fbpx

Bow Anatomy 101 | Parts Of A Compound Bow

You might be new to the sport of bowhunting and be looking to learn all you can about it.

Or, maybe you are a seasoned bowhunter wanting to test your knowledge of the parts of a compound bow.

Either, way this one’s for you!

Parts of A Compound Bow | Interactive Diagram

In the interactive diagram below, you can click/touch the numbered parts in the chart below to reveal the names of the parts. You can read more about what each part is and does in the sections below the diagram. See how many you can get right!

CamsLimb DampenerLimbsLimb PivotLimb PocketLimb BoltRiserSight MountsCable GuardRest MountsArrow ShelfStabilizer MountAxleString SplitterCablesStringServingNocking PointGripString StopCable SplitterAxle To Axle LengthBrace Height

Compound Bow Parts | Piece-By-Piece

In the above diagram of the Nexus2 by Prime Archery, you can view the parts of a compound bow. Find out more about what each part does by clicking the words below:

  1. Cams
  2. Limb Dampeners
  3. Limbs
  4. Limb Pivot
  5. Limb Pocket
  6. Limb Bolt
  7. Riser
  8. Sight Mounts
  9. Cable Guard
  10. Rest Mounts
  11. Arrow Shelf
  12. Stabilizer Mount
  13. Axle
  14. String Splitter
  15. Cables
  16. String
  17. Serving
  18. Nocking Point
  19. Grip
  20. String Stop
  21. Cable Splitter
  22. Axle-To-Axle Length
  23. Brace Height

1. Cams

cam of a compound bow

On a compound bow, the cams are the round, or oval-shaped discs that work much like a block-and-tackle pulley system. The cams are connected to the axles of the bow.

The cams act as the “multiplier” of the energy of the person pulling the bow string. This allows the bow to store more energy than the person pulling the bow string is actually exerting.

The bow has a “back wall” where the cams will not turn any more. This is where the archer is at “full draw.” At this point, there is a percentage of “letoff” that allows the archer or hunter to hold the force of the bow at a fraction of the actual pounds of pull being exerted.

For example, a bow that is set to a 70-lb draw weight with a 70% letoff will only take 21 lbs of force to hold at full draw. The energy is stored in the bow’s limbs until the archer releases, which unleashes the multiplied energery, propelling the arrow toward its target.

So, the cams of the bow are what change the bow in essence from a traditional bow to a compound bow.

2. Limb Dampeners

limb dampener

Limb dampeners reduce the noise and vibration throughout the limbs and riser of the bow.

When the hunter or archer releases the arrow the sudden and powerful uncoiling of the string on the cams produces vibration, which causes noise. The limb dampeners help to absorb that vibration, resulting in a quieting of the bow.

This absorption by the limb dampeners is especially helpful in reducing noise when hunting deer or other wild game and also reduces the amount of vibration that is transferred to the archer.

3. Limbs

limbs of compound bow

A compound bow’s limbs are connected to the riser and store the energy that is collected when the string is pulled and the cams turn. When the string is released, the energy from the limbs is transferred to the arrow, which propels it through the air.

Most compound bow limbs are made up of fiberglass or composite material. Some bow limbs are solid, one-piece limbs. Others are “split,” having a gap between both sides of the upper and lower limbs.

4. Limb Pivot

limb pivot

Where the limbs pivot and flex on the riser.

5. Limb Pocket

limb pocket

The limbs of the bow rest in the limb pocket. These can be made of machined aluminum, ABS plastic or other composite materials. The limbs of the bow are secured in the limb pocket by the limb bolts.

6. Limb Bolt

limb bolt of compound bow

The limb bolt is the crucial piece in connecting the limb pockets, which hold the limbs of the bow, to the riser.

Limb bolts are typically allen wrenc adjustable. Tightening the limb bolts increases the draw weight poundage of the bow. Loosening the limb bolts will decrease the draw weight poundage.

It’s very important that any adjustment to the limb bolts be made in the same increments. If the adjustments are uneven, the bow’s cams could get out of time, causing an improper tune.

If you need to adjust your bow’s draw weight, it’s a good idea to back the limb bolts all the way down and then start moving them both up the same amount.

7. Riser

riser of compound bow

The riser is the vertical portion and foundation of a compound bow. The limbs attach to it and it also serves as the fastening point for accessories such as the sight, arrow rest, grip, stabilizer, quiver, etc.

8. Sight Mounts

sight mounts on compound bow

Sight mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s sight. The archer will look through the peep on the bow string and at the pin(s) of the sight to aim at the target or game animal.

