Fish lights are similar to many different products, in that they will last much longer if they are simply set up and protected correctly. The best part about high-end, permanently mounted fish lights is that they are maintenance free, but in order to truly “set it and forget it” you must follow a few simple guidelines to ensure a long life-span for your light with as little issues as possible. There are three key components that can be used to protect a fish light; wire shield, outlet dome cover, and a bulb cage.

The single most frequent customer tech issue stems from nicks in the wire that leads out to the bulb. These nicks can be caused my multiple things; fish hooks, boat propellers, or marine life. Every high-end fish light comes equipped with a GFCI plug. This gives the light, and your dock, an extra layer of protection in case anything was to happen (nicks in the wire, broken bulb, power surge, etc.). If the wire leading to your bulb is nicked or cut in any way, the GFCI plug will turn the system off. This is to ensure that no electricity is leaking into the water, which obviously, can have terrible results. The GFCI also shuts off to prevent the ballast (or transformer) inside the box from overheating. If the system did not have a GFCI plug to shut it off, it would continue to run with nicks in the wire causing electricity to leak into the water and the ballast to overheat, which in turn will ruin and melt your entire system. By using Wire Shield to protect the wire, the fish hooks or marine life will scrape the Wire Shield and not injure the wire. Wire Shield is a simple product that is easily installed. Essentially, it is a heavy-duty rubber hose that has been sliced down the middle and comes equipped with zip-ties to attach it to your wire. All you need to do is wrap the shield around your wire and zip-tie it closed. This simple step will ensure your wire is protected for years to come!

Many people become nervous when they see that most high-end fish lights simply have one bulb in the water without any kind of protection. This was actually done deliberately! The bulbs are tough, and are meant to be mounted low enough on the ocean, lake or river floor to ensure it does not get hit by a boat. Many people request a bulb cage to protect the bulbs. While these cages do protect the bulbs from blunt force, we do not suggest mounting them on dock systems because they have two unfortunate complications. The vinyl-coated mesh cages tend to be “hook magnets.” For example, if someone were to be fishing by your light (which happens incredibly often, even if you don’t fish your own light!) and they happened to snag your mesh cage with their hook without realizing it. Once this happens, they are likely to real in the bulb because they think they got a fish! If they happen to pull the bulb out of the water and drop it back in, the bulb will break. This is because the bulb burns so hot, that it must remain in the water at all times. If it is taken out, even if it is in a bulb cage, the bulb will break. Another issue with the bulb cages is that they are not self-cleaning. While the HID bulbs on the system generate enough heat to clean themselves off, they are not powerful enough to clean off the cage, therefore anyone with a bulb cage on their dock system would have to clean the barnacles from the cage every couple of weeks. This unfortunately, defeats the purpose of a maintenance-free HID bulb.

The outlet dome cover is the simplest way to protect your fish light and the power supply to your dock. Most outlets on docks come standard with dome covers, if not, it is imperative that you get one. This dome cover will protect your outlet and plugs from water damage that can be cause by rain, splashing, or some flooding. It is important to keep in mind that these covers cannot protect against full flash-floods cause from storms. They are not water-tight and are meant to protect against minimal water intrusion.

To answer this question, we have to go back to the fundamental functioning of a fish light. While we would like to think these lights are magic, there is a simple scientific basis to them. When a light is placed under the water, it reflects off particles in the water that attract bait fish. These bait fish attract the predator fish in the area. The predator fish, or game fish, you might see are snook, tarpon, redfish, lady fish, and many more. These lights work the exact same way in fresh water as well, where you might see bass, crappy and carp.

When thinking about the brightness of a fish light, there are many things to consider. You must first consider the type of light you will be using. Some fish light companies use LED lights for their dock systems. While LED lights are relatively bright compared to typical lights we, as consumers, are used to, they are not always bright enough to light up a large area by your dock. LED lights also do not generate heat; therefore, they are unable to clean themselves. This will lead to excessive aquatic growth, like barnacles and algae, to build up on the light in the water, and eventually render the light useless. To recap, LED lights struggle in two ways; they are not very bright, and they cannot clean themselves.

