Flounder Gigging & Bowfishing: Ancient History to Today

Bowfishing, Flounder Gigging -

Flounder Gigging & Bowfishing: Ancient History to Today

Flounder gigging and bowfishing have progressed exponentially over the past 50 years. However, it has been around for a much longer time period. The Karankawa Native American people are among the first on record to gig flounder. They settled the Texas Gulf Coast from the early 15th century through the 17th century. They commonly used torches fueled by slatherings of tar and oil from natural seeps as lights and sharpened cane stalks as spear/gigs in their floundering. Bowfishing is believed to have been around even longer, dating back to the times of ancient groups of people such as the Aztecs, Inuits, and Aborigines successfully shooting fish with their bows. 

Karankawa Indians

In the late 1800’s the torch and flame was replaced by lanterns. Although incandescent bulbs were around at this time, the lanterns were very portable and the warm white light did a great job at lighting up the water ways for people who walked the coastlines gigging flounder. 

Flounder Lantern

Incandescent bulbs were mounted to boats in the 1970s, which is when the sealed 12 volt battery was invented. Incandescent bulbs were brighter than lanterns but were more widely available across the country. 

Flounder Gigging Light - Incandescent Light Bulb

In the late 1970’s a new, brighter light emerged: High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights. HPS light were designed to operate as street lights, and they draw a whole lot of power. HPS lights weren’t widely used as flounder gigging and bowfishing lights until the 1980’s when efficient portable generators started coming on the market. HPS provides an extremely bright warm white light output but due to their bulky size, large power consumption, high cost, and inability to water proof, they have lost their dominant share of the bowfishing and flounder gigging market. 

HPS Flounder Gigging and Bowfishing Light

The newest and latest technology that has dominated the flounder gigging and bowfishing marketplace, initially invented in 1961, is the LED light. The early LED models had problems with longevity and changing the brightness of the chips. More recently, LEDs have grown to become one of the most efficient, low power, reliable, and cost effective lights available. They are now capable of being color matched to different color tones, waterproofed, and are portable enough to be mounted anywhere. 

Flounder Gigging Bowfishing Lights

The latest and greatest, best bowfishing and flounder gigging lights available have evolved to utilize favorable aspects from the previous line of lights. This includes new technology which allows the user to increase visibility in clear or muddy water by adjusting the hue of their light output. Outrigger Outdoors' Swamp Eye Light Bars were the original color temperature adjustable lights that were designed and developed exclusively for bowfishing and flounder gigging.

Since then, new versions have emerged including the Swamp Eye HD rectangular flood style light and the Swamp Eye Gen 2.X Light Bar which is an improved version of the original Swamp Eye Light Bars. These lights were the first to be purpose-built for flounder gigging and bowfishing. Some of the key characteristics were corrosion resistant housings, power flexibility (able to run on battery or generator), waterproof, and compact / lightweight for boats of all sizes. 
Habit TV's Bowfishing Airboat for Chuck Belmore with Swamp Eye HD Bowfishing Lights
The photo above shows the Swamp Eye HD Bowfishing Lights mounted to Habit TV's Chuck Belmore's airboat he uses for bowfishing. 

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