Best Bowfishing Setup from the ground up - On a budget

Spartan

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
51
I’ve got a buddy who wants to get into bow fishing and is semi-new to archery. He can’t spend a lot, and even though I competed in archery throughout high-school with a lot of success I know very little about bowfishing. Could y’all give me any tips on building a decent set-up on a budget? (Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere. I’m brand new to the forum.)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

OR Archer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
2,754
Location
Phoenix,AZ
Get a Gen X and rig it up with a good fishing rest and an inexpensive hand wind reel and you’ll be good to go.
 

MattB

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
3,470
I would find a cheap, old 50#, 50% letoff bow on Ebay. This is where Beendare and I (who have actually bowfished with) and I will deviate. Slap an AMS reel on it. The most expensive part of my set-up is probably my arrows which are the fiberglass fish arrows sleeved with the appropriate sized Easton aluminum w unibushings. I use safety slides.

As you can see from above, many ways to skin that cat.
 

Billy Goat

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
5,185
Location
Shenandoah Valley
I use to use old aluminum arrows with fishing line tied in behind an old dull broadhead.


Now I use the ams reel and fiberglass arrows.

So long as you gots an arrow that has some kind of barb, a string attached to it, and a bow to launch it.....

I don't see how you can screw up.

Maybe if the beer is warm.
 
OP
Spartan

Spartan

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
51
Any bow can be a fish bow. Its about the most fun a guy can have with a bow.

Options;
1) A cheap recurve works

2) The dedicated no to low letoff bows by PSE and others are pretty cheap in the off season....$250? and they are awesome.

3) A 50# - ANY- compound bow makes a good setup.

I like the Muzzy reels over the AMS bottles-its faster, but both work. Those striped Carbon/fiber arrows are my favorite. I use a simple steel loop rest on my compounds.

I've been shooting without those silly safety slides for decades.....lost arrows but never a snap back.

Test arrow flight by the gauging the splash in the water...no splash is good

>

That’s really good to know! Especially about the reels. I assumed the AMS bottle reels were better, but they seem to be more expensive (at least in my neck of the woods.) Thank you so much!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
Spartan

Spartan

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
51
Thank y’all for your replies! There are a lot of good options out there, it seems, which is nice because that makes it easier to find something workable both for fishing and a budget. I’m also glad to know both styles of reel seem to be decent. That makes life easier. Thanks again for the input!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

M-Wig

Junior Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
44
Location
Texas
I haven't bowfished in almost 20 years and am terrified to start again because it's addicting. Our group all started out with pawn shop compound bows and Zebco Brute reels. Pretty sure they don't make the Brute anymore. Most of us upgraded to retriever reels after the Brute's gave out. Never used any type of rest or slide.
 

NY12020

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2021
Messages
30
IMO; there is no need to spend a lot on a bowfishing setup; any ole bow you have kicking around will be just fine. I'm using a 1991 PSE that looks like its been thru a war; with a hand spool reel threaded into the stabilizer hole. I use the Sting-a-ree fish points; they are the best there is. Don't buy line that is labeled as "bowfishing" line; its triple the cost and planer board line or other braided line is the same stuff. Pick up some of the AMS slides for the arrows and some polarized sunglasses and you are good to go.
 
OP
Spartan

Spartan

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
51
That’s great to know both about the braided line and about the slides. Without being able to handle the stuff or see it in action first, it’s hard to know what is and isn’t a necessity. Thank y’all for the input! This is helping build my knowledge on how to actually go about bow fishing as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ozyclint

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
1,234
Location
Queensland, Downunder
Had a Zebco 808. Sold it and made a DIY reel.
You WILL forget to press the free spool button or accidentally reengage it on the Zebco and watch arrows vanish forever as the line snaps when you shoot.
 
OP
Spartan

Spartan

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
51
Had a Zebco 808. Sold it and made a DIY reel.
You WILL forget to press the free spool button or accidentally reengage it on the Zebco and watch arrows vanish forever as the line snaps when you shoot.

I had not considered that but you are 100% right. I can see myself or my friends doing that and suddenly having to walk a long way back to the truck empty handed because of it. How many arrows do you tend to keep with you?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
4,040
Location
Sodak
Mm
Had a Zebco 808. Sold it and made a DIY reel.
You WILL forget to press the free spool button or accidentally reengage it on the Zebco and watch arrows vanish forever as the line snaps when you shoot.

That's why you screw the drag down to next to nothing.
 

MattB

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
3,470
Had a Zebco 808. Sold it and made a DIY reel.
You WILL forget to press the free spool button or accidentally reengage it on the Zebco and watch arrows vanish forever as the line snaps when you shoot.
Haha, I had a buddy who borrowed a bow with a Zebco after he dropped his AMS-equipped bow into the drink. He lost all 4 of his arrows in no time after forgetting to open the bail. He shoots the same fiberglass inside an aluminum arrow I do, so that day cost him $80+ in arrows. 😀
 

thinhorn_AK

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
6,269
Location
Alaska
I got a complete setup from three rivers archery, so far it works pretty well. I did get an AMS big game setup for when I go after something bigger though.
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
4,040
Location
Sodak
Haha, I had a buddy who borrowed a bow with a Zebco after he dropped his AMS-equipped bow into the drink. He lost all 4 of his arrows in no time after forgetting to open the bail. He shoots the same fiberglass inside an aluminum arrow I do, so that day cost him $80+ in arrows. 😀

And he never thought to turn down the drag?

I never lost an arrow with my 808. Been using a retriever for a long time, but it's a reasonable alternative.
 
Top