The well-prepared surfcaster hits the beach with two lights: a narrow-beam flashlight worn around the neck, and a headlamp with a range of settings. Two lights ensure that you have a backup, but they also serve different purposes. The headlamp helps with navigating tricky terrain, landing fish, and blinding other fishermen by looking at them with it turned on. The neck light can be used for lure changes, unhooking fish, and signaling your buddy down the beach that you’ve found fish. Both lights should be used sparingly; the less often you turn on your night-fishing light, the sharper your night vision will become.
I’m in the camp that believes lights on the water spook fish. Some fishermen use red-tinted lights to both preserve their night vision and prevent spooking bass. Fortunately, many headlamps come with a red light setting.
While the headlamp needn’t be waterproof, the neck light, which is more likely to be splashed, dropped, or submerged, should be.
Making a Neck Light
Building a hands-free neck light at home is an easy do-it-yourself project that saves money for important things, like extra plugs, jigheads and leader material.
- Click-on Waterproof Flashlight
- Electrical Tape
- 30 inches of Surgical Tubing
A neck light is best made with a small size click-on flashlight because it requires just one hand to turn on and off, unlike a twist-on light that requires both hands. If you’re wrestling with a big bass you’re trying to unhook, you will appreciate being able to light up the night with just one hand.
While a regular lanyard works, something with a bit more substance will keep the light from swinging excessively and twisting. I like surgical or aquarium tubing, but some fishermen prefer elastic webbing.
Take each end of the tubing or webbing, and tape it into place about halfway down the flashlight. Leave about two inches free at the end of the flashlight, and loosely wrap it with electrical tape. This makes it easier, and less painful, to hold the light between your teeth when both hands are busy.
The result is a water-resistant, easily-accessible, virtually hands-free light source that won’t swing in your way during the end game with a bass on the rocks.
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