What Are Fish Attracted To?

What Do Fish Eat

While a lot of us are attracted to a pretty face and a good sense of humor, fish are a little bit different. To attract fish, you have to recreate their food chain. The beautiful marine food chain starts with plants. Plants like mangroves, marsh grasses, and marine algae all produce their own food through photosynthesis. They also provide food for other organisms living in their environment.

The next link in the food chain are the Primary Consumers. This group includes zooplankton, phytoplankton, mayfly nymphs, and more. These primary consumers get their food from our friendly neighborhood plants. The next group is called Secondary Consumers. This group includes small fish like mullet.These guys feed on the primary consumers and other plant life.

The next group is the Top Predators group. This group includes large fish like snook, tarpon, redfish, and much more. These are the types of fish most people want to see at their dock. Top predators eat all of the other smaller fish around like mullet, shrimp, etc.

So How Do You Get The Fish To Show Up?

Fish Light

So, as with any chain, if one link breaks, everything falls apart. If you don’t have each piece of this chain by your dock, you’re not going to see those predator fish that are so fun to watch and catch.

The best way to attract fish to your dock is by enhancing the natural environment in your waterway. Dock Lights are a great way to do this rather quickly. When you place a dock light (also known as fish light or snook light) in the water, it starts the process of attracting fish immediately. The light bulb reflects off the microorganisms like phytoplankton in the water. With this extra illumination, the primary and secondary consumers start flooding your light. Within a few days, you’ll start to see more activity at your light. As time goes on, you’ll see more and more species of fish get attracted to the light. Now all you need to do is just relax and enjoy your new natural aquarium!


Know The Species

It would next to impossible to go night fishing without knowing exactly what you’re fishing for. To avoid getting a boat full of catfish, you’ll need to learn and understand the species you’re targeting. Unless of course, catfish is your goal. If so, you shouldn’t have too much trouble! There are many more than just the two species we have listed here, but these are the most popular. If you don’t see your favorite fish species below, don’t fret! Shoot us an email and tell us about your favorite species to night fish for and you can be featured in our next blog or video!

Snook

Snook are known for being smart, and also good fighters. If you want to catch a snook, you’re going to have to work for it. Snook are one of the most popular recreationally fished species in the country. They’re incredibly fun to fight, and make a really good meal. Commercial fishing for this species is outlawed in multiple states, so snook have become something of a rare meal unless you find yourself catching some snook during season!

Snook usually eat small baitfish and crustaceans like shrimp. They perform “ambush strikes” that are strong enough for you to feel in your rod when they strike. After setting your hook, they put up a big fight. Many times, snook will try to swim under docks or around other structures and break your line, so try to steer them away! Even though it sounds rather daunting, snook are one of the most fun fish to fight and catch. So get out there and have some fun!

Tarpon

Tarpon, also known as the “silver king”, is one of the most popular recreational species in Florida. Every year, thousands of people travel to different areas of Florida during tarpon season to try to land a huge tarpon. These fish can grow to be massive, with the largest tarpon catch weighing over 295 lbs. This species is also known for their frequent jumps while on the hook. Tarpon can jump up to 10ft in the air while shaking their gills. Many fishermen will tell you that the most frequent time they lose a tarpon is when they’re in mid-jump. Whether you’re fishing with artificial lures or flies, it’s best to keep to dark colors while targeting tarpon. Deep purples and blacks tend to achieve more attention from the tarpon than most other colors. Landing a tarpon is one of the most exciting things an inshore fisherman can experience. So go give it a shot!

Get the Right Gear

One of the most important things to remember while fishing with dock lights is to bring the right gear. Seeing the fish is one thing, but actually showing them something they want to strike at, is a different matter all together. You don’t want to get all the way out to a good fishing spot and not have the tools you need! Below are the best lures we suggest for fishing dock lights, as well as some other tools that really come in handy.

DOA TerrorEyz

The DOA TerrorEyz lure is a GREAT choice when it comes dock light fishing. No matter how many lures you put in your tackle box, this small minnow should definitely be one of them! Designed to set horizontally, even on a vertical drop – this unique rigging method allows for an extremely high hook up ratio. The design also allows this lure to hold in strong current. This patented design has been proven to catch anything from freshwater Crappie and Walleye to saltwater Tarpon and Spanish Mackerel. Multiple weighted eyes are available for each size lure

DOA Bait Buster

One more shoutout for DOA is the DOA Bait Buster! We suggest using the Deep Runner Bait Busters. The bigger guys usually like to swim deeper! Depending on the model, this lure will tease the fish on the surface or along the bottom. The single upright hook system reduces hang-ups and weed problems. The hollow body allows the lure to collapse in the fish’s mouth and insures better hooksets. Anywhere you fish — from casting in the local bass pond to trolling offshore — DOA Bait Buster lures will produce for you.

LiveTarget Sardine Swimbait

LiveTarget has combined nature’s best with modern technology to create an exciting new collection of swimbaits. Available in common forages, the new LiveTarget Swimbait Series is designed to look and swim just like live bait. The profile of the body and tail is so accurately matched and anatomically scaled, it sets a new industry standard to match-the-hatch. The tail is precisely fitted with a strategically engineered oscillator that generates a side-to-side tail swing action. Every swimbait has its own signature action, making it come alive and swim just like its natural counterpart.

LED Headlamp

It’s not very shocking that it’s dark while you’re out night fishing. This might be an obvious choice when going dock light fishing, but many people forget about it! All of us here at Underwater Fish Light have been stuck out in the dark without a headlamp, and trust me, it was not fun. These great energizer headlamps are cheap and work great! There are also some other light configurations like light clips, or just a flashlight, but we’ve found that it’s easier to use the handsfree headlamp that will turn in the direction you’re looking at.


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?”