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Thread: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

  1. #1

    Default 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Around this time of year every year, squid are thick in the puget sound. Squid are attracted to light.

    The place that I frequent does not allow generators or gas (propane) lighting, no ac power is available on this dock either. I generally choose to use 12v automotive lighting run off of a deep cycle battery. Many people choose 120v lighting, an inverter and a 12v battery. Seems like too much power loss to the inverter for me.

    The lights that are too focused seem to scare squid, flood lighting is prefered. Blue light doesn't penetrate the water very well, seems to scatter near the surface.

    I want as much light as possible, with as little battery to carry as possible.

    My last light was an automotive hid ballast from ebay, 100w supposedly, and an hid converted fog lamp with a painted white reflector. Worked very well, but im hoping to do better with an led setup.

    The led strip lights that ive played with in the past seem very inefficient, maybe due to the resistor based regulation.

    My next attempt will be finding an all flood version of the popular automotive led light bars on ebay. Hopefully in a warmer light color. in the 100w range, as ill need several hour run times. These light bars are hit and miss though, the last light bar I bought from ebay claimed to be 500w but only measured 4 amps of draw!

    My questions are about the voltage regulation in these lights. Do you think the drivers are fairly efficient? What is inside of the 9-35v ebay light bars with "cree or philips leds" ?? Being limited to battery power, does anyone have any other suggestions? The most successful lighting setups ive seen are usually generator powered 300- 500w halogen bulbs, but thats not an option on this dock. Id really like to find a 200w led flood light that I can convert to 12v power if anyone has an idea....

    So in summary...
    12v power around 10 amps
    warmer light color prefered
    70 degree flood ideal

    Any suggestions appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    How much light do you need? Don't answer this in terms of watts; we don't measure light in watts -- that's the measure we use for electric power (in) not light (out). What do you need to be able to see? How deep down in the water, if applicable? There might very well be an effective, low-cost solution that would leave you ample battery runtime.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    The squid need to see the lighted area from as far as possible, then my light just needs to be brighter than the next guy's. This area is 40-50 ft deep, and the water clarity is variable. I would guess my current light setup is around 3000 lumens. But, In other areas that allow generators, i've seen 30,000 + lumen setups. I'm not sure there is such thing as too much light for squidding, as long as the light has a nice flood, and isn't too bluish.

  4. #4
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    I used to see what was essentially an automotive sealed beam with a foam ring around it used for this sort of thing. Making a flotation device for a JW Speaker high beam headlamp would be pretty easy, if not a bit expensive.

    LED will get you lower power consumption, but it also gets you higher CCTs than wanted.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding


    Light penetration into sea water is an intresting twist that I dont completely understand, but those darn incandescent and halogen lights do seem to attract aquatic animals better than most. Is this likely due to the more full light spectrum of the bulbs?

  6. #6

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Rather than guessing, we need some science: dig around and see if you can find info on the spectral sensitivity of the squid visual system. It's probably been studied. With that info you can create a light system that will "work smarter, not harder".

  7. #7

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Blue penetrates farther than any color into the water. Way farther in fact. Green next. Red barely penetrates water at all.

    The issue with blue, is they may appear as point sources as they are not attenuated much and that seems not what you want. Perhaps a compromise with green and cool white? I think you will find the LED light bars are not that much more efficient than the HID, but they are probably more reliable. Power draw is not a big concern for low cost light bars. It's not that they can't make them efficient, but light output, throw, etc. are bigger concerns.

  8. #8

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Oh, yeah, that's the other thing: how much money can you spend on this project?

  9. #9

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    I'll be spending around 100 bucks on this project. Yes blue penetrates further into water, but also reflects and scatters with particles in the water. greenish light does seem to illuminate further because of that effect. squid see much further into the uv spectrum than we do, and have the ability to distinguish light polarization, similar to cats.

