Not all lights for after-dark fishing are created equal, and variables such as style, color and brightness require choices. Rango Plemmons has been fishing for crappie at night since 1970 and has seen a thing or two about lights.
“At first, I used Coleman lanterns hung over the side of the boat,” he said. “As time passed, I switched to 12-volt, sealed-beam bulbs shining into the water. Later, submersible lights that put out a lot of light were used. Each incremental step was a positive change, but they had drawbacks.
“With Coleman lanterns, we had to replenish gas, and the early 12-volt lights were a huge drain on the batteries, so we had to overkill with plenty of batteries.”
Plemmons knows some anglers who use small, portable generators to power the lights but he prefers the peace and quiet associated with nocturnal fishing.
“Now, the LED lights bring terrific, bright lights that can be submerged, and they draw very little battery power,” he said. “I rig them with regular household-type receptacles and wire a plug in station to the battery so all I have to do is plug in the light to an outlet. I’ve seen many brands on the market that work well.”
Plemmons said crappie fishermen are divided over whether white or green lights are best for crappie fishing.
“Green has become the new color of the night, so to speak, and I know guys using them successfully,” he said. “But I started with white lights — and I’ve used green successfully — but white is still my preference. I recommend trying both and then using what works best for you.”
Rayford Ervin Jr., another Carolina nightstalker, mixes light colors, using white and green.
“I’ll fish one color on each side of the boat and usually both produce, but if I see a pattern, I’ll change to the productive color for that night,” Ervin said. “On most nights, it’s hard to tell a difference in productivity, or maybe I’m just too busy catching fish to notice or care.”