Some species of fish are much more active at night, and anglers must adapt if they want to have the best opportunity of catching them. Night fishing is especially popular for various species during the warm summer month when the daytime heat causes fish to wait until the cover of darkness to feed.
If you want to make your efforts successful, having the right night fishing light setup is key for catching fish in the nighttime hours. Read on to learn more about how to choose the right night fishing lights and which setup will give you the best results.
Best Lights for Your Boat
There are a variety of different lights you can use on the water for night fishing. For safety purposes, it’s important to have efficient illumination so that other boats can see you at all times. You can also choose other lights to be placed in and around your boat’s interior to make things a bit brighter and make it easier to see your surroundings.
One of the most popular topics related to night fishing light setups is which lights you should select for attracting fish. Submersible lights are among the hottest gear items for anglers today, and they can help you maximize your efforts when you want to attract and catch fish.
Depending on the species of fish you’re going for, you can employ different colors to produce different results. The following lights and lighting systems listed are some that we feel offer the best quality in helping attract fish.
The Green Blob Outdoors New Underwater LED Fishing Light is considered to be one of the best night fishing light setups on the market today. It's made with a durable design and offers 15,000 lumens to light up a sizable area around your boat. This is a brand known for its Green LEDs, and it easily connects to any standard 12V battery using alligator clips.
- Offers 15,000 lumens
- 30 feet of cord
- Durable design rated for more than 50,000 hours of continuous use
The PYLITE DC12V LED Underwater Fishing Light is an affordable option that can be used from a boat to catch everything from bait fish to various game fish species. There are certain advantages to using a green light system compared to white light, and this light is available in both green and white lights. It offers 6000 lumens and is an LED light that provides enough brightness to see fishing lines while it also works to attract fish to the area.
- 6000 lumens LED light
- Power cord capable of connecting directly to the battery using alligator clips
- Available in various lengths to allow for night fishing in different parts of the water column
Best Lights to Illuminate a Dock
The Fish Guaranteed Underwater Fish Light is one of the more costly options you might find today, but it offers an abundance of advantages compared to other products. This lighting system comes with two Green lights that connect to the main battery hub using 50 feet of cord. This allows you to place these lights strategically around your dock to attract bait fish and also bring in larger fish. It's also capable of being used on saltwater docks or freshwater lakes and rivers.
- Comes with two underwater lights
- Attracts saltwater or freshwater game fish
- Comes with a power source and offers automatic dusk-to-dawn operation
The Green Glow Dock Light is one of the best night fishing light setups for dock fishing on the market today. This is the ideal fishing light setup for those who want a more permanent system that they can set in the water and allow the light to automatically run when the sun goes down. It's easy to install and works in saltwater or freshwater, and the bright, green lights are great for attracting fish of all species. Installing this light system on your dock virtually guarantees that you'll have a steady stream of bait fish moving into the area around your dock throughout the year.
- Saltwater or freshwater use
- Green LED lights
- Operates from dusk until dawn automatically or manually
Best Lights to Carry On Your Person on Shore
The NightBlaster Floating Fish-N-Lite is a cost-friendly option for the average angler to use when night fishing around the shoreline. It is one of the most affordable fully submersible lights on the market, but this product comes with a foam flotation ring. This allows you to use the floating fishing lights to attract bait fish around the edge of structure or submerge the light to bring in bigger fish. It does not come with a power source and only offers 8 feet of cord.
- Saltwater or freshwater use
- Can be used as floating lights or submersible lights
The PYLITE DC12V 50W 6000Lumens is one of the best night fishing light setups for anglers to carry around on their person with a small battery system. This affordable and easy-to-use light comes in different models that offer varying lengths of cord that range from 16 feet to 30 feet. The only downside to this system is the need to carry a battery around as you fish along the shore. It can be purchased in white lights or green lights depending on the angler's preference, and is ideal for fishing enthusiasts who are looking for a cost-friendly option that they can begin night fishing with.
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Affordable night fishing lights
- Attracts most fish species in either white or green lights
Decide Between Underwater, Floating or Above Water Fishing Light
The main differences between underwater lights, floating lights, and above water lights is directly connected to innovation in technology. The earliest night fishing light setups that were used were all above water systems that were implemented decades ago. Eventually, the floating lights were developed and began to be used by night fishing anglers to target specific sections of water. More recently, companies have now started selling submersible lights that are capable of illuminating various parts of the water column.
Most anglers will agree that underwater lights are by far the best option for night fishing as they will attract more big fish and bait fish of all species than any above water or floating lights. Depending on your budget, you can choose to purchase a high-quality underwater light system, which will significantly increase your ability to catch fish at night.
How Many Lights and How Deep
Utilizing multiple underwater or floating lights can also greatly increase your chances of success when night fishing. If you are able to purchase multiple lights, you can use them on either end of your boat or place them at different parts of the docks or shoreline you’re fishing from. Understanding where to place these lights in the water column is also key, as this will boost your ability to attract big fish to the light to feed on the hundreds or even thousands of bait fish that will come near the light.
In short, you should base this decision on the species of fish you’re targeting and the section of the water column they are expected to be in during the nighttime hours. Some crappie anglers might place lights much deeper than those who are targeting largemouth bass, for instance.
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General Technique Used When Fishing Under the Lights
The best technique for fishing under or around lights is to focus your efforts around the edges of the light’s brightness reach. Many of the bait fish you can attract with a good quality night fishing light setup will come very close to the light itself. However, the large fish you’re trying to catch will not be so bold and will instead hang around on the outskirts of the light’s reach in the water. If you pay close attention to the edges, you’ll see some sizable game fish move in closer to position themselves to strike at their prey.
What Is the Best Color or Wavelength to Use?
Just like any other piece of gear when it comes to fishing, different color lights will create different outcomes for most anglers. The white lights that some anglers opt for using will work to bring in bait fish and game fish species, but the white light will actually reflect off of the water itself and make it harder to see the fish. White lights should only be used if you are unable to acquire green lights for night fishing.
Green lights offer a great advantage for fishing at night because the effect the light has on the water is comparable to polarized sunglasses. The green light actually cuts through the water instead of reflecting off of it, making it much easier to see fish and any other submerged items beneath the surface. In either saltwater or freshwater fishing, a green light is far superior for catching fish at night.
Lures and Bait for Night Fishing
The best color lures to use for night fishing around lights is anything that might reflect the light itself. Many topwater lures like poppers, frogs, buzzbaits, and others work very well at night when fishing around lights. This is because the light helps fish see these lures as they disturb the water’s surface upon retrieval.
Swimbaits are also very useful as the big fish you’re hoping to catch will be looking for easy prey that can be found around the edge of the light’s reach. Many crappie and saltwater anglers will opt for live bait like shad or minnows to catch the fish they are targeting.
Always make sure your night fishing light setup is installed safely so that you won’t be at risk of suffering electrical shock while fishing. You’ll also want to have lights installed on your boat or dock that will allow you to see when tying your hook or lure so that you don’t step on any of your gear that’s lying around.
Another useful tip is to make sure you have plenty of battery power to operate your lights and any fish finders or other electronics on your boat. A serious problem can arise by draining the main battery in your boat and being unable to start the engine later in the night. Always keep an extra battery that’s fully charged on hand when night fishing.