The Best Bowfishing Reels Of 2018 – A Complete Rundown

Have you ever heard bowfishing? Well, if you have done already, you have a good grasp of how exciting and fascinating this activity is.

Bowfishing is completely different from the conventional fishing methods that we do. You don't rely on rods here. Instead, you use a bow to shoot an arrow to your target and have it delivered back to you via a line tied to a reel. Therefore, it is quite essential that you invest in the best bowfishing reel in this type of application.


But why? You see, bowfishing requires a different set of amenities. But despite its unique and peculiar approach, the need for a good reel stays the same. No angler will do bowfishing if he/ she doesn't have a reliable reel. That's a guarantee. I have tried this sport already, and I can testify that the reel can make a difference.

So what are your top choices for a bowfishing reel? Better check the selection that I have made below.

Best Bowfishing Reel On The 2018 Market​

Product Name



Our Rating

1. AMS Tournament Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel - Editor's Pick

AMS Tournament Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel


2. Cajun Winch Bowfishing Reel - Runner-Up

Cajun Winch Bowfishing Reel


3. Zebco / Quantum 808HBOW - Budget-Friendly Option

Zebco / Quantum 808HBOW, 80, BX3, 808 Series Reel, Bowfisher, 2.6: 1 Gear Ratio, 19


4. AMS Bowfishing Tournament Series Retriever TNT - Premium Pick

AMSBowfishing Tournament Series Retriever TNT with 350lb Spectra Line


5. Muzzy XD Bowfishing Reel - Best Spincast Bowfishing Reel

Muzzy XD Bowfishing Reel 150# line Silver


AMS Tournament Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel

One of the suggested reels that should be used in bowfishing is a Retriever or a bottle reel. Of course, if that's the case, then you have to try the AMS Tournament Retriever Pro. After all, it is this company that has developed this type of reel and released it to the market.

The gear ratio of this reel is 4.3:1 which makes it a great choice for heavy lines and struggling fish. It is strong and capable of smooth delivery of line when you are shooting a target. The retrieval mechanism of the Retriever Pro is superb as well. You won't feel any snag or difficulty whenever you are trying to grab your catch.

Notably, this reel has a large handle so that you can have better control and leverage on it. The ergonomics of this device do not lack any important aspect, making it a perfect tool for bowfishing.


  • Rugged and durable construction
  • Smooth maneuvering of the line
  • Powerful and fast retrieval
  • Comes with a trigger guard
  • Integrated quiver mount is extremely handy.


  • No noticeable drawbacks.
Cajun Winch Bowfishing Reel

The Winch Bowfishing Reel of Cajun is one of the most beloved reels in the bowfishing community. It has a reliable design, thanks to its ergonomic engineering, that made it extremely responsive for this particular application. This reel has a sturdy brake that enables the angler to winch the fish quickly to the boat. It also features a one-hand operation for more usability.

The mounting brackets of the Cajun Winch are extremely solid. They are made from aluminum and capable of holding on to the bow, regardless of the condition. The entire reel has a stainless steel construction so that it will never be susceptible to rust and corrosion. Best of all, it is capable of handling heavy lines, which is necessary for bowfishing.


  • Impressive brake system
  • Can support one-hand operation
  • Stable and rugged mounting platform
  • Overall construction is durable and sturdy
  • Smooth and fast retrieval.


  • You may need to take time to learn how to use it.

#3. Zebco / Quantum 808HBOW - Budget-Friendly Option

Zebco / Quantum 808HBOW, 80, BX3, 808 Series Reel, Bowfisher, 2.6: 1 Gear Ratio, 19

The Zebco / Quantum 808HBOW is a good choice for those who want a quality entry-level bowfishing reel. It is also a great option for starters because its scheme and mechanism are easy to understand. You can easily grasp the fundamentals of bowfishing if you are going to use this as a test tool.

This reel features a solid mounting bracket so that it doesn't get detached to the bow during a fierce struggle. It can handle medium to heavy lines and maneuver them smoothly. Of course, the retrieval rate of this reel is something that you can rely on. Although it is true that this reel is not the perfect bowfishing reel, it is still a useful tool for beginners and those who want a backup reel at their disposal.


  • Stable mounting system
  • Decent retrieval speed
  • The handle is pretty ergonomic
  • Doesn't affect the trajectory of the arrow
  • Affordable option.


  • Some parts are seemingly flimsy.
AMSBowfishing Tournament Series Retriever TNT with 350lb Spectra Line

There are a lot of perks that you can get from the AMS Bowfishing Tournament Series Retriever TNT. It is a high-grade bowfishing reel that features simple and clutter-free operation. You don't need to push any button or crank some gears before you can utilize it. Just make the shot, and the reel will immediately send the line right after the arrow.

This reel is capable of supporting up to 35 yards of 350-pound line. It is a great choice if you want to hunt some big fish. Specifically, this reel can retrieve up to 27 inches of line per a single turn. With its 4.3:1 gear ratio, you can expect that each revolution will give you the upper hand over your catch. Meanwhile, the handle of this reel features an extended design for better torque.


  • Fast retrieval capacity
  • Can deal with large and stubborn fish
  • Quick and hassle-free operation
  • Capable of using heavy lines
  • Features a high-quality handle design.


  • No noticeable drawbacks.

#5. Muzzy XD Bowfishing Reel - Best Spincast Bowfishing Reel

Muzzy XD Bowfishing Reel 150# line Silver

A spincast reel is also a great choice for bowfishing due to its impressive capability for fast retrieval. When it comes to this particular type of bowfishing reel, the Muzzy XD can be a good candidate. It has a high-grade engineering which ensures its overall capability to handle various line weight and sizes. It is also a rugged fishing reel, as can be seen on its corrosion-resistant hardware.

