Best Bows for Bowfishing: Top 5 of 2021 Tested & Reviewed

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner
“The Shore Runner gives you the power to tune the bow to your specifications without needing help or a bow press, allowing changes on the fly. Ideal for for beginners and veterans alike”

Best Recurve Option: AMS Bowfishing Water Moc
“The Water Moc is built for life on the water and fits everything you’ll need to bag a trophy. It comes with an AMS Retriever TNT reel, which is corrosion-resistant and high-quality.

Best Budget Option: Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow
“The Muzzy Bow is mounted with a reel that is already spooled with the line, a fishing arrow, a reel seat, rest, and integral finger guards. It’s a reliable, ready-to-fish option for those on the budget.”

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Bowfishing is one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports in America. With a massive variety of species to target across the country, the faster-paced style of fishing brings hunting and fishing together to create an exciting and rewarding outdoor experience. To get the most out of it, though, using the right bow is vital.

You’ll usually want a bow that’s already set up for bowfishing, as there are a few different aspects to bowfishing bows than hunting bows. You’ll need proper draw weight, strings, reel mounts, and special arrows to be set up for bowfishing.

There are many ways to get into bowfishing, from converting a hunting bow to buying a specially designed package. We’ve put this list together to help you find the best and easiest options to get started on your bowfishing adventures.

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What Is The Best Bowfishing Bow?

Top 5 Bowfishing Bows

Best Overall

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner Ext Compound Bowfishing Bow Ready to Fish Kit with Brush Fire Arrow Rest, Bowfishing Bottle Reel, Blister Buster Finger Pads, Fiberglass Arrow, Red, One Size

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner

Easy tuning without a bow press

Comes in a Ready-To-Fish package

Best Premium

Onieda Eagle Osprey Bow RH

Oneida Eagle Osprey

Most-used by tournament anglers

Original Lever-action bow

Best Budget

Muzzy Bowfishing LV-X Kit Powered by Oneida (8005) - Includes XD Pro Push-Button Reel, Integrated Reel Seat, Pre-spooled Test Line, Mantis II Arrow Rest, White Fish Arrow with Carp Point & Nock

Muzzy LV-X

Pre-spooled with 150-pound line

Adjustable let off between 0% and 60%

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Fail-proof Reel Design

Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii Compound Bowfishing Bow Kit (GC Camo Cajun Winch Pro Package)

Southland Archery SAS Scorpii

A decent, low-cost option for entry-level bow anglers

Complete kit, no accessories needed

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Best Recurve

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit - Right Hand

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc

Fully sealed limbs

Smooth, 45-pound draw

Best Bowfishing Bows In 2021

  1. Best Overall: Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner
  2. Best Premium: Oneida Eagle Osprey
  3. Best Budget: Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow
  4. Fail-proof Reel Design: Southland Archery SAS Scorpii
  5. Best Recurve: AMS Bowfishing Water Moc

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner

Best Overall Bowfishing Bow: While generally targeted for beginners, the reliable bow is an excellent choice for any angler.

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner Ext Compound Bowfishing Bow Ready to Fish Kit with Brush Fire Arrow Rest, Bowfishing Bottle Reel, Blister Buster Finger Pads, Fiberglass Arrow, Red, One Size
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KEY FEATURES

  • Easy tuning without a bow press
  • Comes in a Ready-To-Fish package
  • Great for beginners but a reliable option for anyone

The Shore Runner from Bear Archery is an incredibly reliable and easy-to-use bow. An excellent choice for beginners and veterans alike, it gives you the power to tune the bow to your specifications without needing help or a bow press, allowing changes on the fly. Coming in a ready-to-fish package, it’s a great option for any angler that gets them on the water quickly.

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Feature Breakdown 

This best bowfishing bow comes with a reel, rest, an arrow, and finger pads, meaning all you need to get started fishing is your choice of line. The bow is well put together and reliably durable, making it a great entry-level option that will last you a long time. 

It has deep-grooved cams that help avoid any string derails, a constant draw ranging from 15-45 pounds, and can be adjusted by hand without a bow press. You can adjust the draw length out to 29 inches, and it is excellent for bow patient or snapshot shooting styles.

Oneida Eagle Osprey

Best Premium Bowfishing Bow: The true embodiment of the phrase “you get what you pay for”.

Onieda Eagle Osprey Bow RH
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KEY FEATURES

  • American made and assembled
  • Most-used by tournament anglers
  • Original lever-action bow

Oneida was the first to pioneer the lever-action fishing bow and has constantly improved it over the years. If you want the highest quality bow, trusted by professionals and made in America with quality parts and materials, this is the bowfishing bow for you. It’s absolutely the best bow money can buy, but its high price tag makes it less accessible to anglers looking to get into the sport. 

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Feature Breakdown 

The bow has a smooth, constant draw that’s perfect for snapshots and bowfishing in general. The overall bow is lightweight and feels like a recurve while still delivering the power of a compound bow. 

It has a magnesium riser, and all the bowfishing bow components are corrosion-resistant and made from high-quality materials. The design does a great job absorbing recoil, giving you an accurate and smooth shot every time.

Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow

Best Budget Bowfishing Bow: A reliable, ready-to-fish option that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Muzzy Bowfishing LV-X Kit Powered by Oneida (8005) - Includes XD Pro Push-Button Reel, Integrated Reel Seat, Pre-spooled Test Line, Mantis II Arrow Rest, White Fish Arrow with Carp Point & Nock
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KEY FEATURES

  • Pre-spooled with 150-pound line
  • Adjustable let off between 0% and 60%
  • 40 years of brand recognition in the archery community

If you want a high-quality lever-action bow, you can rely on but balk at the price of the Eagle Osprey, then the Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow is the best option for you. Coming ready to fish right out of the box, you won’t be disappointed in the quality and performance of the bow, making it an excellent choice for any angler.

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Feature Breakdown 

The bowfishing bow comes ready to fish, meaning the bow has a mounted reel that is already spooled with the line, a fishing arrow, a reel seat, rest, and integral finger guards. So, aside from adjusting draw weight, let off, and draw length, you could open the box and begin shooting.

The bowfishing bow can go from 0 to 60% let-off, depending on your personal preference when it comes to adjustments. It can also fit a wide range of shooters, with an adjustable draw weight between 25 and 50 pounds and a draw length between 25 and 29 inches.

Southland Archery SAS Scorpii

Bowfishing Bow With Fail-proof Reel Design: A great bow company has integrated fail-proof reel designs into their already quality products.

Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii Compound Bowfishing Bow Kit (GC Camo Cajun Winch Pro Package)
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KEY FEATURES

  • A decent, low-cost option for entry-level bow anglers
  • Comes in the kit, pro kit, and bare options
  • Complete kit, no accessories needed

The Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii is their take on a bowfishing bow. Essentially it’s their hunting bow that’s been integrated with bowfishing reels, rests, strings, and accessories. For anglers more familiar with bow hunting, this is a great option to start bowfishing and a reasonably-priced option for anyone.

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Feature Breakdown 

The bowfishing bow comes in a kit with a mounted reel, line bottle, and a solid fishing arrow. You can also get the bow bare and add your accessories if you choose, or a pro kit that comes with an additional stabilizer.

This best bowfishing bow features a large range in draw length, from 19 to 29 inches, and a draw weight ranging between 30 and 55 pounds. With an axle-to-axle length of 32 inches, it’s a solid size to provide the power needed for hunting and fishing.

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc

Best Recurve Bowfishing Bow: Compound bows aren’t for everyone, and for archers preferring a recurve bow, the Water Moc Recurve is an excellent choice.

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit - Right Hand
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KEY FEATURES

  • Fully sealed limbs
  • Smooth, 45-pound draw
  • Proprietary, powerful reel

If a recurve bow is what you’re in the market for, you can’t go wrong with the AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve. AMS was the first company that specialized in the bowfishing market, and it shows in the bow’s design. The bowfishing bow is built for life on the water and fits everything you’ll need to bag a trophy.

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Feature Breakdown 

The bowfishing bow has a smooth 45-pound draw out to 28 inches. It comes with their AMS Retriever TNT reel, which is both corrosion resistant and a high-quality reel. The kit also includes finger rests, arrow rests, and a strong fiberglass arrow.


Questions & Answers

Can I use any bow for bowfishing?

For the most part, yes. Any hunting bow can be fit for bowfishing, though if you’re one of the few who have super-heavy draw weights, you’ll probably want to tune it down. The most significant difference between a hunting or target bow and a fishing bow is the accessories and the arrows.

A bowfishing bow will need a mounted reel that won’t come off under the pressure of reeling in a fish. You’ll also typically use a different rest style, have a lower pull weight, and not always want a let-off point if you plan on snap-shotting fish.

You’re also going to be using different arrows. Fishing arrows have different points and are usually longer. Be sure always to check the arrows you use for their intended draw weights, as they can shatter under too much force and cause serious injury.

What type of fish can I bowfish?

You can usually bowfish for “trash” fish, invasive species, and unregulated species. Almost always, stay away from shooting game fish. Eels, stingrays, carp, catfish, perch, and suckers are all popular targets. In some locations, you can shoot flounder and other shallow bottom fish as well. Before going out, check your local wildlife management websites’ regulations on different species so you don’t hit anything you shouldn’t be.

Are compound bows or recurves better for bow fishing?

Neither is better than the other. Recurve bows are a bit more challenging thanks to their constant draw weight and lower accuracy but are cheaper and better at quick shots. Compound bows are easier to draw and usually a bit more robust and accurate, at the cost of a higher price tag. If you’re familiar with either type of bow already, that is the best option for you to get started with.

How do I adjust my bow?

Most bowfishing bows will come with instructions on how to adjust them, and many can be done on your own at home. So if you have the instructions and feel comfortable, then it’s okay to do it yourself. For some bows, though, you’ll need to have an expert adjust it.

For example, the Osprey Eagle requires a specialized bow press to work on, so a typical sporting goods store isn’t a good option. If you don’t need that but aren’t comfortable on your own, find a store with an archery section and a bow press and let an archery technician adjust the bow for you.