how to use kayak lights for night fishing [Answered]


For many anglers, nighttime can be the best time to fish. Not only are there fewer crowds, but fish tend to be more active and ready to bite. However, for those who plan on fishing at night, using kayak lights is crucial for safety and effectiveness. Kayak lights can help you avoid collisions with other boaters and obstacles, as well as increase your visibility to fish. In this post, we’ll outline different types of kayak lights available, how to mount lights on your kayak, and tips for staying safe on the water.

Types of Kayak Lights for Night Fishing

When it comes to kayak lights for night fishing, there are various types available depending on your needs and preferences. Here are a few of the most common options:

  • Stern Lights: These are white lights that mount at the back of your kayak, and are required by the Coast Guard to be visible to other boats up to 2 miles away. They are crucial for safety and making your kayak visible on the water.
  • Bow Lights: Similar to the stern lights, bow lights are also required by the Coast Guard to be visible up to 2 miles away, but are red or green and mounted at the front of the kayak.
  • Glow Sticks: These are affordable, lightweight and easy to use. They come in various colors, and can be attached to your kayak or fishing equipment. However, they may not be as bright as LED lights and they last for about 8 hours.
  • LED Strips: These come in various colors and can illuminate the interior of your kayak. They can be mounted on the bow, stern, or sides of the kayak, and may vary in brightness and number of LEDs.

Consider which type of light suits you best and the type of fishing you plan to do. Stern and bow lights may be required by law, but it’s also important to have additional lights for safety and visibility.

Importance of Brightness

When choosing kayak lights for night fishing, brightness is an important factor to consider. A brighter light will allow you to see more clearly in dark conditions, making it easier to navigate and spot fish. It can also increase your visibility to other boats and anglers in the area, reducing the risk of accidents or collisions.

However, it’s essential to strike a balance between brightness and battery life. A very bright light may drain the battery quickly and limit your fishing time, while a dim light may not provide sufficient illumination. Look for lights with adjustable brightness settings or multiple lighting modes to give you more flexibility.

It’s also important to check the regulations for your area and make sure your lights are bright enough to meet legal requirements for night fishing.

Mounting Options

Once you’ve chosen the type of kayak light you want to use, the next step is to choose a mounting option. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Clip Mounts: These are easy to install and can be attached to various parts of your kayak. They’re also easy to remove and transfer to different kayaks.
  • Suction Cups: Suction cups can be used to mount lights to smooth surfaces such as the kayak hull or deck. They’re also easy to remove and reposition if needed.
  • Adhesive Tape: This is a permanent mounting solution that’s best used for LED strips or other lightweight lights. Adhesive tape ensures that your light stays in place, but may be difficult to remove if you need to reposition it later.

Make sure to choose a mounting option that’s appropriate for your kayak and your specific light. It’s also important to secure the wiring and batteries so that they don’t get damaged or interfere with your fishing.

Waterproofing and Durability

Since kayak fishing often involves water exposure, it’s crucial to choose lights that are waterproof and durable. Look for lights with an IPX rating of IP65 or higher, which means they can withstand splashing and rain.

Make sure the lights are also built to last – they should be able to withstand the elements and regular use. Consider lights made of sturdy materials such as aluminum or high-quality plastic, and those that are resistant to corrosion or rust.

Additionally, parts such as the mount, wiring, and battery compartment should also be waterproof to prevent any electrical issues.

It may cost more to invest in high-quality, waterproof lights, but it’s worth it in the long run as they’ll last longer and provide more reliable performance during your night fishing expeditions.

Safety Tips When Kayak Fishing at Night

Kayak fishing at night can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to take certain precautions to stay safe. Here are a few tips:

  • Wear a Life Jacket: Always wear a life jacket, regardless of your swimming ability. This will ensure that you stay afloat if you fall into the water.
  • Use a Paddle Leash: A paddle leash can keep your paddle secure in case you drop it and prevent it from floating away.
  • Bring Communication Devices: It’s a good idea to carry a mobile phone, radio, or other communication equipment in case of emergency.
  • Stay Visible: Use bright kayak lights and reflective gear to make yourself visible to other boats and anglers in the area.
  • Be Mindful of the Weather: Check the weather forecast before heading out for the night, and be prepared for changes in conditions such as wind or waves.
  • Know Your Limits: Know your abilities and limitations, and avoid taking risks that could put you or others in danger.

