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Safety after Dark: The Best Kayak Lights for Night Fishing

Written by: Pete D
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Kayak anglers share the water with powerboats, and at the best of times, that can be dangerous.

At night, when your fellow anglers are making long runs to get home before it gets too late, fishing without a light is irresponsible at best.

Night fishing from a kayak is awesome. Large bass will move shallow to feed, pike will begin their hunt in earnest, and reds and stripers can really turn on.

But you’ve got to take every step you can to stay safe, and that means a high, bright light to cut your risk of a collision.

Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorite kayak lights for night fishing, as well as a complete buying guide to help you make the right choice for your needs and budget.

Quick glance at the best kayak lights for night fishing:

Related: 

Best Kayak Lights for Night Fishing Reviewed

RAILBLAZA Visibility Kit - Best Safety Light for Night Fishing in a Kayak

RAILBLAZA Visibility Kit Kayak All Around Safety Light

Amazon 

Railblaza knows kayak accessories, and their mounting systems are legendary. They also know kayak safety, and their visibility kit is an excellent choice for both day and night.

Designed to mount to the included Railblaza star mount, this kit comes with a one-meter (roughly 3 feet long) pole. At the top, you’ll find an unobstructed, 360-degree LED safety light powered by 3 AA batteries.

This LED light has three modes. The first offers full brightness with visibility up to 2 nautical miles while still providing 25 hours of battery life. Next is the low brightness mode that gives you roughly 160 hours of battery life. And finally, this LED can be set to flashing, providing more than 200 hours of battery life.

That’s the kind of visibility you need for safety, and we like the height and brightness of this lamp.

Railblaza also includes a high-vis orange flag that’s great for both day and night.

Waterproofing on this lighting system is excellent, and even a thorough dunking won’t make any difference. Waterproof down to a meter, it can take waves, spray, rain, and the like without a problem, and the pole and lamp themselves float.

There’s nothing to criticize about this safety system, and if you’re going fishing at night, you need to take a close look.

Pros:

  • Excellent height
  • Fantastic LED with three lighting modes
  • Very visible
  • Waterproof to 1 meter
  • Floats!
  • Comes with excellent mounting equipment
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • ???

Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light

Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light

Amazon 

Kayalu’s Kayalite portable LED system isn’t as safe as the Railblaza, but it does offer no-drill installation. 

Kayalu mounts a two-LED lamp on the top of an 18-inch pole. The lamp is plenty bright, but we’d like to see more height as an angler’s body can eclipse it and reduce visibility.

That’s obviously a problem.

The LED lamp itself is very high quality, offering roughly 100 hours of continuous performance on 3 AA batteries. 

Rated to IPX8 waterproofness, there’s simply no way you’re going to get this lamp to fail by contact with water, and no wave, spray, rain, or dunking is going to turn it off - guaranteed.

The base attaches to your kayak by bungees, making this a truly portable and easy-to-install lighting option.

Pros:

  • Fantastic LED 
  • Exceptionally waterproof
  • Very easy to install; no drilling
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • Needs to be taller to improve visibility

YakAttack VISIPole II

YakAttack VISIPole II GearTrac Ready Light with Flag (V2FM+FPG)

Amazon 

YakAttack’s VISIPole II is a direct competitor with Railblaza, offering an excellent visibility system for night fishing in your kayak.

The VISIPole is compatible with MightyMount and GearTrac mounting systems, which is nice, but I prefer the Railblaza because it comes with the mounting hardware you’ll need to set it up. That said, if you already own a MightyMount or GearTrac, this product is perfect.

Standing at 4’ 6” off your deck via a ⅜-inch fiberglass rod, the VISIPole places a bright white LED in clear view. The lamp is very visible and ridiculously waterproof, so there’s no need to worry about rain, splashes, waves, or dunking it in the water.

Running on three included AAs, you’ll get approximately 100 hours of battery life, placing it neck and neck with its competitors.

The VISIPole II also comes with a removable high-vis orange flag that improves the odds of boaters noticing you in low light conditions. I strongly recommend you attach this safety item: it makes a lot of difference.

Pros:

  • Excellent height
  • Good LED 
  • Good visibility, but not as bright as the Railblaza
  • Outstanding waterproofing
  • Great battery life

Cons:

  • Could be brighter
  • Doesn’t come with mounting hardware

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro 360

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro 360 Degree LED MightyMount and Hardware Kayak Fishing Visibility Flag, Orange (CPM+MMH)

Amazon 

YakAttack’s VISICarbon Pro 360 is an upgrade to the VISIPole II, and there are some real improvements here worth considering.

First off, the base on the VisiCarbon is designed to slide into a rod holder, making this a snap to mount on your kayak. Pretty much any rod holder will do, whether it’s one on your crate or a built-in model behind your seat.

