The Best Underwater Fishing Camera for Open Water – 2022

Pursuit HD L Fall mapping for winter fishing

The Best Underwater Fishing Camera
for Open Water – 2022

Underwater cameras are undoubtedly one of the greatest technological advancements in the sport of fishing these past few decades.  Anglers in recent generations have come to depend on cameras to do far more than help them watch fish eat, but to observe their surroundings, study fish behavior and movements, even learn how fish certain baits better. 

Not only then has it been a technology that’s useful in its own right, but the simple fact is that underwater viewing has helped push forward the sport of fishing in general.  From evolutions in tackle design, reels, and line, to changes in the way we fundamentally fish, looking at the underwater world through a camera is here to stay. 

MarCum offers two styles of camera heads that create distinct advantages over other designs, depending on the fishing conditions and style of viewing you’ll be doing.  The first is a Manta-style, featuring a weighted camera head that has wings protruding to the side. 

Pair this with a provided back-fin, and you’ve got a camera head that glides easily through moving water areas in current, or with the boat in motion while in search mode.  The other style features a smaller camera head that’s perfect for shallow water, quick-drop scenarios.  These stow easily, take up little room, and offer incredible views despite their small size.

Underwater viewing initially started as an ice-only venture, with anglers having more success using older models on a fixed sheet of ice.  As technology has changed, so too has the effectiveness of floating in a boat and deploying cameras.  That said, each have their own strengths to share, making one the perfect choice in certain scenarios but not in others.  We’ll break down those cameras and offer some key insights into advantages.

Best Overall Camera
for Open Water

MarCum Quest HD L Hero

The Marcum Quest HD L has been a dominant player in underwater viewing since its inception.  Featuring an ultra-crisp 1080p camera and MarCum Brute 12V10AH Lithium LiFePO4 battery, this camera offers the best resolution, increased run-time, and incredible lightweight performance in a compact unit.  Pair that with the brightest display MarCum has ever produced, and you’ve got an underwater viewing system that stows well in the boat and shines bright in high-sun conditions.  Featuring the manta-style head system, the Quest HD L provides plenty of cable for viewing at depth, and glides through the water without rotating while underway.  That allows anglers to drop, rotate, and spot fish, or cruise along a weedline to find productive turns and transitions.

Most Fully Featured Camera
for Open Water

While all MarCum cameras will offer a great view of the underwater world, only one of them with do it overlayed on world class sonar.  The MarCum LX-9 L offers sonar and underwater viewing in one unit, making it a great 1-2 punch for finding fish, then discerning whether they’re the target species of choice.  With an immersive 8” screen, anglers find this unit perfect for the boat when paired with the open water transducer kit.  Mount it permanently and utilize for full-time fish-finding, then drop the camera to confirm what you’re seeing.  The LX-9 L features a manta head system that drops quickly to the fish, and tracks well while moving along with the trolling motor or just drifting.  It’s a truly unique system that’s designed to offer the best of sonar and underwater viewing in one, compact system, now made lighter by the addition of a MarCum Brute 12V10AH Lithium LiFePO4 battery.

Best Camera for Darkwater
Underwater Viewing

MarCum Mission SD L Hero

Do you fish in stained, turbid water, or hunt the depths for big fish only?  The MarCum Mission SD L is the best camera for the job.  Featuring the highly stable Manta platform, and a Standard Definition (SD) viewing experience, you’ve got a suitcase style camera and huge display that does well in darkwater scenarios.  SD accomplishes more in these scenarios, offering anglers the ability to “see the forest through the trees” which HD cameras can have a harder time with.  In the bright sun, you’ve got the H2D solar intelligent display on a 7” screen to aid in the toughest dark-water, high-sun environments. 

Best Value
in Underwater Viewing

The MarCum 485C proves that top-of-the-line performance doesn’t have to come with a top-shelf price tag.  There’s no better value in underwater viewing, with the 485C providing the best bang-for-the-buck of any camera on the market.  With a 7-inch, high-resolution flat-panel LCD screen with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, and CMOS camera sensor to instantly adjust to brightness conditions, the viewing experience offered here rivals high-end competitors.  When viewing in bright conditions, enjoy full-color mode, or switch to ColorKill technology for a black and white view that excels in murky water, low light, and other challenging environments for underwater viewing.

Best Compact Camera
For Underwater Viewing

For anglers that rarely use and underwater camera in the boat, but really need it when they do, the MarCum Pursuit HD L checks all the boxes.  With a FULL HD image sensor (1920X1080p) and industry-leading display precision, this unit packs a punch in a pocket-sized 5” LCD display.  That makes it storable virtually anywhere in the boat, and less of a chore to use all at the same time.  Simply unzip the front screen, secure the camera cable and drop for a quick look at anything that requires confirmation.  Looking at brush-piles to see how well they hold crappies, or just trying to figure out whether you’re targeting walleyes or suckers?  The Pursuit HD L offers the most compact, high-quality viewing experience you’ll find anywhere. 

No matter your species or scenario, underwater cameras can directly improve your fishing on open water, just like they do on ice.  Tournament anglers, guides, and fisheries professionals all utilize underwater viewing to learn more and catch more, in a host of open-water situations.  Just like any tool, these are highly specialized pieces of technology, so choosing the best camera comes down to selecting the best viewing for your specific application. 

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