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BobT

Underwater Camera

Question

BobT

Been looking at underwater cameras and would like some input. If you've used one, did you find them useful and valuable or was it more of a novelty? 

I can imagine it might have it use to see what's down there regarding weeds, rocks, etc. but in reality how much can you really see? I expect in winter when water is settled and more clear it may be better but not so much in summer? 

Your thoughts?

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BriGuy88

I've also been using cameras for the past 10 years or so and find them very useful for studying fish behavior and reactions to different lure/bait presentations.  Usefulness will definitely depend on the water clarity of the bodies of water you typically fish and the same body of water can be hit or miss on clarity from year to year.  For instance, my home lake has terrible clarity this winter.  Can barely see 2' in 20' of water this year, but last year in the same spots I could easily see 10-12' in 20' of water.  Ice thickness and snow cover can also reduce the usefulness of the camera, but overall, I think they can be both educational and fun.  Always a blast to see a pike come in and survey your minnow for a couple of minutes... pause, back up and WHAM!!

I've only tried using my camera in open water a couple of times and to me, the biggest issue is being able to see the screen when you are out in the open... almost need to have someone else run the boat while you tuck under a beach towel or something with the camera so you can actually see the screen.  Same holds true in the winter with trying to use a camera outside, so I stick to using mine inside the shelter.

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wishing for walleyes

I find them very useful. I have owned several. You sure can see better in the winter. Some lakes you cannot see 2 foot. Others you can see 15-20 foot. Was recently out in south Dakota watching perch and walleyes on the camera. I have a Marcum 825 sd and love it. But a lot of cheaper black and white cameras work great a well. Its fun watching fish come up and look right into the camera. Yes sometimes they spook from it and other times they don't.

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BobT

Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

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papadarv

When I fish Ottertail humps I want to be on the strip of sand between the break and 8" weed line closer to weed. Camera does the trick. Second great for watching fish action, how there hitting bait, effects of jigging, light / hard bite and relation of actual fish in cone and what is the flasher showing. I saw this northern on my flasher than gone. Rotated camera & found him laying in weeds. My mistake was stopping upward movement of bait dropping it about 1" when he was moving in for the kill. When he moved he was again visiable on flasher. My camera is DIY with features not available on market. Has HD 720 low light camera, wireless and direct to monitor, tablet, tv, one touch record and wireless rotation all for <$100. Next build this summer will have the latest super 1400 HD with night vision.

20180127_144544.thumb.jpg.6af036df99024fd61cba1d3b748da055.jpg

Northern video

IPS_2018-01-14.15.09.42.mp4

 

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BobT

Just thought I'd pass an update. As I was trying to decide between the Micro II, Micro Plus, and then came across the Micro Revolution 5.0 I finally decided on the Aqua-Vu Micro Revolution 5.0. Hoping to put it to use this weekend. Here are the reasons for my decision.

  • The Micro II is only water resistant while the other two are both IP67 rated. I inquired about the Micro II and was told that it could handle light water splash but was not suitable for wet conditions such as during a steady rain. That pretty much ruled it out of the running for me since I plan to use it outdoors.
  • Micro II has a 3" screen as does the Micro Plus but the Revolution has a 5" screen. The 5" screen started out as a negative but later I realized the unit was still compact enough that I could fit it in the pockets of my coat so it was only a minor negativity. 
  • The picture quality of the Micro II was the lowest of the three while the Revolution had the sharpest picture quality.
  • The Micro II and Micro Plus come with 50' cables while the Revolution comes with 60' cable. I do some lake trout fishing and although we sometimes fish even deeper, having the 60' cable gave it a little edge over the other two.
  • The Micro II and Micro Plus camera cables are hair thin while the Revolution cable is a little heavier. I expect it should be easier for rotating the camera while viewing with the heavier cable.
  • The Revolution also has depth indicators on the cable while the Micro II and Micro Plus do not.
  • The Micro II and Micro Plus both have automatic IR lighting while the Revolution IR light is manually controlled so I can decide whether to use it or not. I liked that.
  • The Revolution has adjustable IR lighting intensity while the other two do not. 
  • The Revolution comes with Aqua-Vu's Integrated Revolution Camera Reel System which was a feature that really caught my attention. Rather than manually winding the camera cable around the storage spool which adds wear and potential damage as it slides through your fingers the Revolution has a reel so you can wind up or down the camera more quickly with less risk. 
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Wanderer

Sounds like a good choice Bob - enjoy!

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BobT

Tried it out this past weekend. I'm going to have to write to the manufacturer. I wonder if there's a setting that I've missed or some type of filter assembly I need but for some reason it only seems to show perch. I couldn't see any walleyes or northerns or crappies or anything except perch. :crazy:

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BobT

Here's a little information I thought I'd share in case some are not aware.

I didn't think about this when I was making my purchase but my camera comes equipped with IR lighting. Some models that I saw also came equipped with white LED lighting and Fleet Farm also offers a floodlight that can be hung from the trolling fin of the camera. 

While I was sitting in my portable on Saturday, during a break in the action :grin:, it occurred to me that I had at one time thought it was illegal to use artificial lighting so I searched the regulations handbook, which I keep on my phone. The handbook says it is illegal to use artificial lights to lure, attract, or spot fish and so the question that came to my mind is whether my IR light would be illegal. Sure hope not as it would be a bummer to not be able to legally use my camera in MN.

I sent a message to the DNR this morning and this is the reply.

