An underwater camera is a must have equipment for anyone attempting to go for an ice fishing expedition. Many people assume that these cameras are very expensive, nothing could be farther from the truth; every winter fisherman can get a camera that fits his or her budget.
Using underwater cameras for ice fishing can greatly improve a fisherman’s success rate. Which is mainly because a fishing camera allows you to see and monitor the exact surrounding and environment you are fishing in; saving you lots of time and money in the process as you can easily leave a spot that doesn’t show any potential. To make your experience with an underwater camera worthwhile and successful, there are a few tips that will come in handy, these include;
Read the manual
Many people tend to ignore this basic requirement. Make a point of going through every page, even if you have used a similar camera, remember that brands do differ. It is also recommended that you try out the camera in your bathroom or in another water body before actually going ice fishing with it.
Use the camera to scout your fishing hole
An underwater camera is a wonderful scout in itself. Choose an appropriate site which you feel may fetch you some fish and place the camera at least two (2) inches under the surface of the water. Allow the water surface to settle by waiting for at least two minutes after immersing the camera. You can then go ahead to look for tell tale signs of fish around the area, even though you may not see fish at that moment in time, the camera will help you check on other signs that may point towards the presence or absence of fish, the type of fish available and the depths at which they are positioned. Signs to look for may be green seaweeds, rocks and pebbles, any present cavities etc.
Use your Camera to monitor your fishing hole
Once you have scouted for a fishing hole and drilled it, the camera can be used to monitor how the fish is reacting to your bait and help you improve your chances of catching some fish. You should measure at least some 2 feet away (depends on the specs of your camera and the type of fish you are targeting) and drill a much smaller hole that can allow your camera to fit through.
The camera should be put at the same depth as your bait and should be placed facing the dropped bait. Through the camera, you will be able to see if your targeted fish is reacting favorably to the jig movement. This allows you to effectively control the bait, or change it if necessary. It is important to hide the camera from the fish as they are naturally quite shy, to succeed in doing this, the camera should be dropped vertically.
Last winter we tried out one and got a school of 9 fish swimming around, which is pretty cool to watch. We also had a close up of a big pike, looking at out minnows. Both Cabelas and Fish TV make some nice underwater cameras. Another option is using a Go Pro camera with a float. When fishing shallow water, you can use the camera at the surface to observe and record images .
Get the right specifications
Depending on where you intend to use the underwater cameras for ice fishing, it is important that you get a camera with the correct specifications. If you will hover between freshwater and salty water bodies make sure you get a camera that can be calibrated accordingly, get a camera that can give you long hours of service before requiring a recharge. The display screen should also give you vivid clear pictures irrespective of the weather.