A good point is more than a nice extra on your arrow.
And whether you’re trying to stick big, nasty gar or shoot a fat cat, you need plenty of penetration and barbs that hold.
That can be a tall order, and we’d like to help you make the best choice. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites, as well as a buying guide to help you make a more informed decision.
Quick glance at the best bowfishing arrow tips:
Table of Contents (clickable)
AMS makes some of the best arrow points available to bow anglers, and the Chaos QT has earned a reputation as a great point for shallow water and all types of fish.
The Chaos QT runs AMS’s excellent Cyclone tip, and it's both hard and sharp, providing plenty of punch even on low-draw weight bows. These tips are replaceable, as you’d expect, so damaging them on bone or other hazards isn’t game over.
These points sport two wire barbs that penetrate easily and hold well.
The QT designation means “quick turn,” and to release these barbs, all you need to do is spin the haft a few times. That makes removing arrows from slimy, bloody fish a snap.
The Ankor QT, like the Chaos QT, comes with the dependable, replaceable Cyclone tip. Capable of penetrating the tough scales of big gar, there’s a lot to be said in favor of an arrow point that’s just as effective on cats and carp as these up-armored monsters.
Behind that sharp tip, you’ll find two folding barbs that leap into position after impact. Generally reliable, the only time you’ll have trouble is when fishing over clay or dense mud. Then, a through and through shot can cause the point to get clogged, and the barbs may not open fully.
That said, these arrows grip like gum in hair, and they don’t let go even on soft-skinned fish.
As you’d expect given the QT designation, a few twists of the shaft release the springs on the barbs, allowing you to withdraw your arrow easily.
Muzzy knows bowfishing, and their two-bladed Iron Barb points are an excellent choice for archers who want a lot of grip and deep penetration.
Muzzy’s Iron Barb tips are lethal, and penetration is further enhanced by the folding barbs that lay close to the 5/16” shaft. For gar, that’s a winning combination, and I’d shoot these points at anything I want to have stick like glue.
The two-barb design works well, but like all spring-loaded points, it can clog in mud or clay with a through and through shot in shallow water.
To remove these points, you twist the tip. That’s a little messier than AMS’s QT design, but it’s reliable and efficient, nonetheless.
Muzzy’s 1010 is pretty much the perfect dedicated gar point, and its ultra-hard Trocar tip and sharp edges have what it takes to punch through tough scales and dense muscle.
Muzzy chose to keep the point slim, and the barbs are swept back in a V-shape that allows for greater penetration. That makes a lot of sense given the purpose of this point, and you’ll be pleased with the depth the tip provides even if you’re shooting a relatively low draw weight.
The barbs hold well in thick-skinned fish, and there’s really no trouble at all gripping big, mean gar. But I wouldn’t use this tip on carp or cats as the barbs just aren't designed for that.
To release, you twist the tip twice, freeing the barbs for inversion.
Again, while not as clean or as quick as AMS’s QT set-up, you really can’t complain about the 1010, and it’s a proven performer on trophy fish with tough scales.
Cajun’s Stingaree is a no-nonsense, time-tested design that’s been around since 1963. That it’s still in use should tell you something, and its legions of fans will certainly let you know that it works!
Designed for deep penetration, the Stingaree is longer - and heavier- than most points, and that makes it a tad more suitable for higher draw-weight archers. What’s clear, however, is that the Jackhammer tip is as good as its name, and it punches for daylight on every shot.
Two spring-loaded barbs pop out on the pull, grabbing your fish like they haven’t eaten in days.
Overall, I’d suggest better tips for soft-skinned fish like cats and carp, but I’m not going to say that this point won’t work on them. Far too many have been pulled from the water thanks to the Stingaree.
To release, simply twist the shaft, and the barbs are freed to invert. This is the system AMS duplicated to such great effect, and it’s simply the best way to make this work.
Keep in mind that like all points of this style, clogging with mud or clay can happen.
When maximum penetration isn’t necessary, but a hold like super glue is, reach for Cajun’s Stinger.
A sharp, hard tip is followed by not two, but four rearward facing barbs, and on thin-skinned fish like cats and carp, you can pretty much guarantee that a hit means they’re chained to your bow.
Those four barbs create some drag as they pass through hard scales, so I’d shy away from gar with this point in place, but for pretty much anything else, this hard tip and multiple barb combo is simply deadly.
Removal is easy: twist the shaft, and the points are free to reverse.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but in the abstract, paying $15 for an arrow point may not seem like a big deal.
Then you realize that on top of all the other costs - a bow, reel, line, shafts, safety slides, and whatever else you need to get your bow ready to go - costs can add up quickly.
And the first time you lose an arrow to a mistake, well, you’ll really start kicking yourself!
Cost matters, and it’s always a good idea to consider price in relation to performance - and to shop around.
But keep in mind that the no-name points are cheap for a reason.
Tips are the business end of your points, and they take a beating (more on that in a moment).
Inevitably, you’ll either hit something you shouldn’t or notice that slamming them into a gar starts to deform their sharp edges.
Over time, their performance will be degraded - that’s just a fact of life. And you’ll want replaceable tips for when that does happen, which will help to keep your costs down.
A new tip is a LOT cheaper than a new point!
Great barbs are a must, but to get them into position to work, you need a tip that punches like Mike Tyson in his prime.
Look for very hard, very sharp tips. Name brands like AMS, Muzzy, and Cajun offer awesome replaceable tips, and even though you’ll want to weigh cost vs. quality, those brands will come out ahead every time.
Don’t skimp here: really hard tips are worth a few dollars.
Novice archers are sometimes led to believe that more is better, but don’t be fooled.
Barbs need grip to do their thing, but to get into position to work, they need to be hydrodynamic enough to allow the arrow to penetrate.
Now on cats and carp, that’s not too hard to achieve, especially if you’re shooting a bow with a draw weight in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 pounds. But as you decrease that weight - and plenty of new archers must - penetration suffers.
Two barb styles predominate: the simple bent wire design, which can feature two, three, and even four barbs, and the folding barb systems. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but it’s more complicated than a simple list.
For thin-skinned species, more barbs are often a good idea, but only if you’ve got a bow that can drive that point home. If you’re shooting a relatively low draw weight, stick to a two-barb point.
There will be less drag on impact, and good designs will still grip well.
If, on the other hand, you’re pulling 70 pounds, let ‘er rip with three or even four barb points on cats and carp. Yes, penetration will be “reduced,” but you’re not going to notice. What you will see immediately is much greater grip with more surface area and more total barbs.
On tough species like gar, you’ll find swept-back barbs to enhance penetration. The folding barbs are another good option, as in their closed position, they’re pressed more or less against the shaft.
That’s also something to consider whatever your quarry if you’re shooting through deeper water or with less draw weight.
Here are the main points, in summary:
Finally, when it comes time to remove your arrow, you want to stay as clean as possible, and you want to free your point without any trouble.
Two methods dominate: twisting the tip or twisting the shaft to release the barbs to invert.
On through-and-through shots, both methods are fine, though twisting the shaft is still the easier and cleaner option.
But if your head is buried in a big fish, twisting the shaft is obviously going to be a lot less work than finding the tip!