Best Bowfishing Reel: Top Picks for 2023

AMW bowfishing reel

Bowfishing is an exciting outdoor activity that merges the skills of fishing and archery to provide a unique challenge.

As the popularity of the sport grows, so does the market for efficient and effective bowfishing gear.

One essential piece of equipment in any bowfisher’s arsenal is the bowfishing reel, which plays a crucial role in the success of their catch.

A bowfishing reel is a distinct piece of equipment specifically designed for bowfishing.

Unlike regular angling reels, a bowfishing reel must withstand the tension and pressure exerted during the release of an arrow at a target fish.

It securely attaches to the bow, assists in maintaining tension during the retrieval process, and helps smoothly pull back the target from the water.

When choosing the best bowfishing reel, some critical factors need consideration.

These include the reel type (spincast, bottle, or retriever), ease of use, durability, and overall performance.

Your choice will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of your bowfishing adventures.

We have spent considerable time researching and comparing various bowfishing reels on the market to identify the best options available for avid bowfishers.

Our findings will ensure that your next bowfishing trip is a success with the right gear to match your skills.

Best Bowfishing Reels

Browse through our top picks to find your perfect match!

Muzzy 1097 XD Bow Fishing Reel

Muzzy 1097 XD Bow Fishing Reel

We recommend the Muzzy 1097 XD Bow Fishing Reel for its durability and performance in bowfishing applications.


  • Smooth and easy-to-use line retrieval
  • Sturdy and well-built construction
  • Versatile ambidextrous design


  • Some users reported broken internals after limited use
  • May not last for an extended period of heavy use
  • May have missing components if purchased open box

We recently had the opportunity to try out the Muzzy 1097 XD Bow Fishing Reel, and we found it to be a reliable and efficient option for bowfishing enthusiasts.

The stainless steel handle and bearing material contribute to its overall sturdiness, making it a durable choice for serious anglers.

The 150 line installed on this bowfishing reel provides ample length for a variety of situations, and the extended hood adds extra protection and support.

It’s apparent that the design of this reel keeps the user’s experience in mind, as it can accommodate both left and right-handed users with its ambidextrous construction.

However, we also noticed some potential downsides to the Muzzy 1097 XD.

Some folks have reported issues with the internals breaking or stripped threads, which could pose an issue for those planning on prolonged, heavy use.

Additionally, be cautious when purchasing an open box as it may have missing components – a detail we thought was worth noting.

In conclusion, the Muzzy 1097 XD Bow Fishing Reel is a solid option for those looking to jump into the world of bowfishing.

Its smooth operation, durability, and design considerations make it a worthwhile purchase.

However, we advise users to be aware of possible internal issues and make informed decisions on whether this product is suitable for their specific needs.

Muzzy Bowfishing Drag Free Bottle Reel

Muzzy Bowfishing Drag Free Bottle Reel

We recommend the Muzzy Bowfishing Drag Free Bottle Reel for its simple yet effective design and durable construction, perfect for any bowfisher.


  • Drag-free shooting system
  • Holds up to 25 yards of 150lb test line
  • Durable, weatherproof materials


  • May feel flimsy compared to higher-end reels
  • Mostly plastic construction
  • Newer product with fewer reviews

We were able to get or hands on the Muzzy Bowfishing Drag Free Bottle Reel during a couple of fishing trips and appreciated its drag-free shooting system.

The open bottle design allowed the line to flow freely upon each shot, significantly improving our shooting experience.

Although it might feel less robust compared to other high-end bottle reels, the Muzzy reel worked efficiently during our outings, and we didn’t face any issues.

It can hold up to 25 yards of heavy-duty (150lb) test line, which is sufficient for most bowfishing situations.

While the reel is mainly made of plastic rather than stainless steel, its construction is durable and weatherproof.

It has the potential to serve you well for a long time with proper care.

However, being a relatively new product, it does not have as many end-user reviews as others in the market.

Overall, the Muzzy Bowfishing Drag Free Bottle Reel is an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned bowfishers.

Its simplistic and effective design paired with durability make it a valuable addition to your bowfishing gear.

Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel

Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel

We highly recommend the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel for its revolutionary design, durability, and smooth performance in any bowfishing situation.


  • Revolutionary design for one-handed operation
  • Rugged aluminum frame ensures durability
  • Adjustable ceramic string guide offers smooth string feed


  • Instruction sheet could be more detailed
  • Not suitable for left-handed shooters
  • Occasional malfunction during line retrieval

We tried out the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel, and were impressed by its unique design that allows for one-handed operation, making it even easier to reel in those monstrous catches.

The fighting wheel brake system lets us brake and reel simultaneously, giving us more control over our catch.

Constructed with a rugged aluminum frame, this bowfishing reel is built to last even in harsh conditions, ensuring that we can use it for many bowfishing trips to come.

We also enjoyed the adjustable ceramic string guide that provided a smoother string feed, allowing us to focus on our target without worrying about string tension.

However, we did find a few drawbacks with the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel.

First, the instruction sheet provided was not very helpful, so we had to search on YouTube for proper setup guidance.

Additionally, this particular reel is not suitable for left-handed shooters, which may exclude some from enjoying its benefits.

