For those of you not familiar with FishSpy, it’s a tech product, which effectively is a marker float with a built in video camera. It can also be paired to your mobile device for a certain amount of live streaming.
Unlike many devices that connect to your mobile device, FishSpy uses it’s own built in wifi rather than bluetooth, to get a much better range (up to 100m). Because the wifi is built in, you do not need to be in a wifi area to connect to it.
If fishes in exactly the same way you would fish a normal marker float, with the benefit of having a camera, with built in SD card, that can record footage of the lake bottom.
Originally the product hit the market at £249 but this has now been reduced to just £129.95, with several announcements going out on Facebook over the last week.
Unfortunately, there were of course a number of anglers who received the post on their timeline, who paid the original £249 and this of course caused a few of them to make some negative comments. However, FishSpy have responded by offering those customers a £50 voucher, if they bought the product in the last 30 days.
More often than not, if you buy a product at it’s highest price, there is no refund (I got burned on a GoPro) so at least FishSpy are offering something, possibly due to the size of the price drop.
What was more interesting about many of the other comments though, was the large number of anglers that seemed to be against technology in fishing altogether. Very few were pointed at the product itself, in fact there didn’t seem to be anybody who had bought one complaining, it was more to do with anglers seeing products like this as “cheating” saying that angling skills were being removed from the equation.
I did actually feel a bit sorry for whoever was monitoring the FishSpy Facebook page, some of the comments and language, were not really that nice and many of them nothing to do with FishSpy itself.
Technology in angling has been a divided subject for many years and I think people are entitled to their own opinion but “advances” in angling, whether electronic or not, will continue, it’s just whether they should be used, how they are used and whether or not they detract from the spirit of fishing. It’s the old “throw a stick of dynamite into the lake” argument, you’ll catch fish but that’s not fishing.
I don’t fish huge gravel pits, most of the pits I do fish are actually quite small, often forgotten. So I’ve never had a need for a bait boat or anything like that. However, I do use bite alarms and I remember when they first came onto the scene, many traditionalists were against them. In fact there are still some who refuse to use bite alarms to this day, something that might seem ludicrous to modern anglers.
Bait boats are still not allowed on some venues and I completely understand that. Tipping a pile of bait and a rig into a remote control boat, sending it across the lake 250 yards away, does probably remove quite a bit of skill. It might also effect other anglers fishing close by. Again, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with them, on a big pit, it might be the only way to reach the fish but personally, I like the idea of fish having parts of a lake where nobody can reach.
So back to FishSpy and the question of whether or not it’s a viable piece of angling tech or just an overpriced gimmick. I think that it can have it’s place (or whatever newer version eventually replaces it) but as with any angling tech product, it’s vital that anybody looking to buy one, knows exactly what they are buying and can see any mileage in it being used, for the type of fishing they regularly do.
Firstly, if you are fishing all of your rods at over 100 yards, forget it. Although the camera will continue to record when it has lost contact with your mobile device, you won’t be able to see the footage, until you then bring the product back in range. The FishSpy has a range of a maximum of 100M (109 yards) and in reality, you may find the signal drops out at less than that. The other thing with FishSpy is that as you submerge it under water, you also lose signal, so again, even relatively close in, you’re going to have to wait until you pop the unit back to the top of the water, before you can view the footage.
OK, so by now you may be thinking, well if I can’t view the live footage, what’s the point of the thing in the first place. If I can’t get a look at the bottom, while I’m hovering over a potential spot, why bother. Surely this defeats the whole object?
It’s a valid point and again one you would need to consider but here is how I think I would find a use for FishSpy in my fishing campaigns. It’s not perfect, I’d still like to get live views but used as I am about to describe, it might give me some valuable information.
Next Spring, I am going to be targeting a small, overgrown pit for the 2nd time. I know it holds reasonable bream but I have also seen possible evidence of big tench. I don’t fish too far out, furthest rod might be no more than 20 yards but this is mainly due to the huge amount of weed growth which appears as the weather gets warmer.
I usually get to the lake a few weeks before I intend to fish (no closed season) and then embark on a search, weed rake and pre bait campaign. I use a marker float to find depths and “less” weedy areas, rake them off even more (old skool) and then prebait. The lake slopes of pretty quickly, so even at 20 yards, you can be in 12ft of water.
The first time I tackled this place (and trust me, tackle is the right word) I got loads of little touches, line bits, all sorts of activity but failed to hook a fish. By my 4th trip, even the line bites had vanished and I came to the conclusion that on a lake, with so few fish, I’d probably missed my chance. What frustrated me the most is that I just couldn’t work out what was going on. To have been able to get a look at the bottom of the lake would have been amazing.
The window of opportunity was so small, the prolific weed growth was going to get worse and knowing small groups of large fish as I’ve targeted in the past, to have been able to gain just an extra nugget or two of knowledge, would have been amazing.
With FishSpy, I could have used my marker in the same way, until I found what I thought felt like a good spot. I could then send the marker back down and record a few minutes of footage. Having done that and if the lake bed looked right, I could then pencil that spot in for raking. The process could then be repeated for a 2nd spot.
Once I’d found my two spots and raked them off, I could then prebait one of them and send my friend FishSpy back down again for a little look. This would show me how may bait was looking on the lake bed and of course if I left it for an hour or two, it would record any signs of fish activity.
Even though I’d have had to have waited to view the footage, I often sit watching the water for an hour or so when prebaiting, so it wouldn’t have been a problem. To have been able to go home and view the footage, or even do it there on the bank, would have given me just that fragment more of information, that may well have determined what rig I used or even what bait.
More importantly, it might tell me whether there were any fish there in the fist place.
OK, I can see a purist thinking that maybe this removes some of the skill. But what other skill could I really use to see the bottom of a lake? A lake bottom not visible from above. Some may say well you have to keep trying different things until you get it right rather than use technology but… I already tried that one.
I think that marking, raking and prebaiting are enough to satisfy the fishing gods that I’ve put in enough of the donkey work, so I’d be morally OK with using Fishspy in this instance.
And I think that’s where people need to make up their own minds about angling technology. Bite alarms, bait boats, sonar, cameras, etc. If you have a circumstance that just screams out for you to add a bit of technological assistance, I don’t see too much harm in it.
With FishSpy you are going to still need to be able to accurately cast, still be able to feel the bottom and still know when to clip up and choose your spot. What it does give you is confirmation of the spot you have chosen and maybe will just give you that little bit of extra confidence. And bear in mind, you still need to have the skill to cast to the spot you have chosen.
At £249 I think this product was a bit on the steep side but at £129, it’s probably pretty close to where it should probably be. It’s not perfect and if it does hang around, I can see some possible refinements to the app and product itself in the future.
I’d have never rushed out and bought this from the start, purely because I didn’t have a use for it but if I decide to tackle the forgotten pit again, I’ll probably pick one up and use it as described above.
Fishing technology is hear to stay. You just have to decide whether it is for you.
FishSpy video as promised