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.
If you aren't interested in taking the time do all this yourself, you can purchase our wading and gigging combo: flounder gig and light.
Quick Reference Guide:
Build Your Own Flounder Gig & Wading Light Setup
Items Needed - Flounder Gig & Light Wading Combo:
1 - 3/4-inch Schedule 40 Aluminum Pipe or 3/4-inch Schedule 40 PVC Pipe
This can be difficult to obtain, it is often easier to just purchase a Flounder Gig Pole
1 - 1/4-inch stainless U-bolt or 1/4-inch stainless bolt
Available at local hardware store.
1 - Flounder Gig
3 prong or 5 prong are the best, Volusia County in FL is only 3 prong-only county we are aware of. If you plan to use the flounder gig from a boat, then 5 prong is the better option.
1 - Swamp Eye Submersible Light or Mini Swamp Eye Submersible Light
If attaching to flounder gig pole and running above water, Mini Swamp Eye Submersible is recommended. If running light pole separately from gig pole, Swamp Eye Submersible is recommended.
For Swamp Eye Submersible (dual color):
1x ON-OFF-ON switch or 2x ON-OFF switches (available at local marine supply or automotive store) for dual color light.
For Mini Swamp Eye Submersible or Swamp Eye Submersible (single color):
1x ON-OFF switch (available at local marine supply or automotive store)
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 (or above water) 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.
EXTRA: Heatshrink Ruler for Flounder Gig Pole turns your flounder gig pole into a fish measuring stick.
The above setup is an all-in-one flounder gig and wading light combo.
How to Put the Flounder Gig & Light Setup Together
Here's a 5 Setup for Wading and Flounder Gigging with Gig & Light:
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. Skip this step if you purchase one of our flounder gig poles.
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. 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 outside diameter 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 Swamp Eye 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
- Mount your light and flounder gig on the same pole so you aren't carrying two poles.
- 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 ~10 ft leads, so you shouldn't have to extend the wire. In the event you do want to extend the wire, we recommend doing so with saltwater proof wire connectors. If installed properly, the connection will be fully sealed, corrosion resistant, and can literally be run underwater (we have worked with flounder guides who have done this).
If extending wire from an on-off or on-off-on switch, we 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.
Build Your Own Flounder Gigging Light Wading Setup
Some people prefer carrying their flounder gig in one hand, and the flounder gigging light in the other hand. If you want to skip having to build it yourself, check out our Flounder Wading Light Stick. Otherwise if you want to build it yourself, here's how to build it:
Items Needed - Flounder Gigging Light Wading Combo:
The above setup with only a flounder gigging light consists of the following:
2x 6 volt Deer Feeder Batteries
Note: The two batteries are wrapped together with duct tape and a piece of a ratchet strap to act as a belt loop to easily carry at night. It also has a short wire connecting the batteries in series to turn the 2x 6 volt batteries into a 12v battery. You can use a 12v battery, but 2x 6v batteries is smaller and lighter weight. You can get these from local hardware store.
2x 3/4-inch PVC tees. You can get these from hardware store.
2x 3/4-inch PVC caps. You can get these from hardware store.
1x 4 ft length of 3/4-inch PVC pipe cut into 3 sections: 32 inch, 8 inch, and 6 inch sections.
Note: The 32 inch section is the longest section, the 6 inch section acts as the handle, and the 8 inch section extends to help your forearm hold the underwater light in place while wading. You can get these from hardware store - and usually they will cut the PVC pipe for you too.
1x PVC pipe "purple primer" and "clear PVC cement" to glue the joints together. You can get this from hardware store.
Installation Tip: We recommend mounting everything in place and running the wire for the light first, then cutting the heatshrink to fit second and sliding it on. Third, prior to shrinking the heatshrink down with a torch or lighter or blow drier, we recommend priming and gluing the joints the way you want them. Lastly, shrink the heatshrink down to cover the glue and give it a more finished look.
Don't want to mess with building it yourself? You can buy it pre-assembled here: Flounder Wading Light Stick
How to Put the Wading Flounder Light Setup Together
STEP 1: Cut PVC to appropriate lengths.
- 3 Sections: 32 inch for the main beam, 8 inch for the extension piece, and 6 inch for the handle.
STEP 2: Drill hole in the center of one of your 3/4-inch tee's and bolt your Swamp Eye Submersible or Mini Swamp Eye Submersible to the tee.
STEP 3: Assemble the PVC setup as follows:
- Connect the 3/4-inch tee with the light on it to the end of the 32 inch 3/4-inch PVC pipe
- On the open side of the 32 inch 3/4-inch PVC, connect another 3/4-inch tee
- On this open 3/4-inch tee, connect the 8 inch extension piece so it is in-line with the 32-inch piece as shown in the finished photos.
- Do not connect the handle yet. This will be done after running the flounder gigging light wiring.
STEP 4: Cut the heatshrink ruler wrap to fit the PVC joints (32 inch, 8 inch, 6 inch joints - the heatshrink will be a lesser length than this so please measure once assembled), slide the heatshrink ruler wrap on the joints but do NOT shrink them yet.
STEP 5: Run the wire for the Swamp Eye Submersible / Mini Swamp Eye Submersible through the PVC and out the end of the 8 inch extension piece. You can drill a 1/4-inch hole in the 3/4-inch PVC cap that goes on the 8 inch extension piece to make it look better.
Note: If you remove the handle, it will make it easier to run the wire through. Sometimes the wire will get stopped at the 3/4-inch tee where the handle connects.
STEP 6: Assemble the entire unit and adjust the handle angle so it's comfortable for you. We recommend having the handle at approx. a 45 degree angle from the flounder gigging light. This allows you to hold the light out in-front of you and use your forearm to keep it straight.
Once you have it assembled the way you want, so it's comfortable, continue to next step. You can't make changes once you continue though.
STEP 7: All PVC joints should have heatshrink on them that hasn't been shrunk yet. In addition, everything should be assembled in a manner that fits you.
So now -
- Disconnect one joint at a time and use your PVC purple primer to prime the end of the pipe, then put a thin layer of the PVC cement glue on the end of the pipe and reassemble the joint.
- Once finished, continue to the next joint until done.
STEP 8: Align heatshrink and shrink it down to fit.
- Use a propane torch or benzene burner or heat gun to apply heat to the heatshrink, causing it to shrink down to fit the pole.
- ALWAYS apply heat to the heatshrink from the back of the pole first (opposite side as the print / ruler lettering). This is to keep shrink lines from forming on the front of the pole where you will see them.
STEP 9: Let cure for an hour, meanwhile attach heatshrink spade terminals to the end of the flounder light wiring and also use them along with a short piece of wire to connect the 2x 6 volt batteries in series. If using a 12v battery, you do not need to connect it in series.
Step 10: Use a small piece of ratchet strap or similar material to make a belt loop - wrap around batteries with duct tape until tight. This allows you to put the deer feeder battery on your waste, making it more accessible than putting in a fanny pack. If you prefer to put in a fanny pack or backpack that is also an option.
YOU’RE DONE! GET TO GIGGING!