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Updated Jul 27, 2022 4:52 PM

If George Jetson took Elroy and Astro bass fishing, they would definitely have an underwater fishing camera to spy on the fish. Like a scene from The Jetsons, underwater fishing cameras seem like something out of the future. Truth is, underwater fishing cameras have been around for years, but the latest generation of waterproof cameras provide high-definition images and video of fish and structure below the boat in an easy-to-use system. Whether you’re inshore fishing, freshwater fishing, ice fishing, or trolling offshore, there is a camera system designed to capture the action. Once you see what’s beneath the surface, you’ll be hooked on using the best underwater fishing cameras.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Underwater Fishing Camera

Underwater fishing cameras used to be the exclusive realm of competitive anglers looking for every advantage to winning a tournament. Now, the best underwater fishing cameras are easy to use and provide incredible imagery for any angler interested in what is going on below the water’s surface.

Currently, there are many underwater fishing cameras with a wide range of features and prices. If you are a hard-core fish junky, or a weekend warrior with a boat load of kids, there is an underwater fishing camera to fit your needs and budget.

When choosing the best underwater fishing camera, consider how you will use the camera. How deep is the water? How clear? How often will you use the underwater camera? Where will you install the display? Also, think about transporting and storing the camera. 

How will you use the underwater fishing camera?

The popularity of underwater fishing cameras means there is a system for any type of angler. Tournament anglers looking for the most advanced system can access a high-definition camera with camera light for dark, murky water.

Above the surface, the video display includes direction, depth, and other important information. After marking fish and structure on the fish finder, pro anglers drop an advanced underwater fishing camera to verify the size and species of the fish and investigate how they are associating with the structure.

For anglers who are just looking to see below the water, simpler underwater fishing cameras offer clear video in an easy-to-use system. While these basic underwater fishing cameras are still a valuable fish finding tool, they are great entertainment watching fish in their environment.

If you’re not looking for real-time video of the fish and structure, then a camera housings and action camera is an easy option for capturing video below the water. Tie the action camera onto your fishing line, drop it into the water, then upload the video and watch on a smartphone, television, or computer.

Rigging the Camera

Real-time underwater fishing cameras include a display, battery or power cord, camera cable, and camera. Tournament anglers mount the display in a rod holder or on the boat deck. Then they run the power cable to their boat battery and stash the camera cable on a large reel. 

The simplest underwater fishing camera fits into a pocket and attaches to a fishing line. These cameras are small and simple, but they don’t provide real-time video of the fish. To see the video, you have to upload the files to a smartphone or computer after the fishing trip. 

If you want to use your underwater fishing camera just like one of the best fish finders, then a full-power digital video camera and high-definition display is for you. But, to have fun watching the fish and exploring the depths, choose a simple system that is easy to use.

Best Overall: Aqua-Vu HD71-125 Pro

Bass Pro Shop

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Key Features 

Why It Made The Cut

The next generation from the leading family of underwater fishing cameras, AquaVu’s HD7i-125 GEN 2 provides the clearest, brightest and most detailed images down to 125 feet below the surface.

Pros

  • High definition display
  • Adjustable infrared illumination
  • Heated display

Cons

  • Expensive

Product Description

Before the invention of the hand-held video camera, tournament bass anglers were already working on the underwater fishing camera. The result was the concept for the first Aqua-Vu camera system in 1975. The latest generation AquaVu HD7i-125 GEN2 puts the most advanced technology in the hands of any angler. Starting with the highest resolution camera with infrared lighting that illuminates the dark depths without spooking fish. The seven-inch display has IPX67 waterproof rating and heated LCD to work in wet and cold conditions. The display can be mounted on a RAM mount for a variety of installation options. The whole system, including battery, 125 feet of cable, camera, and display, fits on a compact package I can carry with one hand.  

Best for Ice Fishing: Vexilar FS800IR Fish Scout

Walmart

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Key Features 

  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Display: 7 inches
  • Resolution: 480 x 234

Why It Made The Cut

A powerful underwater fishing camera in a small package, the Vexilar FS800IR Fish Scout is easy to take on the ice.

Pros

  • Color or black and white display
  • Long battery life
  • Soft carry case

Cons

  • Low-res camera

Product Description

Ice fishing anglers are at a disadvantage: they are stuck fishing in one spot. The best ice fishing fish finders display fish and structure below the ice hole, but an underwater fishing camera shows the landscape around the hole. Vexilar is a leader in portable ice-fishing fish finders and they’ve taken their expertise to the FS800IR Fish Scout portable underwater fishing camera. The seven-inch, 420-line resolution screen, 12-volt, 9ah battery, 90-foot cable, and camera are attached to a rigid carriage that fits into a convenient soft case. The Fish Scout is easy to take onto the ice, just set the ice and drop the camera into the water. The energy-efficient display runs for 9 hours on a fully charged battery. Ice anglers will freeze long before the Fish Scout is affected by low temperatures. The system works down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Best Portable: GoFish Cam

GoFish Cam

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Key Features 

  • Weight: 3.3 ounces
  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Display: MicroSD, Micro USB and WiFi

Why It Made The Cut

To go anywhere, GoFish Cam underwater fishing camera fits in a pocket and connects to your fishing line.

