Choosing Bowfishing Points

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Bowfishing points are fairly simple. They include barbs to keep speared fish from sliding off the arrow during retrieval. When I started bowfishing in the 1970s, we simply drilled holes through field points, inserted finishing nails and soldered them into place. Today's wide variety of options sometimes cause confusion with beginners or those who've been away from the sport awhile. What point is best for you? Why does one point cost only a couple bucks and another $20?

Which bowfishing point you choose depends largely on how serious you are about bowfishing, how many fish you shoot on a typical outing, water conditions (more accurately, bottom conditions) and what fish are targeted most.

Most bowfishermen can get by with basic, budget-priced points. They work just fine on the average shallow-water carp over mud or pea gravel bottoms. Basic points like October Mountain Products' Typhoon and Cajun Archery's Lil' Stinger 2 and 4 (and most basic points included with beginning bowfishing kits) normally require unscrewing the entire tip/barb assembly from the arrow to remove a fish, which isn't a big deal when low-volume shooting.

On the other hand, if you shoot large numbers of fish or in punishing waters with lots of hard stumps and especially rock, you need a more rugged, sophisticated point. When the action is hot, getting rid of fish faster means points with instantly-reversible barbs. This normally involves giving the tip or barbs a counter-clockwise turn so that the barbs fold forward and the fish can be shucked off the arrow shaft. The barbs are then re-enaged and the tip retightened before shooting again. There are no parts to lose and ridding yourself of fish takes only seconds. Good examples include the venerable Cajun Sting-A-Ree, AMS Shure Shot and Bohning Aqua Assault Premium. Most quick-release bowfishing points have extra heavy-duty construction to stand up to prolonged abuse, and affordable, replaceable tips. 

Extra-large, hard-fighting but otherwise "soft" fish (like bighead carp or paddlefish) are notorious for pulling free, particularly on marginal "edge" hits. If you're shooting stuff like that, consider a quick-release bowfishing point with some extra grabbing surface, like Muzzy's Big Fish Adaptor (an extra set of barbs) and InnerLoc's Grapple 3.