The Guide to Buying the Best Underwater Green Fishing Light
An underwater green light for fishing can be a fisherman's secret sauce in finding new ways to attract fish. Whether you're looking for an underwater green dock light to fish at the house, a submersible fishing light or even green LED fishing light to mount to your boat, we're here to discuss the positive and negative attributes you must evaluate prior to purchasing.
When we take it down to the basics, the fisherman is looking to feed on a legal game fish species, which is looking to feed on smaller fish, which are looking to feed on even smaller insects or shrimp. All members in this food chain have eyes that are sensitive to the colors blue and green.
When we break the colors down, the blue color is in the color spectrum of 425-490 nm wavelength while the green color is near 530 nm wavelength. The higher wavelength colors are absorbed by water quicker. Based on this, since green is a higher wavelength color, it would make for a better underwater fishing light than blue would. It is also important to note that a true green "LED" color will perform better compared to a sodium color which has a more warm white tint to it. We will talk more later on in this blog about reasons why sodium or LED make for a better underwater fishing light.
Fun Fact: Fish have two different visual pigments, one in the blue-green color spectrum region and one in the UV region. Humans, by comparison, have three different visual pigments: blue (440 nm), green (530 nm) and yellow (570 nm). The different responses of these receptor cells enable color vision.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS?
If we are going to choose a light designed for fishing at night, the color of the light is important for taking full advantage of the two visual receptors fish have. Ideally, an underwater green fishing light works best.
2.) WHAT WILL HOLD UP TO THE SALTWATER ENVIRONMENT?
A well-designed underwater fishing light is essential whether you are in freshwater or saltwater. While freshwater does not have the corrosive properties saltwater has, it does still have electrolytes and impurities which can cause a poorly designed light to burn out too soon from electrolysis. The easiest method to avoid electrolysis is to have a light designed of non-conductive materials and/or not designed of dissimilar metals. Dissimilar metals combined with a power source make for a great recipe to guarantee electrolysis.
Another key ingredient for underwater lights, particularly LED lights, is proper heat dissipation. Although it seems like being submerged in water will prevent LEDs from overheating, they can still overheat if they are bunched up together or do not have an efficient cooling design which allows the heat to get away from the LED chip. A properly designed LED underwater light will have a heatsink designed to pull the heat off the LED chip and then water will rapidly cool the heatsink fins. Apart from this, LEDs seem to be more rigid and take more abuse than their sodium counterparts.
Sodium underwater lights do not have cooling issues, but they do have their own problems. Sodium lights are known for their limited lifespan. When the times comes to replace a sodium bulb, it can be costly due to the high cost of the bulb as well as finding the proper material to re-seal the light fixture. If you are running an unprotected sodium bulb underwater and a prop catches it or even a fishing line snags it, you can risk breaking the bulb (fairly easily, at that) and if you do not have proper electrical protection, you can burn up your power source and that can cost you much more than the light cost you. Often time this is the electrical on your dock or connected to your house. It is very important to have a circuit breaker, GFCI and other methods of electrical protection for sodium bulbs (and all underwater lights, really).
Fun Fact: One of the most common reasons underwater LED green fishing lights work for only short durations has to do with waterproofing, heat dissipation, and electrolysis. If an underwater LED fishing light is not properly designed for use in a corrosive saltwater environment, it can have a very short lifespan. Similarly, sodium bulbs can break very easily and if proper circuit protection is not installed, it can fry the power source it is connected to. Make sure you do your research and choose a well-designed light that will not have these problems. A poorly designed light can end up costing you more in the long run compared to a more expensive well-designed light.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Whether you are utilizing an underwater freshwater fishing light or an underwater saltwater fishing light, it is important to understand the key design requirements in choosing your next light. Make sure the light is not made from dissimilar metals, it has electrical protection in the event something happens to the light, and it is truly waterproof (submersible) and meant to be run underwater.
3.) MAINTENANCE ISSUES & BARNACLES
Barnacles are very interesting creatures. They are commonly found sticking themselves to the hulls of boats, docks, piers, and even clinging onto the skin of whales. Researchers have discovered that their "barnacle glue" that holds on tightly to anything it touches forms similarly to the way human blood forms when it clots. It is essentially a string of enzymes that form long protein fibers that clot together underwater and bind the barnacle to the host item. Another interesting fact the researchers found is that barnacles prefer circulation / increased water velocities to better the opportunity for barnacles to feed on plankton. (whales eat plankton too - maybe that's why they attach to them?) The one piece of discomfort that seems to keep barnacles away is hot surfaces.
When barnacles cling onto a surface, it takes them a while before they start secreting their cement-like glue. Once they are fully bonded though, they will have to be manually removed from the surface regardless of heat. This leads to the age old discussion of whether LED or sodium lights make for a better underwater fishing light.
One of the top reasons underwater LED fishing lights get knocked is because most LEDs do not produce enough heat to prevent barnacles from growing on light. Similarly, sodium lights get very hot, so they naturally do a better job at preventing barnacles from growing on the lens of the light. Barnacles can still grow on the sodium light housings though.
The keyword here is "most" LEDs. There are high brightness LEDs that do in fact generate a bunch of heat, and in turn they tend to have a higher efficiency than their sodium counterpart. For example, most sodium lights have the lumen equivalency of 80-100 lumens per watt. The comparable LEDs typically have a lumen equivalency of 100-120 lumens per watt. High grade LEDs can get up to even 160 lumens per watt. The heat comes from the raw power (wattage), not from the brightness. We have recently developed some high intensity underwater LED fishing lights that are capable of generating enough heat to fend off barnacles while also outperforming the comparable sodium bulb in brightness and offering a true green color which fish are more attracted to.
