You Can Bowfish During the Day – Here’s How!

There has been some debate about whether or not you can bowfish during the day because night fishing is quite popular for this sport.

The truth is, you can go bow fishing during the day, so here are some tips to help you on your way!

It is best for daytime fishermen to wear polarized sunglasses, watch for irregular movement, and research where fish usually spend time during the day. It is advisable to research and find heavily fish-populated areas because that is where people are bound to have the most success.

There are a lot of things you can do to have a successful bowfishing trip during the day.

Here are some more important things to know before setting out!

Daytime Bowfishing: Tips, Tricks, and Gear

A little preparation goes a long way.

Polarized sunglasses

As mentioned above, it is often a good idea for bow fishers to wear polarized sunglasses while going fishing during the day (brown-tinted lenses are popular).

Why? It makes it easier to see the fish in the water!

Your field of vision might be wider during the day, but there is still the sun’s glare to contend with.

Polarized glasses can cost anywhere from 50-100 dollars, but you will probably find that purchasing a high-quality pair is well worth it. It could greatly enhance your bowfishing experience.

However, you should most definitely give them a try before you buy. If you’re going to buy expensive polarized sunglasses, they had better work!


It is also necessary for you to find some good spots. You should do a little bit of “recon” before heading out.

Find some heavily populated areas and plan to fish there. That’s where you’re bound to have the most success.

Bring a friend

Unless you are highly experienced yourself, it can’t hurt to bring an expert friend along on your fishing trip.

A friendly face is always nice when you’re depending on somebody to help you improve your technique/skills.

Two heads are better than one. Your chances of making a good haul are twice as high if you’ve got more than one person shooting for fish.

In fact, you could even bring along three or four friends.

On a good day, you could potentially haul in over a hundred or more fish.

And besides, it just makes for a better experience overall when you’ve got friends with you.

It can get pretty boring to fish by yourself, so even if you’re only bringing friends for company, that’s okay too!


Another thing you should bring along is a good set of gloves.

Obviously, any fish you catch are bound to slime up your hands a little and gloves will help protect your hands from that.

However, if you’re hunting species such as alligator gar, you will also have some sharp teeth to deal with.

Even when bowfishing, these fish can start to flop and jump around without warning.

If you should fall victim to that, you could end up getting some seriously messy bites on your hands.

It is a good general rule to wear gloves whenever you go fishing, regardless of the catching method you’re using.


You should also try to stock up on brightly colored arrows.

This can come in handy because sometimes it is difficult to tell exactly where your arrow ends up.

If you only managed to nick the fish, yanking too hard on the arrow could pull it loose. Knowing exactly where the arrow ended up can come in handy!

Finding Fish: Stealth is the Word

Now that you are ready to go, you probably should know how and where to look for your prey.

This can be done in a variety of ways with a variety of tricks.

As mentioned before, you should try to find some heavily populated areas to ensure a good haul.

If you go bowfishing during spawning season, your chances will be pretty high of finding some good spots (a lot of fish swim upriver for this).

Springtime and early summer are generally good times to go fishing since most species spawn during this time.

Carp, for example, could spawn anytime from March to August.

They usually do this in the shallows which makes them easy to find during the day.

If you aren’t sure what to look for, watch the weeds.

If they’re moving around irregularly, chances are there’s some fish under there.

Make sure you take sunlight refraction into account when looking for and shooting at fish.

You might be aiming in one direction but find that the fish was a few inches off your mark.

This is where having an experienced friend along can come in handy.

They can help you tell where and when to aim/shoot.

Keep in mind that stealth is key!

Carp especially spook very easily during the day.

Your shadow over the water could very well send them flying off in all directions, so take careful stock of your location and position.

If you are worried that your boat’s motor is too loud, you might even consider using oars to get close to your spot.

Of course, getting too close will make the fish think you’re a threat, so be sure to exercise good judgment.

Fishing At Night

You can go bowfishing whether day or night, but if you go fishing at night, you will need to do a couple of things differently.

For starters, you will need a lighting setup.

Because you won’t have the assistance of the sun, you will need lights and possibly a generator so you can see where and what you’re shooting at.

However, if you are going to bring a generator, you should make sure it’s a quiet one.

You need lighting and there’s no escaping that, but if your generator is too loud, it will scare all the fish away.

The same is true for your boat.

If your boat is too loud, the fish will hear it and scatter.

Likewise, if you move too fast, it will startle any surrounding prey.

