What are the Best Bowfishing Lights for 2021?

Breanna | |

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

No better time to be out on the water than just after dark. The chirping crickets and sloshing tide go perfectly with the meditative concentration of bowfishing.

Only one problem. How do you see the fish? To answer that question, we hit the market to find what makes the best bowfishing light and which models out there meet those specifications. These are our favorites.

The Best Bowfishing Lights – Our Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

Why do you need a bowfishing light?

Bowfishing lights help you in more ways than one. The most obvious is that they help you see the fish you’re shooting. Even if the water is murky, the light can create a visible shadow if a fish swims under it.

Secondly, lights can actually attract fish, too. Think insects coming to a lamp.

Last, a light can simply help you move around your boat or dock. You can change out equipment, nock an arrow, etc. more easily.

What color (kelvin) lights are best for bowfishing?

Color may seem like a silly thing to worry about, but it actually makes a big difference in how penetrative a light is. That’s because color is determined by the wavelength of the light, and the water can more easily stop slower wave lengths, meaning they don’t penetrate as deeply.

Thinking about the rainbow, colors go from red on one extreme to blue/violet on the other. Red colors have the lowest wavelength and therefore don’t penetrate very deeply. Meanwhile, blue light penetrates nearly 40 meters in clear water.

For bowfishing, you probably want something with a color rating of about 6,000 Kelvins or higher. Lower Kelvin, or K, ratings are redder, so they won’t penetrate as deeply. 4,500K is the absolute minimum as that’s when the color begins to become “red.”  

How many lumens do you need for bowfishing lights?

There is no absolute number of lumens you need because it depends on how big your light is. A concentrated, mounted flashlight may produce fewer lumens overall, but at the specific point it illuminates, it may be quite bright.

A good rule of thumb is 100 lumens per watt. In other words, if you have a light with 40 3-watt LED bulbs, that’s 120 watts. Ideally, this light should produce around 12,000 lumens. If the rating is much less, it may not be a quality light. 

Are LED lights good for bowfishing?

LED lights are ideal for bowfishing. That’s because of what we discussed above. LEDs are more efficient and produce more light per watt. 

Plus, since they’re more efficient, LEDs produce light more towards the blue or violet end of the spectrum, unlike incandescent bulbs, which are redder. 

The different types of bowfishing lights

Floodlights 

Floodlights weren’t invented for bowfishing, but it’s a great alternative use for them. Floodlights produce a lot of light that, most importantly, spreads out over a large area. Plus, since they’re designed in such a way that consumers can put them in many different locations on different buildings, they have flexible mountings you could use for a boat or dock. 

Light Bars

Light bars are one of the best kinds of lights for bowfishing. They’re long but thin, producing a wide swath of light without using unnecessary electricity. This means it’ll last longer hooked up to your boat’s battery or a small generator.

Light bars also have the advantage that they can usually be mounted low on a boat’s gunwale or dock, getting as close to the water as possible. Many light bars are also designed to be mounted on any vehicle, so you can put one on your truck and use it for bowfishing off the shore as well as other things. 

Boat Mounted

Boat-mounted lights come in all shapes and sizes, including floodlights and light bars. Some may be some kind of hybrid. The defining characteristic of these lights is that you can, well, mount them on a boat.

Ideally, these lights are rated for immersion in water. This way, you can mount them on the bottom of your boat and create a halo of light where you want to fish. 

Handheld

Handheld bowfishing lights are essentially flashlights. Many can be mounted on your bow so you don’t actually have to hold them in your hand while shooting. They produce much less light over a smaller area but can be directed exactly where you need it.

What makes a good bowfishing light?

Light Output – Lumens/Watts and Water Penetration

What you want is a light that will penetrate enough into the water to at least produce shadows. For this, you want a higher lumens rating. Try to find a light producing at least 100 lumens per watt.

Of course, penetration in general will depend on the water you’re bowfishing in. The same light that will see 30 feet down in the Mediterranean Sea is barely going to break the surface of a Louisiana swamp. 

That said, more light in a concentrated area is going to penetrate deeper. Light color will make a difference as well, which we go into below.

LED vs halogen

The most modern models tend to be LED. This is because LEDs are more efficient. They create more light for less power. 

This saves you money on electricity and time on your battery, but it also keeps the light cooler. As a bowfisherman, you may need to adjust the light several times during an outing, so you don’t want it to be dangerously hot.

Finally, halogen lights sometimes make a light buzzing sound that LEDs don’t. This could potentially scare off fish, not to mention irritate you during an activity that’s supposed to be relaxing. 

