Great Balls of Fishy Fire Light

SEAANGEL’s crab/lobster lights along with and the mobile device app that controls them.

Some fish are attracted to light. We all know that. We’ve known that since people have been waving fire torches from wooden dugout canoes. It’s quite evident today, and it can be seen in all of those brightly lit up fishing vessels at night.

Sure, those lights help keep the deckhands safe, but you can tell that many of those lights are specifically designed and aimed at bringing fish up closer to the surface. So, why not produce some special underwater lights for the seabed fishing industry?

Well, a few companies have tried to do just that by selling lights for crab pots and lobster traps. Some of those products have provided mixed results due mostly to the quality of the products made. However, one company has managed to shed some light on the subject in a most positive way as far as the practicality of their product is concerned.

Before we start dissecting products though, we should first concern ourselves with whether these bottom fish attracting lights work on bottom feeding fish. To find that out we must turn to a few scientific studies regarding these benthic type fishing lights.

In order to grasp the truth of the matter, we must take a visit to Hokkaido University in Japan and take a look at its 2017 study entitled Fish Attracting Effects of LED Light of Different Colours. There we will find a scientific study testing the effectiveness of underwater lights attracting fish.

The results of their experiments proved that LED lights do attract various species of underwater fish. As stated above, we already knew that, but what is interesting is that different LED light colors attract fish differently. The 12.5-hour study rendered the following results:

  • Red LED, 633 nm wavelength, 70 lx intensity, attracted 101 fish.
  • Green LED, 514 nm wavelength,122 lx intensity, attracted 400 fish.
  • Cyan LED, 490 nm wavelength, 36 lx intensity, attracted 450 fish.
  • Blue LED, 465 nm wavelength, 37 lx intensity, attracted 1,119 fish.

Oddly enough, this study did not test pure white LED lights, however I did meet up with CEO Friedrich Trobolowitsch of FT-TEC of Austria at the 2022 Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, Wash. to discuss the specifics of white underwater LED fishing lights.

CEO Friedrich Trobolowitsch at the 2022 Pacific Marine Expo shows how his SeaTrace 3000 spheres attracts fish. Photo: Capt. Marc Deglinnocenti

SEAANGEL AT is a FT-TEC subsidiary that makes various colored underwater LED lights that enhance fishing. Trobolowitsch’s booth at the expo had a bright array of flashing and steadily lit LED lights of multiple colors guiding me in—as if I were the fish to be caught.

These clear yet sealed lights had no external switches; they were turned on and off by an external magnetic key. Even their 4-to-6.5-hour charge time was accomplished by an external charger that uses electromagnetic induction to charge their internal batteries.

This clever sealed design allows for a remarkable depth rating of 1,600 meters (5,280 feet) as per CEO Friedrich Trobolowitsch’s test data. He then went on to make a series of more fantastic claims.

I asked him about how the different colored LED spheres worked attracting different fish as I held up a flashing red one. He stated that the red flashing LEDs soon become obstructed at deep depths. Red LEDs are only good for the shallowest of fishing tasks. He also stated that red LEDs attract the fewest fish. His personal experience statements are corroborated by the above-mentioned Japanese study.

He also said that a steady white LED light rendered the best results for crab and lobster fishing, while also stressing that the lights merely enhanced fishing results, but they could not work alone without the use of fish bait as he held a small blinking SeaTrace sphere in his hands.

The SeaTrace 3000 sphere has a 96 mm (3.78 inches) diameter that can take about 1,000 charges over its lifespan. Each charge renders 10 days of constant run time. That works out to about a 20-year useful lifespan for this tough product.

There’s no question that tough means no battery change outs, no seal changes, and no maintenance with a remarkable depth rating and long run time. As to which light color attracts which species of fish is a much larger question.

The best color for your fishing is something that you yourself are going to have to either find out through studies or experience. No matter how you find that out, it is interesting to know that some fish like some colors while others do not. That simple fact can also be used to create another fishing advantage.

Placing the right colored lights inside of a pot, trap, or trawl can help attract your desired catch. Placing different colored lights at the exits or escape zones can help eliminate bycatch.

How much bycatch can be eliminated using LED lights? A study by Bangor University of Wales, UK found that up to 47% of bycatch can be eliminated using this good light/bad light method, depending upon the species.

These small yet robust underwater LED spheres have been proven to help enhance your catch and assist in eliminating bycatch. Since there are many factors involved with specific fishing needs, I recommend starting off with Seaangel’s, SeaTrace 3000 Pro Set. That way you can experiment by changing the colors of the spheres depending upon your fishing needs.

You get the charger, magnetic keys, and some extras in the set. You also get five spheres at a reduced rate rather than buying them one at a time. The cost is 780 ($812), plus shipping. 

Capt. Marc Deglinnocenti has sea time on various types of vessels dating back to 1974. Those vessels included conventional and tractor tugs, sailboats, ferryboats, water taxis, training ships, warships, cargo barges, containerships, near coastal passenger vessels, paddlewheels, and research vessels to name a few.

He was in the U.S. Merchant Marine for 33 years, including 25 as a master mariner. He was also a designated qualified engineer and held many individual certifications and positions on ships such as QMED, able bodied seaman (lifeboatman along with the AB), unlimited radar observer, shipboard firefighting, and assistance towing endorsement.

He served as an engineering officer, deck officer, commissary officer, and he even was a California State credentialed maritime teacher. He has experience piloting USVs and ROVs.