As an ice angler, there are several tools that can aid in your fishing success. Very few, however, are as effective as an underwater camera. The information provided to an angler from the use of an underwater fishing camera not only accelerates one’s learning curve but will ultimately, put more fish on the ice.
Underwater cameras are invaluable tools on the ice that can be employed in a number of ways. First and foremost, ice fishing cameras are an effective search tool. There’s a reason why underwater cameras are employed by nearly every ice tournament angler. They allow anglers to quickly and effectively determine if an area is not only holding fish underwater, but also fish of the right kind and the right size. Most ice fishermen have experienced dropping down on what appears to be the motherload – only to find out they’re dealing with a school of the wrong fish. Utilizing a camera from the get-go will prevent an angler from wasting precious time.
Beyond determining if an area has fish present, underwater cameras are also advantageous at identifying specific cover. For example, using an underwater camera to try to pick out the good stuff from the start versus fishing an area that is far less suitable. From the top of the ice, weeds just seem to look like weeds. With an underwater camera down, anglers can quickly determine which weeds are green and which weeds aren’t. Finding green weeds can be critical because green, healthy weeds provide oxygen and often some of the best fish habitat. In addition to weed growth, wood cover, such as man made cribs or submerged timber, can also act as fish magnets. In many of these situations, fish will hold extremely tight to the cover, making it nearly impossible to determine if fish are present without a camera. Underwater cameras also help determine how fish are related to the specific cover (i.e. on the inside, on the edge, etc.), which in turn will allow the right set up location for the situation.
Aside from locating fish or identifying the perfect fishing spot, underwater cameras can also teach an angler a lot about the presentations they rely on. Each and every ice season, new baits hit the market. Understanding how these baits work under the ice is an important piece to the fishing puzzle. Recognizing how specific movements or jigging cadences impart action on a lure will make an individual a better angler. This is particularly important with artificial lures like plastics. By watching a plastic on camera, an angler can determine which movements above the ice will create specific movements below the ice, as well as understanding how fish react to specific lures or actions. Using a camera to view lures, can also reveal how different rigging combinations will impact a lure (i.e. horizontal, vertical, or vertizontal), as well as how fish react to them. Regardless of your lure type, it crucial to know what your bait is doing below the ice.
Every angler has experienced the days on the ice where fish after fish seems scared of commitment. They’re showing themselves on sonar, but they just refuse to bite. On these types of days, an underwater camera can help determine exactly what’s going on below the ice. Relying on a camera will allow the user to establish whether it’s time to adjust the presentation or time to move on. For those extra picky fish, a camera will actually confirm whether or not a fish has taken the bait – which can pay huge dividends on days where they’re barely biting. The first few fish an angler sees will often provide clues to the mood of the day (i.e. aggressive or finicky). Cameras help anglers determine this at a much faster rate – and help to dial in the right presentation for the situation.
There’s no better truth detector than an underwater camera. They tell an angler more about a specific area or fish than any other tool on the ice. Knowing exactly where to fish and which presentations to use will ultimately put more fish on the ice. Take the guesswork out of it, sharpen your skills, and add an underwater camera to your arsenal.
MarCum offers the best underwater cameras for all types of anglers. For the mobile angler, the Recon 5, Recon 5 Plus and Pursuit HDL are ideal handheld options that pack some serious punch in a small package. For sit and fish anglers, MarCum’s underwater cameras like the VS485c, Mission SD L, and Quest HD L offer larger displays for viewing from a distance. All MarCum cameras feature RCA or HDMI video out to hook up to a larger screen, like a TV in a permanent shack. Additional features include temperature, depth, and camera direction. Regardless of camera type, a camera panner is a helpful tool for quick and easy setup. MarCum offers great underwater camera accessories including a wired panner and a wireless panner.