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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
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06/14/10 Discover the Excitement of Fishing with Lights

Using lights to attract game-fish has been an effective tactic used by anglers for decades. In an interesting manipulation of the way the food chain works, bright lights operated from a boat and positioned over or under the water at night causes plankton to congregate around the light source. This congregation of plankton then attracts groups of the larger baitfish which feeds on them, and the baitfish in turn attract the bigger game-fish which angler’s prize. Depending upon conditions, it is not unusual to see literally thousands of baitfish swirling en-mass around a patch of water illuminated by a bright light. Fishermen long ago realized the potential this natural phenomenon carries and have capitalized on it with great success.

Although highly effective, using lights to attract game-fish is not always guaranteed to work. In order for light to attract fish, there must be fish present, and the water and weather conditions must be favorable. Fish will not congregate in rough water conditions nor will they hold in water that is simply unsuitable to them. Because of this, in order to effectively exploit the benefits of fishing with lights it is necessary to first make sure that the area to be fished is favorable to their use. Choose areas that have produced fish before, stay to deeper water, and use a fish finder to locate schools of fish that normally would stay in deeper water at night. Try to anchor near structures and drop-offs and look for appropriate water temperatures just as you would normal daylight fishing. The point is that you have to be where the fish are before the lights can be of any use; otherwise they will make no difference whatsoever.

Once you have identified a likely location it is important that you also deploy and operate your lights correctly. In order for the lights to act as an attractant your boat must remain as stationary as possible. If you allow your boat to drift or wander around on its anchor line you will reduce the effectiveness of your lights. Plankton are slow moving creatures and a light source that is constantly changing locations will cause them to remain spread too thinly to attract larger baitfish as they try to follow the most intense source of the light. Drop two anchors rather than one and choose locations with weak currents and light winds which will help to keep your lights focused on one area and allow the plankton to form into the densely concentrated masses that are so appealing to baitfish.

One of the most important considerations when using lights to attract game-fish is the lights themselves. Gaining in popularity among offshore anglers are the underwater lights that are affixed to the hull and illuminate the area directly around the boat from their positions on the hull. Although effective, these lights usually require careful mounting and wiring that passes through the hull or is run along the hull leaving unsightly trailing wires. The good news is that it is not necessary to use underwater lights and great success can be had utilizing normal marine lighting that is already a part of the average boater’s marine equipment. Spotlights and spreader lights can be employed with great effect and do not require any special mounting considerations beyond ensuring that they can be directed at the proper areas from their positions on the boat. Although some light is lost to reflection and distance from the surface of the water, a strong illumination source shone consistently in one area will still attract a large amount of marine life and produce the desired food chain effect the angler is after. For lights shone onto the water from above at least 1500 lumens of light power should be available and 3000 would be preferable.

The next consideration is the amount of illumination the lights used can produce and how much power their use will require. It will take at least thirty minutes of continuous light operation in order for the food chain effect to properly materialize when using lights to artificially prod it into action and they will need to remain in operation for the duration of the time you are anchored. Smaller lights will tend to draw less current but will also be less powerful and therefore less effective. Larger lights will be more powerful, but will of course place a heavier drain on the boats electrical reserves which can shorten the effective amount of time an angler has to work an area. A one hundred watt halogen light will draw around eight amps and effectively illuminate an area only fifteen or twenty feet in radius while a four hundred watt halogen would greatly improve the illuminated radius but would draw approximately 25 amps. Not a good compromise.

Fortunately, there are newer lights available which can provide large amounts of illuminating power at greatly reduced rates of electrical consumption. LED lights are quickly becoming the lighting of choice for general marine lighting and their benefits are being realized in the sport fishing industry as well. A Larson Electronics LED10W-6RB LED Boat Light only draws 5 amps of power at 60 watts, yet produces 4,800 lumens of bright white light. Weatherproof and rugged, it can be mounted in any location that will accept a 3/8 inch hole to be drilled and can also be mounted to railings with optional hardware. Mounted overhead on a railing or hardtop, or mounted to a rear deck railing, this light can be used in a spot configuration to intensely illuminate an area of water 75 ft wide and in flood configuration spread those 4,800 lumens over a 350 square foot area. As an added benefit, the light is positional and can be directed wherever needed making it an excellent all around spreader light useful for more than just fishing.

The lower amp draw combined with high lumen output however are the real strengths behind LED spreader lights like the LED10W-6RB. At 4,800 lumens, the light far surpasses the minimum requirements of a decent fishing light and is strong enough to produce very effective results when used as an attractant. The low amperage draw is a boon to those fishing from smaller boats that need to keep a close eye on their power consumption while out on night angling trips. Mount this light to a rear railing, aim it at the water and wait for the fish to come to you without worrying that your batteries will be dead in an hour.

Keep in mind that some fish are quite wary of bright lights although attracted by the baitfish activity around them. These fish will often hang around the periphery of the lit up water and occasionally dart from the safety of dark water to snag a few baitfish that wander into the fringes of the lights. It’s best to work the area around your illumination and progressively work all the outer edges in case the species you’re looking for is a bit shy. Some have no problems with making a grand appearance and it can be quite exciting watching all the monsters that troll through the brightly lit areas around your boat and trying to present your bait to them. Many anglers make hook-ups next to the boat in the lights and it’s nothing short of spectacular to be able to watch as a huge cobia or snook snatches bait and runs.

If you haven’t tried night fishing in this manner yet you’re missing out. Even smaller boats can be equipped with powerful illumination and the variety of equipment and accessories available from companies like Larson Electronics make choosing and installing that equipment simple. You might just find yourself waiting for the sun to go down before putting a line in the water from now on.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
LED Boat Lights
LED Underwater Lights
LED Light - 60 watts - 6 X 10 Watt - 5400 Lumens - 6 inch round - stud mount
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