How to Make a Wading and Flounder Gigging Light Setup
WADING AND FLOUNDER GIGGING
It's no secret that the brightest and most versatile flounder gigging lights available are the Swamp Eye Submersible Lights, but now it's time to figure out how to make the most of them! The Swamp Eye Submersible and Mini Swamp Eye Submersible both work well as boat mounted lights or lights for wading and floundering. As you may already know, the Mini Swamp Eye Submersible can be used above water or below water while the full size Swamp Eye Submersible is underwater only. If you haven't already, I would recommend checking out our commercial grade Flounder Gig, which holds up extremely well for wading and gigging as well as gigging from a boat. The strong barbs and sharp points work well for flounder, sheepshead, gar, and more.
Now let's talk setups for wading and flounder gigging. The cheapest option is always to get your setup right the first time, so we're here to help you based on our experience and the experience of our customers.
ALL-IN-ONE FLOUNDER GIG & WADING LIGHT SETUP
1 - 3/4-inch Schedule 40 Aluminum Pipe (available at local metal supply store, cut to length desired. We typically see ~5-6 ft length for wading and 8-10 ft from boat.)
1 - 1/4-inch stainless U-bolt or 1/4-inch stainless bolt (available at local hardware store)
1 - Flounder Gig
1 - Swamp Eye Submersible Light or Mini Swamp Eye Submersible Light
1 - Wire Extensions (Depends on length of aluminum pipe, size should be 16-18 gauge) these saltwater proof wire connectors work great for making underwater connections that won't rust.
1 - 12 volt Deer Feeder Battery (available at local hardware store, Wal-Mart, Academy, or similar. Most are 7Ah batteries, the higher Ah capacity the better.)
For Swamp Eye Submersible:
1x ON-OFF-ON switch or 2x ON-OFF switches (available at local marine supply or automotive store)
For Mini Swamp Eye Submersible:
1x ON-OFF switch (available at local marine supply or automotive store)
5 Setup for Wading and Flounder Gigging:
STEP 1 - Mount Flounder Gig to Aluminum Pipe
Slide the flounder gig over the 3/4-inch aluminum pipe and then drill a hole for the 1/4-inch stainless bolt (included with gig) to slide through to hold the gig on the pole.
Note: if you purchase a different pipe schedule or thickness, you may have to sand/grind down the end of the pipe for the gig to fit. This doesn’t typically effect performance, just something to be aware of. If you use a pole that is slightly small and not a perfect fit, then we recommend wrapping the end of the pole where the gig slides over with some electrical tape and you will achieve a tight fit. Obviously this is only for small voids. Rods and poles have different nominal diameters. The exact OD of a 3/4-inch pole is 1.05 inches.
The next step depends on if you want an all-inclusive flounder gig pole with light attached to it, or if you prefer to carry a second PVC pipe to run your wading and gigging light underwater.
STEP 2 - Mount LED Flounder Gigging Light to Aluminum or PVC pipe
Now that the flounder gig is on the end of the pipe, you can get an idea for where you want the light to be. Many people claim it’s best to mount the light underwater. This is true if you are on a boat, but not always the case if you are wading and gigging. It is more safe to light up everything around you so you don’t put yourself in danger (stingrays). That's really why it's important to gig with bright lights, beyond just seeing more flounder.
Above Water Light Setup
The easiest all-inclusive method for wading and gigging is to mount your light and flounder gig on the same pole so you aren't carrying two poles.
The only benefit to having them on separate poles is the ability to use a brighter light in our Swamp Eye Submersible flounder light. The only light I recommend for the above water setup is our Mini Swamp Eye Submersible.
To mount it to your flounder gig pole, use your 1/4-inch U-bolt or 1/4-inch bolt to fasten it to the pole. 316 stainless steel is the best bolt material due to increased corrosion resistance. The mounting brackets on our flounder gigging lights were made for either of these bolts to slide right in and fit tightly.
When mounting your light above water, we've found it best to mount it 2-3 ft above the flounder gig. This provides enough flood to see what's around you and is also close enough to the water to penetrate through and light up the bottom.
- Use 1/4-inch U-bolt or 1/4-inch bolt to mount Mini Swamp Eye flounder light to pole
- Mount light approximately 2-3 ft above the flounder gig for best flood.
