May 20, 2015
By Tony J. Peterson
I thought that by now we would have seen the high-water mark as far as bowfishing enthusiasm is concerned. We've been riding a wave higher and higher each year and while that's not uncommon in the bowfishing, it always ends and interest subsides some.
This, just like the current bull run up in the stock market, seems to be endless or at least destined to carry on further than conventional wisdom would suggest.
For bowfishermen, that is a good thing. It has also been a boon for manufacturers, who have responded to the growing customer base by producing better bowfishing products. Gone are the limited arrow, real and point choices. Thank God. I grew up bowfishing with a drum real and cheap arrows, and both made entrance and longevity into the sport tough to stomach.
Today's bowfishermen is afforded options we could have only dreamt of them, and that is going to help us keep growing and retaining numbers. And, it's going to help all of us take something that is a lot of fun to begin with, and still wring more enjoyment out of it.
So unless you've got gills and big, rough scales, everyone wins with these new additions to the market.
Following are 10 must-have bowfishing products.
AMS Bowfishing | Retriever Pro
The folks at AMS changed the way all of us looked at bowfishing reels when they unleashed the original Retriever. The latest, the Retriever Pro
, is even better and provides fast shooting without the clumsiness associated with many reels.
Due to its unique design, the Retriever Pro (available in right- and left-handed options) is perfect for beginners because it requires no buttons to push while shooting and if you can turn a handle, you can retrieve your arrow. It's that simple, and having used one for years and years, I can say that they are pretty damn durable too.
Barnett | Vortex H2O Bowfishing Kit
With adjustable draw lengths, and adjustable draw weights of 31 to 45 pounds, the Vortex H2O Bowfishing Kit from Barnett
will fit just about any aspiring bowfisher.
This right-hand-only bow is designed with 60- to 70-percent letoff, and includes both a three-pin sight and a rest. Fully decked out with accessories, the Vortex weighs in at only 3.4 pounds and measures a full 28 inches between axles.
Bohning | Bohning Aqua Reel (B.A.R.)
Bohning is most well known for their vanes and fletching jigs, but they've also got some pretty cool bowfishing products in their stable. The newest is the Bohning Aqua Reel (B.A.R.)
, which uses a spinning reel to allow for quick, easy shooting. Simply adjust the drag to the desired setting, flip the bail, and fire away. Each B.A.R. comes spooled with 50 yards of 80-pound test line. Lastly, the B.A.R. is reversible, meaning you can mount it for either right- or left-handed shooters.
Cabela's Riptide Bowfishing Point
One of the things that cheap, poorly designed bowfishing points do is work loose fairly easily. That's why the Riptide from Cabela's
is designed with the Hydro-Lok retainer bushing to prevent it from backing out.
The one-piece stainless steel construction of the Riptide ensures that this head can withstand serious abuse, like the kind doled out during a spring redhorse sucker shoot in six-inch-deep rapids. To dump your catch in the barrel and keep shooting, the Riptide's barbs can quickly be reversed.
Cajun | Bowfishing Sucker Punch
I'm primarily a recurve shooter when it comes to fish, but I have started to take along a Sucker Punch from Cajun Archery
simply because I enjoy shooting it so much. The 3.2-pound Sucker Punch, is a smooth drawing bow that features a 60-percent letoff. Pick up the Ready To Fish Package, and your Sucker Punch will come with a Fishing Biscuit rest, a Cajun Hybrid reel, a couple of Piranha arrows, and Blister Buster Finger Pads. Or in other words, everything you need to go send a bunch of carp to the carp promised land, er, sea?
Easton | Bubba Buoy
Try to say Bubba Buoy
and not sound at least a little bit excited. That's right you can't. This might be due to simple alliteration, or it might be because Easton is now producing a bowfishing arrow.
The Bubba Buoy is a high-visibility, fiberglass arrow that boasts and AMS safety slide and Chaos double-barbed steel point. Each Made-in-the-USA Bubba Buoy is designed with the heat-treated Cyclone tip and since it's an Easton arrow, you know it will shoot straight.
Innerloc | 3-Barb Grapple Point
Whether you shoot 5/16- or 22/64-inch shafts, you can shoot the 3-Barb Grapple Point from Innerloc Broadheads
. This may be my favorite fish point simply because it's made from heat-tempered stainless steel and features an anti-vibration tip. In other words, it's durable and rock-solid.
With the three barbs extended after the shot, most fish have a pretty hard time releasing themselves back into the water before they make it into the boat, which is always desirable.
Muzzy | XD Pro Spin Style Reel
One of the most embarrassing things about a lot of the bowfishing reels out there is that you have no visual indicator to tell you whether you're good to shoot, or are going to draw the arrow four inches and watch it plop into the water.
The XD Pro Spin Style Reel from Muzzy
will save you from those moments thanks to the visual indicator, and since it's a Muzzy you can rest assured that it operates easily via a switch activation system. It also mounts easily due to the integrated mounting system, and is pre-spooled with 50 yards of 150-pound test line.
I shot an XD recently in Texas and am now waiting patiently for a new one to show up so I can wreak havoc on carp and dogfish close to my Minnesota home.
PSE Archery | Tidal Wave
Finished in Reaper camouflage, the Tidal Wave from PSE Archery
is ideal for anyone looking to shoot a few back-pond roughs or take things to the next level with some alligator gar or stingrays.
A full 30 inches of draw length are available on this bow, that maxes out at 40 pounds of draw weight. Measuring 32 inches between axles, this is a great option for newbies and veterans alike to take the best advantage of their time on the water.
RPM Bowfishing | NOS Point
Owning one of the most comprehensive lineups of bowfishing points is RPM Bowfishing
, and its NOS Point
is a good choice for just about any type of fish you plan to target. This is because the NOS owns a hardened bullet tip and twin-serrated gripper barbs to ensure your catch doesn't slip away into the depths.
Lastly, the NOS utilizes dual friction rings for tight attachment, and allows for easy release with a three-twist design. If you've never used a NOS or other RPM point, consider it this summer - you won't regret it.