How to choose a bow for bowfishing.

Choice of a bow for bowfishing first of all depends on the amount of your wealth and a wish to spend it on bowfishing. So all kinds of bows from recurve to compound bows can be used for bowfishing. Considering that there is no need for a big draw weight and accuracy of shooting bows with low draw weight or special bows are mainly used. Though bowfishing equipment can be mounted on any bow.

Bowfishing — Bowfishing and bows for fishing. How to choose a bow for fishing. 
One of the most sought-for models of compound bows from the NAME 1 family in 2014 was NAME bow. Its popularity can be explained with its universality and the fact that it can be purchased for a rather little price. Adaptive bow NAME 1 is rather simple in adjustment which makes it easy to adjust according to the preferences of each archer, from a teenager or a young girl to an adult shooter. All settings can be easily done without the use of any additional equipment. Bowfishing fans have also done justice to the NAME thanks to the possibility to use partial execution mode while shooting the fish.

A compound bow NAME 1 became one more blockbuster among low-cost bows in 2015. It is of the same class as the NAME, which is sold for the same price and is successfully used for bowfishing.

bowSpecific aspect of aiming in bowfishing.

Standard aiming scheme doesn’t help in bowfishing because objects in water appear to be bigger, closer and higher than they actually are due to the refraction index 1:1,33. Error depends on depth of the object immersion and attack angle of the flying arrow towards the water surface.
To increase aiming accuracy a laseraim is used. For better shooting accuracy you should use central reels with a fixture instead of a stabilizer to prevent harpoon from going sideways.
You always should aim lower than the visible target location however you can calculate vertical deviation of the harpoon flight caused by the lagging of the unspinning halyard.

A Plastic kayak is an ideal vessel for individual bowfishing on transparent water.


Adjustment fire is performed on sunken plastic bottles, which are tied with the cord by the necks to the weight eye. The weight is lowered to the river bed in the place chosen for adjustment fire.   Depth of the bottles is adjusted by veering or pulling of the halyard tied to the bottles’ necks.

Correction value is impossible to predict exactly as shooting with wet and dry halyard differs by the value of deflection error and vertical deviation, which in turn depend on the following: extent of harpoon pike rebound from the water, how your harpoon is fixed to the halyard (near the pike or it has a slider), how smooth goes the end-stopper through the shelf if you use an end stopper and a pilled shelf of the sponge type.

If it is not prohibited in particular case, highlighting is better be done with the halogen sidelights and not with those on the bow or crossbow. Otherwise you would get an effect of “headlights in a fog” and your field of view would be flashed with light. That’s why the main light should go from a side. Usually it is fixed on a vessel. Light spectrum for muddy water should be maximally suitable for water containing suspended matter. It means it should not be red or reddish, but always mostly yellow, green or blue is even better. This is also true for the color of the laseraim on your laser designator.                   

Specifics of choosing fitting accessories for bowfishing. There are two types of reel for bowfishing: plastic and metallic. Plastic reels are cheaper and metallic ones are more expensive. There are also two types of fixing systems for bowfishing reels: in place of side tang including the quiver or in place or on top of stabilizer. Central position achieved by the second type is preferable as it eliminates deflection error, especially in case of wet halyard.Central reels for bowfishing by Muzzy with fixing system using bracket instead of a stabilizer can be of various types and sizes depending on the size of expected game.

bow10Price for metallic reel for bowfishing varies in shops about 100-150$ and is 90$ on However most of the simple low-cost spinning reels would do for bowfishing. You just need to mount them on a stabilizer the same way they are mounted on a spinning and use shorter and more durable fishing line (a piece of cord for flyfishing). Thread front end of cord through the wide ring, fixed to the very end of the same stabilizer.

Using the most primitive kits and DIY versions means you would need to coil the cord upon the fixed spool placed sideways or mount an expendable reel with rough woven thread for industrial use. You will haul the harpoon in for each shot and cut the wet part of the thread, or fake it down on the vessel’s forecastle to be used for next shot.Rapid aiming hardware system for a compound bow: a collimator, a laser designator and a spot-light.

However, manufactured kits for bowfishing will always be more effective than the makeshift ones, though they are more expensive. Of cause using makeshift kits for hunting any serious game (like a crocodile) is inadmissible. Besides the manufactured kits have special mark buoy, which follows the struck object. It is attached to a separate suspension at shooting, especially when used with a crossbow.                       
As distances for bowfishing are minimal and your angle of sight should be maximal so a hardware system containing a collimator, a laser designator and a light would be an ideal modern solution.                                                     

However considering small distances, an intuitive shooting and an ordinary recurve bow might prove to be no less successful than a compound one equipped with full hardware system with a laser designator and a collimator. Besides, an ordinary bow would make fishing on an artificial pond much more interesting.

Specifics of fish behavior and bowfishing dangers. Fish goes to the light and, naturally this happens at night. That’s why night bowfishing with a lights ramp is the main type of bowfishing in muddy water. It goes without saying that in America where the Asian jumping carp has taken over all water reservoirs, night bowfishing is highly welcome, even in the most harsh form as elimination of this fish became an essential agricultural task.

From the point of view of hunting and fishing ethics, however, fish can be near the muddy water surface only in case of mass fish mortality, illness or spawning. None of this conditions makes harvesting fish moral or ethical.                              It is especially dangerous to catch a dying fish, as it’s neurological system is affected by neuro-tapeworms, making the fish surface and trace around as it loses orientation. Similar effect can be found in fish with air bladder damage and some other cases.

A reverse picture can be found in northern and trans-Ural fast rivers and streams: fast and clear water, perfectly visible fish standing in quite spots behind the rifts – an ideal situation for bowfishing if you don’t mind fast, deep water and extremely fast thin fish. Ideal conditions for catching an admirable game. Alas, it is absolutely illegal. However there is an exemption: it’s O.K. if you hold a traditional bow and is there with the rights of a native population, performing traditional fishing.

So if you are officially considered a part of a native population and have corresponding authorization for traditional hunting and fishing activities, bowfishing with a traditional bow would be hardly prohibited for you.