What to Look For in an Underwater Video Camera – The Cable

The underwater camera for video is an invaluable item for my business so like all well worn tools the pressing necessity of retrieving the best quality under the most productive conditions leads to a series of solutions that work. Along the way a variety of techniques are tried, some fail, but what remains are the ones that work the best. What I can help with is to give you a primer on what I’ve learned works best on the water:


A 50′ cable will be enough for most fishing applications however let’s take a look at some situations that might fit your circumstances where something longer than 50′ came in handy. I do a lot of research in the St. Clair River and there are holes that go 60 – 80′ deep. The deepest bass I have on video comes in at 57′ yet at this time I don’t have any productive water I would recommend at that depth. The value of going deeper is the same as the value of examining structure that is shallower than a hot spot you are fishing. We can learn a lot by understanding what makes the spot tick and finding both limits of the productive range. This is real top shelf information if you are a researcher like me, a tournament angler or die-hard enthusiast that loses sleep over questions like this.

For most recreational anglers finding bass with the camera and getting a clear picture of the environment the bass are in is a huge benefit that pays off in better decision making and catch rates down the road. In this case a good question to ask is, “How deep do I fish now?” “Am I looking for new spots to fish, perhaps spots that other anglers haven’t found yet?,” is another. The depth of the water you fish is important too. In an inland lake with no current a summer thermocline develops (a boundary between warmer water with more oxygen riding on top of a lower layer of cooler water with low oxygen levels) that fits within the 50′ range of the cable. That’s where most of your productive bass fishing will be.

If you need to see something at exactly 50′, a longer cable will probably be necessary. One thing that affects this is the few feet of cable that is above water and connected to your viewing screen. Another is an element of friction on the cable which is caused by the water pushing on it between you and the camera head. A natural bend will develop in the cable if you are on the move which can create a shortfall in length of two feet or more.


A story about a dramatic camera rescue is in my first book, No Secrets On Lake St. Clair Vol. 1. The crux of the story is that it all comes down to curiosity. There are some things you will want to take a closer look at like a cavity under a rocky bank, a shady spot under a downed tree or a wreck with all kinds of bad angles and opportunities for the camera to become lodged inside. The camera I used in the No Secrets story didn’t have it but the camera I use now has a 1000 lb. pull strength reinforced cable. Needless to say my comfort level is a bit higher these days when I decide to use the camera for exactly the reason I bought it…to see things that are extraordinary and find some fish that other anglers aren’t aware of.


Prior to getting the underwater camera I have now I can show you some grainy video clips with static. For an immediate return on my on-site information some of this can be tolerated but once you decide to take the video home and look at it, the importance of getting a clear picture quickly overrides the value of the information returned. The folks who make the camera I used are dedicated to pushing the quality of the video signal return through the longest length cable possible.


Seaviewer Underwater Camera Sea-Drop Standard Kit

Sea-Drop™ Video Camera 950
7″ Monitor
150′ Cable
RCA video output connector
I record my video on a Sony mini-DV camcorder

See more about Seaviewer underwater cameras at: http://www.seaviewer.com/

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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