As a self confessed stalking addict – of carp I should add! – I’m the type of angler who likes to blend in with my surroundings, as I’ve found over the years that the more inconspicuous you can make yourself, the better your chances or bringing one to the bank.
This approach also translates to my static angling, and to be honest it applies just as much during the hours of darkness as it does during the day, and the bottom line is that if you’re one of those that likes to light up the night sky twenty times a night for the slightest thing, then there’s a good chance the carp are going to be giving your area of the lake a complete swerve!
Therefore, I don’t carry big torches or bivvy lights; I just don’t see the need. I try to do as much as I can in darkness and only take one small torch, which is only used when absolutely necessary. Anything the fish is not used to seeing in its everyday underwater habitat, day or night, is quite likely to spook it, so it makes perfect sense to try and minimise as much of these disturbances as we can. As a slight aside, how many times have you seen a fish being brought in under bright light at night, which then proceeds to go mental once near the bank? There’s always one to pipe up “it doesn’t like the net, does it!?” Forget the net! It’s the landing lights on the Boeing 747 right above its head it’s bothered about!!
And thus, on to the crux of the matter; if you can use a light source that offers a subtle level of light at critical moments, you’ve got a much better chance of getting the fish into your net. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re one of the ‘stomp’ brigade then the type of torch you use isn’t going to make much difference to your results (although it might appease other anglers on the lake!) but if you do want to look at ways to reduce the effects of your presence and improve levels of cover during darkness, then have a look at this fantastic little Cyba Night Viz Torch from Gardner.
The idea is quite simple, there’s a flipdown night vision red lens cover, which when dropped down obviously turns everything red. Why? Well, the eyes ability to see at night is greatly amplified by the longer wavelength of red light, and your night vision once the light is turned off will recover much quicker.
I’m no scientist, but as I understand it, the retinas in our eyes use rods and cones. The cones are responsible for our day vision, and the rods for our night vision. When the rods in the retina are subjected to bright light during the night, it can, as we know, take some time for them to recover. A couple of seconds and we think we’re getting back to normal, but you might be surprised to learn that your eyes won’t be back up to full night vision strength for about 15-30 minutes, and each additional time your eyes are subjected to bright light, the recovery starts again from scratch, so obviously any way of shortening this time is of serious benefit – and hence the red light.
Red light at night works by tricking the rods in our eyes which work in grey scale, so they can’t pick up (or get blinded) by the red light. It’s actually the cones (which work during the day) which pick up the red light, which then allows the eye to see much better in the dark but without getting blinded by it. Very clever stuff. As such, the Gardner torch is a very handy little device for anglers like myself who like to keep a low profile and get back to night vision conditions as quickly as possible. You can, of course, flip the lid up to get bright white light should you want to, but mine will be flipped firmly down at all times!
It’s loaded with features as you’d expect; a single ultra bright LED for long battery life, a fish eye magnifying lens for more a focused beam, an angled head (90° up/down) to focus on the ground ahead, an adjustable head band and a push button On/Off switch. It’s water resistant and ultra lightweight at only 25 grams, and finally it comes supplied with long life batteries to give approximately 25 hours of continuous use.
A cracking little headtorch that should illuminate your night fishing approach – in more ways that one!