How Bowfishing Reels Play a Vital Role in Fishing

Bowfishing is a technique used to catch fish by directly shooting them with an arrow that is attached to a line and connected to the reel. This activity can be done during the day or at night and can be done onshore or offshore.

However, offshore requires a boat with a flat-bottom and a quiet motor to avoid scaring away the fish. Bowfishing is composed of a bow, arrows, line and reels. Irrespective of the fact that any bow can be used for this activity, the arrows used are different from the hunting arrows and are usually barbed. The arrows are also heavier and do not have feathers like the hunting arrows. All of these items are required in order for it to be called bowfishing. For one to be successful in this method, he/she must have good eyesight in order to spot the fish. Bowfishing reels play a very vital role in the process because, first of all, the technique cannot exist without the reel. The fish caught using this technique are the ones in the shallow clear areas because they are visible, and also the water is less dense so it will not slow down the arrows.

Types of Bowfishing Reels:

There are three types of bowfishing reels, and they include:

  1. Hand-Wrap Reels: Hand-wrap reels use a lot of energy from wrapping the fishing wire on the spool by hand, to pulling the fish from the water; it is easy to make one of these by yourself though.
  2. Spin-Cast Reels: In spin-cast reels, the wire is enclosed, and the fisher uses a sidebar to retrieve the fish.
  3. Retriever Reels: This is designed specifically for bowfishing, and here, the fishing line is contained in a bottle mounted to the bow and arrow. Its retrieval mechanism is smooth and easy.

Role of a Bowfishing Reel in Fishing:

To begin with, the fishing wire is wound around the reel, and because the wire travels with the arrow, it unwinds very fast as the arrow travels. This is the first role that a bowfishing reel performs: holding the line.

A reel is important in retrieving the fish after shooting it. When the arrow hits the fish, a line attached to the reel gets to hit the fish also, and now it is time for mission number two: getting the fish to you. After the line is adapted to the fish, the fisherman winds the reel in order to get the fish to them. Some reels require manual winding while others are automatic. This is the paramount role of a bowfishing reel.

Techniques Necessary for Bowfishing:

Bowfishing can be conducted in saltwater or freshwater all that matters is the clarity of the water, because you are depending on your own eyesight. For non-professional bowfish fishers, it can be difficult and annoying because this technique is more trial and error. Aiming at the fish and hitting it before it comfortably swims away from you is not an easy task. However, with patience and practice, it all gets easier and fun.

Spotting a good fishing point is key. Going bowfishing in the deep waters will leave you devastated and you will go home empty-handed. Do you want to eat seafood caught by yourself? Then get yourself a good spot. By a good spot, I mean somewhere with shallow clear water, and easily accessible from the shore or a bit in the water with a flat-bottomed boat.

fishing from boat
Photo by nopalis

Without proper aiming, you will not catch any fish. This is where the trick is, the longer you take while aiming, the easier it is for a fish to slip away. In the water is their home, and they are aware of any intrusion. Especially if your shadow is on them, definitely then will they disappear. Again, taking a shot without proper aiming will leave you hitting the sand underneath. You wanted fish, work for it.

Bowfishing during the day can be a bit challenging because of the glittering water. Because of this, a fisher is required to carry polarized glasses to keep their eyes comfortable and also to help gain a good shot. When your eyesight is destructed, you cannot shoot well.

Do not be too precise with what you want. I agree that there are different types of fish with different tastes. You also have to agree with me that not all fish can survive in shallow water. Because of this, you have to shoot any fish around you instead of staying all day long and night waiting for your favorite. Are you waiting for Jesus to perform a fishing miracle? When bowfishing you don’t have the time to be choosy, it is a hit and run activity.


You are not going to be a bowfishing fisher pro in a day. It requires hard work and determination. If you really want to know how to bowfish, a one-day failure is not going to pull you back. Be persistent until you get it. You will find people living close to water bodies, but they have to buy fish. If you do not have a fishing license, get one.

Now that you have the basics of bowfishing, take to the waters and eat your own caught seafood. Good luck!

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