The best type of light for permanent dock installation are HID lights. These bulbs are not only over 300% brighter than LED lights, they are also self-cleaning. These bulbs generate enough heat to burn off any aquatic growth that tries to grow on the bulbs. Because of this, high-quality fish lights run on a photocell, which turns it on each night and off each morning. This ensures the light will turn on all night, every night, to it can remain clean and barnacle/algae free. The photocell also builds a feeding cycle for the fish, teaching them that each night they can find food by your dock, so they will keep coming back.

Once establishing the type of light you will need for your dock (which is always HID!), you will need to decide what wattage of bulb you will need. This will depend on the clarity of your water, as well as your personal preference to the amount of light you want. There are two levels to choose from. The 175-watt Natural Green light is the entry-level bulb size that gives, on average, a circle with a diameter of 10 feet. This light works great for customers with crystal clear to mid-clarity water. Obviously, there are many customers that do not have clear water. Because of this, 250-watt bulbs are available. These bulbs are 50% brighter than the 175-watt lights and over 400% brighter than LED lights. The 250-watt Vibrant Green light gives, on average, a circle with a 15-foot diameter.

There is one fact that is incredibly important to know; there is not set standard for every dock. For some customers, the 175-Watt Natural Green light gives a substantial amount of light and brings in hundreds of fish, but for others that might have dark water, the Vibrant Green is the only way to go. That being said, you obviously do not need to have dark water to warrant a Vibrant Green 250-watt light. Many customers want to cover the most amount of water possible. Because of that, they purchase the 250-watt Vibrant Green bulb and are extremely happy with the results.

Choosing the right Underwater Fish Light is not am exact science. It all comes down to what you, the customer, is looking for, and which light can fill that need. There are two things to ask yourself; “What is my water clarity?” and “How much light do I want?”

Since the dawn of time, man has fished. And pretty soon, man realized fish had certain preferences. They favored certain places, had certain behaviors. And they hung out where the food was.

Over time, man discovered that certain things could stimulate a fish into eating. One of those things was light intensity — the kind of light changes that typically occur at dusk and dawn. Fish that fed by sight were more active feeders by day. Fish that tended to rely on other senses like smell or taste tended to be night feeders, but when an area was well lit, they seemed to want to eat anyway. And so began the practice of fishing utilizing light.

Marine biologists have developed a theory called optimal foraging. Based upon this theory, fish will search for the most amount of food requiring the least amount of energy expenditure on their part. In other words, fish will look for the most quantity of food that is the easiest to get.

Fishing with light comes at this from all angles. Adding light for visual fish to see its food — plankton and baitfish — artificial lights allow for that extra illumination for sight feeders like tuna to simply see their prey better at night. And for the fish that have multi-sensory capabilities, like dolphins and sharks, underwater fish lights mean an easy meal in one place and may just be less effort and more precise to hunt visually if provided an abundant source of food in one place.

So why are the bait fish and plankton more active in the light? Plankton rely on light for reproduction. They also feed on phytoplankton that need sunlight at the surface to grow. It’s surmised plankton feed at night out of sheer self-preservation but it could simply be that plankton are motivated by their own internal time clock. Once light is introduced, however, small fish can now see the feeding plankton. This, then, draws the small fish into feeding. Then, up the food chain we go with the larger predators finally coming over for a nice little feast.

In the good old days, fishing lights may have meant a simple lantern hung over the side of the boat. But today, we have technology that gives us our modern underwater fish lights. We now know that the colors green and white, blue in saltwater, are the ones most attractive to plankton and baitfish alike.

It is a simple case of cause and effect. Light attracts food. Fish like food that is easily accessible. Fishermen like fish that are plentiful in one place. Hence, submersible lights used for night fishing make for happy fishermen! 

With new underwater fish lights, fisherman have the ability to mimic feeding conditions for the optimum in baitfish attraction. At Underwater Fish Light, our state-of-the-art submersible lights have been time-tested by professional, commercial, and recreational fisherman. Let us show you how you can increase your night catch with the addition of submersible lights in both fresh and salt environments.