April 01, 2022
By Ross Robertson
Underwater cameras have been on the market for decades at this point, but much like our phones they have significantly advanced technologically from yesteryear. Companies such as Aqua Vu that helped pioneer underwater cameras now offer models with larger screens for easier viewing, four camera heads for 360 viewing, compact units to carry easily and put more power at our fingertips that actually help us catch more fish.
Here are five ways that cameras can help you on your next fishing trip.
Fish ID—I think we can all relate to looking at a sonar screen that resembles simulator mode only to be disappointed that they won’t bite. In many cases these simulator-type screens aren’t the actual species you are chasing. Simply drop down an underwater camera to prove if that big school of walleyes are actually walleyes and not a pile of gizzard shad or schooled-up carp. The quick drop of a camera can save you a lot of time and embarrassment.
Pre Fish—Tournament anglers are learning that technology is one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently eliminate water. The use of tools such as Mega Side Imagining, and Mega Live sonar is teaching us things it would have otherwise taken years to learn. An underwater camera, however, is one way to actually get 100% confirmation without “sore mouthing” any fish. Dropping a camera around structure such as docks, brush piles or even a wing dam is a fast way to see if there is not only fish there, but how many, what kind and how big.
Oops—If you watch Instagram or tiktok for more than a few minutes you’re likely to see some videos of fisherman using their underwater cameras to help them retrieve their phone, keys or an endless list of other personal items that somehow ended up in the drink. One of these “catches” is enough to justify purpose alone. They also work well in the house to check the laundry drier lines and other similar tasks where you need to see in areas with limited access or light.
Sight Fish—If you were to poll a thousand anglers that own underwater cameras it is likely that a majority of them are primarily used for ice fishing. In shallow water even modern electronics can be useless. Many hardcore anglers actually feel that the transducer noise scares the fish under these circumstances. While that may be debatable, what isn’t is the fact that using a wide-angle lens camera to see fish that are approaching from the side or sneaking out of weed pockets is. Just seeing how fish actually interact with your lure can help you makes changes to your presentation much quicker than without using a camera. Open water anglers are also learning that these ice tactics can apply year-round.
Real ID—I’m betting most of us have caught fish in one little area with no idea what was so special about it. Move a little this way or over here a short distance and nothing. This is the perfect time to drop down a camera. In scenarios like this, a camera can provide detail that even high-end sonar such as Mega Live won’t be able to fully show. Often, it’s a different type of weed or bottom structure. Maybe just having a different size of rock on the bottom is enough to make a spot magical. The point is, without a way to see what is going on we can’t find similar spots or fully understand what the fish want at that time.
With so many options on the market today there is an underwater camera to fit your needs and help you catch more fish and maybe even get your phone back! The more you use a camera the more you will realize that they can help in ways you didn’t even think about.
Capt. Ross Robertson