The world of fishing is full of gimmicks and gadgets. Most of them are more effective at pulling money out of a fisherman’s wallet than pulling fish out of the water. However, some things come along that just make sense. Lighted lures have seen a surge in popularity lately. Are they worth the money or are they just another flash in the pan?
You’ll have to decide on their value on your own. However, we can tell you that they work. Their effectiveness comes down to two important factors: how fish hunt and how light travels underwater. We’ll give a brief overview of both and explain why lighted lures are known to be fish-catching machines.
Why Fish Love Lighted Lures
Most predator fish, like walleye or bass, have keen eyesight. They hunt by catching the reflection of light off of their prey and striking at those bright spots. Walleye specifically like to hunt in shallow choppy water where less light gets into the water. This is because they can see much better than their prey due to the increased amount of photoreceptors in their eyes. Lighted lures shine brighter than prey fish and are likely to get a predator’s attention.
At certain times of the day and especially in winter, fish tend to go into deeper water. Less light gets into these depths. So, a lighted lure will be the brightest and therefore most appetizing thing in the area.
Reid Wender, an expert in image processing and vision applications and president of Photon Lures explains another way that lighted lures can be effective. According to Wender, predator fish will hone in on a prey fish’s eyes. This allows the predator to know which way its prey is moving. This allows it to know when and where to strike. Lighted lures with big, glowing eyes will play into this natural feeding habit.
How Light Travels Under Water
We all kind of remember science class. Light refracts when it hits the water. In most bodies of water, it gets dark faster than you would think. After a few feet, the visibility of your non-lighted lure is going to drop steadily. At about 10 or 15 feet, a lure is almost invisible. If you’re using a lighted lure, however, it’s going to be plenty visible. Because it is so bright, it will catch a nearby predator’s eye.
It all comes down to the fact that lighted lures are more visible. If a predator fish sees it, he will try to eat it, as long as it resembles prey.
You can’t just strap a treble hook on the end of a glowstick and call it a lighted lure. Well, you can but it isn’t going to be effective. The thing about adding glow to a lure is that it should be an enhancement to an already-effective design. So, start by looking for a lure that would catch fish without the addition of light.
From there, you’ll want to pay attention to the colors. Different colors travel differently underwater. Because of this, they are visible at different distances. Reds and oranges don’t travel far, shades of blue travel the farthest, and green is a solid middle ground.
So, lighted lures are effective but just like any other piece of gear, you’ll need to pick the right one for your application.