Compound bows are by far the most popular choice among bowfishermen. Compound bowfishing bows are very similar to hunting compound bows, with a few additional features specifically designed with the bowfisherman in mind. For example, the riser on some newer bowfishing bows might be made of stainless steel to ensure it doesn’t corrode after being exposed to water over and over. Other compound bowfishing bows have cams designed to deliver a consistent draw weight throughout the draw cycle. The advantage of a constant draw weight through the entire draw cycle is that it allows for snap shooting (releasing the arrow before reaching full draw.) This can be an advantage because the opportunity to shoot can and often does present itself in a matter of seconds, and sometimes doesn’t allow for a fisherman to reach full draw. Another benefit of modern compound bowfishing bows is that they are designed to be very light weight, usually no more than 3-4lbs, making them easy to hold and use for hours at a time.
Some bowfishing bows, the Oneida Bowfishing line in particular, are sort of a compound/recurve hybrid. Oneida bows feature a riser similar to a compound bow, but the limbs and draw cycle are more similar to that of a recurve. While these bows are on the higher end of the price scale, they are very popular among serious bowfishermen because of the constant draw force curve, quality construction, and easy maintenance that they offer.
One more nice thing about compound bowfishing bows: you should be able to get a brand-new bow for much less than a bowhunting bow. A brand-new Cajun Sucker Punch, for example, is under $300 on Amazon. If you’re not looking to set up your own bow, there are also “ready-to-fish” packages available from some manufacturers. These ready-to-fish combos often include the reel, bowfishing line, and arrows with bowfishing points installed, which is everything you need to go fishing immediately. Your best bet is probably going to be shopping around to get the best deal, as sometimes you can find deals online that you can’t find in stores (and vice-versa!)
If you can’t afford a brand new, bowfishing-specific compound bow, don’t sweat it. Many bowfishermen put a bowfishing reel on an old or unused compound hunting bow, and have just as much success. It may not be as light weight or as durable as a brand new bow, but it can work. Just be sure to use caution when re-purposing an old compound bow for bowfishing. You should get the bow checked over by a professional to ensure it is safe to shoot before taking it bowfishing. Another option is to buy a new-but-cheaper youth compound bow and use that for bowfishing. This may work for you if you don’t need a draw weight that’s more than about 45lbs, as youth bows often have a max draw weight somewhere in that range.