Fisherreel is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


How to Make Bowfishing Arrows: A Step by Step Guide

How to Make Bowfishing Arrows
Written by Immanuel Baranov
Last Update: July 24, 2023

Planning to try bow fishing but the prices of bowfishing arrows are out of your reach? Well, you are in the right place! We’ll show you how to make bowfishing arrows yourself.

What are you waiting for? Read this comprehensive guide and start packing for a memorable bow fish hunting experience now!

How to Make Bowfishing Arrows – Step-by-Step

1. Picking the right shaft

The shaft is the spine of the arrow. Arrow shaft is usually made of fiberglass, carbon, and sometimes their mixture can prove miraculous.

You can lean towards fiberglass because it’s tough and economical. In contrast, carbon has unmatched stiffness and straightness, but expensive.

The right choice is using a small amount of carbon combined with fiberglass. This brings strength, stiffness, and straightness in the fiberglass shaft. Furthermore, this helps you save some bucks.

It comes in different colors. All colors are appropriate. However, for better distinction, you can go for more eye-catching colors like neon orange and yellow.

Another thing to remember is maintain its length as provided; don’t cut it short. This extra length-weight can increase your hitting power and stability.

2. Roughing up the shaft

One of the most important steps to making a bow fishing arrow is to roughen both sides of the shaft.

Usually, when purchased, a shaft of fiberglass has sleek sides that don’t offer enough gummy edges. Therefore, your arrow point could drop off from the shaft even after using an adhesive liquid.

In order to avoid this, use sandpaper to roughen the ends. Now, the surface will grasp the arrow-point and nock more effectively.

3. The safety slide system

A safety slide system is not mandatory, yet strongly recommended. If you have extraordinary skills in controlling the bow-fishing line, only then you should use mid-size swivel down the line; but it’s still dangerous.

Without a safety slide, your line can get twisted with the bowstring and make you miss the target. Sometimes, it can snap back viciously at you and cause serious injuries.

A safety slide should be installed properly before the arrow point. Pick the sides effectively, so you won’t have to make any changes once both sides of the shaft are filled.

4. Arrow point

This can be a tricky part due to the variety of points available for different preys. Some of them have 2 barbs, and some have grapple-like barbs (3 barbs). Another type works in such a way that it reverses the barbs when injected or with a twirled motion.

These arrow-points come with a small hole that gives a strong grip with the shaft. You can use a strong metal or steel pin to drill through the shaft. This placement will help you to be more accurate and safe when hunting.

To make it more adhesive, use the epoxy paste on the rugged part of the shaft and inside the arrow-point.

If that’s unavailable, go for a simple arrowhead. For that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Take a safety pin and cut its head
  2. Put the safety pin on the arrowhead and bend it in line with the shaft. The simple arrowhead, with a safety pin as a barb, will complete your point
  3. Finally, screw it back down in the shaft

5. Nock

Although the bow fishing arrow doesn’t have a fletching, a nock is a must not only for these but for all types of arrows.

Bow fishing arrows usually use primitive nocks. To apply a nock on the arrow shaft, follow these steps:

  1. Apply epoxy glue on the made-up rough part of the shaft, and inside the nock before wearing arrow-nock on the shaft
  2. Then fix the nock on the shaft in a way that the hole of the shaft and nock’s notch align. This will stop the safety slide’s downward movement

6. Line

In the end, tie up a bow fishing line to the safety slide. The line is usually made of nylon, and sometimes from Dacron and Spectra.

This weighted line must be knotted precisely to the safety board because it’ll be your only asset to catch the fish. On the other hand, if not tied perfectly, you’ll lose the prey and your arrow.

Furthermore, the line is connected to a reel, so you must check that it doesn’t jam.


These detailed steps above will guide you on how to make a bow fishing arrow with ease.

Tell us in the comments below about your first bow fishing experience.


1. Can you turn a regular bow into a fishing bow?

Ans. It’s totally fine to turn your regular bow into a fishing bow. You can follow these easy steps:

  • Take its weight to around 30-50 pounds; some extra won’t be a problem.
  • Drop all the accessories of the regular bow.
  • Accessorize the bow with a simple-rest because the arrow line will get caught up with the other rests.
  • Then, install the fishing laser sight.
  • Finally, install any kind of reel.

2. How far will an arrow travel in water?

Ans. Usually, hunters aim the arrow up to a few feet underwater, but going deeper means less damage to your catch. You can go up to 10 inches deep, but that means 50% damage to the fish. Also, fish can release themselves at deeper levels.

3. What is the best draw weight for bow fishing?

Ans. Mostly, the anatomy of bows is different for each type. While the suggested weight of the draw should be around 35 pounds, a little up and down will still help you score.

4. When bow fishing, do you aim above or below the fish?

Ans. It’s important to understand where you are going to aim. Contrary to the regular bow firing, bow fishing requires your aim to be lower than the fish. You need to aim for the fish as low as 3 inches per each foot depth.

5. Do you need a license to bow fish?

Ans. NO! Just a simple fishing license can work for almost all kinds of fishing. Although, we recommend you check your country or state’s law.

About the author

Immanuel Baranov

My life is pretty much defined by my avid outdoor activities. I’m generally obsessed with fishing, skiing and occasional hunting and whitewater paddling. I’ve been active since my early years. I inherited my passion for fishing from my father who made frequent family trips to the banks of Sacramento River. Growing up, I did a lot of fishing in the vicinity. Now that I have two sons, our weekends are full of fishing activities. I would say, you need good spots where you can go out a lot for the thing you love. I had the privilege to grow up near numerous water bodies and I’m proud to say that I made good use of them. It’s also great to do something with kids that helps them learn patience, endurance and preciseness.

Leave a Comment