I always get asked: Is the SondeCAM underwater camera going to spook the fish? That is definitely a legitimate question and one that needed to be tested. Especially since many people have seen just how sensitive fish can be to a bait dropping near them or to movement in the boat.
However, I’ve seen quite the opposite where, instead of scaring away fish, they are often coming right up to the SondeCAM to take a look. Some even go as far as bumping the SondeCAM with their nose. If only they were always that interested in my lures!
Regardless, the fact that fish in the immediate vicinity, especially smallmouths, are willing to travel to the underwater camera is a good thing. It makes it much easier when trying to find if they are on that spot or not. I’m totally confident if that camera drops down there and there is a smallmouth around, he is going to drop by and say hello.
One of the funny things about it is that they just aren’t interested in the camera, but also the cord going up the surface. I oftentimes find I have to follow the fish upward with the camera because it is swimming upward trying to find where that line is going. Even moving the camera around does not seem to faze them. The only time I’ve seen them spook is if you actually hit a fish with the camera.
One other thing I’ve really learned about smallmouth via the SondeCAM is how often they are looking “up,” even on places you would expect them to only relate to the bottom. Instead of creeping around in the rock crevices, I’ll often see them suspended many feet above the bottom. Especially when the sun is shining, smallmouth in clear water definitely like that. It’s also interesting to see how they are often on the move, roaming and hunting within a small area. They are definitely a different animal than their largemouth buddies.
But being able to watch their behavior has definitely changed the way I fish for them in places. Areas I thought fishing the bottom was the only way to go, I’ve learned isn’t necessarily the best way.
That is one of the big advantages to actually being able to see what is happening below with the camera. While a fishfinder tells you they are there, the camera actually gives you some insight into their behavior, how they are positioned and how big they are. This is a huge advantage if you are practicing for a tournament, since ideally you don’t want to sore-mouth a bunch of fish that you want to weigh in.
I’m not surprised at how curious smallmouth are of the SondeCAM because they rely so heavily on their eyesight to feed. The clear water we have in the Great Lakes region only makes them rely on it more. There is no doubt the SondeCAM is an ideal tool to improve your smallmouth fishing.