That’s an awesome design feature, and I love it.

The lamp is identical to the one supplied on the VISIPole II: it’s acceptably bright, extremely waterproof, and won’t run your three AA batteries dry quickly.

The fiberglass rod has been replaced with a 48-inch carbon fiber/fiberglass composite, and I’m not sure about that. Decreasing weight by a few ounces isn’t going to matter, but the increased brittleness of carbon fiber can, and heavy winds can snap this rod, so watch out!

The VISICarbon Pro 360 comes with a detachable high-vis orange flag, and I strongly recommend that you use it.

For a few dollars more, you can have this product delivered with the mounting equipment you’ll need to attach it directly to your deck, but for me, a rod holder is the way to go.

Pros:

  • Excellent height
  • Good LED 
  • Good visibility, but not as bright as the Railblaza
  • Outstanding waterproofing
  • Great battery life
  • Mounts in a rod holder

Cons:

  • Could be brighter

Attwood Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit

Attwood 14192-7 Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit, Marine Gray Finish

Amazon 

Attwood’s LED light kit is a great safety solution for night kayakers.

It comes with two components: a bright white LED on a rod and a bow lamp with red and green navigation lights. Both attach to your kayak via screw down or adhesive bases (I’d screw them in place myself), and they’re very easy to install.

The white LED stands on a collapsible pole that extends to roughly 24 inches. That’s not super tall, but the front light compensates for that. The LED itself is plenty bright, and the three AAA batteries provide approximately 150 hours of run time.

Attwood claims that this system is “water-resistant,” but they don’t define what that means. In practice, rain and splashes don’t affect these lamps at all, so I’d say whatever the rating, it’s high enough to provide real-world effectiveness.

The navigation lamp is a short shafted model on the same style base as the LED lamp; it’s easy to attach, and the dual color lamp is bright and visible.

I like this combination system as you have a bow and stern light, and other boaters can tell your orientation by the colors on the bow. That’s a nice touch.

I’d still like to see the rear lamp be a bit taller, and a high-vis orange flag never hurts on the water.

Pros:

  • Good LED 
  • Good visibility, but not as bright as the Railblaza
  • Great battery life
  • Very easy to mount 
  • Two lamp system, bow and stern

Cons:

  • Could be brighter
  • No flag
  • Could be taller

What to Look for When Buying a Kayak Light for Night Fishing

Safety is critical, and headlamps, flashlights, and PFD-mounted lights are all nice additions to dedicated safety lamps, but they can’t replace a good visibility system.

I really like PFD-mounted safety lights for inshore fishing far from shore, and they can be life-saving if you have an accident.

PFD-mounted survival light

PFD-mounted survival lights are a must-have for big water.

But they don’t work well to provide visibility to powerboats.

Instead, they’re designed as survival aids that help rescuers locate you at night while you’re in the water. And they work wonders when you need them.

So what should you look for?

Height

An ideal safety light system for night fishing on a kayak is tall enough that it’s perched above your head while seated. That way, it can’t be blocked by your body, providing true 360-degree visibility.

kayak light for night fishing

At dusk, dawn, and night, boaters won’t necessarily be able to see your kayak, even if it’s brightly colored. You’ll be low in the water, perhaps even eclipsed by waves at times, and without a tall, bright LED, you just won’t be visible.

Brightness

Brighter is better. 

Keep in mind that these lights aren’t designed to allow you to see - you’ll need a good headlamp for that. 

They’re designed to allow you to be seen, and the Railblaza gets top marks in this respect, especially on high or flash.

Battery life

If the batteries die, your lamp is dead - and you might be, too.

Always carry spare batteries with you.

Battery life for LED safety lamps is pretty good, typically at least 100 hours of continuous use.

Flag

Even in daylight, boaters may overlook kayaks, much like cars miss motorcycles.

A bright, high-vis orange flag stands out against the water really well, and it can make a huge difference in how easy you are to see.

flag for kayak fishing

Waterproofness

While you don’t need an LED lamp that can stay lit on the bottom, ratings that allow for deep submersion mean that rain, spray, waves, and even a dunking in the surf aren’t going to cause your light to fail.

Our Pick: The RAILBLAZA Visibility Kit!

Railblaza knows kayak fishing, and being based in New Zealand - where inshore fishing is nearly as popular as the All Blacks - they understand the needs of anglers. 

Safety isn’t something to take lightly, and the risks are magnified at night.

Railblaza’s Visibility Kit is the product we trust, offering a three-setting, waterproof LED lamp that’s extremely bright. It rides high enough to avoid being hidden by your body and comes with a great high-vis flag that increases the odds you’ll be spotted by other boaters.

Battery life is exceptional, especially on the flash setting, and installation is a snap.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this visibility kit. It’ll make a world of difference for night fishing, and it can be a real lifesaver.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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