The Dark Problem

Each year, thousands of marine accidents occur. Many of these accidents are caused by watercraft hitting obstructions (docks, pilings, etc) that are not properly lit. Unfortunately, there are many people with boater’s licenses that may not have safety as their first priority. The typical boat will have many different lights on it. There are several navigation lights that ensure the boat can be seen by others.

If different marine vessels have different safety lighting, why shouldn’t your dock?

Get Seen With Dock Lights

The best way to prevent your dock from becoming a target, it must be visible. Someone is less likely to hit something while driving, if they can see it. This may seem obvious, but it’s sometimes the obvious things that seem to slip our minds. When it comes to dock lights, there are many different types to choose from. You can illuminate your pilings, boat lifts, and even the water surrounding your dock.

Solar Piling Caps

These solar piling caps will automatically come on from dusk to dawn. They require no maintenance, and last for years. They will ensure your piling caps will be seen from far away, to help keep your dock safe.

Boat Lift Lights

The GuideLite Boat Lift Lights not only protect your boat lift by making it visible to other people. They also help you center your boat properly on the lift while you are parking it after the sun goes down.

Guide Post Light

Underwater Lights

Underwater lights not only illuminate the water under your waterway, but also reflect some light onto your dock. This, in turn, makes your dock more visible and protected from any passersby. Underwater lights will also attract fish like snook, tarpon, redfish, and more! They will create a beautiful and entertaining backyard aquarium, while keeping your dock safer!

While fish lights seem to magically attract fish to your dock, it is actually a simple, scientific process. Any light under the water, no matter what the color, will attract fish. When lights are placed under the water, they reflect off particles in the water. These tiny little particles enhance a natural food source for bait fish. These bait fish are then attracted to the light. Once the bait fish are attracted, they bring in bigger game fish like snook, tarpon, and bass.

Some lights attract fish within minutes of installation, while others can take up to a few weeks. Fish attendance depends on your location. Even though you might not have fish the first night, the process is still the same. It just takes a little longer for the fish to find your light and become accustom to the feeding cycle. Once the fish find the light, they will be back every night. Therefore, it is important for the fish light to run on a photocell. The photocell will ensure the light comes on every night, and off every morning. After a few weeks, you will have built a feeding cycle with the fish in your area and will see them coming back. It is similar to that of a dog. If you feed him every day at 5:15, he will be waiting for his food at 5:10.

As time goes on, more fish will appear at the light. Most of them will be bigger than the ones that preceded them. These lights do more than just attract fish, they create a natural aquarium in your backyard! The best part about these lights is that they do not harm the fish or any other marine life. They enhance a natural food source for the animals as well as provide countless hours of entertainment for anyone that sees them.

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?”

Aside from the need to see what you’re doing and where you’re going on open waters when fishing at night, fishing lights were designed and developed to do three things

  • attract plankton and baitfish
  • illuminate your immediate surroundings and the water below you
  • produce good fishing results

Today’s advancements lighting industry technologies has resulted in the evolvement of lights that attract plankton, baitfish, and game fish.  Furthermore, they are available for boaters in two versions, namely the in-hull and portable varieties.

How Boat-mounted Fishing Lights work

In reference to the above three factors, night fishing lights attract the members of the food chain by illuminating the water below your vessel.  Additionally, they are capable of lighting a larger area up to and including around the entire boat.  This creates a focal point or a shadow line for the angler where the light fades into darkness.  This becomes the prime ambush point for the larger predator fish.  Not only does it help the angler to see where he or she places their bait, they can react quickly when spotting a fish.

In a sense, fishing lights are a source of entertainment because they attract everything from tiny creatures (plankton) to large game fish.  While you’re impatiently waiting for the water to explode as a larger game fish comes into feed, you can keep busy dipping your net or jigging for baitfish and squid.  Although fishing lights will help you increase your catch numbers and put more fish in your boat, it helps to have good angling skills as well as a knowledge of what’s in the water.

In-Hull and Portable Fishing Lights

No matter what type of fish you’re after or where you are fishing for them, you should consider purchasing in-hull and portable lights for your trip.  The portable light is going to serve you well when it comes to seeing in the water and jigging for live bait.  The illuminated area on and below the surface of the water will make it much easier for you to not only jig for baitfish and squid, but to see and react to incoming game fish.  Also, it makes baiting your hook and tying your line easier as well.

