Fishing and LED Flashlights: How Not to Scare Away the Biters

Every fisherman’s kit should include lures, hooks, bait, a net and a good LED flashlight. LED flashlights and headlamps are incredibly useful gadgets for fishing expeditions. They come in handy for dozens of tasks, from baiting your hook to cleaning your catch to finding your way back to your tent if you spent a little too long on the lake. Furthermore, because many fishermen prefer to cast their hooks during the hours of darkness, LED flashlights and headlamps are often considered necessities.

Like humans, fish follow certain activity patterns during a 24-hour period. Although it is certainly possible to catch fish during the day, it is sometimes difficult because this is the time when most fish cling to the shore, hiding under protective leaves and branches to avoid predators. Watch a lake or river at twilight, and you’ll notice a definite uptick in the number of fish jumping and feeding as darkness approaches. Many fishermen even prefer fishing at night, when some species of fish are naturally more active, since they have the protective cover of darkness. Avid night fishermen say that many fish are most active around 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., when they tend to feed.

Especially when fishing at night, an LED flashlight is an essential tool. However, just as there are entire books on selecting the appropriate fishing lure, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting and using LED flashlights and headlamps on night fishing expeditions:

Go Green to Avoid Spooking Fish

Although casual campers and hikers usually prefer LED flashlights that emit white light, avid fishermen are more likely to use green LED flashlights. There are several reasons for this. First, the cells that your eye uses in night vision are more sensitive to blue-green light than any other light spectrum. Second, green light does not spook fish. Indeed, there are several products on the market that claim to actually attract fish to your boat by emitting green light. 

Red Light and Night Vision

One sign of newbie night fishermen is their lack of respect for night vision. Switching on a white LED flashlight will only destroy the night vision of those around you. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to regain night vision that has been sacrificed to a sudden bright light. An LED flashlight that puts out red light, however, will preserve night vision while providing just enough light for you to see what you’re doing.

Fishermen also rely on red and green lights to communicate their location to other nearby vessels. Indeed, many states require fishing boats to constantly shine green or red lights in order to promote safety.

Ultraviolet Light: Fuel for Luminescent Lures

One final tone of light that is popular for fishing trips is ultraviolet light. Luminescent lures may be recharged with a blast of UV light – just be sure not to shine it in the eyes of your companions, as it can damage vision. LED flashlights with ultraviolet settings may also be used to monitor a fishing line for tugs.

Fishing Torches and Water Resistance

As mentioned earlier, some fishing enthusiasts swear by using green LED flashlights to attract fish. Typically, this method involves fully submerging green lights in the water, where fish will be drawn to them. However, even if you don’t plan to use this approach, your LED flashlight or headlamp should be water resistant. Headlamps and flashlights are likely to get wet while you’re out fishing, so it makes sense to select model that can survive some exposure to wetness.

Headlamps: Excellent Tools for Cleaning Your Catch

Finally, if you’re shopping for an excellent fishing torch, consider how headlamps can make a fishing trip easier. Headlamps leave your hands free for the multitude of manual tasks fishing requires. Just be sure you don’t shine your headlamp directly into the eyes of your fishing companions; this is just good fishing etiquette.

Finally, most fishermen recommend keeping any excessive light away from water surfaces that you are plying for fish. Except in the case of green light, most LED flashlights will spook fish away from your boat, so avoid directing them down into the water.

By considering the tips listed above, you can find the perfect LED flashlight or headlamp for your next fishing adventure.

[Photo by: Travis Isaacs]

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