Fishing Lights

Learn how and why fishing lights will attract fish to your boat, dock or pier.  Can any light be a fishing light?  Technically yes,but safety must be considered first - lights in or around water means electricity in or around water - so there must be waterproof connections.  Making your own can be rewarding, but be sure to use wire, bulbs, cases, connections that will withstand outdoor and wet conditions. Do not hang a conventional light bulb into the water plugged into a conventional extension cord.  If buying an underwater dock light or a night fishing light, be sure to buy from a reputable dealer who offers outstanding safety and quality.

Fish Attractor

Anglers are always looking for an edge.  Fishermen and women search the world over for the perfect fish attractant.  They search for something that they feel might help them catch more fish. You will find lures of every shape, size and color designed to attract fish (some might say they are designed to catch fishermen) artificial bait, live bait, dehydrated live bait, artificial bait in special liquid, scents for every species to be applied to your lure, and just when you think you have seen everything, someone will invent something new and improved - oh yes, send a note to PFT if you find something new and guaranteed to catch fish. 

Fishing Light Attractor

A fishing light attractor is a fishing aid which uses lights attached to structure above water or suspended underwater to attract both fish and members of their food chain to specific areas in order to harvest them. (From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia)

How Do Light Attractors Work

To understand this you must first understand the food chain of game fish.  Larger fish eat smaller fish that eat even smaller fish. At some point smaller fish, and even large fish sometimes will eat insects, plankton, algae, and micro-organisms.  Light has been shown to attract insects and these smaller organisms in the food chain.  Think about this:  if you are going to go out to eat tonight, will you drive a few miles out of town and sit along the road waiting for a restaurant to show up?  Or will you head to your favorite restaurant where you know they will have your favorite dish?  It is the same with fish - using a submersible fishing light can be like opening up a gourmet restaurant for fish right at your dock.  Fish can become conditioned to a permanent light source and likely will show up every night.

Purpose of Light Attractors

This leads us to the two primary purposes of a fish light attractor:  Most people first think of using a light to attract fish for the purpose of trying to catch your dinner, but secondly and equally rewarding is to attract fish because they are fun to watch.  If you have guests to your lake or shore home and enjoy sitting on your boat or dock, it is fascinating and fun to watch the fish congregate.  If you have been thinking about adding a fish light, click on the picture below - this will take you to a company that makes a very high quality product that works!   Imagine the wide eyes of your children and grandchildren and how fun it will be to watch the fish show up night after night. 

Underwater Fish Light - Single Bulb Underwater Dock Light 50ft Wire

Types of Light Attractors

Because of the nature of where and how these these devices will be used, they are made extra sturdy and water proof.  You will find glass that is extra thick, double water proof insulation, and often a guard to prevent damage from bumping something or being bumped.  The following five characteristics will be things you will want to consider in deciding which type of fishing light you may want.  Because the most effective fish attractors will be submersible lights my comments will in most part be about submersible lights.

  • Source of Light
  • Color of Light
  • Wattage - Intensity of Light
  • Portable
  • Permanently Affixed
Source of Light LED, Fluorescent, Incandescent
Color of Light Nearly any color of light can work. The most effective are the colors that are most natural to the fish and their food chain. Green colors seem to be the consensus for the color that is most natural and will attract the most fish.
Wattage - Intensity of Light In general you want the most wattage for the greatest intensity. Cost of operation will vary based on the source: LED then Fluorescent then Incandescent. LED is most efficient and uses less energy to operate. Lumens is the term used to quantify intensity or brightness. Presentation projectors often use bulbs that are between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens. You don't need your attractor to be that bright, but shop and compare.
Portable Fish Attractors The name says it all - this light is designed to be transported with you, affixed to the side of your boat or dock while you are there. You will need a power source for this portable device. In most cases that will be the 12 volt accessory battery on your boat. If you do not have a way to charge your accessory battery then you may find that you are limited in the length of time you can use your portable fish attractor. Your length of use will be determined mainly by the power source and the wattage or intensity of the light itself. The cheapest way to go is using a styrofoam floating ring around a fluorescent bulb. These units are available from most fishing stores like Bass Pro Shops.
Permanently Affixed This option offers the most effective way of attracting fish. While security lights on a pole at or near docks will act on this food chain - much of this light source is actually lost by reflection when it hits the surface of the water. The most effective means would be to invest in a system that is submersible. Why not look into a device that has been made to be permanently affixed and submersible? There are several manufacturers of these lights. The following does a really nice job - sturdy, safe, with replaceable parts: Underwater Fish Light - Single Bulb Underwater Dock Light 50ft Wire. These lights really work, and come with an outstanding guarantee.

Portable Fishing Lights

Amarine-made 12v 180 LED 900 Lumens Green Lure Bait Finder Night Fishing Boat Submersible Deep Drop Underwater Light
Berkley Submersible Fish Light

Portable fishing lights have been used for years.  Companies continue to update and upgrade them to be safer, and to last longer.  These lights provide almost as much fun watching the swarm of fish as it is increasing the odds of catching fish.  Of course using these lights for fishing means you will fish after the sun goes down, which can be fun.

For Fishing or Watching

For many anglers the joy of what comes after catching fish is almost as exciting as the catch itself.  If using a portable fishing light to attract and catch fish helps in this effort then it is worth it.  On the other hand, if you have a dock and love to sit by the water, what can be better than after dinner sitting by the dock, watching the sun set, watching and hearing the water, and enjoying the watching fish that gather around your submerged underwater fish light.   So, the answer to the question is:    BOTH!  If you have never tried an underwater fish light for fishing and/or watching, we suggest trying it.