Fishing with bows and arrows has been in practice for ages. In the early days, it was done for the sake of collecting food, but since the last few decades, the course of bow fishing has changed, turning it into a popular recreational activity.
The activity includes specialized archery equipment to shoot fishes, especially the freshwater species like carp, paddlefish, and alligator gar. Summers are taken as the most suitable time for bow fishing; you can easily find archers lurking around the seashores and lakes.
However, whether you are someone who already has some experience in the game or wants to try a hand, you will need good gears as well as some guidance to start with. Let’s begin with the basics of bow fishing!
How to get started with bow fishing?
In an expert opinion, bow fishing is the best way to introduce someone to archery or other forms of bow hunting. It’s a fast action job, carried out mostly in the warm weather and can be considered for kids.
To begin with, you will first require a license and let us tell you that the law varies in every state. The license will be made depending on whether you want it to be your occupation or just a recreational activity.
Once you have the license, next, you will need some nice gears to help you catch the harvest, including bows, arrows, line, reels and light system.
What are bow fishing lights?
The success of your bow fishing partially depends on the lights you choose. If the water is clear, it won’t be that difficult to track the fishes during the day, but in the night and shallow water, you will need special lights. Some of the famous choices for bow fishing lights are LED lights, Halogen, and High Pressure Sodium.
Should we use bar light for bow fishing?
You need a strong and reliable source of light for bow fishing, but bar lights are considered harder to fill in the dark spots. Also, the bars are available in a shape that is not suitable for the edges of the fishing boats. You need something to enlighten the water under the boat and bar lights might not be the perfect choice for it.
How many lights should you install on your boat?
The number of light will depend on the size of the boat and in what condition you are going to use it. You should remember that while fishing in the darker water you will need yellow light and in clear water, you will need white light.
There are bow fishers who are satisfied with five 55 watt floodlights, while there are others who swear by 6 LEDs and 6 Halos. Whatever you pick, we would recommend you give them a try first and then buy the whole kit.
What type of bulb to use for bow fishing?
When you go shopping for the fishing light, you need to know the types of lights available. Technically the best lights are chosen with personal preferences; still, here we have three options for you:
LEDs are one of the most popular choices among bow fishermen. Even though they are expensive, you will make a superior choice by picking one of the LED lights. A bright LED light will penetrate the fresh water well whereas, for the stained water, you will need warm white LED lights. As for the power source is concerned, a battery or two will be sufficient to charge and provide light to the LEDs.
- Different light options
- Battery requirement
- Expensive choice
Halogens are an easily accessible source of light, found in almost every hardware shop. They have the ability to give tons of light, but the only problem is it requires a lot of energy. You can use different wattage of bulb in the same housing, plus this one the lightest options you can think of. Whatever be the water’s condition, the halogen lights work perfectly.
- Good source of light
- Easily available
- A great source of energy will be needed
High Pressure Sodium
For those looking for a solid source of light, the High Pressure Sodium will work well. When the water is murky, the yellow/orange light of HPS offers appropriate light.
- Good for murky waters
- Demands more electricity
What power source does your bow fishing light require?
As the lights and their capacity differ, their source of energy will be also different. While some of the lights require very light source, there are others that need a heavy source of energy like generators. For the use of application, people prefer something lighter to power the boat lights like batteries.
LEDs are powered by Direct Current; so, all you will need is some batteries to light up the LEDs on your fishing boat. The LEDs come in different options and different wattage, so you can choose the batteries accordingly. For small boats, LEDs are always a good pick.
High Pressure Sodium
To power High Pressure Sodium lights, you will require heavy generators and flashlights. People mostly prefer gasoline powered electric generator, however the generators itself is considered heavy, bulky, noise making, and sometimes hazardous too. The HPS is recommended only when you have a large and spacious boat.
Once again, Halogen lights will need a greater source of energy to be powered up. They also have a shorter bulb life, so, you might need to reconsider the option.
Out of all, our first recommendation has always been LED lights, followed by HPS and Halogen.
How bright can bow fishing light get?
Watts measure energy use meanwhile Lumen is the unit of measurement of visible light. Technically more lumens are equal to more brightness and that’s why you should look for fishing bow light with more lumens.
We would recommend you to focus on lumen in place of wattage so that you get more light in a budget friendly option. For example, you can convert Watt in incandescent bulbs to Lumen, as follows:
100W = 1500 lumens (A 100W bulb is equal to 1500 lumens)
75W = 1125 lumens
60W = 900 lumens
40W = 600 lumens
What voltage should you run your light system on?
If you are done with the noise of generators, you might choose light system as the source of light for bow fishing. But, what voltage should it run on? Given below is a brief description:
12 Volt DC
If you chose the 12 Volt DC, the wiring is not going to be difficult more than what it takes to set up an amplifier and other accessories. However, the more light you add in the system, the more power it will require. Too many bulbs on a small boat might not be feasible, so, we think it would be feasible to switch to the 24 Volt system.
24 Volt DC
If there already exists a 12 Volt DC, it’s very simple to add a 24 Volt DC battery to your system. You will need the same wiring, terminals, lugs, and switches. The performance would certainly increase plus it will reduce the hassle of extra wiring.
120 Volt DC
For professional bow fishing lights, this is one perfect setting. The system works very efficiently and makes a huge difference when you are bow fishing for long hours. However, there is one big concern with the system; you will need to be careful with the lighting as one wrong connection might cause fire.
How to set up bow fishing light?
A bow fishing boat light kit is a lifetime investment and you would certainly like to be sure about your purchase. Once you have decided the voltage required, you need to know about the power values.