9. Cable Guard

cable guard on compound bow

The Cable guard runs perpendicular to the bow’s riser. It keeps the bow’s cable out of the way of the arrow’s line of fire. It typically has rollers and/or slides attached to it to aid in keeping the cable on track.

10. Rest Mounts

rest mounts on compound bow

Rest mounts are holes in the riser that serve as the attaching point for the bow’s rest. The rest is what holds the arrow in place while the archer is drawing and releasing the arrow.

There are many different types of rests. Some use prongs that the arrow will rest on, while others hold the arrow up and then fall out of the way when the arrow is released. Others, called containment rests, completely surround the arrow until it is fired and typically have no moving parts.

11. Arrow Shelf

arrow shelf on compound bow

The arrow shelf is the area of the riser where the arrow sits on the rest. While the rest typically holds the arrow off the shelf on compound bows, traditional bows (non-compound) usually have the arrow resting directly on the arrow shelf.

12. Stabilizer Mount

The stabilizer mount is a universal size threaded hole in the riser that is used to attach a stabilizer to.

The stabilizer helps balance and thus “stabilize” the bow when drawing and shooting, and also typically has vibration dampening properties. In essence, it helps the bow resist movement during the draw cycle and when shooting.

The back of the stabilizer also typically serves as the fastening point for the wrist sling.

13. Axle

axle of a compound bow

The Axle is what holds the cams, in the same way a car axle holds its wheels. The cams have a hole in the center. The axle goes through the center of the axle and attach to the limbs.

14. String Splitter

string splitter on compound bow

Bows with parallel limbs (which eliminate cam lean) will have a string splitter. On these types of bows, the main part of the string that the archer attaches the release to “splits” just before the cams.

The splitter is what essential turns the single string into two strings, each going around its respective cam.

15. Cables

cables on compound bow

The cable(s) runs between the bow’s cams. They assist in moving the cams of the bow when the string is pulled back by the archer. It’s important to replace your cable(s) as well as your string as recommended per the bow manufacturer’s instructions or on the advice of your local bow shop.

16. String

string on compound bow

The string of compound bow serves several functions. It is where the archer will connect their release. It is what the archer pulls (or draws) back and releases to launch the arrow.

Many archers will utilize a “D loop,” which attaches to the bow string and serves as a way to quickly attach the release to the string and also improves accuracy.

You should always inspect your string before and after shooting and hunting. A damaged string could end up being a broken string, which could result in serious injury to the shooter or others.

Any cuts or fraying should be addressed immediately and it is recommended that you take to your local bow shop for an assessment.

17. Serving

serving on a compound bow

The “center serving” is coiled thread wrapped around the center portion of your string where you would nock an arrow and attach a D-loop. The center serving protect the center section of the string from wear and tear that results from nocking arrows as well as drawing and shooting the bow.

There is also serving material on parts of your bow string that go around the cams or through rollers that are attached to the cable guards. This helps the bow string stay together, especially in places that are likely to received the most friction.

18. Nocking Point

nocking point on a compound bow

The nocking point is where the arrow, by way of the arrow nock, attaches to the bow string. The D-loop attaches above and below the nocking point.

19. Grip

grip on a compound bow

The grip is the part of the bow that you hold while shooting. Grips are made of various materials such as wood, rubber, plastic, metal, etc.

The grip can also be a source of inaccuracy. For example, if you hold the grip too tightly, or twist the grip while shooting, you can cause your arrow to go off-course from where you were aiming.

20. String Stop

string stop on compound bow

String vibration is a large cause for noise when a bow fires. A string stop helps dampen that vibration and thus reduces unwanted noise. The string stop is a rubber part that is often mounted on a post that is directly opposite of the front stabilizer.

The string stop not only helps dampen vibration, but also aids in better accuracy for the shooter, often resulting in tighter arrow groups at the target.

21. Cable Splitter

cable splitter on compound bow

On some bows, the cable splitter is a ring that connects the cable to two separate cables, thus dampening vibration and noise of the cable during shooting.

22. Axle-To-Axle Length

“Axle-to-axle” is not a part of a compound bow, but rather a reference to measurement. Axle-to-axle is the measurement from the center of one cam to the other. The axles go through the center of the cams.

This axle-to-axle measurement is often used to determine how forgiving the bow will be in regards to arrow flight accuracy when taking farther shots.

