Can You Use a Crossbow for Bowfishing?

Most people associate crossbows with land-based hunting. They are commonly used to target deer or turkeys during specific hunting seasons. Now, bow fishing also requires using archery-based equipment. So, can you utilize crossbows for this type of fishing as well? 

You can use a crossbow for bow fishing of any variety. It is a fun and effective alternative to traditional bow fishing styles. Crossbows have a simple and easily repeatable setup. It is perfectly suitable for targeting fish from a distance. 

We wish to shed some insight into fishing with a crossbow and explain the pros and cons. Additionally, we will provide you with some guidelines on how to wield this tool effectively. Stick around till the end, as we will describe some top-grade crossbow equipment we recommend.

Crossbow for Bowfishing

Capturing fish with a crossbow is a thrilling and unique feeling when you perform it correctly and safely. The experience is entirely different from other forms of fishing.

First of all, you must acquire proper permits before beginning this activity. Bowfishing of any variety is prohibited in many states. Places that do allow it, will implement certain laws and restrictions for the sake of wildlife. So, contact the game authority of that area and learn about the precepts and restrictions there.

After getting the license, you require a proper setup. Crossbows for catching fish are a bit different from those used for other forms of hunting. One very important detail to always remember is the weight of the entire setup. Because more or less weight can be a real problem for your sportfishing. There is a standard weight that you should remember, which we will discuss in more detail later on.

Now, let’s talk about the actual gear. You will require a few spiked bolts tied with an individual fishing line on a bow fishing reel. Typically, the line will be constructed from Dacron fibers. You can easily install the reel to the base of the line. 

When firing with this, you will commonly target prey in shallow waters. Such places include freshwater streams, ponds, lakes, etc. Also, you can find some of them in a saltwater environment like a beach or estuary.

Whatever hunting ground you choose, the main focus will be to spot a fish. If the water is transparent and superficial, you will easily spot your target.

Another reason to troll in shallow streams is that water is a dense substance. So, it hinders the movement of the bow if you aim too deep. If you aim much closer to the surface, then this is not an issue.

You must collect any fish you strike when bow fishing and take it with you because it is against the law to put that fish back in the water.

Benefits of Employing a Crossbow

The main draw is the easy and repeatable nature of operating a crossbow. With traditional setups, you would need to adjust your bait and reel every time you cast. On the other hand, a crossbow is free from such complications. Yes, there are technical aspects you need to keep in mind. But the ease of use will make you hooked pretty soon.

Another plus point is the fact that you do not need any bait or lure for this. When using a regular rod, you would have to consider the bait and various other aspects that come along with it.

Modern bows have become tools of great precision and control. It requires some practice to get the proper feel for it. But the effort and patience will be worth it by the end.

Drawbacks of Employing a Crossbow

There are some notable issues when adopting a crossbow that you do not face with other gears. Some of it is with the device itself and some are external. 

Some sportfish species are not authorized for bow fishing. These restrictions will vary depending on what state you are in. So, it would be wise to check the restrictions of your local area. 

Another negative is that this equipment is heavier compared to other bows and rods. Weight plays a vital role in terms of hunting. The heavier the bolt and gear, the more power with which it stabs the prey. Sometimes it may overkill freshwater fish like bass or sturgeon. This may harm the line and break the bolt as they make contact with any hard areas around the fish.

Can You Put a Bowfishing Reel on a Crossbow?

You can operate a crossbow with a bow fishing reel. To do this properly, you just require some proper types of equipment that fit your setup.

It is not too much of a problem if you do not have a bow that is specifically for fishing. You can make do with the one you have. However, you will require some particular type of spiked bolts that will link with the line on the reel. The reel is then fastened to the bottom anterior side of the bow.

Best Crossbow Fishing Setup

First, let’s look at how many lines you require. Many ready-made crossbows are built by using a line that is 20-25 yards in length. These are typically constructed with dacron fiber and weigh about 200 lbs. There is a safety hook in the pipe to join the bolt and the line for retrieving purposes.

Now, you can utilize any basic fishing reel. Still, we suggest employing a bow fishing line with your bow. Though it is possible to place the rod and rotate the reel during your aiming time, it may lead to safety issues.

One way to avoid such problems is to bring someone to grab the rod and spin the reel when you focus on aiming. This process would be safer. It will enable you to retrieve and fire much faster.

We prefer not to use a scope sight. Because you will not get that much time to aim at this properly. It will only make the whole process more complicated and less efficient. Usually, you will be shooting from a distance of 18-19 yards. So, for this slight distance, a scope will be an unnecessary gadget. If your gear has a built-in scope, it is easy to unmount.

What Is the Best Draw Weight for Bowfishing?

The ideal draw weight would be between 40-50lbs. We suggest operating and maintaining in this specific weight range.

As we stated earlier, crossbow weight provides your bolt’s force to penetrate the fish. If you use one that weighs more than 40-50 lbs, the bolt will entirely go through fish and will cause harm to your bolt and line. On the flip side, if you use one that weighs under 40 lbs, that might not give you the power you need and might not penetrate them.

Best Crossbow for Bowfishing

Picking the best one relies on multiple elements. You have to consider the weight, durability, and safety features. Budget is also a big factor. Additionally, the bow has to perform at a high level. 

So, based on all these points, we will list the best crossbows currently on the market, in our opinion. If you are new to this field, pick up one of these bad boys and give it a go:

1. Parker Stingray

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00BR0RR7G&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=castcountry 20&language=en US

This is the gear we would recommend to any beginner. It is reliable, durable, and easy to operate. Of course, you can use it even if you are a veteran. It utilizes an AMS Reel and holds 25 yards of 200 lbs. of braided line. The design has an excellent safety mechanism with Auto-safety and anti-dry-fire system. Plus, the cost is just right with this one. 

2. HBG Pro

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0727Z2QN3&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=castcountry 20&language=en US

This is more of a modern take on the concept of crossbows. It is very compact and super light, making it very fun to maneuver. It weighs less than 4 lbs. This product comes with all the accessories needed in a neat little kit. The price is also fairly reasonable.

3. AMS Crossbow Kit

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00ITCGXC0&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=castcountry 20&language=en US

The AMS series delivers high-level performance and durability. It has a sleek and sturdy design and is packaged with all other requirements. The stand-out feature of this product is the excellent retriever reel. The Chaos FX bolts are perfect for all types of fish. 

Whether you want to do this as a hobby or for your livelihood, using crossbows for bow fishing can be an exhilarating and fun experience. The sheer rush of striking your target cannot be matched by other gears. If you are looking for a new way of fishing, this might be the ideal choice for you.