Can You Bow Fish With A Crossbow? We’ve Got the Answer for You!

Choosing the right tool is the key to success when bowfishing. In this case, the bow plays a vital role. While there are multiple options, you need to decide on the most suitable one for your needs. 

Can you bow fish with a crossbow? This tool has been around since Roman times. If you are curious whether it can work for your fishing trip and how it helps, this article should be your destination. 

We will discuss the pros and cons of using a crossbow for bowfishing. Keep scrolling down, and you will discover some tips for a successful shot!  

Can You Bow Fish With A Crossbow? 

The answer is Yes. Crossbows are excellent tools for accurate shots and control. Moreover, they are lightweight, making them easier to carry around. 

Nevertheless, bowfishing with crossbows may have disadvantages too. For example, their draw lengths are shorter than traditional bows. You may find the noise they create annoying, too. 

Hence, before deciding if crossbows are the right tool for your adventure, please check the pros and cons they bring to you. 


  • Easy to carry

One feature of crossbows for fishing is that you can use two simultaneously. One may remain cocked, and the other is ready to load with an arrow.  

If you miss the first arrow, you can change to the next one. Then, fire off until you hit the target. The continuous shoots will increase the chances of hunting. 

You should use thick gloves when handling a crossbow since they will help you maintain a good posture. 

  • Accurate shots

One significant benefit of utilizing a crossbow when bowfishing is that it delivers precise shots more quickly than regular bows

Most crossbows feature a scope to help the anglers accurately aim at their target. So you won’t have to struggle for minutes to get the perfect shot.

  • More control

Crossbows have superior control since your palm covers a bigger surface area. This feature lets you rapidly turn the grip after lowering your wrist to cock your bow.

  • Lightweight

Even when you plan for a far fishing location, crossbows can travel with you without giving you a lot of hassle. You can easily pack these lightweight tools with you for a successful trip.

can you bow fish with a crossbow


  • Short draw lengths

Most manufacturers create crossbows featuring shorter draw lengths than traditional bows. However, it depends on your preference to tell if short draw lengths are good or bad. 

Since their muscles are still young and powerful enough to resist the pressure created when the bowstring releases unexpectedly, most beginners love lengthier draw lengths.

Conversely, seasoned shooters choose short draw lengths. They are aware that a quick release causes a loss of accuracy, which reduces the possibility of scoring.

  • Noise

Crossbows make noise when released. Since they include metal components, when sound waves hit, they bounce across the entire frame, producing unpleasant vibrations.

Furthermore, the sound intensity grows correspondingly when the projectile’s velocity rises. Together, these factors will result in poor signal transmission, affecting the effectiveness of your shoot. 

  • Illegal in some regions

The area where you want to crossbow fish is subject to laws. You must be careful of this, especially when there are strict regulations in effect. 

Regarding sport fish, several states prohibit bowfishing. To have a safe and lawful fishing trip, you should email or call the relevant agencies in advance to check.

can you bow fish with a crossbow

How to Bowfish with a Crossbow? 

Crossbow fishing requires a lot of experience to get it done well. If you can’t follow professional training programs, please follow these steps to ensure maximum effectiveness in your shoots. 

Set up the crossbow

A crossbow has multiple components. Please note that some states prohibit bringing mounted crossbows in public. Hence, you have to assemble your bow carefully beforehand. 

Consider pre-cocking your crossbow before heading for the fishing spot too. Otherwise, do it before your main act. 

To hand-cock your bow, place your feet securely in the stirrup. Then, put its string back with both hands to cock it properly. You must apply equal pressure on two sides of the bow because misaligned arrows won’t give you accurate shoots. 

Heavy crossbows are harder to cock with bare hands. In this case, you need to use a crank or a rope cocker. 

The ropes must be even with each other. To achieve this, pull them at the same time. If the ropes are not even, your shoots will be inconsistent. 

By drawing back on the bowstring with one strong, smooth motion, you can tell if you have cocked your bow correctly. It’s good if you hear two or three clicks.

can you bow fish with a crossbow

Shoot the target

Unlike other traditional bow types, shooting a crossbow is generally straightforward. You just need to pull the trigger, and there you go. 

To do it, insert the bolt into the barrel, so the bowstring presses against it. Good crossbows have clips to prevent the bolt from sliding. 

Next, adjust your angle according to where your target is. Always have an athletic stance if you fish on a shoreline or riverbank.

And if you go boat fishing, you can lay on the deck on your belly and keep an eye on your targeted prey. 

Ensure to maintain a constant aim if you can shoot something nearby; if not, move the spot slightly downward. 

After that, set your legs about two feet apart from each other. Remember to place them firmly on the ground. 

Set a little stump between your legs, under the center of your bowstring. Then, place your target behind them while aligning your sight accordingly. 

Step back a little bit from the target and fire. Striking your target directly won’t matter here. So keep calm and release your arrow once you sight down the string towards the fish. During this time, try focusing on your target.

Examine the shot

Look carefully at where you landed your shots on the target. There is a scope on the crossbow, so you can see through it and make adjustments if necessary.  

Wait for the fish

Now, wait until your target swims to an ideal spot, and then pull your triggers. During this step, recall essential fishing skills to avoid obstructions like bushes and stones.  

After executing a successful shoot, pull your target onto the boat using the reel connected to the arrow. Remove it, then repeat the steps. 

If you go fishing for an extended period, you may see that the bowstring sometimes becomes dry. So you must wax it frequently after several shots to prevent this problem. The crossbow will recover its energy then.

Read More: What Kind Of Fish Are In Broken Bow Lake? 11 Common Species

You may often have to decock the cocked crossbow. Unlike weapons, the only solution is to fire the nearest arrows. Without a doubt, you’ll love dry firing.

can you bow fish with a crossbow


You can bow fish with a crossbow, allowing you to handle two arrows simultaneously and produce accurate shots. Moreover, thanks to its light weight, you can easily pack it anywhere. 

Check out step-by-step instructions carefully if you choose to bow fish using crossbows. Hopefully, they can help you have a terrific fishing trip.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Comment

Read more