Do You Use Sights for Bowfishing?

Hunters that transition to bow fishing often wonder if they need to use sight for bow fishing like they do for hunting. It can be difficult to know what to use for bow fishing and how it differentiates from hunting.

Sights are not recommended to use for bow fishing because bow fishing happens so fast that there is not enough time to scope out the target beforehand. However, there are specific sights designed for bow fishing that is different from the traditional bow sight.

While sights are not generally recommended, there are some specific sights made for bow fishing. Here’s everything you need to know about bow fishing and sights.

Why are Sights not Recommended?

Sights are not recommended in bow fishing because the sport happens very quickly. When bow fishing, the opportunity to see and catch the fish comes and goes within a split second. Generally, there is not enough time to spot the fish, line up the sights perfectly, aim and catch the fish. If you spend too much time trying to adjust the sights, then you will miss your opportunity to actually catch the fish.

According to an online forum, bow fishing is better with a barebow and involves more quick-action immediate shooting. Generally, it is not worth the money to buy and use a sight for bow fishing. But if you do want to buy a sight, you should purchase one with laser technology that helps you track the fish underwater.

The fast-paced nature of the sport makes it so that many prefer to just shoot with their bow and without any fancy sights. On the other hand, some people really like and prefer to have sights on their bow. One thing that is important to note is that the traditional hunting sights are different than the bow fishing sights.

Bow Hunting Sights

When hunting big games, most people use sights that attach to their bows individually and help them focus on a game that they are trying to hunt. Some of the recommended sights for bow hunting include:

The Spot Hogg triple stack: This sight is a durable and reliable sight for hunting. It provides a trio of micro-adjustable pins to aim through. This is a really advanced sight for frequent hunters. However, this bow is more expensive with a price that averages around $450.

CBE CX5: This particular sight is super lightweight yet durable. Many hunters prefer this one because of how light it is and how easy it is to attach. This sight ranges around $160.

Bowhunting sights should not be used for bow fishing, because the sights are designed specifically for their different purposes and it does not work to try and use them for different purposes.

Bow Fishing Sights

Sights for bow fishing are different from sights that are used for game hunting. The main difference between the two types of sights is primarily in the laser technology that is found in fin-finder bow fishing sites.

Several different types of sights are used for bow fishing. These specific types of sights help the fisher identify the correct position of the fish through the reflection of the water.

Product Recommendations:

Light Stryke Bow Fishing Sight: this fishing sight is recommended for those who are not looking to spend very much money. This site is very small and it simply clips onto the bow. This product ranges anywhere from $20-$30 and is a cheap but durable sight.

A step up is the Light Stryke Bow 2.0 fishing Sight which has the same basics in the sight but is a lot bigger and has more tools on it to help sight and find fish. This sight uses a powerful laser to pinpoint the target with great accuracy. This sight is well made out of sturdy aluminum and is very durable. This product generally ranges from $150-$175 and can be purchased at most hunting and fishing stores.

The Light Stryke Bow fishing sight is also super easy to attach. It mounts on the bow in the traditional sight placement, is adjustable, and stays sturdy on the bow. This sight is also very easy to switch the laser on and off while it remains mounted on the bow.

Another good option for a bow fishing sight is a Refractor BLS Laser sight this sight is durable, made out of aluminum and stainless steel hardware. This sight has the option to mount on the riser or as the stabilizer attachment. The laser on this tool is suited for both day and night shooting so that it will not have to be set for a certain time. This sight averages around $150 to purchase.

Both of these options operate on battery power and are effectively waterproof, which protects them if you accidentally drop them in the water or have water splashed on them (occupational hazards of bow fishing).

There are many other available sights for bow fishing. However, most bow fishers shoot instinctively and prefer a barebow as opposed to a lot of technology and extra additions. Generally, it is not worth it to pay the price for a bowfishing sight, especially if you plan on fishing on a boat, because then there is the increased risk of dropping and losing the expensive sight.

Using sights while bow fishing allows the advantage of being able to track the fish in the water through high laser technology. These sights also allow the ability to perceive fish in the water that might not be visual to the naked eye.

Sights can be super useful, but, like anything else they take practice. You have to be quick in bow fishing, so if you want to properly utilize these sights, you have to learn how to line them quickly and accurately if you want to catch the fish. Many new bow fishers spend so long trying to line up the sights that they lose the fish they were trying to sight in the first place.

Bow Fishing Lights

Although bow fishing sights are a thing of controversy, bow fishing lights are generally agreed upon as useful tools. Bow fishing lights are useful because they provide higher visibility in clear water, but they also help fishers see through murky and muddy waters better.

