The Ultimate Lights for Bully Netting and Lobstering
The best bully netting lights are able to light up spiny lobster on the seafloor. In the old days, metal halide and halogen light bulbs were more common for bully netting lobster at night. More recently, the most common lighting choice has changed for most of the seasoned bully netters to LED lobstering lights.
After talking to several commercial bully netters from the keys as well as some recreational guys who head out for mini season every year, we've gained some feedback as to why they think we are seeing this transition. Here's what they said:
Top Reasons for LED Bully Netting Lights
- Low power draw, can run on batteries.
- High brightness LEDs to see more lobster.
- Low maintenance, no risk of broken bulbs like metal halide or halogen lights.
- LED bully netting lights such as Swamp Eye Submersibles are capable of running on generator with power converter or 12V battery
Problems with "Old Style" Metal Halide and Halogen Bulbs
- High power draw, require on-board generator to operate.
- Glass bulbs break easily and require more maintenance (don't hit the water without extra replacement bulbs).
- Unable to operate on a quiet battery setup.
- Bulky light, weighs more than the LED counterpart.
- More expensive up front cost along with continual maintenance costs.
This makes obvious sense when you think about it - one point that a commercial bully netter made was that the quality of the LED bully netting light is important. He said he's used the cheap "Amazon specials" and they won't last more than a couple trips and typically don't output enough light for his liking. Lobstering is tough with dim lights.
He said he was very happy with his boats that have Mini Swamp Eye Submersibles mounted on the bottom and his Swamp Eye Submersibles he has mounted with boat adapter poles. He runs these lights on battery the majority of the night and may transition over to generator if it ends up being a long night and the batteries run low. After a couple seasons of these lights, he's had great luck with them and they are still holding on strong.
Fun Fact: The Mini Swamp Eye Submersibles and Swamp Eye Submersibles come standard with a "sledge hammer proof" transparent protective cover to mount to the front of the light. This helps the light hold up through a lot of use and abuse!
Here are some photos (above two photos) from one of our fellow recreational bully netters, Phillip. He told us he makes it out for mini season every year and goes bully netting every chance he gets. He's running a couple Swamp Eye Submersible lights mounted to his bay boat with our boat adapter poles.
The Best LED Bully Netting Lights
One of the deciding factors in finding the best LED bully netting lights is the rigidity and versatility of the light depending on the environment you're in.
In most cases, a 6000k cool white color will work well for illuminating the clear water while bully netting lobster. However, if the water muddies up from rain or high winds, then transitioning over to a 2000k warm white color will help increase visibility better. The Swamp Eye Submersibles are the only bully netting lights capable of adjusting color tone between these two color temperatures for clear or muddy water.
This can make or break some bully netting trips that are done in high traffic areas which have more suspended solids, or sediment, in the water column (muddy water). Not to mention, they are just flat out one of the brightest bully netting lights out there.
Traditional Lobstering with Bright Lights
Bully netting for Lobster is an old tradition which started in the Florida Keys. It is the dry alternative to scuba diving for lobster and is done from a boat with bright lights and a net. There are many problems fishermen experience when hook netting lobster and among the most popular include changing water conditions and the inability to see lobster crawling on the bottom in water one to four feet deep.
The clarity of the water will vary from one night to the next depending on tide, wind, and other elements of the weather. Your vacation schedule may not always cooperate with what Mother Nature determines to be a good time to go lobstering, so it's important to adapt and overcome regardless of the weather conditions (within reason). While severe weather events such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc. are uncontrollable and difficult to overcome, other minor yet more common events such as changing tides and winds are easier to overcome with the right equipment.
Ultimate Bully Netting Lights
To effectively overcome the challenges of water clarity, you need a light that is capable of adjusting on the fly for various water conditions. In addition to this, it's important that it has high luminosity (illumination/brightness) to light up the entire area around you.
You may be in a great lobstering location with plentiful amounts of lobster and it could be that you just can't see them. This is why the Swamp Eye Submersible Light is great for bully netting lobster. It's fully submersible, corrosion resistant, nearly 20,000 lumens, and has the capability to adjust color tone for various water conditions. When the water clears up, the cool white color tone will work very well. As the tide changes and the water become muddy, switch the light over to the warm white (High Pressure Sodium color). The warm white will penetrate through the muddy water, outlining the spiny lobster crawling on the bottom. Not to mention the high efficiency LEDs allow the light to run for long durations on a 12 volt battery. This goes to show that these lobstering lights don't just work for bully netting - but are highly sought after in the flounder gigging and bowfishing world where they are trying to accomplish a similar task.
Bully Netting Light Setups
There are a wide variety of methods for mounting bully netting lights. If you're a commercial bully netter, then the most common mounting method is to have your bully netting lights mounted flush to the bottom of the boat. This makes it easy to troll slowly and look for spiny lobster while preventing any light from being wasted upwards. The photo below is showing a Mini Swamp Eye Submersible mounted flush to the bottom of a fiberglass boat that is designed for bully netting.
Another common method to mount bully netting lights is to utilize a boat adapter with pole for underwater light and clamp it to the side of your vessel. This is an easy method for most bully netters to hook net lobster on the go with their current boat setup.
If you don't like the idea of mounting your underwater lights to your boat - then another method is to mount them to your trolling motor. This Trolling Motor Bracket for Underwater Lights is a fail proof, easy way to mount anywhere from 1 to 5 Mini Swamp Eye Submersible or Swamp Eye Submersible Lights for Bully Netting.
Turning a bay boat into a bully netting boat is pretty easy with our Swamp Eye Submersible lights and boat adapters. The Swamp Eye Lights come with strong protective covers, which make them ideal for running underwater while bully netting spiny lobster. Below is a photo showing their most desired attribute: color tone adjustability for clear and muddy water. These submersible lights also work well as flounder gigging equipment and bowfishing equipment.
The warm white (left) works best for muddier waters while the cool white (right) works best for clearer waters. If you're out lobstering in the mini season, you probably know how stirred up the water can get when the competition is high for spiny lobster. Combine that with changing tidal currents, and you'll see water clarity go from good to great as easily as it can go from good to mud. The color adjustability will help you see more lobster and ultimately bring in a quicker limit.
For more information on our products or for help with flounder gigging equipment, bowfishing equipment, bully netting, and more, Outrigger Outdoors has you covered.