The retrieval speed of the Muzzy XD is remarkable. Once you have the landed your shot, you can immediately crank the handle of this reel to get your trophy. This particular rig has a notable elongated hood. The latter ensures that every shot you made with your bow is smooth and seamless. The Muzzy XD doesn't lack in power either. It can fight and make sure that your target won't get away.


  • Features a stable mounting system
  • Line flow is smooth and responsive
  • Extremely fast retrieval
  • Comes with a pre-installed 150-pound line
  • Construction is ergonomic and user-friendly.


  • The handle might be too small for some fishers.

What Is Bowfishing Anyway?

What is Bowfishing Anyway?

Do you love fishing? Do you love bow hunting?

Then bowfishing is the right one for you!

Of course, I am not fooling you here. Although it sounds absurd, bowfishing is actually a thing. It is an amalgamation between two known outdoor sports--fishing and bow huntIng. It is becoming a popular sport, especially in various fishing communities in the United States.

The process of this sport is quite simple. The first thing that you have to do is to get near in any fish that is swimming on shallow waters. After this, you will take a specialized bow to shoot the game with precision. It is a simple, no-fuss process of catching games. As a matter of facts, kids and amateurs can learn this application very quickly!

Once your hit is successful, the barb that is attached to the arrow will be immediately felt. After this, you have to use your reel to retrieve the fish toward you. Pretty simple, right?

Moreover, bowfishing can be done on several bodies of water. As long as you can find shallow spots, you will be able to apply this unique technique and ensure that you can have a fine time. It has been noted as well that bowfishing helps the environment.

Check out this video for a complete preview of how bowfishing works:​

Equipment Needed In Bowfishing

Albeit the popular belief, bowfishing is not that expensive. After all, you are not required to get multiple rods for you to do this. You just need to invest in a few amenities so that you can start with it right away.

One should remember that bowfishing remains a versatile hobby. You can either do it on the ground or in the boat. You can also do it whether the sun is up or not. Therefore, you should not worry about anything at all.

The only things that you have to secure are the following: bow, arrow, and reel.

Among these three, the reel holds utter importance. I am not saying that the bow or arrow is not crucial. You can't fish without these two anyway. However, the selection of proper reel ensures that you can have a smooth and strong drag. You can conquer any fish if you have a reliable reel from the get-go.

Let's explore more about it.​

Best Reels For Bowfishing​

Today, there are different varieties of reels that you can use for bowfishing. You can choose any of these options depending on your needs and preferences.

Moreover, always keep in mind that a bowfishing reel has a different design compared to standard reels such as those that are used for crankbaits.

Check out some of the reels that are being utilized in bowfishing:​

Drum Type

The first type of bowfishing reel is the regular one. The design of this reel is pretty simple, which typically comes in a drum-type design for spooling a line. Once you hit the arrow to the fish, you can retrieve the line by wrapping it on the reel.

Spincast Reel

A spincast reel is another type of reel that you can use for bowfishing. Many reel manufacturers have popularized the use of this reel for this application. You can say that a spincast reel is a basic rig. However, unlike regular reels, this one is configured properly so that it can have better and stronger hold over the fish.

I have witnessed several bowfishing tournaments where the anglers have used a spincasting reel. The very reason for this is the innate ability of the reel to have quick and smooth retrievals.​

Bottle Reel

The company AMS Bowfishing LLC develops the bottle reel or Retriever. It is a unique reel because it doesn't have a drag system. The mechanism of this reel features the line flying out from the bottle that is integrated on the back portion of the reel.

A few years later, many modifications have been made from the bottle reel. It became a top choice for many anglers because of the simplicity of its design and usage. It can also work with different skill levels.​

Hybrid Reel

The hybrid bowfishing reel was presented in the community by the company Cajun Bowfishing. Just like its name suggests, a hybrid reel features different specifications so that it can work better for bowfishing. Specifically, this one is a by-product by the combination of spincast reel and the bottle reel.

The hybrid reel has a no-drag system of smoother and stronger retrievals. The speed of its retrieval is as lightning fast as those of spincast reel. Therefore, it is really a great option that you should try.​

Some Considerations In Choosing The Best Bowfishing Reel

In the reels that I have listed, the spincast, hybrid, and bottle are all great. However, it is notable that bottle reels, or Retrievers, are highly preferred by those who want to do bowfishing on large games. The reason for this is due to the capability of retrievers to let the fish swim without any hindrance.

Take into account that the lines used in retrievers are tough and heavy. Some can even go as heavy as forty pounds, especially in dealing with burly fish species. There was a time where a colleague had used a 300-pound line when he tried to catch some small alligators in a lake.

The speed of the retrieval should always be a priority when it comes to bowfishing. You would want the reel to deliver the line as quickly as possible to the target. You wouldn't want a reel that would cause snagging or delays because that's just a letdown.


​Bowfishing is a unique sport. Therefore, it always requires a good set of equipment. You need a strong bow, the appropriate arrows, and responsive reel to get a successful catch all the time. The reel, specifically, ensures that you can retrieve the line and the fish without any difficulties.

The best bowfishing reel is an amenity that can determine how you can do well in the shallow waters. It is a requirement that you can get a reel that has exceptional ergonomics and performance whenever you are doing this activity.

Once you do so, you will really experience the thrill that bowfishing brings!

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to share it with us in the comment section below.​

The Best Bowfishing Reels Of 2018 – A Complete Rundown
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