As you can see, LED lights are usually a superior option for bowfishing, but if you don’t care about the aspects mentioned above, halogen lamps can be a less expensive option.

Light color

You should try for whiter or bluer lights, those 6,000K or up with 4,500K as a lower limit. These will penetrate more deeply.

Some lights may have different color options, which make them versatile. You can use them for more than just bowfishing.

Power Sources

Bowfishing lighting fixtures can have different power sources, all of which may be ideal depending on your purposes. 

At the most basic, you may find a light manufactured with open wiring. This is definitely the most flexible and great if you want to wire the fixture into your dock or other structure, or permanently onto your boat. It will just require some electrical knowledge.

However, if you want to be able to move your light around, you probably want a standard 120V wall socket plugin or a 12V auxiliary car plugin. These both may be available on your boat or dock.

Other lights come with rechargeable batteries. That’s really convenient and makes the light highly mobile. You just depend on the battery life in this case, which may be shorter than the amount of time you’d like to fish.  

Bulbs

Frankly, you should go for LED bulbs. They produce more light, less heat, less noise and a bluer color. 

The main concern, then, is the lifespan. More quality bulbs will last longer, sometimes up to 50,000 hours.

Beam Angles

Beam angle is complicated because a light aimed directly at the water will penetrate deeper, but a light at an angle may create a wider swatch that covers more area. What you really want is a light that can be adjusted and easily mounted so you can make the angle you need in a given situation.

IP Ratings

IP ratings relate to the protectiveness of the light’s housing. We won’t go into too much technical detail, but know that the first digit reflects the housing’s resistance to entry by solid particles. Most lights on our list are 6, the maximum rating, which means they’re dust tight.

The second number reflects how resistant the housing is to liquid. This goes from 1, which just means resistance to light dripping, to 9, which means resistance to powerful jets of water at high temperatures.

In this case, you need to know where you’re going to put the light. Obviously you need some amount of water resistance because you’re fishing. However, this could range from an IP64, which can resist splashes, to IP68, which could be temporarily immersed in water up to a meter. This is especially great for a boat because then you don’t have to worry about accidental immersion when launching the boat.  

Bowfishing Light Reviews

Marine Sport Light Bar

As a bar light, the Marine Sport Light Bar is a versatile option to use on all your equipment. Not just your boat, but your jeep, truck or ATV. It takes up very little space, with size options ranging from 20 to 50 inches, so it won’t get in your way, but still provides enough light to fish.

A Marine Sport Wrap-Around Light Bar
A Marine Sport Wrap-Around Light Bar

Speaking of the light, it uses 40 3W CREE LED diodes on the 20-inch mode, or 120 watts altogether. This surprisingly low amount of power still produces nearly 12,000 lumens of light, saving your battery, generator or electric bill. Plus, the light color comes out at 6,500K, a bit bluer than most models on the market, meaning all else being equal, it penetrates deeper into the water.

All that said, the best aspect of this light is the construction and durability. This applies to both the lights themselves, which last upwards of 50,000 hours, as well as the casing. Made with aluminum and aluminum-alloy, the casing resists the wear and damage that can come from moving it around a lot, which you can easily do because the 20-inch version only weighs 6.3 pounds. The IP67 rating means you can also submerge it up to a meter for up to an hour, so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re launching your boat.

The only thing to keep in mind is the price range that reflects these quality, durable features. If you are a frequent bowfisher who wants something to use in different places and situations, it’s well worth the money.

What we liked:

  • Versatile and mobile
  • Different size options
  • Efficient power usage
  • 12,000 lumens
  • More penetrative color
  • Tough and durable
  • IP67 waterproof
  • 3 settings: flood, spot and combo

What we didn’t:

  • Higher price range

Nilight LED Light Bar

The Nilight is the other light bar on the market that made our list for its usefulness in bowfishing. The best thing about it is the powerful lights. The 140 LED bulbs draw on 420 watts of power to produce up to 42,000 lumens of light. In practice, the Niglight rarely produces quite this much, but especially if you get the white 6,000K color version, it’s enough to penetrate for bowfishing.

Another plus is the great value. It’s hard to find such a funcionable light in such a low price range. This low price range may sacrifice some of the durability and construction of models like the Marine Sports Light Bar above. For example, its life is about 30,000 hours.

However, with the aluminum-alloy housing, it should still stand up for most purposes, especially lighting from a dock or boat for bowfishing. Setting it up is easy too with the adjustable mounting bracket, not to mention the impressively light weight of 3.6 pounds.

Ideal for bowfishing, the Nilight light bar is IP67 waterproof rated in case of accidents. It also has innovative heat dissipation to keep it cool and therefore easy to adjust based on where you need to point it.

