Capturing underwater memories this ice fishing season
On a recent ice fishing outing after a major cold front, the fish were nice enough to stop their hot bite and give this angler an opportunity to play around with two underwater cameras.
The cameras I was using included an Aqua-Vu Mini Scout and a Marcum VS 825c. I hooked the Marcum up to a small handheld Aiptek camcorder for recording screen images using an RCA cable. You can buy DVRs for underwater cameras but I like the little camera I bought for around $100 because in a pinch it works as a video camera as well.
What's the purpose in recording anything? It's fun, for one thing, to show people the fish that you saw while you ice fishing. It's even more fun to show them the hook-set recorded in living color. Hardcore anglers can view the footage and learn from it much like a football player watching tape after the game.
Both the Marcum and the handheld Aqua-Vu did a great job keeping the anglers on the ice entertained and "in the game." A flasher is still my top choice for the most important piece of electronics on the ice but an underwater camera does help when the fish are being finicky. Those blobs of color on the flasher come to life and let you see what's down there.
When they just won't take a bite of your lure, the camera at least lets you see what they are doing when they poke their nose at the bait without taking a bite. Both cameras show all the action in full color.
The Marcum is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment that, when paired with a camera panner, can be spun 360 degrees providing you with the ultimate view around the house. Fish that don't enter the cone of a flasher can be viewed in the camera and the panner helps control the view. As you can see in the attached screen captures from the Marcum, on-screen data includes depth, temperature and an arrow showing the direction the camera is pointing.
The Aqua-Vu handheld is a new innovation in underwater cameras and is the size of a smartphone. The little camera is connected via a thin wire that resembles Dacron fishing line. Once you get it down you can control the view by rolling the wire between your fingers but it takes a lot of mickey-mousing to keep it locked on a single location.
Underwater cameras are a tremendous tool for ice anglers in a variety of ways: checking bottom content/structure, check if weeds are green and living or dead, and watch the reactions of fish to your presentation. Bring a long a video camera that has an RCA input and record your images for viewing later or taking screen captures. Upload your videos to YouTube and share them with friends and family, especially if you capture that big one hooking up. Even if you lost it at the hole, you have video of the hook-up to prove your "one that got away" story.