Fishing has long since been one of the most popular water activities. With more and more people entering into this sport every year, the popularity doesn’t seem to be on the decline. Bowfishing is a great way to bring a bit more of a game feel into your fishing experience. This sport is incredibly fun working to combine the thrill of hunting with that of fishing.

As with all types of fishing, having the right gear is a great way to ensure that you have the most success on the water. Having the best bowfishing reel will help you to have the most success on the water. There are many different types of reels to consider with bowfishing. Many beginners opt for the best bowfishing spincast reel.

Before you buy a reel, it is important to have a thorough understanding of what your options are. Knowing the different types available to you and the features to look for is important, that is why we created this guide to help you find the best option for you.

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How To Choose The Best Bowfishing Reel – Buying Guide


Before beginning your search into the best bowfishing reel, you will want to equip yourself with a good amount of base knowledge. Knowing the different types of reels and have a good understanding of the terminology, you will have an easier time finding the reel that best suits your needs. Once you get your bowfishing setup you will be able to head out on the water in no time.

Reel Style

There are three different styles of bowfishing reels available on the market today. Each of these reels face their fair share of pros and cons. It is important to know and understand what makes each of these styles before deciding on which style will be best for you. The reel style you choose will also depend on your level of experience within the sport.

The Drum Reel

This type of reel is also known as the hand wrap reel as that is exactly what it is. To use, you must manually wrap your line around your spool and hold it in place. You can hold it by putting it into a line holder. Upon releasing your arrow your line will fly from the holder. Upon retrieval, you can start the process over again by manually rewinding your reel. Due to the affordability of this reel, it is a great option to use when first starting out with the sport.

This type of reel has many advantages, the biggest being that it is affordable and easy to set up. Despite their affordable price they are also quite durable and hold a significantly longer lifespan. The biggest drawback by far with the drum reel is the time consumption. It takes a while to wrap your reel and the line itself tends to not shoot as fast. This can prove quite frustrating when trying to hit a fast swimming fish. You will also find yourself having to hand retrieve a miss-shot line.

The Spincast Reel

This is the most basic type of reel that you will find. While they may be basic, there is something to be said for simplicity as this is one of the most commonly used reels on the market today. This is a great option for those new to the world of bowfishing. It is the most similar to traditional fishing reels except for the fact that it is attached to a bow. That is because these types of reels typically come pre-round. Featuring regular fishing line, this is ideal for those looking for a quick and easy reel.

While the pre-round feature may be desirable, it is worth noting that these are typically the least durable types of reels. This is because if you happen to release your line before you shoot you will be left with your line flying from your spool rendering it useless. This reel style does have one big advantage though, it is incredibly easy to use. You can easily set your drag with this type of reel which will allow you to fight your fish with ease. This reel is also a great improvement to the drum reel when it comes to speed. It is quicker to shoot, easy to reel back in and quick to shoot again making it so much less work if you miss your target.

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The Retriever Reel

The last type of reel, the retriever reel is one that is rapidly growing in popularity. This type of reel is often favored by fishers looking to catch big game fish, even alligators, and is most used by those with some experience in the sport. Built to withstand the pressure of a battle, these reels incorporate a thick 200 pound braided line. Unlike other lines on this list, it is not wound in a reel and instead stored in a bottle. This feature is ideal as it allows the line to fly through the air without tangling.

There are many advantages to this type of reel. It’s on the up and coming as a preferred model for those with experience. Its lightweight design is incredibly popular as well as the thicker, more durable line that typically comes with it. This line also uses a crank method of retrieving your line rather than a spin line which will cause less wear and increase the lifespan.

The only real downfall to this style of reel is that it doesn’t offer the best speed. This is because of a heavy and thick bowline. It also tends to hold a more expensive price tag due to the higher quality of materials being used.


It is incredibly important for fishing gear to be durable. As with all other outdoor gear, it is important for it to stand up to changing weather conditions and be able to handle rough conditions. Your reel is no exception to this. As this part of your fishing gear is directly related to your ability to fish, you will want a tough line that can hold up. Once your line snaps, or your reel breaks, you will be forced to end your fishing day. For this reason, it is important for you to opt for a reel that is rugged enough to be able to handle outdoor use.

Ease Of Use

Before purchasing your next real, it is important to consider both your level of experience as well as whether or not you will have someone to teach you the ropes. While your level of experience is incredibly important, it is wise to also consider how important it is for you to have a reel that will be easy to use. For this we are talking about tangling, shooting, retrieving your line, and rewinding your reel. Between the three types of reels, each excel in different areas. For this reason, it is important to decide on which features are the most important to you.

Gear Ratio

In terms of the technical side of things, the gear ratio is the one spec you will want to pay close attention to. The gear ratio, while it may sound complicated, simply refers to the speed in which your reel picks up a line. A common gear ratio for bowfishing reels is 4.3:1. This means that your spool rotates 4.3 times with every one rotation of your handle. This then has a direct correlation with how much effort is required for reeling in your catch. Seasoned bowfishers will generally prefer a higher gear ratio.



Q: What Is A Bowfishing Reel?


Bowfishing reels are generally much the same as traditional fishing reels with one main exception. Instead of your line being attached to your rod, it is attached to a bow and arrow. This puts a little more game into your fishing experience and requires you to shoot for your fish that you catch.

Q: How to Attach to Bowfishing Reel to Your Bow?


The answer to this question is directly related to the type of reel that you have. Your best bet to get the most accurate answer is to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. When looking to install your reel, the mounting position should be your top priority. You will want to choose a position that is comfortable to you when you are holding the trigger.

Oftentimes your reel will come with screws that will be used to mount to your crossbow. Spincast reels will be your only reel type to vary from this. In this case you will need the additional purchase of a bowfishing reel seat that will complement your reel. This then attaches to your bow.

Q: How to String Up An Arrow On Your Bowfishing Rig?


You will want to incorporate safety slides when doing this to tie onto your arrows. This should be done by even those with some experience bowfishing. To string your arrow you will want to start by inspecting your line thoroughly to make sure it is not frayed. Don’t panic if it is frayed, you can simply single your line with the use of  lighter. Start by tugging your line to ensure that you have some extra slack to play with. You will want to string your line up from the bottom, follow the groove and then string it back downwards. Check that your slide is pulled right to the front end of your arrow. Once this is done, tie an overhand knot and pull the arrow through the loop pulling it tight. Once this is done, you are done.

Globo Surf Overview

Whether you are new to the sport or have been bowfishing for years, having the best gear will help to make your day on the water more fun, and more successful. The quality difference between different reels can be quite big. This makes it incredibly important for you to do your research before making a purchase. Reading the bowfishing reel reviews will help to narrow down how the reel will perform. The beauty of this type of reel is that typically they are much more affordable. For this reason, it may be worth spending the money on one with a bit more functionality.

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