You + the best bowfishing bow = landing massive fish all day!
Do you need a specific bow to go bowfishing or can you hook a bowfishing reel up to your deer hunting bow and call it good?
Today, we'll cover the answers to these questions as well as how to string your bow up, what to look for in a new bowfishing bow and much more!
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How do Bowfishing Bows Even Work?
Bowfishing bows work just about how people would expect. Special bows used for bowfishing come equipped with a reel that can pull back a line which has been cast. Instead of being attached to a fishing lure at the other end, though, the line attaches to a special arrow.
This arrow comes fashioned with a barbed tip meant to sing into a fish's flesh. Once the arrow sinks into the target or nearby water features, then the reel can be activated. The arrow and everything attached to the barbed tip will come back to the reel on the bow.
Typically, bowfishing is done in fresh waters or salt water. Some of the more commonly hunted freshwater fish include carp of various kinds, alligator gar, and paddlefish. Saltwater fish, on the other hand, include rays and sharks. Therefore, a bowfishing bow needs to stand up to quite the pull power for these larger fish.
Aiming for these fish can be a bit difficult for acclimation purposes. Bow sights are not used. Instead, aiming relies on a "line of sight" motion, where the arrowhead focuses on an apparent location of the fish. This apparent location can be slightly off from the actual location of the fish.
What are the Different Types of Bows for Bowfishing?
Various types of bows can be used for bowfishing. Longbows and recurves are more popular for fishers who prefer traditional bow types over modern compound bows. The difference here is not so much accuracy, but the amount of strength put behind the arrow's pull.
Longbows have been used for centuries. Modern longbows resemble English and Welsh designs from the ages of medieval warfare. They usually measure at least six feet tall, and they can pull between 50 and 90 pounds of power.
Recurve bows are shorter than longbows. Their name comes from the way the ends curve away from the archer. Therefore, this bow can pull power similar to a long bow without the extra height. For people looking for a more compact bow with a little bit of power behind it, a recurve is the optimal choice.
For people looking at sinking a lot of power behind an arrow, though, modern technology provides the perfect resource. A compound bow works on a system of pulleys that can be retracted into a solid pull. Some of these bows provide over 100 pounds or more of power. They can be more difficult to draw back on, though, but they are far more customizable than a long bow or a recurve.
How are Longbows and Recurves Strung?
Stringing a long bow and a recurve happens in much the same process. There is a traditional way to do so, but more modern technologies seem to prove safer.
The Old School Method
For the traditional method, The Backwoodsmen Institute suggests stringing the top end of the bow, but letting the string slip further down than the notch hole provided. Then, the bottom end of the bow is strung inside of the notch hole provided. The smaller of the two loops on the ends of the string goes on the bottom.
To string the top end of the bow correctly, take one foot and step through the bow to stand with the string on one side of the leg and the bow behind it. While pressing the bottom of the bow into the inside curve of the free foot, grasp the top of the bow and pull it towards the body. Then, the top end of the string can be slipped up into the notch provided.
Using a Stringing Assist tool
Alternatively, a stringing assist tool can be used instead. Lancaster Archery Supply suggests placing the string at slack on both ends of the bow. Once more, the smaller loop goes on the bottom. Then, the stringer sits over top of the loop holes at each end.
Instead of stepping through the bow, place each foot at shoulder length apart on the stringer, leaving the string itself slack. Then, with a firm hand, grip the handle portion of the bow, pull upwards slightly. The string will pull up on tension and snap into place.
This pulling action can be difficult on the recurve. Because of its shape, it will attempt to roll during the stringer process. Therefore, a heavy hand needs to work on this motion. Such a situation does not happen as much with a long bow due to the nature of its construction.
Don't Forget to Keep the String Straight!
The key in both methods is to make sure the string itself remains straight on the bow. Also, it needs to sit firmly in the notches provided at the top and the bottom of the bow. A misplaced string can cause damage to the bow and place the archer in danger should the bow string come loose or snap.
To remove a bowstring from a long bow or a recurve, the opposite motions mentioned above can be completed. Typically, a bowstring is removed and released back to resting position before the motions are repeated for replacing the string.
How are Compound Bows Strung?
According to Hunt Hacks, here is a reliable way to string a compound bow. First, locate the bolts on the bow and use an Allen wrench to turn each one three times in a counterclockwise motion. This process will remove pressure from the limbs.
Using both feet, step onto the bow string with feet placed at shoulder width apart. Then, two firm hands can pull back on the riser until a full-draw position is achieved. Then, one hand can grasp the riser while the other places the loops provided on the new string's open sides.
