The high-definition underwater camera works wonderfully and captures fish clearly in clear or murky water. The large nine-inch color monitor is comfortable to look at and the removable sun-visor does come in handy. There’s a high capacity battery that’s quickly rechargeable and the DVR functionality allows users to easily record underwater video onto a microSD card.
The camera design makes suspending the camera underwater while in a boat a bit tricky. In certain conditions, it may take time getting used to knowing what direction the camera is facing while submerged.
The seven inch monitor holds up well under the elements of rain and snow. Camera is well built also, and is durable in even icy conditions. Comes with a visor to help visibility under the sunlight. Light and compact, so it travels well. Strong battery life that lasts anywhere from nine to 12 hours.
Directions are very clear. No SD card or record function could be a huge deal breaker for many. Not the greatest in low light or dark waters.
Good picture quality. The remote control is a convenient and adds a great dynamic. Works really well during underwater excursions. The camera case can withstand pressure and go up to 30 meters deep. The built-in wifi works well and the free iSmart DV app allows users to view, download, and record video directly from their phone.
Recording is only in mp4 format. Not ideal for monitoring fish while fishing, better for recording video. Battery life doesn’t last as long as some may like. Lacks quality low light and night recording.
Very solid battery life with roughly four hours per charge. Night recording is a huge plus and the built-in LED yellow light won’t scare nearby fish. The hydraulic design allows the camera to move naturally above the lure through the water. The camera is small enough to fit in a tackle box or in pockets.
More suited for small fish as the part of the body that connects to the lure may not hold up to the strike of more powerful aquatic or marine life. The camera is difficult to control while underwater.
The seven-inch monitor is good size for viewing. Strong battery life and pretty good night shooting capabilities. The camera is able to take video and photo. The 12 LED lights provide day and night vision, and can be turned on and off as needed.
Not the greatest camera performance. Does not record. The camera struggles quite a bit in murky waters.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you’re a serious angler, investing in an underwater fishing camera may give you the edge you’re looking for. While classic fish finders show anglers a graphic representation of what may lie below the water's surface, the addition of an underwater camera gives users a clear, real-life visual of what’s happening beneath the water or ice around them. This can also add another element of fun and discovery, as a quality camera can reveal many things that would be otherwise difficult to discern.
Underwater fishing cameras have been on the market for quite some time, but recent technology has improved their performance dramatically. No longer the large clunky devices of the past, many underwater fishing cameras are designed to not only naturally float through the water, some actually work alongside the fishing lure to capture up-close-and-personal images and video.
When shopping for an underwater fishing camera, customers will want to consider the quality of the camera. While a super crisp high-definition image may not be top priority, anyone investing in a camera to monitor underwater life and conditions will want their image to be as clear as possible. Most underwater camera systems will shoot in HD color and provide users with some form of low-light capabilities, whether that's through infrared lighting or illumination surrounding areas with fish-friendly light.
Some underwater action cameras will provide slightly better camera quality than their fish finder-centric counterparts. These cameras may however sacrifice surfacetop monitoring, or features specific to finding fish.
Shoppers will need to consider their current fish-finding setup to decide whether they need just a camera, or a complete underwater monitoring system. Some underwater fishing cameras may not come equipped with a way for users to monitor what’s beneath them in real-time. Most systems that do provide monitoring will do so in full color, typically on an LCD screen anywhere from 4 to 9 inches. Most screens will have output capabilities so users will be able to hook up additional monitors or output to a TV.
Cable length and use
Standard underwater fishing camera systems consist of a screen and a camera that’s connected by a cable. These cables will generally extend anywhere from roughly 50 to 150 feet and are secured by a spool. Utilizing these cables ensures that a solid signal is sent to the connected monitor, while the cable plays a role in delivering power to any lights used to illuminate darker underwater environments. Generally, users will need to manually raise and lower the camera by hand, but advanced users can use the spool to create more efficient systems if they need to.
Alternatively, some cameras will attach directly to the fishing line or lure. These systems sacrifice the powered cable for smaller more discreet cameras. They typically won’t rely on real-time video capturing and instead focus on timed or interval recording directly to a memory card. Though users may be able to capture more unique images from a camera that connects directly to the fishing line or lure, they run the risk of losing their camera if the line snaps. For capturing rough underwater environments or big game fish, users may want to consider a more secure camera cable set up.
