Catch More Fish: How Certain Fishing Lights Are Key to Catching Bait
Whether you're a professional or amateur, it's well known that live bait is going to give you the best opportunity to catch fish. The only downfall is the best live bait is going to be what's native to the area you're fishing; which can be hard to find, and expensive.
This leads us to what most of your seasoned local fishing guide services do - they catch their own bait.
We sat down with Capt. Tommy Blanscett with Trophy Fishing Adventures out of Sherman, Texas to learn a little bit about how he catches live bait for his clients every morning before they arrive to go fishing. Capt. Tommy targets striper most of the year, and then goes for trophy blue catfish during the winter months. These tactics don't just work for these species, they'll work for trout, redfish, drum, and many other target species in freshwater and saltwater.
Best Time to Catch Bait Fish
The best time to catch bait fish is in the early hours of the morning or late at night. When the sun goes down, bait fish come into the shallows. The best way to attract bait fish to your boat or where you're wading is with a bait fishing light, preferably one designed for the job at hand. There are various types - some folks prefer underwater bait fishing lights while others prefer above water options. Above water bait catching lights are preferred when fishermen don't want to worry about hitting underwater obstacles while cast netting for bait. Typically, a quality above water light can get as good or better coverage than an underwater one.
Photo sent in by our customer, Colleen Davis, who uses the above water green fishing light for catching bait as well as fishing for trout and redfish at night.
Capt. Tommy Blanscett, Trophy Fishing Adventures, starts catching bait at 3 AM, and mounts his Above Water Green Fishing Flood Light to the front of his boat to bring the bait fish in. He utilizes the plug and play battery terminals to run it on a 12 volt battery that's already onboard the boat. Once the light is setup, the bait fish congregate and he tosses his cast net to bring them in by the handfuls. A typical bait catching trip may only last an hour or less to get enough bait for a full day of fishing.
Key Note: it's important to choose a cast net according to the bait fish you are targeting. The smaller the cast net mesh, the more fish species you will catch. A good all-around mesh size for most small to mid-size bait fish is 3/8-inch. This is ideal for bait fish ranging in size from 3 inches long to 6 inches long. If you want to catch real small fish like minnows, you may need to go down to 3/16-inch for real small fish or 1/4-inch for in the middle of 3/16 and 3/8.
Types of Fishing Lights for Catching Bait
There are many different types of fishing lights for catching bait - underwater, above water, portable, and you could even argue that permanently mounted dock lights are an option. However, there are only a select few that really work - and are chosen by most guide services.
Above Water Bait Catching Lights
As long as you utilize an extremely bright light for catching bait, you can get away with using the above water option with ease. This light is actually the preferred option among the majority of guide services we have spoken to because it can be mounted on the front of the boat and you can pretty much set it and forget it.
The Above Water Green Fishing Flood Light is the most effective light we've seen, simply because it's incredibly bright, engineered to the right wavelength light for attracting fish, capable of running on 12/24V DC (battery) or 110/120V AC (generator), and casts a wide flood that covers a lot of water surface area.
Key Points on the Above Water Green Fishing Flood Light
- Built to withstand harsh saltwater environment
- #1 selling light for guide services who use lights to catch bait.
- Capable of running battery (12/24V DC) or generator/wall outlet (110/120V AC)
- Broadcasts an extremely bright 24,000+ true lumen output that illuminates a large and wide water surface area.
- Small, compact and portable enough to mount on a boat.
- Rigid and corrosion resistant enough to permanently mount on a dock.
- Above water light brings bait fish up to the surface, making them easier to cast net.
Underwater Bait Catching Lights
There are many fishermen who are firm believers that underwater lights are the only way to go for catching bait fish.
Why is that?
Their reasoning behind this is that above water lights reflect and cause a glare on the water and are not able to penetrate as deep to attract fish.
This isn't entirely true as above water lights are going to illuminate a larger surface area (light travels further through air than water) and will bring the bait fish up to the surface. Despite this, I do agree that underwater lights can do a great job at attracting bait fish. Bait fish tend to swim a little deeper with underwater lights than above water lights, but at the end of the day both can get the job done.
If you're looking for an underwater bait light option - there are two primary styles to consider. One is a portable underwater light that can easily be mounted to your boat and can run on 12V DC battery, the other is a more rugged and much brighter underwater light that can be tossed into the water facing upwards and will create a large circular glow of green light that brings in fish.
12 Volt DC Green Light for Catching Bait
- 120 watt Underwater Green Boat Fishing Light
- Small, portable and compact at only 5" X 5" X 2"
- Can run on small 12V deer feeder type or deep cycle marine battery.
- Can utilize boat adapter pole for underwater light accessory for easily attaching to boat.
- Bright and lightweight underwater fishing light.
24V DC / 110/120V AC Underwater Green Light for Bait Fishing
- 200 watt Underwater Green Fishing Light
- Incredibly bright light, throws a large diameter green glow to start a fish frenzy
- Can run on 24V DC battery or 110/120V AC power outlet or generator.
- Easily toss into water facing up, will sink to bottom facing upwards and illuminate a large area. We recommend tying a rope to the light to bring it in when you are done fishing so you don't put too much stress on the power cable over many times of tossing and pulling in and risk any internal wire breaks.
All Around Best Fishing Light for Catching Bait
All three of these lights work great, some fishermen may favor above water more than underwater lights or vice versa. However, there's only one that we truly recommend as the best fishing light for catching bait.
The light we recommend is the one that covers the most water surface area, and in turn brings bait fish to the very top making it easy to cast net into schools of bait fish. The best fishing light for catching bait that we recommend is the Above Water Green Flood Fishing Light.
We'll recap a couple of the features here:
- Broadcasts a wide green beam that brings bait fish to the water surface
- Portable and compact, but rugged enough to be permanently mounted on a boat or dock.
- Power flexible - can be setup to run on 12/24V DC battery or generator.
- IP69X design for superior saltwater resistance.