Thanks to LED technology, the in-hull fishing lights that are available on the market today are ultra-durable, low amperage products that can stand up to the abuse and pounding of rough waters.  Furthermore, LED lights cannot be damaged when left on the boat and do not emit excessive heat unlike halogen and xenon/HID lighting.  Plus, you have a choice of in-hull or surface-mounted lights.  Because the in-hull version requires drilling a large hole for the light below the waterline, the surface mounted variety has become increasingly more popular.

Fishing off of fishing piers has been an enjoyable pastime for thousands of people for quite a long time. No matter what time of day, whenever you pass a fishing pier, you’re sure to see people out there trying to land their favorite fish. Fishing piers are a great way to get anyone involved in fishing. Young or old, boat owners or land lovers, anyone can participate in the fun of pier fishing. 

One of the most popular accessories for avid pier fishermen is the gear cart. If you find yourself on the pier, you might notice quite of few of the people fishing there have all of their tools and gear loaded into a wheeled cart. It’s not rocket science. The carts simply make pier fishing easier. You don’t need to worry about making multiple trips, or carrying everything out to the pier. A simply cart can transform the way you engage in pier fishing. 

Just like the hallowed cart, a portable fish light simply makes night pier fishing easier. Portable Fishing Lights can be added to your cart or gear load out easily, and can drastically change the way you engage in pier fishing. All you need to do is arrive to the fishing pier, and throw the fish light in the water first. Let the fish light sit in the water while you get the rest of your gear ready to go. Let it sit for sometime, and you’ll notice small baitfish will start to appear. 

While fish lights seem to magically attract fish to your dock, it is actually a simple, scientific process. Any light under the water, no matter what the color, will attract fish. When lights are placed under the water, they reflect off particles in the water. These tiny little particles enhance a natural food source for bait fish. These bait fish are then attracted to the light. Once the bait fish are attracted, they bring in bigger game fish like snook, tarpon, and bass. As time goes on, more fish will appear at the light. Most of them will be bigger than the ones that preceded them. These lights do more than just attract fish, they create a natural aquarium in your backyard! The best part about these lights is that they do not harm the fish or any other marine life. They enhance a natural food source for the animals as well as provide countless hours of entertainment for anyone that sees them.

5. Solar Piling Caps

DokLites are the world’s most functional dock lighting system available. Its technology has multiple patents and brings a new era in lighting for docks, decks and waterway obstructions. With a solar power design, all DokLites are maintenance free, and eliminate the need for any further electrical work on your dock.

DokLites serve the conventional purposes of piling cap, whether it be to guard against birds or rain. They also use Mil-Spec micro-processor circuitry to create a comfortable, ambient light on your dock. Each has a UV and impact resistant housing. DokLites, and the LEDS within them, will last and be protected for years.

4. Guide Post Lights

Every set of GuideLites is manufactured in the USA. From the patent-pending polymers used in the plastic, to the custom designed solar panels. We build our GuideLite boat lift light to last. GuideLites fit snug into the 2 inch PVC pipe that comes with most boat lifts. The GuideLites can be seen from long distances, but not be blinding while up close. To achieve this, we create a “glow” effect to ensure you can see every boat lift light. So, whether you are looking from 5 feet or 50 feet, you will still be able to know exactly where your boat lift is.

Each GuideLite is made with safety in mind. Centering your boat on the lift perfectly isn’t our only goal. Also, we want to ensure your boat lift is visible to all other boaters that happen to be on the water after sunset.

3. Self-Filtering Livewell

If you have an Underwater Fish Light, you know how easy it is to collect bait. Whether you catch your baitfish off your Underwater Fish Light, or purchase it from your local bait shop, it’s important to not let it go to waste! The Livewell by Underwater Fish Light is custom made to your specifications, to ensure it fits on your dock perfectly. This Livewell will keep your bait alive for days, thanks to its water filtration system. Never let your bait die again! Get one now!

2. Single Dock Light

Anyone with a dock, knows there is a lot of life under the surface they can’t see. What’s the best way to solve that? Illuminate it!

A single Underwater Fish Light is one of the best dock accessories available. You’ll discover an entire new world of activity that has been under the surface all along! These systems attract fish by reflecting off microorganisms in the water. These reflections attract baitfish, which in turn attract predator fish like snook, tarpon, redfish, bass, and many more!

