The Best Arrows For Bowfishing

When you are bowfishing, it is essential that every shot counts and is as accurate as possible. Of course, this comes with a lot of practice but having the right equipment for the task is just as, if not more important.

The arrows used in bowfishing are different to those that we see in bowhunting and other types of archery, and for this reason, it is crucial to understand what to look for so that you can feel confident your arrows won’t let you down.

In this article, we are going to be looking at the best arrows for bowfishing and providing you with some invaluable information for sourcing the right equipment for you.

How Are Bowfishing Arrows Different?

You could be forgiven for assuming that any arrow would be ideal for use in bowfishing and you wouldn’t be the first novice archer to think this. However, there is a clear and marked difference between the arrows we see being used by bowhunters and target archers and the ones that work well for bowfishing.

There are special arrows that have been made exclusively for use by bow fishermen, and in the main, they tend to be far more robust than those that we used for hunting game. They are also much heavier; think about having to travel through water, this could dramatically slow the arrow if it is not designed correctly.

To look at a bowfishing arrow, one of the first things that you would notice is that there is no fletching. While this is an essential component of the traditional arrow, for bowfishing, this could serve as a way for the arrow to veer off course as it hits the water, so they are not used.

How Is A Bowfishing Arrow Made Up?

Before you begin looking for your new favourite bowfishing arrow, it is essential to get to know the make-up of these pieces of equipment, the materials from which they are made and the overall feel of the arrow.

There are usually five parts of a bowfishing arrow; the shaft, the rail, the nock, the point and the barb. Let’s take a look at these components in a little more detail.

The Shaft

The shaft of the arrow is usually constructed from very durable material, so it is important to take a look at this when purchasing to ensure that it will stand the test of time.

In the main, they will be made from aluminium, carbon fibre or fibreglass.

The Rail

The rail is used to secure the line, and this is an essential role to play as it also counts towards safe use of the bow. If there is no rail, then there is a risk of the arrowing flipping back towards you and causing an injury.

The Nock

The nock is the part at the end of the arrow that secures to the bowstring. This is one of the critical components of any arrow as it keeps it in place whilst it is in the bow.

The Point

The point of the arrow is the spearhead that will penetrate your target. There are replaceable points, and these are ideal for bowfishing. However, you should also try to find arrow points that are made from a durable material that will work well with this type of archery.

The Barb

The barb is that part of the arrow that prevents it from being detached from your catch before you have had the chance to reel it in.

One of the best types of barb to look for is a reversible barb as this will allow you to remove it from the fish with far greater ease.

Things To Consider When Buying Bowfishing Arrows

Once you are familiar with the importance of finding an arrow that has been explicitly designed for bowfishing, and you understand the individual components of such an arrow, you are ready to start shopping for your equipment. But before you do, there are a few things to consider; this will further allow you to source the right product for your needs.

What Material Should You Choose?

As we have already discovered, the shaft of the arrow will usually be made from fibreglass, aluminium or carbon fibre. Each of these materials has its benefits, but which you choose will vastly depend on your unique needs.

  • Fibreglass arrows are very durable and rust-resistant; they are ideal if you need something that offers longevity.
  • Aluminium arrows are a little heavier than other options.
  • Carbon bowfishing arrows are even more durable but still offer a good degree of flexibility.

In terms of the other parts of the arrow, your choice of materials may vary once more. In the main, however, you can expect to find that the point and the barb will be made from stainless steel, although there are some other choices. The benefits of stainless steel are that it is durable and extremely resistant to rust and the elements.

Dimensions And Weight

Arrows that are used in more traditional forms of archery like bowhunting are usually not as strong as those found in bowfishing. For this reason, you will notice that a bowfishing arrow is a lot heavier and this can take some getting used to if you are used to lightweight arrows.

You should also consider the type of fish you are going to be aiming for. The arrow weight that you would need for a 30lb fish would be vastly different to one that would be adequate for a 10lb specimen.

Furthermore, you will need to consider the length of the arrow. Again, this will correspond to the size of the fish you are targeting, with longer arrows being more suitable for larger fish. This is because something longer will deliver a far more significant amount of power than something small. In the main, bowfishing arrows will measure anywhere between 21 inches and 32 inches.

What Type Of Arrow Heads Do You Need?

We talked about the barb earlier on, and this is something that is incredibly important when choosing your arrow heads. You must keep in mind that as you reel your catch in, and attempt to remove the barb, this can be made far more difficult if not using a reversible barb. Primarily, this is because the fish will not be still. However, you will need to keep in mind that the barb will need to be reset before you use it again; otherwise, it will not perform.

In addition to thinking about the barb, you will want to make sure that you look at the point of the arrow. As we mentioned earlier, these are typically made from stainless steel, but the cut is just as significant as the material. Sourcing a carefully cut point will ensure that it can penetrate the fish cleanly and effectively.

Are The Arrows Safe?

You are using the arrows because they have the power and intensity to penetrate your target and ultimately kill it; therefore, it stands to reason that they would just as easily be able to injure or kill a human. Safety should be one of the most essential aspects when buying any piece of equipment for archery.

Some arrows will come with a pre-installed safety system that will prevent them from flipping back towards the shooter and anyone else who happens to be nearby as well as stopping the line from getting tangled when you draw the bow.

If you do find arrows that you love but do not feature a safety system, there is the option to install one yourself. Whilst this might seem like just another thing to do, it is vastly important.

What Is Your Budget?

The price you will pay for your bowfishing arrows will vary greatly depending on where you buy them, the brand and the quality, among other things, so it is vital to keep this in mind. However, we would always suggest investing in the best quality that you can afford.

The material of the arrow will have an impact on its price, but in the main, you shouldn’t find yourself breaking the bank provided that you keep the type of fish you will be shooting in mind.

Bowfishing Arrow FAQs

Q: Can you get personalised bowfishing arrows?

It might be possible to personalise your bowfishing arrows, but we would not recommend doing this as it might affect its function. However, it is entirely possible to alter the colour, and many people do this to make their arrows more visible in murky waters. Not to mention, these bright colours can also look impressive.

Q: Can I use a regular arrow for bowfishing?

You could certainly try, but you would almost certainly find that using a normal arrow for bowfishing would not yield the results you were looking for.

Arrows that are made for other types of archery are not as durable nor are they as heavy so you would not get the power needed to shoot a fast-moving fish through the density of the water.

Even if you did manage to shoot the fish successfully, the arrow would likely break as you reeled it in, losing you your catch.

Q: Can you shoot a bowfishing arrow too long?

If you are taking part in bowhunting or another type of archery, then there might be a limit to how long the arrow flight should be, if it is too long, your accuracy might be affected. In contrast, bowfishing arrows do not need to travel the long distances that other types of arrow would travel, so this isn’t generally a problem.

Q: Do I need an arrow rest for bowfishing?

There are several advantages to using an arrow rest, most notably, your aim and accuracy will be greatly improved. However, they are not compulsory.

If you do want to use one, the best type to go for is a whisker biscuit as these will offer the best accuracy and ensure a direct shot each time.


Bowfishing arrows are different from traditional arrows as they are much stronger and heavier since more power is needed for this type of archery. They also do not have fletchings as this would affect how they travel through the water.

With this in mind, it is important to be sure that when you are buying arrows for bowfishing, you look for those that have been made specifically for this purpose.

There are other things that you can look at to make sure that you get arrows that will meet your needs, such as the materials used, safety features and weight.

About Brad Harris