We get alot of questions on what kind of reel people should use.
So, here are the two most popular. Im not going to include the old drum style reels. They are pretty simple. A drum line is wrapped around by hand.
The first is the spincast reel.
The spincast is a very fast reel when used with 200 lb fast flite line. The bowfishing models tend to have a larger opening for the line as seen in the second picture. This is a Shakespear Synergy 400c reel. Economic and dependable. The mount is a Fuzz mount side bowfishing mount. I like this mount as I kant the bow to the right and it balances nicely. If you are using sights or hold your bow more vertically, you might want to try a reel mount that threads into the bows stabilizer hole.
These also use a short rod if desired to fight bigger fish. This will be handy when you get into the 40 lb. silver and bighead carp that infest the Illinois river! The next reel is a bowfishing specialty. The retreivor made by AMS.
The retriever stacks the line in a bottle using two opposing rollers. The line goes between the rollers into the bottle. The top roller is lowered when the trigger of the reel is pulled. This pinches the line between the rollers . The handle turns the lower reel when turned, throwing the pinched line into the bottle.
The slotted retriever model is a must for big game bowfishing when the line must seperate from the bow. The line is doubled over when fed into the bottle, and completely leaves the reel when a big fish runs. This allows you to put the bow down and fight the fish with two hands.
Which ones better?
They both have their advantages and drawbacks. The spincast is much faster and a fish can be played with the reel. It shoots faster, and more importantly the line can be reeled in much faster sometimes allowing a second shot. Drawbacks…..you have to push the button. Forget and the arrow comes back very fast. It cant be used with a safety slide or cable as you never know if you forgot to hit the button. And the line tends to twist in a spincast reel. This can cause the line to snag when drawing and pull the arrow off the string. Usually when the biggest fish of the day is right in front of you.
The retriever is a safe reel when used with a safety slide or cable. Without one your line can become tangled in the bows string or cables. Snapback can hurt you! So never tie to the back of an arrow using a retriever. A safety slide or cable, a retriever, and a fish hook rest is the safest combo I have seen. Shoot and reel. Drawbacks….They are much slower than the spincast. It takes twice the time getting your arrow back for a second shot. The line is much heavier than the spincasts, slowing the shot and reducing your range. Well….hope that helps your decision!