Light Up The Night Tours
February 15, 2016 | By Paige Bakhaus | In Kayak, Paddle Board (SUP)
Light Up The Night Tours- Saltwater Disco or Serious fishing… either way, it’s going to be the most fun you’ve had in years.
There’s something new taking over our local shallow waters and back bays. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and it should come with a warning label: YOU ARE LIKELY TO EAT A LOT OF BUGS BECAUSE YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT DUE TO THE BEAUTY YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE.
Seriously, it’s that amazing. Have you recently heard high pitched shrieks, nervous laughter or excited whispers seeping out of thick mangrove tunnels or echoing across normally quiet night waters? Or caught a glimpse of something ghostly serene floating across a glowing grass flat after dark? If so then you’re lucky because it’s a beautiful sight to behold. But the luckiest ones of all are the very few who have actually joined the exotic tribe, the ones who’ve taken a night tour on a LIGHTED stand up paddle board or kayak. They’ve become one with the night, the ruler of their light and home on the sea because they’re able to see. If you talk to any of these fortunate souls who have experienced this magic carpet ride over their own private aquarium they will probably be using words like “Amazing”, “Surreal”, “Breathtaking”, “Once-In-A-Life-Time” and mostly I hear “Unbelievable”. Some of the things that we see on our tours in these waters are pretty amazing during the day time already. Sponges, sea stars, live shells of many kinds, hundreds of species of fish, jelly fish, and sometimes seahorses. Now, imagine floating over all those things in the black of night with a light shining just below you. The sponges show bits of glowing iridescent blue sticking out of their tops, species of small fish and in colors I’ve never seen before dart in and out of the mangrove roots. Some fish are completely clear, others glow bright blue down their backs. The sea stars under lights are incredible and there are literally a hundred big fat huge ones. It made me realize how well they are normally hiding from us during the day and I usually think we are finding so many when we see 10! It’s apparently horseshoe crab mating season and we’ve encountered sets of love crabs on each paddle. It’s so amazing to have them scamper right along the sand in inches of water while we hover over them taking their pictures, they are oblivious.
The light is definitely a fish attractant, which I know will please a lot of you fishermen out there. Depending on where you are and what kind of fish you get into, some of them get pretty worked up. That’s where the squealing comes in. I don’t care how much you prepare for it or warn someone, when 20 fish from the size of tiny minnows up to fist size mullet start throwing themselves into and onto your board or kayak and landing in your lap… somebody is going to squeal! But there’s no need for everyone to get nervous if you don’t like flopping fish, I’ve only had 3 actually land on my board and they were all little tiny minnows.
For others interested in how these lights might help them with fishing just check out the picture of the flounder that I took from my paddle board this week with the lights.
The idea of lighting your kayak and paddle board is not new, the concept has been around for at least a few years. But thanks to some pretty fancy pants people who like to invent things there is new technology which makes this product small, bright, easy to install, portable, long lasting, and relatively inexpensive. They come in white light or spectrum colors that give you a choice of red, pink, green, blue, purple, yellow, white, or scrolling of all colors in a timing sequence. The blue and green lights are amazing for attracting fish and like having your own portable fish lights. They are sleek and use adjustable harness straps to fit waterproof LED lights tightly to any paddle board or kayak. They come with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and charger and fits in a travel case for those of you on the go. The retail cost is $349 for the white lights and $399 for the colors. Hooked On SUP is your local dealer in Englewood and has both models in stock or you can go online to www.nocqua.com to purchase.
Hooked On SUP is doing several guided nightly tours every week, including Light Up The Night Paddle Tours and Lighted SUP Yoga Classes. The cost is $45 -$55 per person and can be booked by calling 844-SUP-PROS or going online to www.HookedOnSUP.com. There are also other tour companies in the area that do lighted tours and we recommend Sarasota Paddleboard-www.sarasotapaddleboard.com or Tampa/St. Pete Beach area- SharksSUP Adventures- www.sharkssup.com.