At some point, fishing just went full speed ahead with technology. There are big debates about live sonar and whether or not you can even be competitive if you don’t use the latest innovation. However, anglers are often quick to forget to use some of the technology that has been around for a long time.
I was reminded of this a few years ago while visiting my buddy's car shop. He broke out a small corded camera to see a tight space around the car’s motor. I thought this was a good idea, but was shocked when he told me about the mechanic camera’s huge price tag. My immediate thought was that my underwater fishing camera would do the same job and was way less expensive.
This got me thinking about where else most anglers aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of an underwater camera. So here are seven scenarios where you should consider using an underwater camera.
Water clarity is a big deal for many different types of fishing. Sometimes you don’t want it too dirty, other times, not too clean. The optical quality, lights, and inferred options on underwater cameras have come so far in the last twenty years that I use my camera just to check water clarity.
Often what we see on the surface is not what it is five, ten, or even more feet down where our lures are actually at. A quick drop of a camera will give you a real indication as to what water clarity is below the surface.
This should be obvious, but I can tell you a lot of guys on my home lake fish gizzard shad for hours thinking that they are a big school of walleyes. In fairness, they look very similar on sonar, but a quick drop of a camera is a sure way to reveal what’s lurking below.
Many tournament fishermen use these on structures that they might have fished with a purposely hook-free bait to avoid “sore mouthing” them before a tournament. Whether it’s a fish on a bed or one in a tree, an underwater camera is a much better way to see what’s going on without spooking the them for later.
We’ve all had that one spot that just seems to have fish when other areas that look the same don’t. Frequently what anglers find is that the rocks are different in size, or the weed type or bottom composition is just a touch different.
Figuring all of these variables out with a rod in your hand is much less efficient than just dropping down a camera for positive identification. This makes it much easier to find new areas that have the same characteristics as your favorite spot.
In the winter it’s safe to say you can find at least a couple of videos on social media each week of someone that used an underwater camera to retrieve personal items such as a cell phone or car keys from the lake bottom.
The same could be said for open water as well. Using an underwater camera at the dock makes it much easier to retrieve those same items that tend to end up on the lake bottom.
Easily the most underrated reason you should use an underwater camera is for education. I’ve taught myself to fish many different techniques by watching how they truly react on an underwater camera.
Classic lures like a Jigging Rapala has little nuances as you slightly adjust the amount of slack or cadence. Minute changes so small—that I dare you to see them by just watching another angler's hands while fishing—make a world of difference when it comes to catching.
The same could be said for a blade bait, most have no idea how far they are moved in the water column with just a slight raise of the rod tip. The list could go on forever, but what better way to see what you are actually doing to your lure than to watch it live?
Ice fishing has to be the type of fishing that uses underwater cameras the most. While in most cases I still prefer a sonar unit to actually fish with, there are scenarios where underwater cameras shine outside of those areas previously mentioned.
Perhaps the biggest would be in shallow water. Traditional sonar has a very small cone, and you can only see fish in an area about the diameter of a bucket. When this is the case, a camera is better because you can hang it either vertically or horizontally to see a much larger piece of the water column.
Let me pose this situation to you. The dryer vent is seemingly clogged or the dishwasher line has an issue, but you can't get in there to see what’s going on. A quick drop of your underwater camera and you can see what is actually happening.
I’ve taped it to a broom handle more than once to get eyes on an otherwise inaccessible area. If there ever was a better way to convince your significant other that you needed all of that fishing gear, I need to hear it.
Another area that you need to consider using an underwater camera for is boat rigging or maintenance. A camera excels in areas where you are trying to run a wire or check for clearance below an area you want to drill in.
I guess the point is, that an underwater camera isn’t just for ice fishing or even the boat. Many different scenarios will pop up for an outdoorsman where an underwater camera makes life easier or maybe even saves the day.
Let us know in the comment section below the creative uses that you’ve found for your underwater camera.