A bow with a longer axle-to-axle height may be more forgiving that a shorter one, but may also be difficult to maneuver in tight-quarter hunting scenarios.

23. Brace Height

The “brace height” is not a part of the bow, but rather a measurement, in inches, of the distance between the “throat” of the grip to the center of the bow’s string.

A shorter brace height means a longer “power stroke,” which is the distance from the grip to the center of the string when the archer is at full draw. A longer power stroke typically means a faster bow, as it increases the amount of time that the arrow is attached to the string.

Conclusion

Whether you are just a beginner bowhunter or looking to brush up on your bow component knowledge, we hope this has been a helpful tool for you!

hand hold a baitcasting rod

How To Cast Light Lures With A Baitcaster | The Inside Information

Baitcasters are beloved my many in the fishing community, but many have trouble casting light lures with them.

So, how do you get any distance on those light lure casts and keep from getting a bird’s nest?

Well, it’s obviously a challenge, because the lure is very lightweight. So, challenge, guys, because there’s very light weight. You have to really get the spool on your baitcaster turning in order to get momentum so that you can get distance on your cast.

So, I’m going to show you a few tips that are really going to help you cast little bitty light lures with a baitcaster!

First things first… the proper fishing rod

Before we get into the actual reel itself, one of the most important aspects of casting lighter lures with a baitcaster is to make sure you have the proper rod.

For a longer cast with lighter lures, you ideally want a 7’4″ rod with a very fast tilt.

joshua taylor holding a st croix baitcaster fishing rod
To cast lighter lures with a baitcaster, you should aim to have a 7’4″ rod with a fast tilt. This is the St. Croix Legend Xtreme, which is only a 7-foot rod, but it has a very, very fast tilt. I can still cast a light lures a good distance by making a few small adjustments. I’m also using the Concept TX reel, from 13 Fishing. It’s one of the smoothest baitcaster reels I’ve used.

Reel adjustments for casting light lures with a baitcaster

Once you have an appropriate rod for baitcasting smaller lures, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your reel.

Adjust the magnetic brake

One thing that you have to do is adjust your magnetic break control. Now, this is going to be different for each reel, so you really need to get to know your baitcaster reel very well.

Now, ideally, you’re going to want to reduce the amount of breaking when you’re casting light lures. There will be a sweet spot and you’re going to have to play with the reel breaking to find where that is. I typically turn the breaking down to the 2 setting (on a reel with a 0-6 range). I find that setting works best for me. But you are going to want to adjust that to see where that sweet spot is for you.

making magnetic brake adjustment on baitcaster reel
On the Concept TX reel from 13 Fishing, the side panel has a small wing that you press and it will open up so you can adjust the magnetic brake.

Adjust knob tension

Now, the other thing you need to adjust on your baitcaster reel is the tension knob. (If you want to learn more about how to tune your Baitcaster, I go into complete detail).

Adjust the tension knob on your reel so that when you press the button to release the line, the lure will be able to hit the ground and not cause a massive bird’s nest.

adjusting tension knob on baitcaster
You need to adjust the tension knob so that your lighter lure can fall to the ground freely without causing a large bird’s nest in your line.
man holding baitcaster after adjusting tension knob
The key to adjusting your tension knob is to be sure you are not getting a bird’s nest when the lure hits the ground.

Proper light lure casting techniques

Once you have everything dialed in on your reel, you need to be sure you have the proper mechanics and technique to be able to maximize the distance on your light lure casts.

Longer leader length

One of the important factors when you’re trying to do a light cast or cast lighter lures is line leader length. You want to make sure that when you cast, your leader is actually hanging down a little longer than normal.

Typically, 8 to 10-inches from lure to the rod tip works well with a baitcaster. However, when casting a really light lure, you can let out 2 to 2-1/2 feet of line, so that you can get more momentum on your cast, resulting in a great cast distance.

I can absolutely guarantee you that longer linger leader length will work and help give you that leverage you’ll need to cast farther.

Try a wider spool

In addition to longer leader length, you should try to find a reel that has a larger spool. There a many on the market, and I have found that larger spools will allow you to increase your distance because the spool has to turn fewer revolutions to disperse the line.

So, if you have a smaller, skinnier spool, you’re not going to get as far of a cast as you would with spool that has a larger diameter.

Casting mechanics

When you’re casting lighter lures with your baitcaster, you’re going to make sure that you’re not over powering the throw or you’re going to have overruns resulting in a bird’s nest.