  10. #10

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    The lure/jigs we use to catch these squid, are almost always gitd, and usually reflective. If the squid are already numerus in the area, there is actually not much need for lights. (uncommon)

  11. #11
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Quote Originally Posted by vrruumm View Post
    greenish light does seem to illuminate further because of that effect. squid see much further into the uv spectrum than we do, and have the ability to distinguish light polarization, similar to cats.
    Are you going for coastal squid or deep sea squid? I don't ask out of curiosity, I ask because it matters when selecting your light color.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Quote Originally Posted by vrruumm View Post
    The squid need to see the lighted area from as far as possible, then my light just needs to be brighter than the next guy's. This area is 40-50 ft deep, and the water clarity is variable. I would guess my current light setup is around 3000 lumens. But, In other areas that allow generators, i've seen 30,000 + lumen setups. I'm not sure there is such thing as too much light for squidding, as long as the light has a nice flood, and isn't too bluish.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Are you going for coastal squid or deep sea squid? I don't ask out of curiosity, I ask because it matters when selecting your light color.
    I fish squid on public piers in the puget sound - coastal i guess, but will be trying it out in my boat soon. The puget sound is usually less than 500ft deep in the middle of the channels. Water clarity is fairly clear right now. The only squid species we have are the california market squid. (small) Ive been hearing about someone's (a very experienced well known squid fisherman) new homemade dual 500w led squid light that has been working excellent (generator powered) im very curious what kind of led's and light properties he's using.

  13. #13
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Use green light in the Puget Sound. That's what the squids' eyes will be sensitive to.
    Quote Originally Posted by vrruumm View Post
    im very curious what kind of led's and light properties he's using.
    He might tell you, although maybe he wants to protect his 'trade secrets'.
    "If the solar eclipse is anything like my Mitsubishi Eclipse, it'll darken the daytime sky"

    --Philip J. Fry


    (stolen from a friend)

  14. #14

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Thanks for your input. From my research over the last few years ive come to the same conclusion on green lighting for its fish and squid attraction properties. What is your specific experience/ interest in marine lighting? Any suggestions on specific leds or?

    Im quite the tinkerer, and have milling/fabrication tooling and skills. Ive always wanted to start from scratch and make my own 12v powered light source to my specification.

    My previous attempts with fishing related lighting have not always been good, but ive learned a lot!

    2x 16ft led strip lights mounted below water line on aluminum boat: in green, cool white and warm white seemed very inefficient. All 3 boat mounted underwater attempts seemed to repel fish rather than attract.

    "same as above experience for the version i made on a 30 ft cord lowered underwater

    Hid retrofit kits mounted in driving lights didnt work well until I painted the reflectors white and acid etched the glass lenses. The narrow beam made a bright spot near the surface, and probably also scared fish. The diffused lights in cool white and warm white were my first marginal successes, attracting minnows/fish in lakes, and repeated good squid attracting/catching in the saltwater. These lights drew about 7 amps and lasted roughly 7 hours with an automotive sized battery.

    My next fishing light will need to be powered by the same 50ah agm battery, and I want it to be flexible enough to use over the sides of a boat or on a pier. I'm thinking lumens per watt may not be as important here as choosing the right color(s) light and or light placement (beam angle, projecting from under or above water)

  15. #15

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Properly engineered and built HID lights might be safe near/in water if they're good ones. Homemade kluges with "HID kits" in/near water sounds more like a death wish/death sentence. Figure out a low-voltage LED solution or use halogens.

  16. #16

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    I'm certainly not attempting submerse my fine ebay hid kits. The higher voltage is certainly more of a hassle to experiment with in wet environments, but deadly? I'd say these $35 35w hid kits are quite a bit less painful than an automotive ignition system.... I'm a survivor of both!

    That being said, I am enquiring about an inexpensive, efficient, portable,12v powered led flood light source to replace my old hid setups. I think I would like to play with some cxb3590 chips or ??? But, I'm a little stumped on what to drive them with. I havent had much luck finding a suitable 12v to cc 36v supply. Maybe xhp70's would be more practical.... But I would still need some current regulation. What are the trends in automotive led chips? Suggestions on led's or power sources to fit this application would be appreciated. Thanks

  17. #17

    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Quote Originally Posted by vrruumm View Post
    I'm certainly not attempting submerse my fine ebay hid kits.
    That's why the word "accident" exists.

    The higher voltage is certainly more of a hassle to experiment with in wet environments, but deadly?
    Under the right (wrong) circumstances, yes.

  18. #18
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12v lighting for fishing/ squidding

    Quote Originally Posted by vrruumm View Post
    The higher voltage is certainly more of a hassle to experiment with in wet environments, but deadly?
    It's SALTWATER. Also, the 25,000V/.0022A 'ignition' part is dangerous enoughr, it's the 85-ish volt, .65-ish amp 'running' part that is more dangerous.

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