Whether it’s a freshwater lake or saltwater, nothing helps you catch more fish between the hours of dusk and dawn than floating and submersible fishing lights.  Fishing lights are usually available in blue, green, and white colors depending on the type of water you want to fish in.  You’re probably wondering “why not other colors such as purple or red? Does color really matter?” With all due respect, yes it does.  In fact, it matters quite a bit.  And there is years of research to back that up.

A Bit of Fishing Light History

Ironically, green light has only become popular within the past couple of decades.  Up to that point in time, fishermen always used white light when fishing at night.  The first types of fishing lights were crude and simple.  In fact, they weren’t much more than a Coleman lantern mounted on a styrofoam ring and secured with a cord, rope or some type of weight to hold them from drifting.  Today’s night fishing lights are considerably more sophisticated and come in a variety of colors.

What Color Works best?

According to several studies, green and white light is the most attractive to plankton and they will usually migrate towards it in order to reproduce.  But it also attracts baitfish as well, which in turn draws in the larger predator fish that can’t pass up an easy meal.  As a second light choice, white has been known to be effective although not to the extent that green light is.  White light gets absorbed quickly and therefore cannot penetrate very deep.  Consequently, green light is more effective at luring in the fish.

Interestingly enough, there are some baitfish and sportfish that are attracted to the light instead of baits and plankton.  However, green is still the superior light color to use for attracting baitfish.  You might be wondering about blue fishing lights since it was initially grouped in with the effective colors to use.  Like green light, blue light can be extremely effective for night fishing.  But surprisingly, it is more effective in saltwater and usually won’t attract baitfish in freshwater.

A research study that was conducted by the marine biology department of the University of South Florida experimented with 5 different colors by putting all of them in the water at the same time.  They conducted the experiment multiple times in multiple locations and the results were always the same.  Green light worked and attracted baitfish every time.  It’s makes sense then that green would be the popular color of choice among serious nighttime anglers.  So when you decide to try night fishing and you’re shopping for the right lighting to use, green is probably going to be your best option of all colors.

Many people choose to go fishing at night so they can target those amazing dock lights that are always full of fish. Well, here are a few techniques to help you land your catch of a lifetime the next time you go out!

1. When it comes to bait and lures, choose wisely.

The key to fishing dock lights successfully is to match the bait or lure on your hook to the bait you see swimming around the light. The species will differ on your location, but more often then not, it will be tiny minnows. Sometimes, in high current areas, you’ll see some shrimp, but in most canal waterways, you’ll see small baitfish.

Anglers who love live bait don’t usually have any problems with this approach. Simply throw out a cast net or two and head out to the dock lights when you’ve got enough little baitfish to fill your bait bucket!

For those of you that are die-hard artificial lure fans, the DOA TerrorEyz lure is a great choice for fishing dock lights. Our favorite color variation is the Pearl color.

For our fly fishing friends, just try to take out a few different types of clear or white minnow patterns. These tend to blend in well with the other baitfish around. Below is an example of our two favorite flies for dock lights; the schminnow and the glass minnow. These two patterns are exceptionally easy to tie, if you’re the in-depth type of fly fisherman. We suggest going out with a handful of each of these patterns to ensure you don’t have worry if you lose any.


2. Wait and Watch

When you first pull up to a dock light, watch how the predator fish interact with the baitfish. Observe the patterns the baitfish swim in and how the predators interrupt those patterns for strikes. You don’t want to just start casting into the light with no plan. Learn what the real baitfish are doing, so you can go into a better plan regarding your casting and retrieving. By taking just a few minutes to monitor the situation, you’ll be able to learn how often the predators are striking (if at all), which baitfish they choose to strike, and how to recreate those moments yourself.

3. Monkey see, monkey do

After you’ve watched the marine behavior for a little while, try to mimic that behavior yourself with your lure or fly. by mimicking the look and behavior of the other baitfish as close as possible, the predators will have a more difficult time telling the difference.

4. It’s all about presentation

Most fly fishers know the importance of a natural presentation. You don’t want to throw your fly or heavy lure directly into the middle of the light. That will just scare everything away. Try to cast out into the shadows past the light, then retrieve your hook through the dock light while matching the baitfish swimming patterns.

5. Be aware of your surroundings

When you finally hook a fish around a dock light, it seems like their favorite thing to is is go straight under the dock. It’s easy to get tangled and possibly lose your fish when this happens. So be ready to steer him out of the way right after the hook set! Don’t get discouraged if you lose a few. We’ve all fallen victim to a smart snook here and there. If you’re in a kayak or smaller vessel, try to anchor yourself at an angle where you can best steer the fish out towards the canal.

Bonus: Just have fun!

Dock lights are an amazing way to catch and view fish. Enjoy the night, and be safe while trying to reel in those big guys!

It has long been contended that the best summertime fishing occurs between dusk and dawn.  However, if you’re going to be fishing at night, lighting is essential, especially if you’re out in a boat.  Without a doubt, lights are a night fisherman’s best friend, but not just lights for seeing what you’re doing.  The right kind of lights will bring the fish in closer to your boat.  While there are a variety of lights that can be used, LED lights have become increasingly popular over the past 5 years or so.

What makes LED Lights the best choice for Boat Fishing?

Whether you’re in a fishing boat on a freshwater lake or you’re fishing in the ocean, here are 5 features and benefits make LED lighting the better choice for your vessel:

  • Durability – this is probably the most significant benefit. LED lighting is ideal for marine environments where they are oftentimes exposed to the elements and rough conditions.  Furthermore, they are resistant to heavy impacts, shock, and vibrations.
  • Efficiency – traditional lighting converts only 20% of its power source into usable light while the other 80% is lost in the form of heat. Conversely, 80% of electrical energy is converted to light with LED lighting.  As a result, LED lights don’t get as hot as your traditional lighting yet they run longer.
  • Instant output – unlike other types of lighting, LED lights power up to maximum brightness immediately. Plus, you never have to worry about compromising their life expectancy, even if you are turning them on and off frequently.
  • Longevity – LED lighting saves you time and money. High-quality boat lights have a life expectancy of up to 40,000 hours or more.  That equates to a continual light output of roughly 4½ years.
  • Power drain – you’ll draw considerably less power from your boat batteries when using LED lights compared to other types of lighting. In turn, this will enable you to spend more time on the water and save your batteries in the process.

Additionally, green lighting is best to use whether you’re on a freshwater lake or fishing in saltwater.  As far as penetrating the water goes, it’s the best choice by far.  Plus, it’s ideal for use in murky waters where visibility is poor because it tends to make the water appear clearer in most cases.  You can also use white lights, but it dissipates quicker the farther away it gets from its source.

In conclusion, LED lighting can be installed on any type of vessel.  While green or white colored lighting works best, you can also use blue LED lights.  However, many research studies have shown that night boat fishing with blue LED light is only effective when you’re fishing in saltwater.