The Best Bow Fishing Reel – Expert Guide

Bow fishing reels are attached directly to bows. They allow archers to shoot arrows with lines into the water and efficiently retrieve their catch. These reels streamline the process, prevent tangles, and offer resistance against large aquatic species. So what is the best bow fishing reel?

Types of Bow Fishing Reels

Hand-Wrap Reels: Traditional and Reliable

Design and Advantages

Hand-wrap reels are simple, with no moving parts, and are made of lightweight materials like aluminum. They feature a spool for line storage, offering durability and reliability. Their lightweight nature enhances maneuverability, and their simple design requires minimal maintenance.

Tips for Effective Use

For successful bow fishing with hand-wrap reels, maintain a firm grip and manage line tension carefully. This balance ensures control and prevents line slack or breakage.

Spincast Reels: Versatile and User-Friendly

Features and Functionality

Spincast reels are enclosed and have a push-button release mechanism, making them ideal for beginners. Their drag system provides adjustable resistance, suitable for various fish species.

Benefits and Performance Maximization

Spincast reels are easy to operate and offer a longer casting range. Regular maintenance, appropriate line weight selection, and drag system adjustments are key to maximizing their performance.

The Best Bow Fishing Reel

Best Overall

  • Design: Robust and heavy-duty construction to withstand the rigors of bowfishing.
  • Reeling Mechanism: Features a unique winch-style mechanism for efficient line retrieval.
  • Line Management: Offers improved line management to handle heavy lines and big fish.
  • Drag System: Equipped with an adjustable drag system to control the retrieval of large and strong fish.
  • Mounting: Easy-to-mount design compatible with most bowfishing bows.

Best Budget

  • Ultimate Performance: Features a Fighting Wheel Brake for simultaneous braking and reeling.
  • Guaranteed Longevity: Adjustable ceramic string guide for smoother string feed.
  • Innovative Design: One-handed operation enabled by revolutionary design.
  • Extreme Durability: Constructed with a rugged aluminum frame.
  • Universal Fit: Offers both vertical and horizontal adjustments for bow compatibility.

Best for Beginners

  • Complete Kit: Easy-to-install on any hunting bow.
  • Retriever Pro Reel: Includes 25 yards of 200# braided Dacron line.
  • Tidal Wave Arrow Rest: Rugged, ensures arrow stability.
  • 2 Fiberglass Chaos FX Arrows: Consistent fiberglass shafts, heavy-duty barbs, AMS EverGlide Safety Slide included.
  • AMS Quality: Over 40 years of proven, USA-made quality.

Best Budget II

  • Line Included: Comes with 150 feet of line pre-installed.
  • Extended Hood: Features an extended hood for better line protection.
  • Color: Available in silver.
  • Design: Designed specifically for bow fishing.
  • Durability: Known for its durability and reliability in various fishing conditions.

Best Simplicity:

  • Complete Bundle: Kit includes Winch Pro reel, 25 yards of 250 lbs. line, two arrows with piranha points, slides, stops, and Brush Fire arrow rest.
  • Ultimate Performance: Fighting Wheel Brake for simultaneous braking and reeling.
  • Highly Adjustable: Comes with an adjustable string guide for smoother string feed.
  • Innovative Design: Designed for one-handed operation.
  • Premium Materials: Constructed with a rugged aluminum frame for enhanced durability.


Choosing the right bow fishing reel enhances the angling experience. Hand-wrap reels offer simplicity and ease of use, while spincast reels provide versatility and beginner-friendly features. Understanding and selecting the right reel based on skill level and preference is crucial in this exciting sport.

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