Once these loops are in place, then the bow can slowly be lowered to a natural position. Now that the new string is in place, then it can be stepped on and pull taught on the risers. Once more, the full-draw position should be obtained. At this point, the old bowstring in place can be removed.
When the old bowstring has been removed, and the new one has been placed on, then the stringing device can be removed. As with the longbows and recurves, the string loops on a compound bow must be tightly in place. Otherwise, damage to the bow or danger to the archer can happen.
After the bow has been allowed to rest from full draw, then both feet can be removed from the bow string. From this point, the limb bolts can be fastened back into place using an Allen wrench. Three, full, clockwise rotations should be used to tighten the limbs back down.
What are Some Tips for Buying the Right Bow?
One of the first things to consider when purchasing a bow is whether or not the pull back for the full draw will be easy. Recurves and longbows require more strength to pull back on repeatedly. The same amount of force is needed for each pull back to achieve a full draw.
Much the opposite can be said with a compound bow. While the first few draw backs can be difficult at first, the body acclimates to the amount of energy needed to pull the bow at a full draw. In this case, the nature of a compound bow does most of the work for the archer.
In both cases, the amount of draw an archer can handle on a bow must be considered. This draw equates to the number of pounds a person can handle. Therefore, before a bow is purchased, an archer needs to practice and experiment with a few bows first to figure out which one fits their strength the most.
Another factor to consider is the archer's height. Longbows and recurves especially can be linked with the height of a person. Taller people might feel more comfortable with a long bow, and likewise shorter people might want to go with recurves due to their distinct shapes.
When it comes to bowfishing, any of the three types of bows can be used. Compound bows might be preferred over the other two because of its stronger build. Therefore, it can take on the weight of a fighting fish a little bit more easily.
The Best Bowfishing Bows
AMS's 2017 rendition of the Juice Bowfishing Kit comes in a model that resembles a compound bow. The reel comes already attached to the bow, and it sits below the notch point for the arrow. In this case, the reel used on this bow operates manually, so it will not pull back on the fishing line automatically.
Hence, fighting a stronger fish might take more stamina. The bow itself only weighs about eight pounds, which makes it great for beginners. It also comes with barbed arrows that are ready for attachment to fishing line.
Unlike the AMS model, PSE's Kingfisher Bowfishing Kit resembles a recurve. Because of its aluminum construction and other stainless-steel parts, this bow can stand up to the elements and repeat use rather well. Due to its camo color, it can be used at any time of the year.
The bow itself measures approximately 36.5 inches by 6.2 inches by 2.2 inches. At the same time, its weight is considerably lighter at five pounds. While this one does come with a front mounting reel, it also comes with 50 feet of 80 pound tested line. This reel is strung by hand.
As with the first bow, this one also comes with a manually operated reel. Unlike a traditional recurve, this bow does have two bolts that need to be tightened once it has been strung. These bolts add more stability for when a fish is being reeled in.
For people looking only at purchasing a bow for bowfishing, then the Cajun Bowfishing Sucker Punch Bow is a good choice. It resembles a compound bow in design, but it does not come with a reel.
In the case where an archer wants to place a different, specialty reel on a bow, Cajun Bowfishing's model is a reasonable choice. It purposefully comes without a reel for the sake of customization. The full draw weight on this bow is 50 pounds, much like a recurve bow with some compound features.
Also, it can be used with a quick release. While this model also comes with finger savers, a notch point is also suggested. This suggestion comes because the finger savers are set a little farther apart from one another.
Another option for a bowfishing bow resembling a compound model is Scopii's 55 pound, 29-inch bow. As with the Cajun Bowfishing bow, this model does not come with a reel attachment. Therefore, any reel can be used with it.
The draw weight on this bow is between 30 and 55 pounds, depending on how the pulleys are arranged. The distance between each axle can be adjusted between 19 inches and 29 inches. At the same time, it also shoots at speeds approximating 260 feet per second.
Bear Archery's Brave Bow Set once more follows the model of a recurve with some compound features. It includes a whisker biscuit and a full capture rest. These two features make for a safer bow draw. At the same time, the bow is more durable over time due to these features.
For people looking at lighter draw weights, this bow is a good option. The minimum draw rate is 15 pounds, and it tops out at 25 pounds. The draw length also measures between 13.5 inches and 19 inches. As with the previous two models, this bow does not come with a reel, but any reel of choice can be added to it.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of bowfishing and how to pick the best bowfishing bows. But, if you still have questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section. We'll be sure to get an answer to you!
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