In recent years, we've witnessed an explosion in the popularity of archery. Nearly in lock-step with that meteoric rise is an increased interest in bowfishing. The typically mild conditions, low pressure and target-rich environments of bowfishing all combine to create a great way to pass a few summer hours — and the people have taken notice.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that most of the best places to bowfish are also public and open to everyone, unlike top-notch big game destinations. That ready availability has caught the attention of hordes of bowhunters looking to expand their season, and they've taken to the waters with a fervor never before seen.
Bowfishermen vary greatly in many things, none more marked than equipment choice. Simple souls looking to take their spartan ways on the water may string up a recurve, affix a reel to it and slowly wade a meandering stream in search of finning suckers and carp. Others with a need for the latest-and-greatest might spend major bucks on a tricked out boat fitted with racks of lights, shooting platforms and beefed-up generators.
Either style will do just fine; however, both demand the right gear. If you plan to hit the water in an attempt to skewer a few gar, carp or maybe even rays, consider the following 10 bowfishing products. All are designed to help you achieve your goal of getting slimy while grinning like a madman as you pluck from the waters a few scaly trophies.
AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro
changed the way many of us looked at bowfishing with the release of its original Retriever reels. Today's version of that reel, the Retriever Pro
, is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use, rugged and dependable reel.
The ingenious design of the Retriever Pro gives you the chance to shoot without worrying about pushing any buttons, and allows for quick retrieves due to the way it stacks line in the bottle. Choose either right- or left-handed and rest assured that anything you skewer will come to hand thanks to the fact that each is spooled with 200-pound Dacron line.
Bohning Carp-i-vore Bowfishing Rest
A great bowfishing rest should be full-capture and feature a slick roller, which is exactly what the Carp-i-vore from Bohning
boasts. At only $35, this rest is a steal. Operation is a cinch with its top-load design, interchangeable rollers, left- or right-hand mounting and windage adjustments. If you're going to take the time to set up a bowfishing bow, set it up right with a rest like the Carp-i-vore. After an hour on the water, you'll be happy that you did.
Cajun Bowfishing Hybrid
Most hardcore outdoorsmen wouldn't be caught dead with a hybrid, unless, of course, it was the new Cajun Bowfishing Hybrid Reel
. With its fully ambidextrous, one-handed operation and arrow caddy for secure arrow transport, this is one of the most well-designed bowfishing products I've ever used.
Add in the fact that the Hybrid only tips the scales at 1.2 pounds, and you'll realize why it's a winner
. Feathery light reels like the Hybrid are a rarity, but they are much appreciated by bowfishermen, especially those folks like myself who prefer to use traditional bows.
Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch
If you like the Hybrid Reel but are wondering what bow to affix it to, perhaps you should check out Cajun's 32.25-inch axle-to-axle Sucker Punch
, which comes comes standard with the Hybrid. This bow is designed specifically for bowfishing with its Fishing Biscuit Arrow Rest
, Cajun Blister Buster Finger Pads
and deep cam grooves to prevent accidental derailing. The Sucker Punch weighs 3.2 pounds and accommodates draw lengths from 17 to 31 inches. It also features a 7.25-inch brace height and a peak draw weight of 50 pounds.
450 (Ready to Fish Package)
Innerloc Grapple Points
Anyone who has shot fish long enough has run into a dud of a point. Some dull quickly, some break easily, some require too much work to slide a fish off of the arrow. Others, like the Grapple Points from Innerloc
, address all of those issues and make the choice pretty simple.
Each Grapple Point starts out closed so that it offers a low profile for truer underwater tracking. Once it hits a fish, it opens up into a three-barbed design that will hold tight throughout the fight. Lastly, to remove the arrow, the Grapple Points feature barbs that can fold forward. If you're serious about your time on the water, these are a must-have.
Muzzy Carbon Classic Fish Arrow with Carp-point
Nothing becomes a classic without having earned the praise of enough in-the-know folks, which takes years in the toughest proving grounds. The sheer amount of rough fish skewered with Muzzy's
carbon arrow is a testament to the 'classic' title.
If you're in search of the perfect arrow for 95 percent of bowfishing endeavors then look no further than the Carbon Classic Fish Arrow with Carp-point
. Equipped with a safety slide, tunable nock and a tough-as-nails point, this is my go-to arrow for nearly every one of my bowfishing adventures.
Muzzy Xtreme Duty Bowfishing Reel
There are bowfishing reels on the market that wear price tags scary enough to drive away potential bowfishermen. However, the Muzzy Xtreme Duty Bowfishing Reel
isn't one of them with its workingman cost of only $55.
Featuring a stainless steel foot, all steel and brass drive system, extra large spool and easy to use push-button design, this is a no-brainer for anyone looking to tackle carp, buff or much bigger prey. The Extreme Duty Bowfishing Reel is designed to be spooled with either 150- or 200-pound line
PSE Archery Tidal Wave
produces some of the best bows on the planet. While much of the focus is on flagship bows, they've also got some under-the-radar offerings that are pretty cool. Case-in-point is the new Tidal Wave
, which is a fish-killing machine (literally).
Featuring a 6-inch brace height, draw lengths up to 30 inches, a mass weight of only 3.3 pounds, an axle-to-axle measurement of 32 inches and a peak draw weight of 40 pounds, this is definitely not your grandpa's bowfishing rig.
Rinehart Targets Carp
This product isn't for the casual bowfishermen. If you're a diehard, can't-sleep-because-of-the-thoughts-of-rolling-carp kind of person, then you are the target market for the Rinehart Carp
. Known for long-lasting, ultra-realistic targets, Rinehart has the bowfishing crowd covered with this 37-inch-long target sized similar to a 50-pound behemoth carp. If you've got the itch to hone your shooting skills on a real-life fish target, this is it.
RPM Bowfishing NOS Point
NOS stands for Nasty On Scales, which is exactly what this RPM Bowfishing
point is. Designed with twin serrated gripper barbs and dual friction rings, this is the perfect point for everything from suckers to gator gar. At only $10 apiece, it's a no-brainer to outfit your arrows with the NOS Points
. They also feature a hardened bullet tip for penetrating tough-as-nails fish scales.