1. Double Dock Light

Get twice the lights for twice the fun! The more lights you have under the water, the more reflection. This means you’ll be able to seen more bait fish & predator fish! These systems are the exact same as our single systems, but they have two bulbs each on their own individual wires. With two lights, you will have twice the amount of microorganisms reflect from the light, therefore attracting more baitfish and predator fish! 

While fishing lights are available in a variety of brand names, configurations and styles, they are usually classified in one of two categories – floating or submersible.  Whether in a boat or on land, most serious anglers who enjoy fishing between dusk and dawn are well aware of the importance of having these types of lights.  Fishing lights are not only functional and practical, they are extremely versatile as well.  In addition to lighting up the water and attracting plankton, baitfish, and the larger predator fish, they provide light for hooking bait, tying fishing line, and unhooking your catch.

Floating Fishing Lights

As the name implies, these lights stay on the surface of the water but provide lighting down to varying depths as well as above the surface.  Ironically, the first floating fishing lights were rudimentary and consisted of a styrofoam floating ring that surrounded a sealed white light that was similar in design to the headlights on a vehicle.  Most of these are powered by 12-volt batteries and are connected to the floating light with alligator clips attached to the terminals.

If you’re fishing in a boat, you can place one or more of these next to it by pointing the light beam downward so it penetrates the water and eventually attracts baitfish and hopefully, a larger predator.  If on the other hand, you’re fishing from a dock or land, you’ll need to secure them using cord, rope, or some type of weight so they don’t drift out of reach.  Remember, you can use white colored light but green would be a better choice because it isn’t absorbed so quickly and penetrates further into the water.

Submersible Fishing Lights

For many years, floating fishing lights were the only style that were available and were pretty much the standard for individuals who enjoyed fishing at night.  Unfortunately, they had to contend with aggravating swarms of insects and pests that were attracted to the light along with the plankton, baitfish, and larger fish.  Because of this and a number of other reasons, submersible floating lights came into being.  These lights are placed beneath the surface in order to light up the water above and below them.

Today, you can purchase submersible fishing lights that are available in 12-volt, battery powered, or LED varieties.  They are manufactured to sink immediately when you place them in the water.  In fact, many models are made with an internal weight so they sink quickly.  Conversely, there are other models that won’t sink until they’ve been attached to a weighted swivel clip on one of the ends of the fishing light.  Because these models will float unless they are weighted down, you have more versatility when using them.

An exciting, exhilarating, and memorable experience – these are words oftentimes used to describe the sport of night fishing.  It’s a recreational activity that is full of enjoyment and expectation, yet it’s uniquely mysterious.  You’re hoping that you land a trophy fish if you hook something and yet and yet you can never be sure of catching anything.  You never know what’s lurking beneath your boat or off the dock and never will until you get it up to the surface.  Therein lies the mystery of night fishing.

Although you can catch lots of fish during the daytime, fishing between dusk and dawn is unlike any other pursuit.  However there are certain species of fish and times during the year when night fishing greatly improves your odds of being successful.  However, if you do go fishing at night, fishing lights are vital components of such an adventure.  It’s not just about being able to see what you’re doing.  It’s about attracting fish to your boat or the dock you’re fishing from.

The Progression of Events

For those of you who are unfamiliar with night fishing in freshwater or saltwater, the progression of events usually transpires as follows.  Fishing lights attract tiny creatures known as plankton (or zooplankton in technical terms).  The plankton attracts the smaller fish (baitfish) such as herring, minnows, and shad which feed on them.  In turn, the larger predator fish such as bass, crappie, redfish, speckled trout, walleye, and other species (depending on where you’re fishing), move in to feed on the baitfish.  At that point, the angler is ready with his or her live bait or lure.  Game on!

3 Types of Fishing Lights

There are three types of lights that are used when fishing at night – submersible fishing lights, floating fishing lights, and black lights.  Not only are these lights used to attract the fish, they can be used in combination with one another.  For example, you can place two floating lights above two submersible ones in order to stretch the amount of visible light from the depths to the surface.  Using different fishing lights in conjunction with one another is a highly effective method for attracting and catching fish at night.

Furthermore, black lights will help you see you’re fishing line, thereby allowing you to determine what’s going on below the surface by not only feeling your line move but seeing it as well.  With the floating and submersible lighting combination, you can see above the water as well.  This is very handy for baiting your hook, tying on hooks and lures to your line, and unhooking the fish you catch.  Remember, there are certain fish that often work the night shift.  And you should be, too.

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!