When underwater cameras burst onto the fishing scene back in the late ’90s, many anglers, myself included, were eager for the chance to behold the world beneath the waves in a way like never before.
Up to that point, sonar had given us an electronic representation of the underwater realm. But submersible optics threw back the curtain, revealing secrets of cover, structure and forage. Plus, we could see with certainty what species of fish were eyeballing our baits, and even watch them react to different presentations.
Trouble was, many cameras were big and unwieldy. Lugging a heavy housing the size of a suitcase, then wrestling with heavy cable to deploy a lens that often spun uncontrollably was such an undertaking, it discouraged mobility and cut into precious fishing time.
Thankfully, today’s cameras are light years ahead of their predecessors. Case in point, the Aqua-Vu Micro II. Measuring a petite 4x2x4 inches, this pint-sized powerhouse slips easily into a pocket or small tackle bag. I’ve used one extensively for both ice and open water fishing, and can’t say enough about the compact size and convenience, compared to the hassle associated with larger models I’ve used in the past.
Despite its small stature, the Micro II offers full-size performance features. The 3.5-inch LCD screen offers sharp, vivid-color video feeds in real-time. And like the housing, the camera itself is amazingly compact—which I’ve found makes it much less likely to scare off camera-shy fish such as bass or crappies. Another plus that I appreciate the light-sensing automatic infrared lighting system, which boosts visibility in gloomy conditions.
Other amenities that set the unit apart include 50 feet of thin-diameter, lightweight cable that’s easy to manage and stores easily by wrapping around the back of the housing. The unit comes with a thin wire bracket for positioning the camera in stationary situations, along with a handy fin for use in moving water or while trolling and casting. You can tweak the viewing angle with either device to enjoy multi-directional views above, below or beside the lens. The fin is my favorite; it’s easy to adjust, and you can always clip on a sinker for extra ballast.
Bottom line? The Aqua-Vu Micro II is an easy and convenient means of quickly verifying what your sonar is trying to tell you, and for otherwise spying on the underwater world. And at $249.99, which includes a charger to stoke the built-in lithium-ion battery, it’s arguably one of the best investments you can make to catch more fish and have more fun this winter.