You have to use not only your wrist and your arms, but you want use the full momentum of all of your body. This includes your legs, back and torso.

man casting light lure with baitcaster
When casting the baitcaster, use both your wrist and your arms.
man casting bait caster and following through
I’m using not only wrist and my arms but also my legs, back, and torso. If you use your entire body, in sync, you can cast very light lures. Then, you can adjust to drop-shots and other weighted baits. The key is not to overpower it, but to finesse cast using your entire body.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to cast light lures on a Baitcaster.

Remember, it’s not very complicated. It just really boils down to making sure that you’re practicing and that you understand the mechanics of your reel and your rod.

Fine tuning your baitcaster is one of the most important things in getting the the range out of your light lure casts.

joshua taylor of salty scales
Joshua Taylor
ice fishing 101 header image

Ice fishing 101 | A beginner’s guide to ice fishing

So, you’d love to ice fish, but aren’t quite sure how to do it?

Well, I’m going to cover the basics of ice fishing – an Ice Fishing 101 – so you can get out, safely fish, and share moments on the ice with your family and friends.

  1. Locate an ice fishing spot
  2. Be sure ice is safe
  3. Ice fishing clothing
  4. Ice fishing gear
  5. Drill hole in ice
  6. Bait the jig
  7. Jig the lure

Step 1: Locate your ice fishing spot

man at ice fishing spot
Once you locate a good ice fishing spot, it’s best to fish 50 to 100 yards from shore.

Now, the first step to getting on ice fishing is to find a good place to ice fish. Once you do that, you’re going to want to start to fish in the first 50 to 100 yards from shore.

You’re going to typically target 10 to 15 feet in depth and that will allow you to catch panfish, crappie, bluegill as well as pike and hopefully largemouth bass as well.

If you are ice fishing for the first time in a particular location and don’t know exactly where to fish, a good move is to get started right next to some other shelters. There are great communities out on the ice and everyone is fighting the cold and usually love fishing next to each other.

Step 2: Check for safe ice conditions

man making sure ice is safe for ice fishing
Always be sure the ice you are planning to fish is safe before drilling and ice fishing.

You should always be sure that the ice conditions are safe before attempting to fish a certain location. I highly recommend that you call or stop into your local bait and tackle store and make sure that the lake you picked out has safe ice conditions.

You can typically see where other people are safely fishing as well as sticking to the foot paths that they’ve already created, so you know it’s generally safe ice.

I highly recommend drilling holes (we’ll get to that further down) every 10 to 20 yards to double check the ice thickness.

I don’t recommend going out on any water that has under 5 inches of ice. If you have 5 inches, you’re going to be good, but you want to keep checking to make sure that there’s no variation in thickness.

If you do get to an unsafe spot, get off that lake. Five inches is the minimum.

Step 3: Wear appropriate clothing

man wearing ice fishing clothing
Be sure to layer up in the appropriate clothing: coat, mittens, hat, snow pants and snow boots.

Before you go ice fishing, be sure to gear up with warm winter clothing. It’s a good idea to dress in multiple layers as well as a coat, mittens, hat, snow pants and snow boots.

Safety gear is an essential part of your clothing

Safety spikes and ice cleats and floating bibs are very important components of proper ice fishing clothing.

The cleats help you walk on the ice without slipping and the safety spikes allow you to pull yourself up out of the water in the event that you fall in.

The floating bib has material in it that will allow you to bob back to the surface if you were to fall through the ice.

Now, if you don’t have higher end ice fishing bibs that can float, I highly recommend taking some sort of floatation device with you, most notably, an inflatable life preserver that’s easy to carry and lightweight.

man holding ice fishing safety spikes
Safety spikes are an essential part of your ice fishing safety clothing.
man holding ice cleats
Ice cleats help you walk on the ice without slipping and falling.

Step 4: Ice Fishing Gear Inventory

Once you get your winter clothing taken care of, you need to get your ice gear taken care of.

ice fishing gear and tackle

There are a few pieces of gear that are rudimentary and essential to getting out on the ice to fish.

Sled: First, because you will likely need to drag your ice fishing gear and equipment with you for long distances, you will need a sled.

ice fishing sled
You’ll need an ice fishing sled to hold all your tackle and gear.

Auger: Secondly, you will need an auger. An auger is a drill that will cut through the ice. It goes from 6 inches to 10 inches, and some even go up to 12. If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend just having a 6-inch hand auger.

ice fishing auger
You’ll need an auger to drill a hole in the ice.