What we liked:

  • 42,000 lumens of brightness
  • Low price range
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable mounting
  • IP67 waterproof
  • Efficient heat dissipation

What we didn’t:

  • Shorter lifespan
  • Less durable housing

SOLLA 150W Warm White LED Flood Light

Floodlights are always a good option for bowfishing lighting. You can concentrate a lot of light in one area, attracting fish that you can easily see. In the case of the SOLLA LED flood light, that means 12,000 lumens produced from 150 watts. 

You can also get a 100 or 200-watt version depending on your needs. If you bowfish in particularly murky water, you might go with the 200. Either way, the 6,000K color is white and penetrates sufficiently.

The SOLLA floodlight is also a great value, good construction and durability without breaking the bank. In fact, the housing is resistant to high temperatures and wear and tear, and the lights have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. That means even if you bowfish 8 hours a night every night, the floodlight could last you up to 17 years.

The housing is also IP65 rated, which means it’s resistant to spraying water like rain. It won’t survive actual immersion, though, so it’s better higher up on your boat or dock. That’s easy to do thanks to the rotating metal bracket that’s easy to install and lets you aim the light where you need it.

What we liked:

  • Low price range
  • Long lifespan
  • Durable, anti-aging housing
  • Rotating metal bracket

What we didn’t:

  • Not water immersible

Stasun 150W Outdoor Lights

The Stasun is an innovative model that can serve a lot of different purposes. We especially suggest it for anyone who wants to bowfish in groups because the floodlight includes three different modules which can be angled differently to cover a wide surface area.

Due to the innovative design and die-cast aluminum housing that both dissipates heat while resisting wear and tear, this model does sit in a more top-shelf price range. However, it’s still a great value thanks to its high quality. The only real problem is the light color, which is 5,000K, slightly redder than other models and therefore less penetrative in the water.

The Stasun light easily makes up for this with power, though. The 150-watt version produces 13,500 lumens, as much as a 900-watt incandescent bulb. It does this using 84 LED bulbs that have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

This light is IP65 rated, so it will stand up to rain but not immersion. It comes with a two-year warranty to back up its quality construction.

What we liked:

  • 3 light modules
  • Side modules pivot up to 180 degrees
  • Die-cast aluminum housing
  • Up to 50,000 hours of life

What we didn’t:

  • Redder 5,000K color
  • Not water immersible

Fin-Finder Splashlight Bowfishing Light

A mounted bowfishing light is another option that’s arguably more convenient than other lighting options. It’s certainly more compact.

The Fin-Finder Splashlight - Demonstrating bow attachment
The Fin-Finder Splashlight

In the case of the Fin-Finder Splashlight—which gets points for the cool name—it can be attached right to your compound or recurve bow like any other accessory or used handheld. It then uses a touch pressure switch so it can be turned on and off right when you need it.

The main advantage of a mounted light is that you don’t have to plug it in. This gives you maximum flexibility and versatility. The Fin-Finder takes this to the extreme by including a rechargeable battery with chargers for both the wall and car.

The 600 lumens of light from this model may seem low compared to the bar and floodlights we’ve included, but for a directed light like this, it’s plenty. Our only real complaint is that the mounting can sometimes come loose. Check it each time you use it to make sure you don’t end up losing it in the water.

What we liked:

  • Mounted or handheld
  • Rechargeable battery with two chargers
  • 600 lumens of directed light
  • Water resistant

What we didn’t:

  • Mounting can come loose
  • Not immersible in water 

LUMENSHOOTER B8 Bow Mounted Hunting Light

We had to include the LUMENSHOOTER B8 because of its wide versatility. It’s not just great for bowfishing but really any bowhunting you want to do. This is primarily due to the three LED color settings: red, green and white. While white is great for penetrating water and attracting fish, if you want to use the light for other hunting, the red or green colors are less visible to game.

Durability is another big advantage of this model. The aircraft-grade aluminum can potentially take a beating, and it comes with a cushioned case just for storage. The mounting is solid too, based on a Picatinny/weaver ring that will work on most bows.

We also have to mention the USB charger. It may seem like a small thing, but as more and more devices charge via USB, this makes it more convenient and universal. The battery itself is lithium-ion and can last up to six hours after a full charge, after which a light will warn you that the charge is low. This is ideal when you’re bowfishing for long periods, so you know it’s time to wrap it up.

What we liked:

  • 3 color lenses
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing
  • Picatinny ring mounting
  • USB charger
  • Low-charge warning light

What we didn’t:

  • Nothing!

Leave a Comment