Not all underwater fishing cameras will have recording features. Some systems are designed to simply monitor underwater environments without recording. For systems that do feature recording capabilities, typically users are able to save their footage onto microSD cards, also known as TF cards. There are a few quality camera systems that boast classic fish finder and monitor viewing, as well as DVR and recording capabilities. These are typically more expensive.
Most underwater camera systems won’t have any internal memory capabilities, and will only save recorded video to an external memory card. The maximum external storage that can be used depends on the devices compatibility, but it’s recommended that users target memory cards with anywhere from 8gb to 32gb of storage.
A long battery life is crucial when it comes to underwater fishing cameras. Battery life in underwater fishing cameras can last anywhere between four to 10 hours and they are almost always rechargeable. Generally, systems that are meant to monitor underwater environments and find fish will provide more battery power, because the camera will remain on for extended periods of time. Some fishing cameras may feature remote controls, timers, or automatic recording. These features conserve battery life and are common in systems made more to capture and record the point of contact with the fish.
Inexpensive: Small underwater fishing cameras and waterproof action cameras without supporting monitoring systems can be found for under $100. This is an excellent place to look if you need an extremely high quality waterproof camera without the fish finding capabilities, or a small lure-like camera without the surfaceside real-time monitoring. If you’ve already got a solid fish-finding rig, an inexpensive camera can be a great complement.
Mid-level: Between $100 to $200 is where you’ll find many of the popular underwater cameras and fish monitor systems. If you’re looking for adequate surface-side monitoring or colorful HD video, here’s where you’ll begin to discover what the market has to offer. Pay close attention to which products offer recording or DVR capabilities and which ones don’t.
Expensive: For more than $200, you’ll find models that utilize HD underwater cameras, colorful LCD monitoring, and additional fish finding software and capabilities that will give most users an advantage in not only catching fish, but also capturing them.
Makes locating fish easier. Having a standard sonar finder can work to some degree, but any fish that isn’t directly under the boat or slightly out of the sonar’s reach will go undetected. Adding an underwater camera creates an additional visual dimension and helps users get to perfect fishing spot.
Easily determine fish species. It’s no problem for fishermen to determine how stocked an area is with a certain fish species by dropping their camera underwater and taking notes. Over time, users can build their own report as to when the best time of day, season, and condition is to catch exactly what they are looking for.
Perfect for ice fishing. Underwater fishing cameras are ideal for ice fishing for obvious reasons. Not only are fishermen able to easily see the underwater landscape beneath the ice, but even if they are alone, they can still capture their catch on camera in conditions that are usually unfavorable for any type of recording.
Great for improving fishing technique. Not only will anglers be able to determine what species of fish they are in the presence of, but they’ll also be able to learn much more about a fish's behavior underwater. Users are able to witness the details of how each species reacts to their surroundings or even to the bait. These additional details can go a long way.
While reviewing the best underwater fishing cameras we came across a few products that we liked but didn’t quite make our final list. The MarCum LX-9 Digital Sonar/Camera is an expensive but awesome fishing camera and monitoring system that’s got an 8-inch screen and DVR capabilities. What makes this device so useful is how it combines modern underwater video and classic fish finding software to give users accurate information on battery life, camera depth, and object range.
The Aqua-Vu AV Micro Plus Underwater Camera is a bit less pricey and provides users with a similar underwater viewing experience, except on a smaller more compact 3.5-inch LCD screen. Its tiny micro-camera can extend 50 feet below the surface and has a wide 135 degree view.
Q: Can you use underwater fishing cameras safely in both saltwater and freshwater?
A: Underwater fishing cameras are generally safe to use in saltwater and in freshwater. The key to keeping your camera maintained after a saltwater session is to make sure you do a thorough rinse of your camera and/or it’s housing immediately after you are finished. Rinse with fresh water to flush away all the salt and if applicable, depress the buttons in order to make sure all the salt is removed from the crevices.
Q: Can camera or monitor outputs be connected to a TV?
A: Yes. Most fishing camera monitors will allow users to output their video to a TV via AV cables. Other cameras that have recording features will provide an SD card slot for video to be transferred to and watched later.
Q: Do the camera lights used for night vision disturb fish at all?
A: Typically the LED camera lights are designed to not disturb the fish, and many users have found that the night-vision lights play less a role in scaring fish than the lure movement and technique of the angler.