Best Color Light for Night Fishing at Sea

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night fishing at sea

Night fishing is a popular pastime and the nocturnal hours can pass quickly if you have good company and even better bites.

No night angler will venture out without a decent night fishing light to bring out the fish.

Any angler worth their salt will recommend a green light as the best color light for night fishing at sea. 

Getting the right color of light can make the difference between an uneventful night and a lively one that is full of great fishing.

In this article, we will explore the best color light for night fishing at sea, and not only what color light works but also the types of light you can and the key dos and don’t to have real success.

Have you ever driven or walked by the sea at night and seen the reassuring glow of anglers at their work?

If yes, then you will know that night fishing at sea is a popular pastime. Both in-shore and off-shore anglers find that sea fishing after dark produces better catches.

You can do night sea fishing from boats, the shoreline, sea walls, jetties and piers. 

Nighttime is the right time for fish!

Sea fish will spend their days in deep waters, well away from the shoreline or secreted in rocky crevices or holes.

But as the sun recedes, they become emboldened to venture into shallower water to feed on the organisms that emerge at night.

Species that patrol the seabed looking for food such as the flatfish species can be caught more consistently at night.

As they primarily rely on their sense of smell to hunt food species, they are well adapted to feeding in darkness, and a prime target for the night anglers bait hook!

In the UK other fish species that enter shallow water at night include:

  • Conger eels: unless they are in very deep water, congers will feed in inshore locations at night only.
  • Bull huss is also know to have a prediction for nighttime feeding
  • Bass will leave deep water to hunt in the shallows at night and are a popular catch for night anglers.
  • Cod is a keen hunter of smaller fish and will venture towards the shore at night following their prey.
  • Whiting, like cod offers excellent nighttime fishing, especially in the autumn and winter when they migrate to inshore waters.

Adequate lighting is essential for night fishing by the sea

Your lighting not only needs to be sufficient for dark nights but so needs to be available in a variety of formats that support the tasks and angling techniques you will use.

Lighting is not only used for practical purposes but also can be used as an effective lure for bait species that bring out the bigger fish. 

Let’s look at the basic lighting for night sea fishing


A basic handheld torch can be used to navigate to and from your coastal location in low light. They are an important backup light but because they need to be held; they are impractical while you are fishing.

You should always keep a torch in your tackle as you can also use it in emergencies to signal for help.


An LED headlamp is standard for night anglers as it leaves the hands free and provides good illumination of the immediate area.

Most headlamps have two beam settings, one stronger than the other. You can use the stronger light when you are reeling in a fish and use the weaker setting for general lighting. 


LED lanterns are a modern lighting solution that enables you to light the area where you are working with your tackle and bait.

It does not need to be very bright as a strong light may create shadows that spook the fish.

A traditional base lamp is usually large and heavy, but modern lamps use LEDs and have long battery life. You can set it by your tackle and bait boxes on the beach.

Rod lights

Detecting a bit in the dark is almost impossible, especially if you have multiple lines.

These small LED or chemical tip lights sit on the tip of your rod so you can observe them for movement in the event of a bite.

Rod tip lights are available in a variety of colours.

Chemical light sticks

These are cheap, and cheerful disposable light wands that anglers use to lure fish towards shore.

These lights are only a few inches long and hold two liquids separated by a glass membrane that is broken when the glow stick is bent to activate it.

The chemical reaction produces a warm glow in a variety of colours. You can attach the glow stick to your lure for fishing.

Underwater lights 

Submersible night fishing lights are another lighting option that is specifically used to attract the baitfish that bring in the big boys!

These lights are designed to be fully immersed in the water and are usually battery powered. The lights attract the phytoplankton that attract small baitfish that your target fish species will hunt. 

Using these lights can make night fishing very productive as large quantities of bait species can accumulate, swimming mesmerized and helpless around the light.

This volume of food proves irresistible to larger fish that will approach the margins of the light to investigate!

Why green light is the best colour light for night fishing at sea

Anglers have spent decades experimenting with lighting to attract fish. The basis of using light is that it will primarily attract phytoplankton and then the small fish species that feed on them.

These baitfish, in turn, attract the game fish that anglers are targeting. The phytoplankton instinctively migrate toward the light to photosynthesise and reproduce.

The fishing lights that are used to lure baitfish are usually available in three colours:

  • Green
  • White 
  • Blue

Scientific studies and good old-fashioned experimentation by anglers has shown that green and white light wavelengths are the best for attracting plankton and bait species. Water absorbs white light, but green light has better penetration making it the most effective colour waterproof night fishing at sea.

Green light can even be effective at attracting the game fish directly making them the standard for night fishing.

5 top tips for fishing at sea at night with green light

  1. Suspend an LED underwater fishing light

If you are fishing from a boat, pier or jetty, use an underwater fishing light that is on a long waterproof cable to get the light fully immersed.

  1. Be patient

Attracting phytoplankton and smaller bait species takes time. Once you have immersed the green light it shouldn’t be disturbed, Simply wait for the bait species to concentrate around the light. Your game fish will take even longer to turn up for dinner.

  1. Don’t move the light

Moving the light will disturb the fish and upset all your hard work. As we said before, patience is key!

  1. Fish the margins of the light

Only the boldest of large fish are going to want to dine in the spotlight. They will prefer to lurk at the margins of the light. This is where you need to suspend your bait and offer an easy meal.

  1. Keep your lights powered with a deep cell battery

Look for green underwater night fishing lights that come with cables that can be hooked up to a 12-volt deep cycle battery to give illumination throughout the night. 

Safety first for sea fishing at night

Of course, there is an inherent risk involved in spending time by the sea at night.

Night fishing anglers are careful to plan their trips carefully, preparing their equipment and tactics well ahead of nightfall.

might lake fishing

Here are some key pointers:

  • Learn your shoreline by fishing during the day. This means you can spot any hazards present and remember them for your nighttime trip.
  • Arrive at your sea fishing location before it becomes completely dark so you can set up your tackle with some natural light.
  • Ensure that you dress in warm layers, especially in the winter months when you may have to endure freezing temperatures and winds. It is possible to develop hypothermia while sea fishing at night, but you can prevent this by wearing the correct clothing. Specialist outfitters provide waterproof and thermal suits that can keep you dry and warm.
  • Prevent a bird’s nest (tangled line) by practising your casting during daylight hours. It can be extremely difficult to cast in the dark as you cannot see the line or discern impact with the water. The only way to build confidence is to practice casting in daylight hours at your fishing spot.

Rounding up

If you are going to spend the night being lashed by ocean gales, huddled by the shore, the rewards had better be worth it!

Having a green night fishing light certainly ups the ante on catching the bigger fish that you are looking for.