As any archer can tell you, a good arrow is an essential part of your bowfishing system. And while a standard bow can get you on the water with few to no modifications, bowfishing arrows are a breed all their own.
That can leave even experienced archers at a loss about what to look for, let alone folks new to the sport.
If you’re just not sure where to start your search for a quality bowfishing arrow, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorite options as well as a complete buying guide.
Quick glance at the best bowfishing arrows:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Length: 32” without head; 34” with head
Weight: 257 grains
AMS Bowfishing is a name that’s no stranger to archers, and their Chaos FX arrow is legendary for shallow-water performance.
A relatively short, stout fiberglass shaft delivers plenty of power to the tip, allowing even low draw weight bows to penetrate the 2 inches necessary to engage the barbs riding on either side of the point.
They hold well, and no fighting, twisting, or rolling is going to dislodge them. Fish up to and exceeding 50 pounds are no sweat for the Chaos FX.
And as well as these arrows grip, they’re easy to remove. When it’s time for you to free your arrow, simply twist the point to invert the barbs.
The nock is tough and sized right, hitting the sweet spot between tight enough for good accuracy and loose enough to stay in place. Overall durability is excellent from this arrow, and corrosion is simply not an issue.
Each Chaos FX comes with an AMS safety slide, a nice addition to help keep you safe on the water.
Ideal for soft-skinned species like carp and catfish, as well as up-armored tough guys like gar, keep in mind that the Chaos FX is out of its depth in deep water.
Length: 32” without head; 34” with head
Weight: 348 grains
AMS’s white arrow can be upgraded with the addition of the awesome Ankor QT head, increasing the overall weight to 348 grains and improving holding and penetration power.
Some of that extra punch comes from the heavier weight of this arrow and head, but the ultra-hardened QT point drives deep and enters easily. That performance is further enhanced by the three folding Ankor barbs since they stay locked in place until they’re needed.
And when they do release, you’ll have three 2-inch barbs locking your fish in place.
To retract the barbs, simply twist the shaft or head a few turns.
As you’d expect, the nock is just right - neither too tight nor too loose - and they stay put and take a beating without complaint.
And, of course, each arrow comes with an AMS Safety Slide.
For my money, that’s as good as it gets, and this is the premium arrow I’d recommend when hunting on the water.
Muzzy knows bowhunting, and it comes as little surprise that they’ve now turned their decades of expertise toward bowfishing, too.
This short, stout fiberglass arrow comes with your choice of a carp or gar point, standard or two- and three-barb retractable heads, and safety slides or not (please get the safety slide!).
That’s a ton of options for any bow angler.
And whatever configuration you choose, you’ll find a day-glo green nock on the other end.
Muzzy’s Classic Chartreuse has proven itself on the water, and these arrows are tough as nails. They’ll hold reliably in big, mean fish, too, though I prefer the retractable, three-barb head for its tight grip on massive carp and gar.
Releasing your arrow is simple: just twist the head or shaft.
And though AMS may have eclipsed Muzzy to some extent in recent years, this arrow is no joke, as legions of happy fish hunters can attest.
Material: fiberglass/carbon fiber composite
Cajun Bowfishing, a subsidiary of the legendary Bear brand, offers an arrow that’s hard to pass up if you’re hunting thin-skinned species like catfish.
The Wasp, when equipped with the Stinger point, is simply an amazing arrow.
Constructed from carbon fiber and fiberglass, this arrow is stiff and strong, offering plenty of punch on the business end. For heavier draw weights, this stiffened arrow has the rigidity to transfer power, and if you’re shooting a bow with more than 50 pounds of pull, take a look at the Wasp.
And when the four-barbed Stinger sticks, it’s there to stay.
Of course, a simple twist releases these barbs, allowing you to pull your arrow free without getting your hands slimy.
The nock is well designed and executed, and you’ll have no trouble with it breaking free.
And as it should, you’ll find the Wasp comes equipped with a safety slide.
Overall, this is a tough arrow to beat if you’re fishing for cats and carp.
Material: 80% fiberglass/ 20% carbon fiber composite
Muzzy’s got bow anglers with heavy pulls covered, and their Lighted Carbon Composite arrow is just the medicine you need for deep penetration on monster fish.
Designed to be rigid enough for heavy draw weights, this fiberglass/carbon fiber arrow has what it takes when you crank the pull up beyond 50 pounds. It’ll deliver devastating broadsides on big, mean fish, and the ultra-hard Trocar points are no joke when it comes to hard scales.
If you’re hunting large gar with a powerful bow, this just might be the best choice out there for you.
The glowing nocks are also extremely well-executed, and accuracy and durability are pretty much guaranteed. They really do make a difference when you shoot, as you’ll see your arrow in
These arrows are available with and without a safety slide, and they’re pre-drilled to accept one if you prefer to attach your own.
Right off the bat, you’ve got a choice to make that’s largely driven by three factors: price, accuracy, and draw weight. But there are other things to consider.
Let’s get into the details with a quick overview:
If you regularly make long shots or need to penetrate deep water, fiberglass is probably not the best option for you. Ditto if you use a bow with a heavy draw weight.
But if you need to keep costs low or need top-notch durability from your shafts, fiberglass might be the best choice.
The business end of your arrow is just as critical as the shaft construction, and generally, you need a sharp, hard point with some form of barb.
Standard barbs are essentially strong wire backing a sharp, hard tip.
Spring-loaded barbs deploy on impact.
But beyond that, you need to select your points carefully, choosing an option that’s designed for your quarry.
Some points are intended for soft-skinned fish like cats; others are designed to penetrate the tough scales of gar; still others are good at both.
And barb designs vary from simple, two-prong styles to spring-loaded arms that swing into place on impact.
Both styles work well, though there are several points to keep in mind:
You want a point that’s designed to be removed easily, given that you’ve got a barb system that’s locking your arrow into your fish.
Most point systems either unlock by twisting the head or the shaft. That will release the barbs or allow them to fold back into the head.
A good nock is just tight enough to ensure excellent accuracy without sticking in place.
They’ll also stay put rather than being stripped off on impact.
When you lose an arrow, it’s always with lethal intent.
Unfortunately, that deadly projectile doesn’t always fly down range.
If your line catches on your bow, knots, or tangles, it can act like a giant rubber band, hurling that sharp arrow back at you.
The best way to prevent this is to use a safety slide.
Attached to your arrow via a pre-drilled hole, a safety slide prevents your arrow from being yo-yoed back in your direction.
Not using one is simply stupid - so stay safe and always use a safety slide.