When it comes to other maintenance issues, sodium bulbs will have to be replaced fairly regularly while LED chips are typically rated for up to 50,000 hours. That's the equivalency of 2,083 days or 5.7 years! Of course, this is only for LED lights that are designed properly.
Fun Fact: LEDs are far more efficient than sodium bulbs, which is why you can utilize the same wattage light but get much higher brightness from an LED light than sodium. LED lights are also capable of being customized to closely follow the color spectrum while sodium lights, even when colored, are going to have a warm light tint to them.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS?
It is true that sodium lights get knocked for being high maintenance while LEDs are maintenance free, yet LEDs get knocked for barnacle growth. The truth is that a properly designed LED light can be maintenance free and avoid barnacle growth. A properly designed sodium light is still going to be higher maintenance for replacing the bulbs, but apart from that it can be virtually maintenance free as well. This is where quality of design is most important.
4.) MOUNTING VERSATILITY
Finding a quality underwater fishing light is hard, but then finding a light versatile enough to mount it in a variety of ways is even more difficult. We spoke with several fishermen who well versed in freshwater crappie fishing as well as saltwater trout fishing. We found that the need for versatile mounting capabilities was extremely important for a well-rounded fishing light. Ultimately, we found it beneficial to have a light capable of being able to sit on the bottom of the sea floor as a saltwater pier fishing light while also being versatile enough to throw on the boat and turn it into a crappie fishing light for the night.
Several key design features for this versatility have already been discussed in terms of corrosion resistance (it's honestly best to buy something rated for saltwater use, because it will last much longer over time.) but there is one key feature we haven't discussed: mounting mechanism.
The mounting mechanism is what will ultimately determine mounting versatility.
One of the better designs we have seen is a light that is shaped such that when it is dropped in the water with the LEDs facing up, the aerodynamic housing design allows water to move evenly around the edges and keep the light from flipping over on it's way down to the bottom. This is a key feature to look out for because most people prefer not getting in the water to drop their light down for a night of fishing.
Another key design feature is the ability for a light to mount onto a dock post or even underwater light boat adapter pole to use in areas that are extremely deep or have uneven bottoms. We found that the best crappie fishing lights are capable of easily being mounted to a boat for night fishing. They are equally capable of easily being removed from the boat.
Fun Fact: Our newest underwater green fishing light is the first underwater light that accounts for every feature listed in this blog post. The aerodynamic housing prevents the light from flipping over on its way down to the bottom even if its thrown like a frisby out into the middle of the canal! The removable mounting bracket design mounts easily to our boat adapter pole for underwater fishing lights.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Mounting versatility is an important design constraint to consider when purchasing your next underwater green fishing light, because once you make the investment, you want it to last a long time and be capable of being used in a variety of fishing environments.
Based on what we've presented in this blog post, we are looking for a green underwater fishing light that is designed to attract more fish, conquer the corrosive saltwater environment, has proper electrical protection in place, is user friendly, maintenance free, and has a full range of mounting options. If we can tackle all of these key points, we can find a truly great submersible fishing light that is guaranteed to leave you, as the user, with a great experience.
The information we've shared with you today did not come to us easy, it came through continuous trial and error over the course of 4 years. We started with LED underwater lights, transitioned to sodium lights, and then came back to LED and found out how to ultimately design a quality underwater green light that is capable of lasting a long time. A properly designed underwater light will truly put more fish in the customers hands. We encourage you to check out our underwater green fishing light selection.
Underwater Green Fishing Lights: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What type of fish can I expect to attract with fishing lights?
The best underwater green fishing lights will attract all fish species that are local to your area. Common saltwater species include trout, redfish, flounder, snook, rockfish, snapper, tuna, shrimp, squid, croaker, piggy perch and many other variations of game and bait fish. Common freshwater species include bass, crappie, trout, catfish, carp, perch, and many other types of bait and game fish species.
2. Are floating or sinking lights better for fishing?
Sinking lights work best for fishing. They can be used in a variety of water clarities and conditions and provide the most efficient light spread, closer to the fish. Quality underwater "sinking" lights can be left there for long durations and hold up just fine. Floating lights may work well when fishing from a boat on very calm waters. If waves are expected, floating lights are not a good option.
3. How bright should green submersible fishing lights be?
Submersible green fishing lights should be at least 15,000 lumens to broadcast a good light spread. Fishing lights that are closer to 20,000 lumens seem to perform the best because they throw an ideal-sized circular beam for night fishing.
4. Is it better to run dock fishing lights on battery or AC power?
As long as you have proper electrical installation and protection, and you have an AC power source available, AC power is the best way to run dock fishing lights. This is due to the ability to easily plug the light into your power source on your dock and not have to worry about a battery running dead.
5. Is it better to power underwater green boat fishing lights on battery or AC power?
Generally speaking, a battery is the easiest form of power when on a boat. It is best to use a 12V DC battery to power your underwater lights while out night fishing.
If you are using over 600 watts in fishing lights, a generator may be a more feasible option than adding more batteries. Additional batteries can increase the weight on-board a boat, and a generator is a good way to decrease this battery weight. Generators will run for longer durations, but due to the high voltage output of generators, proper electrical installation and safety is very important.