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.
- 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.
- If you want to stick with a solid color light - the Swamp Eye Submersible (Solid Color) is the best pick for an underwater bully netting light. We recommend selecting the 6000k option.
As far as mounting your underwater lights - there are two options:
- Utilize a trolling motor bracket for underwater lights
- Utilize a boat adapter pole for underwater lights
These tools make it easy to turn any bay boat into a bully netting boat, without costly custom work needing to be done. There are numerous guides and commercial bully netters that use this setup, so they are not only tough and resilient, but they are proven in the field.
Which is Better: Above Water or Submerged Bully Netting Lights?
This is a common question, and there's advantages and disadvantages to each option. It ultimately depends on what performance metrics mean the most to you. Ultimately, however, most people opt for submerged / underwater bully netting lights.
Above Water Bully Netting Lights
If you choose to go above water for bully netting lights, look no further than the Swamp Eye HD. It's a premier bully netting light (originally designed for bowfishing, but has proven itself among the best in bully netting) capable of outputting over 24,000 lumens and is color adjustable for clear or muddy water. These above water bully netting lights are also capable of running on battery (24V DC) or generator (110V AC).
- More light spread, illuminate a larger surface area.
- Lights are above water, no worry of hitting objects in shallow water with lights.
- If water has a ripple on top from wind, light reflecting on ripples can make it more difficult to see. You can combat this with color adjustable above water bully netting lights by changing to a warmer hue when the wind is active, and leaving on a cooler hue when the wind is calm.
- If bully netting near houses, can be a nuisance to the home owners who are having their house lit up at night.
Submerged / Underwater Bully Netting Lights
If you choose to go for an underwater bully netting light, look no further than the Swamp Eye Submersibles. They are capable of running on 12V DC and can run on generator (110V AC) with a power converter to be purchased separately. They output nearly 20,000 lumens and come in an adjustable color pattern or solid colors for bully netting. If you're in clear water - we recommend the 6000k cool white solid color. If you're in muddy water - we recommend the 2000k warm white solid color. If you're in-between, we recommend the color adjustable 2000k/6000k submersibles.
- Lights are underwater, there is no chance of light reflecting off the water surface or ripples causing a glare.
- Less likely to disturb the peace with nearby homeowners if you are bully netting near houses.
- Must be careful when in shallow water to be sure the lights are damaged from hitting rocks, oyster shell, or other objects on the bottom.
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.
Here's a photo of a 5x Swamp Eye Submersible (6000K) bully netting light setup on a trolling motor mount -
Here's a photo of a 5x Swamp Eye Submersible (6000K) setup on a trolling motor mount, attached to our boat adapter pole with a custom extension. We made this bully netting setup for a customer who didn't want to attach the trolling motor mount to their trolling motor but wanted it to go elsewhere on the boat.
Below is a photo showing one of the most desired attributes in our Swamp Eye Submersible color changing bully netting lights: 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.