Go GREEN

Increase Your Inshore Score With Underwater Dock Lights

FSF Staff July 20, 2009

In today’s day and age, going green is more important than ever. Do your part to help the environment and invest in a green underwater dock light! It is no secret that lights attract fish, as anglers have been illuminating Florida’s waterways for decades. Until the recent introduction of technologically advanced underwater dock lighting systems, anglers would typically mount a lantern or halogen light above the waterline. This fish-attracting tactic was no doubt effective, but it had several limiting factors. The first rests on the fact that a light pointed at the waters surface creates a harsh glare, which can make it difficult to see fish and marine life. Another adverse effect that’s directly associated with the reflection is the amount of light that’s able to penetrate through the waters surface. With a light mounted beneath a dock, mosquitoes and other pesky biting insects also become a major problem.

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While underwater dock lights look great such as this Deep Glow, they simultaneously provide a nutrient-rich ecosystem. Photo: Capt. Steve Dougherty

The effectiveness of underwater lights is based on the fact that lights attract small microscopic creatures like plankton, which attract baitfish and in turn, highly prized game fish. After only a few days use you will have your very own food chain in your backyard. While underwater dock lights are highly desirable additions for anglers, they also make for beautiful additions that provide affordable aquatic entertainment for non-angling enthusiasts. How many of your neighbors have their own personal outdoor aquarium?

…they also make for beautiful additions that provide affordable aquatic entertainment for non-angling enthusiasts.

When choosing an underwater dock light you’ll likely be overwhelmed by numerous manufacturers. To narrow down your selection be sure to make note of the lumen, which is the unit measure of the intensity of a light source. It’s a common misconception that the higher the wattage the more powerful the light will be, however, it is lumens you want to base your decision on, just be sure the manufacturer is able and willing to verify their products intensity.

Another factor that will play a large role in your selection is the type of bulb. Most manufacturers utilize mercury vapor bulbs due to their long lifespan (approximately 25,000-hours). However be forewarned; exposed mercury vapor bulbs are quite fragile, so while they do have a long lifespan they must be handled with care. Metal halide (10,000-hours), fluorescent and incandescent bulbs are also available and effective. Mercury vapor and metal halide bulbs produce enough heat to burn off any marine growth, so you don’t have to worry about removing the bulb for cleaning. Any prolonged gap in usage will allow marine growth to flourish and diminish your lights brightness, so be sure to use your light every night.

A major benefit of the latest light designs is the introduction of built-in photocells. This feature can sense the amount of ambient light and automatically turn-on/shut-off the power. An alternative option is the use of a timer, which offers users the added benefit of turning the light on and off at will. Either provides a regular feeding cycle that acts as a dinner bell for nearby predators.

It seems logical that the green illuminations we see are the product of a green bulb, however, this is not always the case. While some manufacturers use green bulbs, the underwater lights that utilize mercury vapor and metal halide technology have crystal clear bulbs. Within these HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs, a combination of gases create the green light and as a general rule, the murkier the water the more pronounced the green effect will be.

You may be questioning the safety of placing a light underwater and plugging it into a 110-volt outlet. Most underwater dock lights are designed to run off 110-volt power and are required to be wired with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interceptor), which will provide adequate protection from electrical shock. Furthermore, electrical cords are encased in flexible conduit to provide even more protection from electrical hazards.

The deep glow of underwater dock lights are both relaxing and mesmerizing, not to mention deadly effective at attracting a wide variety of marine wildlife. Canals and waterways that seem lifeless during daylight hours come to life when day turns to night. Do yourself a favor, go green and get in on all the action you’ve been missing.

Tips For Fishing Dock Lights

When fishing a dock light it’s important to remember that you’re essentially fishing in someone’s backyard. It’s extremely important that you’re as quiet and as courteous as possible. Even though you have the right to fish any dock from a boat, it’s imperative you minimize the homeowners impact. If you make a bad cast and your offering gets hung up on the dock, it’s best to cut your losses. In general, the fish will be foraging near the edge of the shadow line, so avoid casting your offering into the center of the glow.

Underwater Dock Light Manufacturers

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