What Are Bowfishing Arrows Made Of?

The material that a bowfishing arrow is made of can make or break how well it performs. Some materials perform better than others, so it is important to remember this on your next bowfishing trip. Ideally, you want an arrow that is reliable and catches fish on a consistent basis.

Bowfishing arrows have shafts typically made of fiberglass, carbon, or both. Points are made from durable metals, such as stainless steel. Nocks are typically plastic.

But what are the differences between these materials and are there any other options out there? I’ve tried my best to explain the pros and cons of these materials. I’ll walk you through what you need to know.


What is bowfishing?

Bowfishing has been around for centuries. It is a popular sport that is a mix of traditional fishing and bowhunting. It’s relatively simple and easy to learn. All you need is a bow, it can be a compound or recurve, a bowfishing arrow, and a reel. Once you’ve got that, you just have to find a nice location to hunt with plenty of fish.

But how is bowfishing different from bowhunting? These two things might seem similar at first, but there are a lot of differences between them. For example, bowhunting takes place on land and you’re usually hunting larger game, like turkey and deer. Bowfishing, on the other hand, always takes place near bodies of water. This can be rivers, lakes, and marshes.

The best places to go bowfishing are shallow pool areas because they are easily accessible by boat or foot. Furthermore, shallow water is best because it ensures that you can use your bow properly above the water.

Bowfishing is fun and there are a lot of types of fish that you can traditionally hunt for. The most common are common carp, bighead carp, and alligator gar.

Another difference to note is how you shoot. When bowfishing, you have to aim lower due to refraction. This is because the water makes it seem like the fish is farther or closer than it actually is.


How are bowfishing arrows different from traditional arrows?

Bowfishing arrows are fairly different from traditional arrows. Unlike traditional arrows, they have a line that allows you to reel in the fish once you hit it. Fish are fairly strong. Without a line, they can swim away, even after being hit. At which point, they will probably die and be eaten by other fish.

The line is useful because it allows you to reel the fish in. Clearly, having a line would be impractical on traditional arrows. Imagine reeling in a giant turkey or deer. It’s just not practical without stronger equipment.

Another difference is that bowfishing arrows don’t have feathers or vanes, because they misdirect the arrow in the water. Furthermore, their arrowheads are usually barbed at the tip, so that the arrow doesn’t slip out as you reel the fish back in.

In addition, traditional bowhunting arrows have another purpose. You can’t exactly reel a large animal in, so you have to make it as easy as possible to track it. As a result, bowhunting arrows are bigger and heavier, designed to leave a trail of blood. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the hunter to find where the animal has gone.


What are the parts of a bowfishing arrow?

Bowfishing arrows are constructed similarly to traditional archery arrows. They have a shaft, point, and nock. However, bowfishing arrows tend to have a few extra features that make it better suited for aquatic hunting.

For example, bowfishing arrows usually have a barb release. This makes it easy to take the fish of the arrow. These can function by either loosening the tip of the arrow or by detaching it completely. Personally, I prefer the former because it makes me less likely to lose the arrow point.

In addition, bowfishing arrows have a tab that allows you to tie a line to it. As we discussed earlier, this makes it fairly easy to reel your fish, so you don’t lose it.


What material are bowfishing arrows made of?

Bowfishing arrows are usually made from a combination of certain materials. For example, their points are usually made from strong metal, such as stainless steel. Stainless steel is a popular option because it doesn’t rust, making it very favorable for water-related hunting. Furthermore, it is strong enough to pierce the fish without getting damaged.

On the other hand, the nock, otherwise known as the place where you “hook” the arrow to the bowstring, is usually made of some sort of durable plastic. The tab where you attach the line is usually also made of plastic.

Lastly, bowfishing arrow shafts are mainly made with two different materials used in different combinations: fiberglass and carbon. Here is a brief description.

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is a common type of plastic that is reinforced with glass fiber. Arrows made from this material are very popular due to their economical price tag. Unfortunately, however, the spines of these arrows are prone to damage and can break over time.
  • Carbon: Carbon arrows are usually made with aluminum or carbon and graphite composite materials. This material is mostly found in newer bowfishing arrows and is quite popular. A perk of carbon arrows is that they’re usually more durable than traditional fiberglass arrows. They are designed to handle higher impacts, so they are less prone to damage, such as cracking and bending. As a result, they tend to produce more accurate shots.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid arrows are made of both fiberglass and carbon. They take the best characteristics from each material to provide you with a high-quality arrow. They offer exceptional performance at an economical price tag, making it perfect for budget-friendly consumers.

All three of these arrows are sturdy enough to successfully penetrate a fish underwater. However, if you’d like to hunt larger fish, I recommend carbon or hybrid arrows. They offer exceptional quality at a great price. However, in my experience, the only downside is that they cost a tiny bit more than fiberglass arrows.


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I'm the founder of Archery & Bow. I'm currently living in Miami and I've been an avid archery enthusiast for over 10 years.
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