Perhaps you have thought to get started in bowfishing and wondered if you should fasten on a bottle or a reel. You have a few advantages and disadvantages of each. At the end of the day, you make a judgment call for yourself what works best for you.
Let’s sum up the advantages and disadvantages below, and we’ll go into greater detail from there.
- Spincast reels work well for numbers.
- No learning curve to use a spinning reel.
- Spinners work well for serious tournament shooters.
- You can add or release tension with the drag system.
- Doesn’t perform well with a heavier line.
- Spinning reels don’t handle the bigger fish as well.
- Costs more than a bottle reel.
- Great for cranking in smaller fish.
- Home-made and doesn’t cost you anything.
- Designed for bowfishing.
- Experienced bowfishermen prefer the bottle reel.
- Low maintenance and easy to use.
- No drag system like with a spin-cast reel.
- Have to hand pull a big fish in.
- Not as fast to reel in as with a spinning reel.
Spincast Reels for Numbers
You don’t tire with the spincast reel like the bottle reel. With the bottle reel, you have to crank the fish in by hand. Along with drawing the bow back at every shot, your hands and arms will tire out fast and make you less effective. The spincast reel, on the other hand, does away with this problem.
Think about it: When you go fishing, have your hands ever tired out? It works the same way with bowfishing.
No Learning Curve with Spincast Reels
A lot of people recommend spincast reels because it takes no time to learn it. Especially if you want to take your child bowfishing, buy the spincast reel because it takes less time to figure out. A bottle reel doesn’t pose as much challenge either, but spincast reels require no strength to pull in the fish. For a child, pulling in a thrashing carp or gar offers more challenges because of a lack of strength in the hands.
Spincast Reels Great for Tournaments
Because you can crank in more fish after you have shot them, spincast reels work better than bottle reels for tournaments where the more carp you shoot, the higher your chances of taking home the blue ribbon. You see this widely used in bowfishing tournaments. It looks like an enlarged fishing reel that you mount to the bow.
The spincast reel gets used in tournaments because you can shoot and retrieve faster than the other reels. Use a lighter line if you want to take farther shots. With bowfishing, you won’t usually shoot farther than 20 yards because bowfishing arrows weigh more than regular arrows.
Spincast Reels Accumulate Dirt Fast
Unfortunately, spincast reels have a problem where they will accumulate dirt fast. Especially if you shoot in places with a lot of sand, you will need to take apart and clean your reel once or twice per year.
The lighter line used on spincast reels also doesn’t make it the ideal choice for shooting gar because this fish species has sharp teeth that can snip the line. You can put a much heavier line on a bottle reel in comparison.
Spincast Reels Cost More Than Bottle Reels
On the lower end, spincast reels will cost you $20, and the price rises from there. Bottle reels, in comparison, can be homemade. You don’t have to pay a dime to make a bottle reel.
What Spincast Reel Do I Recommend?
If you want to go the spincast reel route, I’d recommend the Sougayilang Fishing Reel. This high-powered corrosion-resistant reel offers incredible stopping power, and the lightweight frame makes it the perfect design for a beginner to bowfishing. You have high quality with this reel.
Bottle Reel: Great for the Big Fish
The spincast reel, in comparison, doesn’t crank in the big fish as easily. It can get hard on the reel in comparison to the bottle reel. With a bottle reel, you may want to have a pair of gloves on hand, however, because the fishing line can cut into your skin. That can make cranking in the big fish even worse without gloves. Be sure to bring them if you have this type of reel.
Bottle Reels Designed for Bowfishing
While spincast reels can be found in every type of fishing, bottle reels were made exclusively for bowfishing. You won’t pull in the fish as quickly as the other reels, but it feels more exciting. Bottle reels can withstand anything. They feel sturdy on the bow because they were designed for the bow.
The line within the bottle doesn’t tangle easily, which can pose a danger to bowfishermen. Even if you do have a tangled line, you can remove the bottle with ease. Unlike spincast reels, bottle reels can withstand a lot of dirt and muck and grime on them. You can remove the bottle reel to clean it.
Experienced Bowfishermen Like the Bottle Reel
Each bowfisherman differs in what reel they prefer, but a lot of experienced bowfishermen like the fast-paced action of the bottle reel. It makes bowfishing more fun. Besides, beginners can use the bottle reel without a problem because it doesn’t pose many challenges either. The spincast reel or the bottle reel don’t differ too much in the challenge they pose.
Bottle Reel Doesn’t Have a Drag System
The spincast reel comes with a drag system that you can use to increase control or make it easier to reel in the fish. Bottle reels, in comparison, don’t have a drag system. You won’t have as easy of a time reeling them in with the bottle reel because of the lack of a drag system. The drag system, in particular, gets used for bigger fish.
If you take the bowfishing reel vs bottle, this highlights the differences between the two. However, each bowfisherman has his preference. You may want to try each type to decide what you like best. I know of a lot of people who prefer the bottle reel, but I also know people who like to stick with the spincast reel. It depends on the type of bowfishing you do. People who prefer to reel them in fast will want the spincast reel. Those on a budget might appreciate the bottle reel more.