Many anglers who are just getting started in bowfishing will often ask what is better, bowfishing in the day or during the night? The answer depends on a number of different variables, such as the time of the year. Both have their own set of pros and cons, and you can have a great time bowfishing day or night. While most bowfishing will usually take place at night with the help of artificial lights, when the conditions are right, daytime bowfishing can be great as well.
Bowfishing During Daylight Hours
There are a few advantages to bowfishing during the day, although it is not the most popular time to do so. The first advantage is that there is no need for a bowfishing light setup. Lights also require power, so you do not have to worry about any batteries or having to refill a generator to keep everything lit up (which also means you can use a smaller boat or enjoy more room on your boat). Daytime bowfishing will also let you avoid the hassle and noise of lights and generators - both on your boat and on anyone else's - too. Another advantage is that daytime bowfishing tends to be a little less buggy since there are no lights attracting insects to your boat. While fishing at night with lights can be very productive, you are also pretty limited in your zone of visibility. You'll have a much better views during daylight hours.
Bowfishing during the day will also provide you with much less competition. This is because most people do their bowfishing at night. It is not uncommon to see lights in all different directions on a lake as other bow fishermen attempt to fill their boats with carp. This can be a bit frustrating, especially when you have put yourself in the perfect spot. There is much less competition when bowfishing during the day. Many times, you will have the entire body of water to yourself. Even if you do have some company, it is usually much less during the day (at least for bow fishermen) than during the night.
Additionally, bowfishing during the day can also give you more of a sense of a hunt. It is essentially 'spot and stalk' bowfishing. You might see a fish bumping some brush or slipping through the shallows, giving you a chance to make your move. It is this classic game of cat and mouse that makes bowfishing during the day a lot of fun. You must be sneaky and use your bowhunting skills in order to be effective, especially when you do not have access to a boat. Speaking of a boat, you do not necessarily need one when bowfishing during the day. The day will allow you to wade around in the shallows without one. Wading around in boots or old shoes can be a great way to get your start in bowfishing.
Bowfishing at Night
But while bowfishing during the day has plenty of advantages, there is a reason that most bowfishing is done at night. Night, in fact, is the preference of most experienced bow fishermen. There are many reasons for this, such as the fact that you don’t have to deal with the hot sun beating down on you all day long. The water temperatures are also much cooler, which means that the fish are more likely to move further up into the shallows. You will need a good set of bowfishing lights in order to take advantage of this and to see well enough to find and shoot at any fish you run across.
(Photo Credit: Austen Daniels)
Bowfishing at night will also allow you to find many more fish and provide more shooting opportunities. The water temperature, water clarity, and barometric pressure will all generally improve conditions at night. Bowfishing at night will also usually give you more close shot opportunities.
Some fish species are much better to hunt after nightfall as well. Carp, for example, is a great target at night. Carp spook easily during the daytime but at night they become much more active and easier to find and shoot. A few other species that you should probably target at night include buffalo, carp, grass carp, and gar.
Bowfishing at night will also provide a great opportunity to learn to bowfish. Not only are fish easier to find, but they are also generally easier to shoot as well. The weather is usually much nicer, especially during the warm summer months. You might lose out on a little bit of sleep, but you are much more likely to have a lot more bowfishing action at night (in most cases) in most locations.
While bowfishing at night does come with a few extra needed supplies such as lights and a boat, it is usually well worth it.
So... when should you go bowfishing?
Don’t get me wrong, night bowfishing is usually the most popular for a reason. There is much more action and the fish are easier to find. But bowfishing during the day should not be overlooked either. Fishing conditions can vary greatly on the location, and bowfishing during the day can provide some great action as well. So whether you are fishing during the day or during the night, both can provide some great bowfishing action!