Do lights at night scare or attract fish?

dezza

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Years ago I read of the local bylaw which forbade anglers from fishing at night using a light beamed in the water to attract fish. In later years, expert anglers such as **** Walker et al wrote on many occasions that showing a light at night, even as little as a lighted cigarette, is detrimental to your chances of success.

Over the years I have come to take the view that perhaps certain species of fish are attracted to lights, eg roach and bream, whilst others such as carp are scared by lights.

I certainly don't think the wearing of headlamps to land barbel on the Trent scares them.

But what do you think?
 

Merv Harrison

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I was once told by someone, that, a deep net, a length of plastic downpipe, and a torch were all that were needed to 'illegally' catch fish.

Place the net on the bottom, place one end of the downpipe on the net, and shine the torch down the downpipe, this way you will be unseen, no visible light beam. Fish will come to the light, and you lift the net.........easy as.

This is also a favourite method of the Koi pond thieves.
 

barbelboi

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Interesting topic Ron
I don’t believe they do scare as after all when a fish looks up, it will during the daytime have the bright sun shining on the water, and then at night a full moon can also be bright.
I would assume that they have very sensitive eyes and it may also take a while for their eyes to get used to changes in light. Outside their natural environment I have noticed however that unhooking carp in sunny conditions seems to involve the fish trying to thrash about more often than in overcast/low light conditions and a damp weigh sling, or similar, placed gently over it’s eyes will generally calm it while you unhook.
 

The Sogster

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I believe fish are/ can be attracted to light.

I remember at one time that a well known lure company used to sell battery powered lures with a built in light(s). There was a disclaimer in their catalogue which stated they were unsuitable for freshwater fishing in the UK as angling bye laws outlawed the use of lit baits to attract fish.

Then of course there are/ were several commercials running floodlit matches - did they all blank due to the light putting the fish off?

And finally of course there are many aquatic creatures that use light as an attractant/ warning, probably the best example in this case being the Angler fish.

---------- Post added at 09:11 ---------- Previous post was at 08:58 ----------

In fact a quick search for battery powered fishing lures returned these two.

Alive Lure - electronic fishing lure

and

5 Scientific Fishing | Scientific Fishing Equipment | Lifelike Lures | Fishing | Walking Worm | NGCSports.com

It would be interesting to know if they are as good as the write up says. Ok I realise the second one isn't lit but it amused me.
 
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dannytaylor

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is it not the sudden "movement" of a light on water at night which alarms the fish??

I have walked the canal at night with a high power lamping light looking for carp/pike, the fish do move away but im convinced its due to the sudden "movement" appearance of the light on the water rather than a change in light level which spooks the fish.

When night fishing i like to use my headtorch as little as possible, you would be surprised how much you can see without as your eyes become accustomed. However i dont think that fish can pick up on headtorches etc when used discreetly on the bank, maybe a different story if you start shining them all over the water.

I also try to be discreet with my torch use at night as it can be distracting to others and give your pressence away to non anglers who may have other "motives" at heart. If you have to use them to tackle up use a jacket over your head or rig up in your rucksak.

The worst light for giving your position alerting over anglers to your spots is using a flash light on your camera.
 

Eric Edwards

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Many years ago when we used to fish at Deans Farm near Reading we had access to a punt. We would sometimes go out in the punt at night to see what was happening on the gravel bars. Shining our torches down into the water we would often come across carp and tench feeding. The torch beam seemed to have no effect on them, they just carried on oblivious to our presence.
We learned a lot by doing this, one thing we discovered was that tiny perch would sit motionless on the bars all night. We became convinced that these perch were being eaten by the bream.
 

Fishing Gimp

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'Lamping' for fish was banned in the past for good reason, Salmon & Sea Trout shine in the light, not unduly worried by it, easy targets for those with Leisters, pitch forks or nets.

Roach are attracted by lights on the water, as are Chub and Eels for some reason; ask any old 'river men'....they knew what worked, as they had families to feed. Modern Angling/ Anglers, notwithstanding all the tackle and bait advances, seem to have forgotten many of the basics old gits like me had drummed into them!

God I sound old!!!
 

the indifferent crucian

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I recently re-read Walker on lights at night. He came to the conclusion that only carp and tench were put off by lights, but I know a few who fish with a torch light shone across the water to highlight a float tip, who catch both species OK.
 

noknot

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I have shone a torch onto Carp lying up in reed beds at night, and they have not even moved, I would say be carfull with lights at night as not to annoy other anglers moreso than spooking a fish!
 

dezza

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Thanks for the comments guys. It does seem that based on experience, lights do not scare fish as much as was once thought.

I know for some time that roach and bream are very attracted to lights, yet big roach particularly do not feed very much in bright sunlight. Some of my best catches of big roach have been taken at night in late summer.
 

904_cannon

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Before the old Ferens Park football ground in Durham (on the banks of the free stretch of the R Wear) was sold for a posh housing development, when the flood lights were turned on so were the chub. They might just have moved into the shadows close to my bank though?

Also a few years back when driving back home after having a day on the Scottish Annan I went passed Lochmaben, as I drove by on the southern bank a row of lights were switched on. By the time I'd passed them all it was just like Blackpool Illuminations. 35 or so years ago when we used to fish there we'd make do with a candle in a jam jar which gave just enough light to see the swing tips by...and we caught plenty of bream, I don't know how the illumination lads got on though.
 
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