In fact, you should be very careful with how you move on the boat because believe it or not, the fish might actually be able to spot your movement.

Again, your lights are an absolute must because it can be almost impossible to see at night.

It is important to be as precise and accurate as possible when shooting because even if you miss, the fish are likely to scatter when you shoot into the water.

Once you’ve taken a shot, you will either have to wait a while for the fish to regroup or else move carefully and quietly to a different spot.

To help yourself see better, you can try using a boat with a raised platform.

A raised platform is not a must, but it will make seeing and shooting your fish ten times easier.

Finally, make sure you bring bug spray.

The lights on your boat are going to attract what feels like thousands of insects which can quickly become distracting and put you off your game.

If you come prepared, nighttime fishing will prove fun and successful for you.

Day vs. Night: When’s the Best Time?

Day vs. nighttime bowfishing is a heavily debated topic.

Whether we can say which is best remains to be seen, but there are definite advantages to both.

Here are a few you ought to know!

Early Morning

Early morning is a great time for bowfishing, but not if you are a beginner.

Lots of fish are the most active in the early morning hours, making them easy to see and sometimes easy to shoot.

In fact, sometimes they will be jumping in and out of the water so much that experienced and coordinated bow fishermen will be able to shoot them right out of the air!

If you want a more relaxed experience, though, you probably ought to aim for midday or at night when the sun has gone down.

Keep in mind though, that early morning hours are a pretty prime time.

You don’t have to deal with bright sunlight refraction and the fish are, again, practically hopping out of the water in front of you.


Bowfishing during the day is not the most popular time for the sport, but it definitely has its advantages. For one thing, you do not need a fishing light setup.

Fishing at nighttime means you have to lug some sort of lighting system (which requires a power source by the way!) to your fishing site.

This could take both money and time.

Fishing during the day means you do not have to do any of that.

It also means you don’t have to deal with the noise from lights and their generators. Y

ou (and the people fishing around you) can enjoy a nice, quiet day of bowfishing without having to worry about your field of vision.

Additionally, fishing during the day is usually a lot less bug-filled than at night.

The nighttime lights will attract countless irritating insects to your boat and that can make it extremely hard to focus.

You won’t have to contend with that during the day!

Bowfishing during the day also means you won’t have as much competition as you would at night.

This is primarily because nighttime bow fishing is a much more popular option for a lot of people.

It can be a tad frustrating to have to contend with thousands of lights bouncing around in different directions, especially if you have a prime spot.

Plus, if you are a fisherman who enjoys the thrill of spot and stalk, you will enjoy bowfishing during the day much more.

Because your field of vision is much wider and clearer during the day, it will be easy to find and shoot fish in the shallows.

You don’t necessarily need to be in a boat during the day.

Again, your field of vision is much wider, and that means you can easily stand on the shore or wade in the shallows to get your catch of the day.


Don’t dismiss nighttime fishing too quickly, though. It is my favorite time to go.

There are plenty of perks to bowfishing when the sun has gone down.

If you aren’t a fan of standing in the blazing sun all day long, nighttime fishing is for you.

The temperature is much cooler and definitely more comfortable in which to do your bowfishing.

This also means the water will be cooler.

When that happens, fish are more likely to wander up to the shallows where they will be much easier to find and shoot.

Of course, you will need a lighting setup for this which can be bothersome, but it’s worth it for most people.

Water conditions are not only cooler at night, but they are generally improved.

Because so many fish will be in the shallows at night, there are many more opportunities for close shots.

You can probably guarantee to have a good haul after most nighttime bowfishing trips.

Many species of fish are much more active at night, plus they’re easy to find.

This makes nighttime fishing a good time for beginners to get in some bowfishing practice.

Species such as carp, buffalo, grass carp, and gar are all increasingly active during the nighttime hours. Carp is especially easy and plentiful to find at night.

They spook easily during the day, but at night they will be more active and less worried about predators, making them extremely easy pickings.

Whether you are fishing at midday or midnight, you should be bound to have plenty of success as long as you do it right!

As long as you make sure your gear is in good shape, pick a good spot, and prepare for the trip, you will be very well off.

As a general rule, you should go fishing on days when the water is calm and even.

It is best to go on cloudless days with little to no wind. This will ensure the best experience for you and your fishing buddies.

Obviously, there are good days and bad days for bowfishing regardless of the circumstances, but your chances will be much better if you follow these tips!


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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