Good afternoon Bob,

Thank you for contacting the Minnesota DNR.

It is legal to use infrared light on an underwater camera, however if the camera is equipped with an option for white light or any light which is projected it makes it illegal to use in Minnesota.

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Getanet

I thought I'd bump this post. I know some guys tend to think of underwater cameras as an unnecessary novelty,  but I got a great deal on the Micro Revolution Pro before the ice season and I have to say, I really like it. The camera reel system that Bob mentioned is really slick - basically wind it up like you're reeling in a fish and never have to worry about 30 feet of cord laying all over the place.  The system I got also lets me record, which is a fun because I can show the video to my kids or parents and "share" my trip with them a little bit (and actually have proof I was on fish).  But most importantly I like to know for certain what sort of structure I'm sitting on, and/or get my lure at the exact depth I want it.

 

I know if you're pretty familiar with the settings on your flasher you can be pretty confident if you're on rocks, mud or weeds - but I'd venture most people just aren't that dialed in with their flashers - I know I'm not.

 

Also, the quality of the cameras has come a long way. My first experience with an underwater camera was with the old school aqua view where you sort of looked down a tube at the monitor. Then about 10 years ago my friend had one that kind of looked like a small TV.  Those were OK, but the fish had to be pretty close to the camera. The quality of the newer styles is far superior (I realize the water quality is a huge factor, but still, camera resolution has come a long way). The cameras are also a lot smaller and seem to bother the fish less.

 

Anyway, seeing as the hard water season is winding down I was just thinking that the camera I have is one of the more handy tools I have now. I don't keep it down for long, but it's great for getting set-up and or drop down the hole a few times to keep things interesting.

 

 

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BobT

Sometimes I will drill a hole within camera range of the hole I'm fishing out of and then line up the camera so I can watch my jig to see how fish react.

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smurfy
34 minutes ago, BobT said:

Sometimes I will drill a hole within camera range of the hole I'm fishing out of and then line up the camera so I can watch my jig to see how fish react.

I use mine on and off fishing. I have a sun shield for mine in the summer. it works ok at best. but I do use it to watch fish and check structure.

I just used it the last 3 weekends tipup fishing. its both fun and frustrating. to watch a pike grab the sucker, mess with it then let it go, and watch there behavior is crazy fun. and frustrating.

I bought a tripod for mine and you can zero in on your bait, but it does take a bit of playing to get it set right. I lost the little rubber stopper so I use a couple winter depth finders. the only downfall is the deeper you need to set it, the more risk you have of a fish tangling up in it!!!!  

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BobT
13 hours ago, smurfy said:

I use mine on and off fishing. I have a sun shield for mine in the summer. it works ok at best. but I do use it to watch fish and check structure.

I just used it the last 3 weekends tipup fishing. its both fun and frustrating. to watch a pike grab the sucker, mess with it then let it go, and watch there behavior is crazy fun. and frustrating.

I bought a tripod for mine and you can zero in on your bait, but it does take a bit of playing to get it set right. I lost the little rubber stopper so I use a couple winter depth finders. the only downfall is the deeper you need to set it, the more risk you have of a fish tangling up in it!!!!  

Oh yes, I hear you on the frustration and fun mixture. Two weeks ago I was on a lake I haven't visited in years. My success rate this winter has been a zero. I was in about 25' of water and started out with my jig and minnow set about 6" off the bottom, hoping a few crappie or sunfish would be cruising by. I dropped the camera down and saw lots of perch hanging around but then I noticed my sonar was lit up for about a 5' span hovering about 5' off the bottom so I raised my camera and found oodles of crappies and sunnies. I brought my jigs up and was watching one of them. The fish were totally uninterested and basically just hanging out. I'd play with them and once in a while one would come to my jig, stare at it for an eternity, and then maybe take it in its mouth right up to the jig but I could still see the small jig outside its mouth. I eventually managed to bring about a 1/2 dozen to the surface but that was it. 

 

For my camera, I didn't buy a tripod. I got one of those foam swimming noodles and cut a piece off about a foot long so it could straddle my 10" auger holes. In the center I cut a slit in it about half way through so I could run my camera cable through it. Now, I can hold the cable centered over the hole and just rotate the noodle whatever amount I want and line it up to see my hooks or whatever I'm interested in watching. Once I find my hook, I know which way the camera is pointing from then on.

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papadarv

I fish out of a wheel house, hub or flip. Over the years I have found a camera to be an extremely fishing tool as long as water is somewhat clear. (Dont work well on Red or LOTW). My Flasher or Showdown both mark fish before they show up on camera due to cone area greater than camera view. Biggest advantage over flashsr/showdown is the "light bite" which happens often on ice. With flasher, red (fish) consumes green (bait) turning green to red indicating fish on - setting hook and miss. With camera I see fish barley lip the minnow/worm/plastic often hold a few to 15 seconds than suck bait in and instentally spit it out aka the miss. With camera you see the suck in, set the hook, fish on. Watching the many behaviours really adds to wisdom. Sometimes like last Sunday watching my grandkids playing and learning with Gills & Perch was extreanily gratifying. My camera is self built, in a suitcase totally push button wireless to drop, retrive, rotate left/hight, one button record high def.

 

20200228_161918.thumb.jpg.670c59ee794a72c823d62a02d8d7872d.jpg

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Stickjiggler

Papadarv

Your camera setup looks pretty sweet.

Any chance you would do a how to build it for us?

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