- All-in-one setup for carrying one pole with both light and gig mounted.
Below Water Light Setup
Below water setups for wading and gigging are common because the light is closer to the bottom and provides a little higher definition in picking out flounder laying in the sand. The only downside the below water setups is they don't light up the surrounding area quite as well as above water setups. If using the full size Swamp Eye Submersible light however, you will still light up a large area even though it's underwater due to the shear brightness of the light.
For underwater wading light setups, we recommend using a 1/4-inch U-bolt or 1/4-inch bolt to mount your flounder light to the end of your light pole. Generally speaking, PVC is a light-weight, cheap, commercially available pipe that works very well for a wading and gigging light pole. Gig poles need to be stronger, so aluminum is a better option for flounder gig poles.
As we previously mentioned, the mounting brackets for the mini and full sized Swamp Eye Submersible lights were made for 1/4-inch bolts and U-bolts.
- Use 1/4-inch U-bolt or 1/4-inch bolt to mount Swamp Eye Submersible flounder gigging light to pole
- Mount light to end of pole to easily keep it underwater.
- PVC is the best light-weight material for flounder light poles, while aluminum is best for flounder gig poles.
If you want to hide your wiring, drill a small hole behind the location where you mount the light and run the wire inside the pole out the end of the pole. Otherwise, just zip tie the wire to the pole.
STEP 3 - Connect On-Off-On Switch
When you receive your Swamp Eye Submersible Light, it will have three (3) wire leads. The Mini Swamp Eye Submersible will have two (2) leads.
The red wire(s) is your positive lead, which will go to your switch(es).
- Mini Swamp Eye Submersible will have one red wire, which will go to your on-off switch or it can go to a heat shrink terminal which is disconnected from the battery when you are done using it.
- On-Off switch: The positive (red) wire from the Mini Swamp Eye Submersible will go to your on/off switch, and you will have to supply another piece of wire to connect the on/off switch to your battery.
- Heatshrink Connector: The positive (red) wire from the Mini Swamp Eye Submersible can be connected to your wading and gigging battery with a heat shrink connector, and when you are done using the light just disconnect the terminal from the battery to turn it off. A switch is easier in terms of functionality but this is a quick way to setup your flounder light.
Which method should you choose? For the Mini Swamp Eye Submersible, I prefer using an on-off switch because it is much easier to quickly turn the light on or off as you need.
- Swamp Eye Submersible will have two red wires, which can go to two on-off switches or a single on-off-on switch.
- Two On-Off switches: each positive lead will go to its own switch. After the switch, you will have to supply another piece of wire to connect these directly to the positive terminal on your 12V DC battery. You may also have them both come together after the switch so you can connect them to the positive terminal with one wire.
- On-Off-On Switch: each positive lead will go to one "ON" terminal on the switch. The central "OFF" terminal will be where you supply another piece of wire to connect this and run it directly to the positive terminal on your battery.
- Heatshrink Connectors: each positive lead will be connected the positive terminal of your battery when you want to turn them on (and black negative lead to negative terminal). This is a quick and easy way to run your light, but make sure you don't run your Swamp Eye Submersible out of the water. Switches are easier to quickly turn the light on and off vs having to disconnect heatshrink connectors.
- Which method should you choose? I personally prefer using two on-off switches because you can adjust from one color, to the other, or have both running simultaneously. This gives you more flexibility for flounder gigging in various water conditions. Two on-off switches is my preferred setup.
STEP 4 - Extend Wiring to 12 volt Battery
The lights come with ~5 ft leads, you may have to extend these leads, and I recommend doing so with saltwater proof wire connectors if you do need to. If installed properly, the connection will be fully sealed, corrosion resistant, and can literally be run underwater (we have flounder guides who have done this).
If extending wire from an on-off or on-off-on switch, I recommend using heat shrink connectors, wrapping with electrical tape, regular adhesive heat shrink, or another method of sealing to prevent saltwater from corroding your switch connection.
STEP 5 - Connect to 12 volt Battery
If you purchase a 12 volt deer battery as we recommend, you can use a "Female Push-On Heat Shrink Terminal" to attach to these deer feeder batteries. The two male ends on the deer feeder battery are sized to connect to these terminals.
YOU’RE DONE! GET TO GIGGING!