The fishing industry is full of gadgets and a Mustang man thinks his invention of a bite indicator light for night fishing is an improvement on all similar gadgets.
Jason Nelson earns a paycheck as a computer programmer and software developer. In his spare time, he likes to fish.
“I've fished my whole life,” Nelson said. “I grew up with a farm pond behind my house that I used to sneak in on.”
Nelson also likes to create stuff, especially stuff to make his fishing easier and more enjoyable. .
He has created a product called “StrikeLight” that can be clamped to fishing poles. A light will shine when an angler gets a bite. It's not a new idea, but Nelson says his bite indicator light is not a knock off others that came before it.
Unlike many fishing indicator lights on poles which feature a single exposed bulb, Nelson has designed a light chamber which encapsulates the light and concentrates it into the tip of the device.
A lot of similar products use just one exposed bulb at the tip of the pole, Nelson said. His invention uses two LED bulbs that are protected and shines brighter, he said.
“Instead of just the bulb lighting up, it has cap on the bulb so the whole tip of the StrikeLight lights up,” Nelson said. “It's really easy to see if you are away from your fishing rod or not paying attention.”
Nelson said it's also much easier to change the batteries on StrikeLight than other similar products. Anglers cansimply unscrew a cap on the back like a flashlight and replace two watch batteries.
Nelson came up with the idea for StrikeLight four years ago and built his first prototype with parts he bought at Radio Shack.
“It's been a long process to go from an idea to a drawing to actually having a product,” he said.
After Nelson had a working model, he took it to a mechanical engineer and an electrical engineer to produce 3-D drawings for a manufacturer, which builds and ships the StrikeLight to him. He sells the product online at www.mystrikelight.com and is trying to get it into stores.
The StrikeLight fits on most rod poles with clamps. The most difficult part of creating a bite indicator light was ensuring that it would not be triggered by wind or waves. It will only shine when there is actually a fish on the line, Nelson said.
Nelson built four prototypes to adjust the sensor before it would perform as he wanted so boat movement or wind vibrations would not trigger the light.
“It may twinkle every now and then,” Nelson said. “If you are fishing in a 30 mph wind or three feet waves, it probably will (go off), but in normal fishing conditions my expectations and hopes are it won't light up until a fish bites.”
Nelson's final test was on Lake Eufaula last Memorial Day. A 10-pound carp was his first guinea pig.
“That thing lit up like a Fourth of July,” Nelson said of the StrikeLight. “I didn't care what it was. It could have been a turtle.”
Nelson launched his website in January.
“I've sold a few,” he said. “I am not a millionaire or anything.”
Nelson has several more ideas for fishing gadgets. An avid trout angler, he is currently working on a detachable fish stringer for fly fishermen when they are wading a river.
“It's just a real pain to untie your stringer from your (fishing) vest and string up your fish and tie it back on,” he said. “I was out fishing and thought it would be cool to have something like that.”