Bucket: Another important thing to have is a bucket. This bucket is going to carry all of your tackle, your bait, all in one thing. And it also serves as a stool so you have a place to sit when you’re out on the ice.

ice fishing bucket
Your bucket holds your tackle and also gives you a place to sit.

Scooper: Next, you need a scooper. This is going to allow you to hold the ice out of your hole, clean it up and fish that hole consistently without having the ice interrupt your fishing or the fish coming through the hole.

ice fishing scooper
You’ll need a scooper to clean the ice out of the hole you drilled.

Ice Fishing Rod: When you’re ice fishing over a hole that’s right in front of you, you don’t want a long freshwater fishing rod, because it will put you too far away from the hole. You won’t be able to fish with it inside of a shelter. Plus, they have very low sensitivity. I recommend a 28″ rod.

man holding bent ice fishing rod catching fish
The size of the ice fishing rod is important. It needs to be small. 28″ is recommended.

Jigs: Next, you need some jigs. The Tailored Tackle Multispecies Ice Combo allows you to jig or deadstick for a multitude of species. It includes micro jigs, tungsten jigs and others that you’re typically going to be using.

tailored tackle jigs
You’ll need jigs to put your bait on for ice fishing.

Bait: Lastly, you’re going to need some bait. Spikes are maggots that are used in ice fishing. You tip two to three of them on your jig and you jig them up and down to catch all sorts of species; primarily panfish, like perch and crappie.

spike maggots for ice fishing
Spike are a great bait for ice fishing that can attract a variety of species to bite.

Step 5: Drill A hole in the ice

Once you arrive at your ice fishing spot, you’ll need to drill a hole in the ice. You will need to take the safety device on top of the bottom of the auger and remove it. Drill down into the ice by moving it clockwise.

man holding ice fishing auger
Make a hole in the ice with your auger by moving it clockwise. Once you have drilled your hole, pump the auger up and down three to four times to remove all of the big bunch of slush out of the hole.

Once you have drilled your hole, remove the excess slush with your boots.

man removing slush from ice fishing hole
Once you have drilled a hole in the ice, kick the sides of the slush off the side. Be sure to cover up the auger blade with the safety guard so that while it’s standing there, nobody trips and falls on it.

Scoop the hole

After drilling the hole, you’ll need to scoop it, using your scooper. Dip the scooper slowly into the hole and pause.

man scooping ice slush out of ice fishing hole
When scooping the hole, wait for all of the ice and slowly lift it up. Don’t do it quickly, or you’ll just push the ice around. Do that until the hole is nice and clean.

Step 6: Bait the jig

Once you have drilled the hole and scooped out all the ice, it’s time to bait the jigs.

a hand holding jig head for ice fishing
A jig head, like these from Tailored Tackle, are great for baiting your hook with spike maggots.
baiting a jig head with spike maggots
Spike maggots are great for ice fishing and can attract a bite from many species of fish.

Once you have baited your jig, lower the lure down into the hole. Open the bale on the reel and let the line out. Fishing one to two feet off the bottom is very effective.

man letting out line ice fishing
Set your drag loosely and pull out your line until your lure is on the bottom. This helps get any kinks out of the line. Then crank the reel a few times so that your lure is one to two feet off the bottom.

Step 7: Jig the lure

man jigging ice fishing lure

The next step after lowering you lure and getting it off the bottom is to jig.

Lift your rod tim up and back down and then pause 2 to 3 seconds. That’s just a basic jig. Lift up. Drop it down. Pause 2 to 3 seconds.

You can even last a couple of seconds longer, maybe 5, 6 seconds for the pause. The bites are going to happen on the pause. So, the jigging is calling in fish and the pause is letting them come up and take a bite.

Another jigging cadence you can try is to softly jiggle it in place or work it upwards in little blips upwards just like that. So mix your jigging cadences. Try different techniques, big swoops, lift-ups, jiggling in place, or just the regular jig. Pause.

man holding bream caught while ice fishing
Wait until you feel that tap, tap, tap. Then, set the hook lightly, by lifting the rod tip up 3 to 4 inches and then reel the fish in.

Now, when a fish comes through and is interested in the bait, you’ll feel a tap, tap, tap.

It will be easier to handle the fish by taking off your mittens and using your bare hands.

When releasing the fish, kneel down and drop it into the hole. Sometimes a bigger fish will need a tail wag in the water and it will be on its way for someone else to catch!

Good luck ice fishing!

Ed Hitchcock of Tailored Tackle
Ed Hitchcock of Tailored Tackle.

Cart