Tips for Bowfishing at Night
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When summer is in full swing, fishing at night tends to be the more preferred option for serious fishermen as, when the sun is shining in all its glory, fish tend to swim farther below the surface in order to keep cool and avoid the heat.
At night when the sun has gone down, fish tend to re-surface and swim closer to the surface – especially in clear bodies of water where light penetrates easier – and this becomes an ideal time to head out on the water and practice your bowfishing, hopefully bringing home some catches in the process.
Given that bowfishing is already quite difficult, however, means that taking to the water at night and trying to catch some fish may seem like an impossible process. We’re not pretending that it’s going to be easy, but with some foresight and preparation, you can make everything much, much easier.
1. Arrive Early
You should make a point of arriving at your favorite fishing spot ahead of the sunset so that you are ready and in position. If you arrive at night, you are going to get off to a bad start as you will have to navigate the water in the dark. By arriving early, you will only have to navigate dark waters on your way back to shore after you have finished.
Also, arriving early lets you get ahead of any other fishing groups and pick the prime spot on the lake, something which is even more important when bowfishing at night.
2. Rig Your Boat
Most professional bowfishing competitions take place at night, and therefore tournament-goers tend to kit out their boat with several lights, elevated platforms and other features which make everything a whole lot easier.
Once upon a time, halogen lights were the go-to favorite of fishermen; however, these required the use of a generator which was noisy and impractical. Thankfully, technology has moved on since then, and you can now purchase metal halide, LEDs and high-pressure sodium lights to do the job.
These lights are very bright and can powered-up with a relatively small generator as they don’t need a tremendous amount of energy to operate. Although rigging your fishing boat up with lighting can be expensive, it is necessary to be successful at late night bowfishing. As you are aware, you actually need to be able to see the fish when bowfishing and the best lights you can afford will light up the murky water below you and enable you to aim properly.
3. Perfect Your Aim
You can have the best gear around and completely light up the lake; however, you will be less than useless if you haven’t yet mastered the art of aiming! Learning how to aim whilst bowfishing requires a lot of practice and patience, and you should not be trying to take to the water at night if you have not yet managed to square away bowfishing during the day.
If you are eager to take to the water at night and haven’t yet managed to hone your aim, there are lots of ways you can practice in addition to bowfishing with live fish during the day. Why not use an old plastic bottle and fill it up with a little water, allow it to start sinking and use it as target practice?
This is a great way to sharpen your aim in the absence of fish, just remember to tie a string to the bottle so you can retrieve it from the water afterward!
4. Move Around
Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s hard to move around in the dark, however, you have hit the water to fish, not to camp! If you aren’t having much luck in your current spot, don’t be afraid to move.
Simply moving a few feet around the fishing spot can make the biggest difference… remember, more effort means more reward! If you’ve been sat in the same spot for well over an hour and no fish have shown up then guess what’s going to happen in the next hour… nothing!
5. Make Some Noise
If you are finding that there is a relatively low amount of activity no matter where you look, try making some noise to get things stirring below the surface. Throw down a noisy topwater chugger or throw some bait into the water to get the attention of any sedentary fish below.
We’re not saying you need to start screaming and shouting, but rocking the boat (not literally) and disrupting the waters can be a good way to get things moving along nicely.
Bowfishing is a very challenging sport which is made even more challenging by the absence of daylight, however, during summer, bowfishing at night can be your best option. By taking a few proactive steps and perfecting your aim, you give yourself the best chance of success.