You can find out about the power consumption using the Ohm’s law. It’s a very normal calculation, which is also going to help you on a long run. You will need three entities, including Power in Watts (P), Amperage (Load) in Amps (I), and Voltage of the circuit (E). Use these entities to solve the basic equation: P=I*E. According to the equation, if you are using 500 Watts and 24 Volts, you will get 20.83 Amps.
So, when you are going to use 10 lights of 50 Watts, you will need 20.83 Amps in total to power the lights. Once you have figured it all, the next you will need is to start wiring the lights with all safety precautions in mind. Make sure all the wiring components are rated 20% more than what you have calculated for the Ohms requirement.
What light colors you should choose for bow fishing?
When you are choosing a color for your light, you first need to check the water colors. Take a look at the water closely and find out if it’s the water is clear or full of debris.
Cool White Lights
Cool lights are preferable in semi clear water as the debris in there is less clear than stained waters. It cuts through the water nicely, leaving you with a clear view of the water inside. If you want you can also get a polarized sunglass as it lets you see through the light directly.
Warm White Lights
If the water is tea stained, you should choose the yellow and amber light colors. Cool white light in such water will make the penetration very difficult and you might not have clear visibility.
Yellow light is considered the best when the water is very gloomy. They work well for a wide spectrum of light even in the dark nights. Once again polarized glasses will be helpful as matching the color closely lets human eyes adapt better.
We would ask you to get a combination of lights first and see which one works better. This way you would have a better understanding of light.
How to choose the best bow fishing light?
Bow fishing has grown popular over time, but people often face difficulty in finding the right gears for it, especially the light. Some of the features you will like to go over are:
Type of bulb
While shopping, you will come across different types of bulbs, including LED, Halogen, and High Pressure Sodium. While the first one runs on battery and gives a moderate amount of energy, the other two is known for their ultimate powering capacity. However, you will need generators for long run supply of power for HPS and Halogen.
Color of light
Pick the cool light when the water is semi clear and warm light when the water is stained. However, when the water is very gloomy, you should pick the yellow lights.
Focus on the lumen more than the wattage, as it’s the lumen which is directly proportional to the light intensity. For example., look for 1600 lumens instead of 100 watts and you have a better pick.
Bow fishing is going to take place deep down in the water and even when the boat remains above the water surface; it’s not untouched by water. Which means you should go for a water resistant source of power. Water resistant, stainless steel is one safe and practical option.
Why does your item not light up?
People often complain about their bow fishing lights not working, even when they are newly bought and under warranty. One reason behind this is – maybe you bought fixtures and bulbs that don’t match. For instance, a 110 voltage bulb does not match 12v fixture. Make sure the fixtures and bulb matches, else the bulb will burn down.
What is the best bow fishing on the market?
GLW 10w 12v Ac or Dc Warm White Led Flood Light
GLW 10w 12v Ac or Dc Warm White Led Flood Light is one great choice when you are looking for a bow fish light. It can fully meet your lighting demands without any shadow effects.
When compared to the halogen lamps, people found it highly efficient in terms of power requirement too. The lamp can be adjusted to 120 degrees and meets most of your lighting requirements, including bow fishing.
The color of the light is warm white so you can use it in stained waters with high densities of debris. The waterproof rating for the lights is IP65 which is quite good when you are taking the lights for bow fishing.
- Water resistant
- Only for clear lights
LEDMO 50W LED Flood Lights
You receive the LEDMO 50W LED Flood Lights in a gorgeous and attractive packaging which comes protected in a thick foam sheet. The light comes with 4000 lumens of pure daylight, which means you should use it in the clear or semi clear water.
The flood lights will illuminate the full area of 120 degrees. It consists of the heavy duty die cast material which adds to the cost of the kit, but the product is worth every cent. Customers can expect 50,000 hours of maximum lighting, that turns out to be quite an investment.
- Good lifespan
- 120 degree wide beam angle
- An expensive choice
YITAMOTOR 2PCS 4Inch 27W Round LED Work Light
This strong light source is known for its water restart and sturdily built coverage. Designed in aluminum housing and polycarbonate lens, the inner portion is protected from all the outside elements. An internal hit sink is there to allow the LED light to cool down, which ultimately boosts the lifespan of the bulb.
The mounting brackets are adjustable enough to make the entire process of installation easier and the color temperature is 6000k which makes it usable in both clear and stained water.
- Sturdily built
- Preferable for semi clear water
6K LED 427S Square LED Work Light Lamp
One of our recommendations on the list happens to be the Square LED Work Light Lamp. The package arrives with nine pieces of 3W high intensity LED fixtures. The brightness of the 27W LED spot lights to come with 2150 lumens, and the best thing we find about this lamp is the water resistant capacity.
You can use it in most of the water forms and even the life span of the product is considerably good. The kit will work well for both beginners and experts.
- Water resistant
- Good life span
- A little pricey
Glotech 48W 12V LED light
When you are picking lights for bow fishing, you obviously want something shake proof and water resistant. The light gives a stable performance and has a long life span. Because the light bar is going to consume less energy, it can serve a life time of 30,000 hours.
With 5280 lumens, the Glotech light bar is considered good for bow fishing. As the light temperature is 6000k, you should use it in the clear water only. People use it in the other stained water too, but the results differ for sure.
- Shake and water proof
- Consumes less power
- Not for muddy water
This is our list of the best flood lights and light bars you can have access. However, the choice must remain yours, and we recommend you to practically test a few options, before buying an entire kit for your bow fishing boat. We would also like to remind you to match the fixtures and bulb’s specifications to avoid any sort of hassle during the installation. In the end, wire and install the lights safely, and you can enjoy the setup for years.