Ben Wales of leading carp angling publication Carp-Talk recently took our FishSpy camera out on test with TF Gear carp fishing tackle consultant Dave Lane. Read on to find out what Carp-talk’s tech and fishing tackle expert thought of our revolutionary product.
Technology, or more precisely electronic gadgetry, seems to be a dividing force amongst anglers; most embrace but plenty of others shun it. Baitboats have caused most offence, but there is a new kid on the block, set to be deplored by swathes of anglers: underwater cameras. Waterwolf was the first of these sophisticated devices, a camera you can attach to your line and record your end tackle, but it is the latest offering from FishSpy that is the focus of my attention. Going one step further, FishSpy offers a live feed, streamed via Wi-Fi directly to your smartphone or tablet. Compatible with both Android and Apple devices, FishSpy replaces your marker float and when cocked on the surface will transmit a stream of visual information to your handheld device. The other week when I posted some footage of FishSpy being put to the test, someone suggested I “might as well fish with dynamite”. Well I’m sure you can all see it’s good, but not quite that devastating!
The 640 x 480 pixel VGA camera is mounted on a specially sealed circuit board with an extra long aerial and inbuilt rechargeable battery. An impact resistant outer is filled with a special expanding foam before being sealed to create a very special marker float you can use without fear of damaging the high-tech internals. To use, simply attach the float to your marker setup as you would a normal marker float. The float is buoyant enough to use on its own, but works best when used with the supplied buoyancy aid, especially at range and on weedy venues. This additional buoyancy ensures the float stands well cocked on the surface to offer best Wi-Fi reception.
Speaking about reception, FishSpy quotes the working range as being 60m (65 yards) with Apple devices and 100m (109 yards) with Android devices. I have tested it with both and, in perfectly flat calm conditions, managed 55m (60 yards) with an iPhone and 105m (115 yards) with a Samsung tablet. The addition of a Wi-Fi boosting case on your Apple device improves reception greatly, bringing it more in line with Android devices; in fact I was able to achieve a working range over 90m.
Once on the water you can view a live stream from the wide-angle camera. The use of a bright/pale coloured braided leader or braided main line is very useful as it offers a means of orientation; it is also advisable to ensure you have a minimum 50lb connection to reduce the likelihood of the whole unit coming adrift. Having a live feed is great, but FishSpy goes one better. Tap the record button on your device and you can pull it underwater, right down to the lakebed. When you’re happy it should have recorded your chosen spot, bring it back to the surface, stop the recording and you can play back your recording, all without having to reel it in. This can provide you with a wealth of information about your swim, like whether there is any weed, detritus or clear areas down there, or better still, if there’s a stinking pile of bait rotting away from several weeks ago! Obviously the clearer the water the better the display, but depth plays a big part too. The deeper you go the less light there is, and there is an advisory maximum working depth of 10m (32ft), but I have already taken it down to over 15m (49ft) and thankfully it’s still working. The internal memory will store up to seven hours footage and the rechargeable battery will last three hours on one charge.
FishSpy is endorsed by Dave Lane, who had the privilege of using it through its developmental stages. Speaking to Carp-Talk he said: “It’s a great feature finding aid and can help you quickly find a suitable spot with the minimum amount of disturbance, which not only benefits you but also anyone else on the lake.” Dave also suggested setting the float up at a fixed depth, paternoster style, perhaps four feet or so off the lake bed. Set it recording before casting out to a clipped distance and then bring it back in 10ft intervals. Once you’ve covered the area that interests you play back the recording, and if you see a nice clear spot, you should be able to calculate the distance based on its relation to how many times you paused the retrieve.
I really like this idea and don’t see it being any different to going out in a boat and viewing the lakebed using an Aquascope. FishSpy is not intended to check your rig is sitting right, but I guess if you land your baited rig close enough to the lead of your marker setup you could take the FishSpy camera down to have a look, but it’s primary function is feature finding. Other possible uses could include viewing the reactions of fish when spodding maggots over zigs, or even laying the float flat on the surface amongst mixers to get a carp’s eye view of them feeding. There are dozens of spots I’ve found in the past and I would love to run the FishSpy camera over them to see if it was the same as the picture I’d built up in my mind’s eye.
You can probably tell I’m very impressed with this aid; in fact the only negative I can find is the £249.99 retail price. Nevertheless, that’s still far cheaper than a BIC boat, outboard motor, echo sounder, leisure battery and half a dozen H-Blok markers.
There is a wide range of accessories available from www.fishspy.com including different coloured fins, spare booms, iPhone and iPad extenders, waterproof cases and a special stick to hold your tablet aloft and leave your hands free to work the marker rod and float.
As and when we take FishSpy to more venues, we will be sure to bring you updates about its performance and any interesting screenshots we take.
Ben Wales (Carp-Talk issue 1100)
Article reproduced with kind permission of Carp-Talk. For more Carp fishing news visit: www.carptalk-online.co.uk