5 Best Bows for Bowfishing (2021 Buyers Guide)

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

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best for Most Anglers: Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner
“While generally targeted for beginners, the reliable bow is an excellent choice for any fisherman.”

Best Recurve Option: AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve
“Compound bows aren’t for everyone, and for archers preferring a recurve bow, the Water Moc Recurve is a great choice.”

Best Budget Option: Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow
“A reliable, ready-to-fish option that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.”

Check Other Models on Amazon

Check Other Models on BassProShops.com

Bowfishing is one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports in America. With a huge 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. In order to get the most out of it though, the right bow is key.

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

There are a ton of ways to get into bow fishing, 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 bow fishing adventures.

Sources researched
8
Sources researched
Customer reviews
12,953
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
10
Hours spent testing
Products tested
5
Products tested
Product Name
Best for Most Anglers
Best Budget option
Best Recurve Option
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
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
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
AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit - Right Hand
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Our Rating 90/100
Our Rating 88/100
Feature 1
Comes in a Ready-To-Fish package
Adjustable let off between 0% and 60%
Fully sealed limbs
Feature 2
Easy tuning without a bow press
40 years of brand recognition in the archery community
Smooth, 45-pound draw
Best for Most Anglers
Our Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
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
Our Grade
Our Rating 93/100
Feature 1
Comes in a Ready-To-Fish package
Feature 2
Easy tuning without a bow press
Best Budget option
Our Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
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
Our Grade
Our Rating 90/100
Feature 1
Adjustable let off between 0% and 60%
Feature 2
40 years of brand recognition in the archery community
Best Recurve Option
Our Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit - Right Hand
Our Grade
Our Rating 88/100
Feature 1
Fully sealed limbs
Feature 2
Smooth, 45-pound draw

Best Bowfishing Bows in 2021

Here’s our shortlist of best bows for bow fishing:

Cajun Bowfishing Shore Runner

Best for Most Fishermen: While generally targeted for beginners, the reliable bow is an excellent choice for any fisherman.

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
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on BassProShops.com

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 the need for help or a bow press, allowing changes on the fly. Coming in a ready-to-fish package, it’s a great option for any fishermen that gets them on the water quickly.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Feature Breakdown 

The 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. The draw length can be adjusted out to 29 inches, and the bow is great for bow patient or snapshot styles of shooting.

Oneida Eagle Osprey Lever Action 

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

Check Other Models on Amazon

Check Price on BassProShops.com

KEY FEATURES

  • American Made and Assembled
  • Most-used by tournament fishermen
  • Original Lever-action bow

Oneida was the first to pioneer the lever-action fishing bow and has constantly improved on 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 bow for you. It’s absolutely the best bow money can buy, but its high price tag makes it less accessible to fishermen looking to get into the sport. 

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Feature Breakdown 

The bow has a smooth, constant draw that’s perfect for snapshots and bow fishing 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 components of the bow are corrosion-resistant and made from high-quality materials. The design does a great job at absorbing recoil, giving you an accurate and smooth shot every time.

Muzzy LV-X Bowfishing Lever Bow

Best Budget Option: 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
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on BassProShops.com

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 fishermen.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Feature Breakdown 

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

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

Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii Compound Bowfishing

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

Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii Compound Bowfishing Bow Kit (Black Cajun Winch Pro Package)
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on BassProShops.com

KEY FEATURES

  • A decent, low-cost option for entry-level bow fishermen
  • 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 bow fishing bow. Essentially it’s their hunting bow that’s been integrated with bow fishing reels, rests, strings, and accessories. For fishermen more familiar with bow hunting, this is a great option to start off bow fishing, and a reasonably-priced option for anyone.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Feature Breakdown 

The 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 own accessories if you choose, or a pro kit that comes with an additional stabilizer.

The 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 both hunting and fishing.

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve

Best Recurve Option: Compound bows aren’t for everyone, and for archers preferring a recurve bow, the Water Moc Recurve is a great choice.

AMS Bowfishing Water Moc Recurve Bowfishing Kit - Right Hand
Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on BassProShops.com

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 bow fishing market and it shows in the design of the bow. The bow is built for life on the water and is fitted with everything you’ll need to bag a trophy.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Feature Breakdown 

The 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 bow fishing?

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 biggest difference between a hunting or target bow and a fishing bow is the accessories and the arrows.

A fishing 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 style of rest, 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 to always 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 bow fish?

You can usually bow fish 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 shoot anything you shouldn’t be.

Are compound bows or recurves better for bow fishing?

Neither is really 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 powerful 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 bows will come with instructions on how to adjust them, and many can be done on your own at home. If you have the instructions and feel comfortable, then it’s okay to do it on your own. 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 normal 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.