Bowfishing Carp at Night: Preparation & Tips

Bowfishing carp at night comes as the sport at a higher level of difficulty. Normally, people would choose to do this activity during the nighttime due to several advantages that the daytime lack. Yet, there is a need for experience and good preparation of equipment in order to take advantage of the night. 

In this article, we cover everything you need to know for preparation. So, let’s dive into details.

Choosing Species for Bowfishing Carp at Night

It is common knowledge that carp constitutes a group of freshwater fishes mainly native to Asia and Europe. They have been farmed and consumed in numerous parts of the world for years. 

People tend to think about the Common Carp first when it comes to carp. They are identifiable with large golden scales and two small whiskers. Besides, these fishes can grow with an impressive size (up to 5 feet and 80 lbs. in length and weight, respectively).

Other varieties, there are Silver, Black, and Grass Carp. 

  • The Silver Carp has dark silver scales on its oblong shape. 
  • The Black Carp’s body (which can weigh up to 500 lbs.) has a large number of black-tipped scales. 
  • You can find a silver-greenish hue for the smallest one (Grass Carp). 

Since the 1800s, the Common Carp has been one of the favorite choices across the US. So, it becomes a target for food sources and the “fish-hunting” game. 

An Essential Preparation

There could be some troubles unless you have good preparation. Things like bowfishing gears, lights, generators, and warm clothes are indispensable. 


In many stores for fishers, you can easily search for bowfishing packages with everything needed for the game. A typical gear set often includes a bow, reel, arrow, and arrow stabilizer.


Unlike bowhunting, bowfishing does not require you to have a specific kind of bow. It is up to you to choose any bows that can bring great comfort.

That being said, the recurved bow is still our top recommendation. This traditional style can give enough force to shoot into the water. Due to its lightweight, you will find it much easier to handle the bow. This traditional option tends to be less precise than the mechanical one (weighing up to 30-40 lbs.). 


There are three common types of reels. They include the hand reel, the bottle reel, and the spin cast reel. 

  • The hand reel is an excellent choice for newbies. It is not only easy to use but also affordable. After grabbing your line, you only need to roll it around the hand reel to shoot the fish. 
  • The bottle reel is nearly the same as the hand reel; yet, it involves a bottle to house the line, so we consider it the most popular option.  
  • The spin cast reel is the best style for accuracy. Besides, it can help you retrieve your line quickly.


It is not a good idea to use a hunting arrow for bowfishing. You should choose a specialized one instead. Among a mass on the market, possible options to pick include carbon, fiberglass, and hybrid arrows. Of those three, the first one is mainly for larger fishes. 


In general, light can serve a wide range of purposes. Using the light is not only to show the way under the water. It helps you see what is under the carps, too. Besides, light is a good way for you to lure the target to the surface.

bowfishing carp at night

We suggest choosing the LED light with a narrow/wide light beam for a clearer view. It would be better to have the one that can switch from narrow to wide or vice versa. The additional visibility will make your bowfishing less challenging. 

Another note is that choosing a light consuming too much power is never a good idea. You may have to finish your game earlier than scheduled. 


Despite power-saving types of lights, we suggest preparing a generator. In other words, your lights can be so energy-consuming that they can be out of battery at any time. The generator will be worth your investment to recharge the lights as a solution.  

Clothes/Cover for Extra Warmth

During a bowfishing game, nights are often colder in the water. Sometimes, the weather could get worse when an unexpected rain comes. Thus, it would help to check the weather forecast and bring warm clothes and raincoats. 

Our recommendation is to prepare hoodies or jackets. Also, towels can make sense with the rain. 

Tips for a Productive Bowfishing Day

A well-prepared bowfishing package is not enough. You should have a pocket with several useful tips for a better game. 

Considering Shore & Boat

Shore vs. boat – each of them comes with different advantages and disadvantages.

For example, the boat option does not have to step on foot too much while bowfishing. 

By contrast, the shore tends to be a better option with a tight budget. It is also suitable for those who suffer from seasickness. 

Understanding the Environment

Another key element that you need to understand is the environment. Is the place where you are standing a high ground? Is it solid? Do your feet get firm on the ground? 

Moreover, the weather also can change your game. Is it on your side or against you? Do never forget to check the weather forecast before you plan the bowfishing day. A day of rain and storming will not be ideal for catching some fish. 

Learning about the Water

Bowfishing in a pond and a narrow stream do not hit the same. For the former, the current seems not to play an important role. The scene will be different in the case of the latter. In other words, the fish swim much faster than the water in a deep stream. 

In addition, rocks and plants in the water also assist you in this activity – they prevent fish from swimming fast. Thus, you will find it much easier to shoot. 

Moving Quietly & Taking the Aim

Your fast and loud movement can scare the fish. You should keep the boat as quiet as possible when standing on the boat. 

The light beam tends to bend when it hits the water. So, the fishes are not where you think they are. Our tip is to aim around 6 inches beneath the fish. 

Looking for Hotspots and Bubbles 

It is such a challenging game of bowfishing by night. That said, knowing about hotspots should make it much easier. This preparation increases the chances you can find the fish and catch them. 

You can still look for bubbles if the carps are not visible beneath the water at night. We consider bubbles a great sign to find out where the fish are.

Read More: How To Make A Bow String With Fishing Line: Step By Step!


It is what you need to know about bowfishing carp at night. A great preparation also holds the key to a plentiful fishing basket. Yet, several external factors could change the game. For any further inquiries related to bowfishing, we are always ready to help and give your answers.

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