Having powerful enough lights out on the water while bowfishing does make a difference. You can see the fish and put an arrow through them. With that in mind, it may make you wonder if you could use LED light bars for bowfishing.
Can you use LED light bars in bowfishing? Yes, you can use LED light bars for bowfishing. If you were to use them, you’d want to use LED light bars on clear water because they can’t penetrate muddy water as easily as what they can with clear waters. I wouldn’t advise them for a dirty river.
If you’d like to learn more about the use of LED light bars in bowfishing, please keep reading because we will talk about this subject in depth.
What Kind of LED Light Bars Should You Use for Bowfishing?
The LEDs should offer you enough power to penetrate through the waters with ease. To learn about the brightness, check the wattage because this can tell you about it.
Important to note: While you can buy LEDs too dim, you don’t want to buy them as too bright either because the reflection off the water can make it hard to see the fish.
Since you will buy the LEDs for over the water, they need to offer water resistance. You don’t want to damage your LED bars, so they should have an IP rating of IP67 or IP68. The higher the rating, the better. If you plan to use an LED light bar on muddy water, either buy a green or a yellow lens. Otherwise, don’t bother because you won’t see anything with it.
Size Does Matter
The length of your chosen light bar does make a difference. You need to know the length so that you can properly fit it for your bowfishing boat. Having a longer light bar will result in a long spread, which lets you see more on the water. For that reason, a 50-inch light bar will do much better than a 10-inch light bar.
Especially in a sport where shooting the fish depends on you seeing them, you will want a larger light bar.
I would recommend the Rigid Industries 120312 E-Series 20″. You will want to aim for close to 50 inches by buying a second one. While it isn’t the full 50 inches, even 40 inches over the water will give you good visibility.
Best Wattage for Bowfishing
You will typically want wattage at 100 watts for bowfishing. They offer light bars at 100, 200 and 300 watts, but we would recommend that you go with the 100 watts because it won’t overpower you when out on the water.
You can learn more about the bowfishing light bar here, which is where I wrote another article on it.
Shape: Does It Matter?
In truth, you shouldn’t worry about the shape of the lights too much in bowfishing. It doesn’t make too much difference.
When it comes to shape, you have two main shapes with LED light bars. You have the curved LED light bar and the straight LED light bar. This mostly comes down to personal preference because neither offers a significant advantage over the other.
Number of Rows
You can buy the LED light bar as either a single row or a double row. Double row offers you more light, but remember, you don’t want too much power because you don’t want it reflecting off the water. Along with that, double light bars also tend to cost more. Depending on the size of your bowfishing boat, a single row will look better on a small bowfishing boat, where double might do better on a larger one.
Beam Patterns of LED Light Bars
LED light bars come in three different beam patterns: flood beam pattern, spot beam pattern and combination beam pattern. You want to choose either the flood beam pattern or the combination beam pattern because of how it gives you a wider spread of light without being overpowering. Spot beam, on the other hand, tends to focus the light, and it does better on a pick-up truck than a bowfishing boat on the water.
The combination beam patterns costs the most out of the three choices.
The Best LED Light Bar Manufacturers
When it comes to the LED light bar manufacturers, some of the best around include:
- Baja Designs
- Rigid Industries
- KC HiLiTes
- Oracle Lighting
- GT Lighting
You may need to tweak your LED light bar slightly to make it usable for bowfishing because you don’t want so much light that it reflects off the water, and you can’t see anything.
Factors to Consider with LED Light Bars for Bowfishing
Budget – The price plays a big factor in the type of LED light bar that you might use for bowfishing. You find LED light bars in a wide range of prices.
Durability – Your chosen LED light bar should have durability because this ensures that your investment will last a long time. Most LED light bars have an advantage in that they will last for up to 50,000 hours. Look for one that says this. At the same time, they use less energy.
Beam Angle – As we said before, floodlighting tends to be your best option for the LED light bars in bowfishing. That’s because you have a wider angle to see with.
Interior vs Exterior Light Bars – Obviously, you need an exterior light bar for bowfishing. We only choose to highlight this factor because we want you to be aware that you need an exterior light bar for this sport, and to watch out for the interior LED light bars. You don’t want them.
Light Bar Size – Choose the 40 to 50-inch light bar because it helps you to light up the water better. You will need at least this much if you want to see well on the water.
To sum it up, yes, you can use LED light bars for bowfishing. You should weigh the pros and cons of this light versus some of the other available choices. In fact, I’ve written an article on that here titled, “What Kind of Lights for Bowfishing?” While these lights may cost more than some of the other options, they represent a better value because of how much longer they last than some of the other choices. You have to make sure that you buy the right LED light bar for bowfishing, but it can be used for bowfishing on the water.