Underwater camera’s can provide close up viewing of feeding fish and show you the reaction fish have to baits. I have been playing with the Water Wolf Camera, which hooks directly in line, 24 inches from your bait. The camera attaches to the main line, and then you run a leader off the other side of the camera. Water clarity determines how long your leader should be, so some experimenting is in order.
The camera records in 20 minutes increments and will last over five hours. It takes a micro SD card that fits under the waterproof cap. It works best for trolling, as you can set it and leave it. It isn’t very conducive for casting and I would not recommend it on a regular basis. I have used it in shallow water and almost lost it in some weeds. Its excels in deep, clear water. I have had it 50 feet down and was able to see the images clearly.
It costs about $150 and that does not include the micro SD card. There are weights that fit in a housing on the camera itself, in case you need to get it deeper in the water column. I put the smaller of the two weights in mine, and have never changed them. The cord to plug it into your computer is included. It is black in color and I have dressed mine up with j-plug stickers. I have had fish bite the camera including a northern pike, and Lake Trout. I have not lost a camera yet but I am sure it is possible.
Here you can see the J-plug sticker. I have the white zip tie on it as an extra security measure as the wire that the line hooks into snaps into a groove. I wanted to be sure it would not become dislodged. It plugs into the wall to charge the internal battery. They cap on the end has a rubber seal and you must be sure it is very tight so water does not leak inside the camera. I have two camera’s and it seems the caps fit perfect on the one it came with, but they don’t fit well if you switch them.
The action of the lures seems to not be affectedly the attached camera. I usually run spoons off it it and you can actually watch the videos to check how the spoons move in the water. I have also used crank baits. The biggest advantage is watching the fish react to a bait, and also see what is happening in between hook ups. At times you think there are no fish around and upon reviewing the film, you see many lookers snubbing your bait. It is interesting that much of my best footage has been with the same few spoons. It is perfect for Salmon and Trout fishing.
One down side is the length of time it takes to process the video. When you put the chip in the computer, it shows each file which is a 20 minute video. They download onto your computer quickly, but when you go to open them, it says “converting” and that process is lengthy. I usually start the process and then go off to do something else. Once it is converted, I watch it in Quick Time, and you never know what you are going to see. I have fast forwarded past some footage quickly thinking I would be able to tell if a fish showed up. I didn’t think there was anything on film, but upon review there were fish to be seen. Fish movement is so fast, it can only take a few frames and going through the footage to fast will cause you to miss things.
I try to make a mental note of the time I land a fish with the camera line. Then I can go to the correct 20 minute segment more efficiently. I have obtained some pretty cool footage and the quality of the video is really good.
The most difficult thing for me is making something out of the raw footage. I am not very skilled at movie making but if I was, there would be super cool videos to be seen. Even the raw footage is impressive to see. For $150, it’s well worth it. I have two, and use them while trolling. I thought that it may hinder the fish from wanting the bait, but now I think it attracts them. Last week while fishing 6 lines, 3 fish came on the camera line, and a 4th fish tried to eat the camera. Slowing down the footage enables you to see how the fish strike, and the speed is unbelievable. Slowing down the footage is an eye opener for fish behavior. Several times, fish have hit and we lost them, but the camera showed what really happened. Once the fish t-boned the lure and missed the hook. Another time the fish missed the lure, got the line in its mouth and the lure swung back and stuck the fish in the side. After much jumping, the rainbow trout was able to get loose, but having the camera rolling, we were able to see exactly what happened.
Link to video where the pike photo was taken.
Link to video where the rainbow trout bites the bait.