One thing that people often don’t stop to consider is that the color of the light makes a difference and really matters. The color temperature of the light is called kelvins. When the light has a lower level of kelvins, the light emitted is a warmer, more amber color. A higher number of kelvins will produce a bluer color.

Warmer colors have shorter wavelengths, which allow them to penetrate the water more. Therefore, warmer colors are preferred for bowfishing. So when shopping for bow-fishing lights, it is important to pay attention to the number of Kelvins in the light.

Another thing to pay attention to in bow-fishing lights is the lumens. Lumen is a way to describe how bright a light is. If you are looking for a brighter light, you should look for one that has a higher number of lumens.

For more information on boat fishing lights watch this YouTube video.

For boat-mounted lights, High-Pressure Sodium lights are preferred for bigger boats based on their power and range of light, however, for smaller boats, LED lights are preferred because they are lighter.

Bow fishing lights can be purchased to go on boats, but there are smaller versions that can attach directly to the bow. Serious bow fishers will rig their boat with large, high wattage lights all around to give them the best visibility.

Shore fishers will often opt for a mounted bow light, which attaches directly to the bow. These mounted bow lights can be purchased at any fishing store and are used for those who want to bow fish without a boat. These bow lights are cheaper to buy, battery-powered, and useful for shoreline bow fishing.

The Outrigger Bow Mounted Fishing Light ranges around $100 and has interchangeable warm and cool light LED lenses. This light mounts directly on the bow and has 1,800 lumens and an adjustable beam. This light is battery run and has a high battery life and extra batteries within the package.

Mounting and Sighting

People often wondering about mounting bow fishing sights and how different it is. The good news is that the mounting process is super simple. Mounting can be done quickly and easily through the use of tightening screws. These screws should be secure enough so that the laser does not move, and that the mounting is at the right angle to properly aim in the water.

Sighting, on the other hand, isn’t quite as simple. That’s not to say that it is super difficult, in fact, sighting a bow fishing sight is just like sighting for a bow. The main difference is that for a hunting sight, you would try and adjust the sightline to be accurate for far away, whereas with bow fishing, you want to sight close up.

Sighting for bow fishing takes a little bit of trial and error. When first sighting, you should line up the sight, turn on the laser, and aim. The first time you will likely be far off from your target, so you need to adjust your sights and try this process again. Once your arrow is shooting along the line of your laser, it is a good idea to try this out in the water.

Once you have accurately adjusted your sight, you are ready to start bow fishing. However, it is important to remember that the sight is not fool-proof. It makes it easier to hit your target, but you still have to do the grunt work. Make sure that when you are lining up your sights, that you hold the bow and arrow steady and adjust for any external circumstances that could throw your aim off.

If you plan on using a sight frequently, you should practice efficiently lining up the sights to be able to find the fish and shoot it before it swims away.

Tips for Bowfishing

Bow fishing is a sport that is growing in popularity among hunters and fishers. This method of fishing involves killing fish by the use of a bow and arrow to shoot them through the water.

Bow fishing has the same general equipment as hunting but there are a few key differences to keep in mind when bow fishing. When bow fishing, the arrows need to be made out of more sturdy materials that can effectively travel through water with force and momentum.

Aiming: Because the fish are in the water, aiming is a little bit trickier than aiming at a deer on land. For one, the downward angle to hit the fish is something that can be tricky to get the hang of, especially if you are transitioning from normal bow hunting.

It is also important to remember that, because the fish are underwater, the light reflection makes it appear that the fish are in a slightly different location than where they actually are. A good rule of thumb is to aim 3 inches lower per foot of depth.

Location: It is better to choose a shallow area for fishing. Water will cause the arrow to lose momentum. Fishing in areas with less water means that the arrow will have more force when hitting the target.

Bow fishing can be done on a boat in deeper waters, however, the rule of the water still applies, so it is better to aim for fish near the surface of the water, to hit them with full momentum. Many bow fishers attract fish to their area and the surface by using a method called Chumming, which is a process of scattering food, animal parts, or other bait in the water to attract fish.

Chumming can be super useful, however, each state has a different requirement and different laws regarding chumming. Many states have banned chumming because it creates too much litter and waste. If you plan on using chumming to attract fish, make sure you look up the particular laws in your area.


Colby has been involved in the outdoors for over 30 years. Part of his problem is that instead of focusing on one specific outdoor hobby he spreads his time over a multitude of outdoor adventures. This has provided him the opportunity to have varied experiences across a broad spectrum of outdoor activities. Jack Outdoors has provided him an outlet to share the things he has learned as well as his successes and failures.

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