Pros

  • 1080P resolution
  • 500 foot maximum depth
  • Versatile connectivity

Cons

  • 1.5 hour battery life

Product Description

A high-definition camera in a rugged housing the size of half a hotdog, the GoFish Cam is the most portable underwater fishing camera. Shaped like a four-inch-long submarine, the 1080p camera provides color video up to 500 feet below the surface. Tie the GoFish Cam to your fishing line and cast it out. The GoFish Cam camera works trolling, drifting, or retrieving a lure. Video is recorded on a MicroSD card and uploads via a Micro-USB cord or wirelessly via a WiFi connection. Watch video on a computer, television, or upload to your smartphone. You can live stream video directly to a smartphone using the included float to keep the GoFish Cam on the surface. Add GoFish Cam’s camera loss protection for a few dollars more, and don’t worry about a snagged lure or broken fishing line costing a camera system.     

Best for Trolling: Troll Pro

Tackledirect

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Key Features 

  • Weight: 32 ounces
  • Compatible Cameras: GoPro 
  • Trolling speed: 8 knots

Why It Made The Cut

To capture video of fish while high-speed trolling, the TrollPro camera housing turns any GoPro action camera into an underwater fishing camera.

Pros

  • High speed performance
  • Simple to use
  • Balanced and sturdy

Cons

  • Camera not included

Product Description

Nothing is more exciting than watching a bluewater pelagic attacking one of the best saltwater lures. The TrollPro camera housing is the best underwater camera for high-speed trolling. A heavy-duty, full-metal housing protects the camera from damage, and counterweights keep the camera swimming upright. Compatible with any GoPro action camera, the TrollPro protects the camera and keeps it running straight at up to 10 knots. Install the action camera into the housing, attach it to a dredge rod, or downrigger and drop the system into the water. The TrollPro is designed for swimming four to five feet below the surface. Many anglers add the TrollPro DredgePro to their marlin dredge to monitor how billfish are responding to the teasers. At the end of the day, retrieve the GoPro camera, download the files and watch the fish from the comfort of your couch.

Best for the Money:  Moocor Underwater Fishing Camera

Moocor

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Key Features 

  • Weight: 7.4 ounces
  • Display size: 4.3 inches
  • Resolution: 800 x 480 

Why It Made The Cut

Small, light and simple, the Moocor Underwater Fishing Camera is easy on the budget.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small screen
  • Three-level infrared light

Cons

  • Low resolution camera

Product Description

Moocor’s Underwater Fishing Camera allows anglers to watch real-time video of fish and structure without breaking the bank. The pocket-sized camera has an infrared light with three power settings to cut through dark, dirty water. Above the water, a 4.3-inch display includes a 4X digital zoom feature. The display is the size of a small book and attaches to any standard ¼-20 threaded mount. A 45-foot cable is stored on a spool that connects to the back of the display housing. Best of all, the Moocor Underwater Fishing Camera includes a rechargeable battery for reliable power. For a fraction of the price, the Moocor makes the best underwater fishing camera for the money.

FAQs

Q: How to use an underwater fishing camera?

There are two types of underwater fishing cameras: real-time and playback. Real time fishing cameras provide live images of the fish and structure below the boat. These systems use a small camera connected to an LCD display with a long cable and powered with a portable battery. Drop the camera on the cable and watch high-resolution video of fish swimming past the lens. On the other hand, playback cameras use an action camera to record video below the water. Tie the camera to the fishing line and drop it into the water. Then, recover the camera and download the video on a smartphone or computer to watch the action.

Q: Do underwater cameras scare fish?

After watching hours of underwater fishing camera video, I can attest underwater cameras do not scare the fish. In fact, the video shows fish curious about the camera. Fish swim by the camera and investigate the lens with no idea they are being recorded.  To further prevent spooking fish, underwater fishing cameras use infrared or colored lights fish can’t see. Underwater fishing cameras are a great way to spy on the fish without the fish knowing you are watching.

Q: How much does an underwater fishing camera cost?

The best underwater fishing cameras in this review cost between $134 and $1299. The most expensive camera offers real-time, high-definition video of fish and structure. The large, bright display shows the video feed along with camera direction and depth. Anglers use this camera as a valuable tool to find the biggest fish for a winning edge in a fishing tournament. Anglers looking to have fun watching fish and exploring the aquatic world can also get a real-time view of the fish with fewer features. These cameras aren’t as powerful for finding fish, but they are easy to use and fun to watch. For a lower price, you can record video on a waterproof camera and watch the playback later. These cameras are smaller and easy to use, and the video is easy to upload to social media. 

Final Thoughts

With the most advanced features in a powerful fish finding tool, Aqua-Vu HD7i Pro Gen2 underwater fishing camera is used by pro anglers for an edge in winning fishing tournaments. The HD7i Pro has the highest resolution video and best lighting, in a versatile camera designed for drifting or slow trolling. The high-definition display produces clear, detailed color images of the fish and structure. The display also provides depth, water temperature and direction information to know precisely where the fish are hiding. Aqua-Vu makes it easy to install the HD7i Pro with a variety of mounts and attachments to attach the display to the boat and a large spool to hold 125 feet of cable.

Methodology

Testing out underwater fishing cameras is a lot of fun. Once I drop the camera below the surface, the show starts. Fish, bait, structure and the bottom appear in incredible detail. When testing the best underwater fishing camera, I looked for clear images and easy operation. The system should be convenient to store and transport, too. I look for an underwater fishing camera that comes in a portable carry system to hold the camera, display, battery and cable. I like a versatile system that I can use trolling, casting or drifting. When the fishing trip is over, I expect to upload the photos smoothly and simply to a smartphone or computer. Murky or dark water shouldn’t stop the best underwater fishing cameras, advanced lights illuminate fish and structure through the darkness. On the other end of the line, the high-definition color video display is easy to see in direct sunlight and compact to fit anywhere on the boat. Underwater fishing cameras may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but high-quality video of fish is available to any angler now.