Following these tips can help ensure a safe and enjoyable night on the water.

Alternatives to Kayak Lights

If you’re unable to use kayak lights or prefer not to, there are other options available to help you see and be seen while night fishing:

  • Headlamp: A headlamp is a convenient way to illuminate your path and make it easier to see what you’re doing, without having to worry about mounting a light to your kayak. It also keeps your hands free, so you can focus on your fishing gear.
  • Lantern: Similar to a headlamp, a small lantern can provide enough illumination to see what you’re doing and help you stay visible to other boats or anglers in the area. It can also be a good backup option if your kayak lights fail.

While alternatives may be useful, it’s important to remember to stay visible and safe while on the water at night, whether you’re using kayak lights or another type of lighting or visibility device.

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Are kayak lights necessary for night fishing?

Yes, kayak lights are necessary for night fishing to ensure your safety and that of other boaters.

Can I use my regular flashlight for night fishing?

While you can use a regular flashlight, kayak lights are a better option as they are designed specifically for use on the water.

What is the best type of kayak light for night fishing?

Stern and bow lights are both good options, but it ultimately depends on your personal preference and needs.

How bright should my kayak light be?

Your kayak light should be bright enough to illuminate the area around you without blinding other boaters or wildlife.

How do I mount my kayak light?

Kayak lights can be mounted using clip mounts, suction cups or adhesive tape, depending on the type of light you have.

How do I ensure my kayak light is waterproof?

Look for lights that are specifically marketed as waterproof or water-resistant and check the product specifications before purchasing.

What safety precautions should I take when kayak fishing at night?

Always wear a life jacket, use a paddle leash, and bring communication devices such as a phone or radio.

Can I use a headlamp instead of kayak lights for night fishing?

While headlamps can be used, kayak lights are a better option as they are designed specifically for use on the water.

What are glow sticks and how are they used for night fishing?

Glow sticks are chemical-based lighting devices that can be attached to your kayak or fishing gear for added visibility on the water.

Can I use a lantern to light up my kayak for night fishing?

While a lantern can be used, it is not recommended as it can be bulky and potentially dangerous if it falls off the boat.

Real experience

It was a dark, starry night and Jake was determined to catch the biggest fish of his life. Despite his friend’s warnings, he decided to go kayak fishing alone. Once he reached the middle of the lake, he realized the water around him was completely dark. Suddenly, he regretted his decision, realizing he had not brought any lights to guide his way.

In a moment of desperation, he began rummaging through his kayak and found some old glow sticks. He taped them around the edges of his kayak and tossed one into the water to light up the area around him. He told himself it would be enough to catch a fish, but it wasn’t.

Feeling defeated, he paddled back to shore and researched how to use kayak lights for night fishing. He found a bunch of tips, including using bow and stern lights for added visibility, how bright the lights should be, and how to mount them.

Determined to give it another try, he went out on the water again, this time with his kayak lights mounted and ready. He felt safer and more confident, and it paid off when he caught the biggest fish he had ever seen.

From that day on, Jake never went kayak fishing at night without his lights ever again.

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Kayak lights are an essential tool for any angler planning to fish at night. They increase visibility, illuminate your fishing equipment, and help you find your way around the water. By considering different types of lights, mounting options, and taking the necessary safety precautions, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable night fishing trip.

Remember to choose bright lights with good waterproof and durability ratings, and mount them securely on your kayak. Wear a life jacket, bring communication devices, and be mindful of the weather and any limits to your abilities. If you aren’t able to use kayak lights, consider alternatives such as a headlamp or lantern.

With the right tools and preparation, night fishing can be a great way to enjoy the water in a peaceful and exciting atmosphere – just be sure to stay safe and have fun!

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