In collaboration with our SCHEELS Omaha Archery Shop Manager, Brett Moderow.
With new technology and equipment in the archery industry, more people are able to enjoy bowfishing than ever before. Lighter, stronger bows allow lower poundage shooters to participate in the sport. Retriever kits and efficient arrows allow shooters of all styles to use their preferred bow of choice while hunting legal fish during the day and night. We partnered with one of our archery shop managers, Brett Moderow from Omaha, Nebraska, to bring you some great insight on different types of bows and kits that are available today.
Traditional bows are a great place to get started for shooting small to medium sized fish. The traditional style of bows consist of recurve and long bows. Typically, these bows lack the kinetic energy to get good penetration on big and deeper fish, resulting in lost fish. Traditional bows are lightweight, allowing the shooter to shoot all day and night without feeling fatigue. One of the disadvantages of a traditional bow is they tend to stack up through the draw cycle. The bow may not be tapped for installing accessories, in that case AMS makes a traditional mount which attaches to the riser with a piece of rubber that resembles a bungee cord.
Simply attach a reel to any compound bow and you are ready to hit the water. Although I do not recommend bowfishing with a deer hunting setup, many people do. The reasoning behind this is trying to get the “fish” smell off of a bow is almost impossible, which is not ideal for a deer hunting bow. Another reason I advise against this is the draw weight. The optimum poundage for bowfishing is 40-50 pounds. You can not snap shoot with a compound that has let off, meaning you have to complete the entire draw cycle before releasing.
Constant draw compound bows are geared towards bowfishing. They do not have a traditional let off, like most compounds. This allows you the ability to snap shoot. Typically these bows have a draw weight range of 30-40 or 40-50 pounds, making them the perfect bowfishing bow. If you consider yourself a die hard bowfisherman, you will want a Lever Bow (Oneida Osprey). Lever bows have let off at the end of the draw cycle, but still allow you to snap shoot. Stacked up poundage for poundage, lever bows shoot much harder than any compound or traditional bow. This allows the shooter to shoot less poundage, but still get the energy needed to get good penetration on big or deeper fish.
The AMS retriever kit comes with all the accessories needed to start bowfishing. The reel is the most user friendly reel available. Just apply pressure to the trigger to engage the top drive wheel and start reeling line in. The tidal wave rest is a well built full containment style rest. This ensures the arrow will always stay inside the rest, even when swinging on spooked fish. This kit comes with 2 fiberglass arrows tipped with AMS Chaos points. The Chaos is a great all around point with good holding power. From shooting bigheads and silvers in the Midwest river systems to shooting alligator gar in Texas or Louisiana, the Chaos point will suit the majority of your needs.
Muzzy also offers a bowfishing kit with everything included. In my opinion, the Muzzy XD spincast reel is one of the best reels built for bowfishing. Unlike the AMS retriever, the muzzy has a drag system allowing you to physically fight the fish. With this reel you can also reel in almost twice as fast over the retriever reel. This is a huge benefit if the action is hot and heavy.
For more information see your local SCHEELS archery expert or leave a comment below!
Brett Moderow with his Texas alligator gar.