Lastly, we encountered an occasional malfunction during line retrieval, which may disrupt the overall fun and flow of our bowfishing experience.

Despite these minor issues, we still believe the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel is a worthwhile investment for dedicated bowfishing enthusiasts.

Its innovative design, durability, and smooth performance make it stand out from the crowd, and we confidently endorse it as a top choice for anyone looking to up their bowfishing game.

AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro Reel

AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro Reel

We highly recommend the AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro Reel for its durability, simplicity, and top-notch performance. It’s still or all-time favorite!


  • Easy to use with no buttons to push before shooting
  • Sturdy and resistant construction
  • Zero drag for smooth line release


  • Slightly expensive compared to other options
  • Difficulty in reeling sometimes experienced
  • May need clarity on left or right-hand orientation

We’ve used the AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro Reel for a long, long time now and are always impressed by its simplicity.

There are no buttons to press before shooting, making it always ready to go.

Retrievers are in free-spool mode, so all you need to do is draw and shoot.

The reel’s heavy-duty construction stood out, featuring machined brass gears, stainless steel hardware, and corrosion-resistant housing.

This makes it perfect for both freshwater and saltwater bowfishing. We’re confident this reel will last for years.

We love the smooth experience when using this reel.

There is zero drag as the line freely spooled out of the bottle during a shot.

The quick-release quiver mount is another great feature, allowing us to easily adjust and remove the reel with just one T-screw.

Overall, the AMS Bowfishing Retriever Pro Reel’s American-made quality, durability, and user-friendly design make it a fantastic option for those looking to purchase the best bowfishing reel.

Despite a few minor drawbacks, we believe it’s worth the investment for an enjoyable bowfishing experience and should be on top of anyone’s list.

Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel Kit

Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel Kit

We highly recommend the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel Kit for its durability, user-friendly design, and smooth performance.


  • Simultaneous braking and reeling action
  • Rugged aluminum frame and components
  • Horizontal and vertical adjustments for a customized fit


  • Some users report missing or damaged components upon delivery
  • May not come with included arrows
  • Arrow quality may be lacking

The Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel Kit impressed us with its innovative design that allows for simultaneous braking and reeling, making it easier to bring in large fish quickly.

The reel’s durable aluminum frame and components ensure that it will stand up to the rigors of bowfishing, even in challenging conditions.

We also appreciated the horizontal and vertical adjustments that ensure a perfect fit on any bow.

This customization makes the reel more ergonomic and easier to use, enhancing our overall bowfishing experience.

However, we must note that some users have reported receiving the package with missing or damaged components.

While this seems to be an exception rather than the rule, it’s worth being aware of when making your purchase decision.

Additionally, the arrows included with the kit may be of subpar quality, so you might want to consider purchasing separate, higher-quality arrows.

Overall, the Cajun Winch Pro Bowfishing Reel Kit is a solid investment for any bowfisherman seeking a durable, user-friendly reel.

Just keep in mind that you may need to invest in additional arrows to ensure optimal performance on the water.

Buying Guide

Price Range

When looking for the best bowfishing reel, the first thing to consider is our budget.

Reels can range from affordable to quite expensive, so it’s important to determine how much we’re willing to spend.

However, we must keep in mind that quality and durability usually come with a higher price tag.

Types of Reels

There are three main types of bowfishing reels to choose from:

  1. Spincast Reels: These are the most popular reels for bowfishing, offering a closed face and good line capacity. They’re easy to use, durable, and provide smooth and accurate shots.
  2. Drum Reels: These reels are simple and lightweight, which makes them perfect for beginners. The line is wrapped around the reel manually, so it requires a bit more skill to use.
  3. Bottle Reels: These reels have the line stored inside a bottle or container, making it easy to handle and avoiding tangles. They’re great for those looking for an easy-to-use and low maintenance option.

Retrieval Speed

The retrieval speed of our bowfishing reel is important because it allows us to quickly retrieve our arrows after shooting at a fish.

Reels with a fast retrieval rate will help us to recover our arrows quickly, making the whole process more efficient.

Line Capacity and Strength

The line capacity and strength of the reel are essential factors to consider.

We want a reel that can hold a significant amount of line, as well as be strong enough to handle the weight of bigger fish.

Look for a reel with a high line capacity and strong line strength.

Drag System

A good drag system is essential to ensure smooth and controlled line release while shooting.

It helps control the tension, preventing the line from slipping or snapping.

Opt for a reel with a reliable and user-friendly drag system.

Durability and Material

It’s important that our bowfishing reel is made from durable materials that can withstand the wet and harsh environment typical to bowfishing.

Reels made from aluminum or high-quality plastic will be less likely to corrode or rust.

By considering the above features and factors, we can make an informed decision when choosing the best bowfishing reel, without including any specific brands or products.

Remember to keep our budget, skill level, and preferences in mind, and happy bowfishing!


Colby has been involved in the outdoors for over 30 years. Part of his problem is that instead of focusing on one specific outdoor hobby he spreads his time over a multitude of outdoor adventures. This has provided him the opportunity to have varied experiences across a broad spectrum of outdoor activities. Jack Outdoors has provided him an outlet to share the things he has learned as well as his successes and failures.

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