makes a very good bowfishing accessory kit that works well with the Samick Sage.
We feel that compound bows are a bit overkill for use in bowfishing, but not if we’re able to find a great deal on one!
The Barnett Vortex H20 is just the one. Barnett is a top bow manufacturer and they designed this bow with the youth market in mind. The draw is easy and straightforward for youngsters. Its draw weight is adjustable from 31 to 45lb, which is just perfect for bowfishing. The draw length is also adjustable from 26.625 to 28”. For adults, you’d want to keep it at 28”.
The secret is out and there are many sporting goods stores that sell the Barnett Vortex H20 with a bowfishing kit. If you buy this bow, you’ll have to add a bowfishing accessory kit for compound bows. You might want to upgrade the arrow rest as well.
This bow is lightweight for a compound bow at just 2.3lb. The high-quality aluminum riser can withstand a flurry of activity. The Vortex H20 arrives ready for action – assembled and factory-tuned. At 45lb draw weight, our solid fiberglass bowfishing arrow flies off this bow at close to 180 fps.
Not only is the Barnett Vortex H20 available at an unbeatable price, it is also a top performer in bowfishing.
If it is important for you to buy a bow that comes with everything you need to go bowfishing, go for the PSE Kingfisher bowfishing kit. The aptly named Kingfisher is extremely durable and easy to aim and fire downward. It is however only available in right-handed configuration.
On the other hand, the Samick Sage is available right-handed or left-handed. You can also use this top-rated recurve bow for other purposes besides bowfishing, and the takedown design makes it upgradeable to meet future needs.
The best bowfishing bow is the Barnett Vortex H2O. It is a compound bow from a top bow maker. The dual cams insure a smooth draw. You can hunt big fish with this powerful bow. Not that it’s needed for bowfishing, but we love the beautiful Mossy Oak finish on the Vortex H20. It comes fully assembled and the holder also doubles as a carrying case.