Saltwater Bowfishing

Anyone who has fished the Gulf Coast knows the quality of this fishery that spans from the murky waters of Texas to the white sand beaches of Florida. It’s an angler’s paradise full of trophy fish. These southern states also provide ample opportunities for saltwater bowfishing.

Anglers can find success in brackish marshes, and well into open water. And the good news is you won’t need special equipment to get started - a bow that you use for freshwater bowfishing will suffice. However, there are regulations pertaining to fish you can shoot. Be sure to check local game laws before hitting the water.


A freshwater bowfishing rig will work just as well on saltwater species, whether it’s a recurve or compound. Spool on at least 200-pound-test line, but if you’ll be after larger species, 500 or more will be better. Just be sure to clean the equipment, including the fishing line, in freshwater after each use. That’ll ensure the salt doesn’t corrode or damage your gear.

The Talon bowfishing point features three .062-inch-thick stainless-steel barbs that fold back in flight for better accuracy and penetration. The barbs open once the point passes through the fish for a reliable hold under tremendous pressure. The point then disengages to easily remove the arrow from the fish.



Where to Fish

Visibility is paramount when bowfishing, and coastal waters are usually anything but stable. Tides, wind and storms roll through frequently. That means your window will be small for water-like-glass conditions, which are perfect for spotting fish. The best time to get on the water is the early morning during high tide, before winds start picking up.

When saltwater bowfishing in shallow water near the shore, you can find plenty of rays.
‚ÄčWhen saltwater bowfishing in shallow water near the shore, you can find plenty of rays.

Stick to shallow bays with clear water around one to four feet deep. Here, you’ll find plenty of rays. Skirt the edges of jetties, docks and bulkheads for fish near the surface. Near the beaches, beyond the breakers, you’ll find plenty of fish ranging from sharks to Spanish mackerel. When fishing coastal sounds, far from the shoreline, ensure you’ve got a plan in place to safely and quickly reach dry land if a storm develops.

Be sure to check the state regulations before hitting the water. Certain species of fish, such as red drum and tarpon, typically cannot be taken by bowfishing, and neither can most game species found in brackish marshes. But, if the water gets choppy and the fish are still around, put down the bow and pick up a rod and reel.