Do you remember the first time you used an underwater fishing camera? I do, clearly. I was at a bait shop in Detroit Lakes, MN and they were renting one out. My dad rented it and we ventured out to our favorite, family lake. I was in awe with what I saw that day as we moved around…

Underwater fishing cameras serve many purposes.

It lets you SEE what actually down there. Let’s face it, as much as I love my fish finder (sonar), it’s just 2D. Until you stick a camera down there, you really don’t know what’s AROUND you. Are there weeds? How high are the weeds? Are rocks or timber present? What’s makes up the bottom? ALL of this information can be invaluable. After all, fishing is about learning (at least it is for me). And the more you know, well, hopefully, the more fish you catch.

It lets you see how fish are reacting to your lures. I’ve learned more in one day of fishing with an underwater camera than I can all winter without one. With a sonar, you’re really kind of guessing. But with an underwater fishing camera, you can see WHAT THE FISH ARE DOING. This is also a great tool for learning how to use certain fishing lures. I fish a lot for walleye, and I’m always looking for unique lure action that’s different. I spent an entire day fishing learning to fish darters this way. Long story short, use the underwater camera to your advantage.

KIDS LOVE THEM. I repeat kids LOVE them. With the attention span of kids nowadays being so short, underwater fishing cameras ENGAGE them to fish more. When I’m into the crappies, and I’m fishing with my kids, it’s a home run every time. They will stare at that thing for hours, and they don’t want to do anything else. To me, this is a win.

So with that all being said, let’s just agree that underwater fishing cameras have their advantages. Want to know what’s annoying with these things, however? Making them view a perfect 360 degrees. If you’re doing it by hand, forget it. While it’ll work, eventually, getting it perfect takes a bit of luck. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using a tool like pictured below for turning your camera (if it doesn’t have 360 degrees built-in).

So let’s get to the BEST UNDERWATER FISHING CAMERAS on the market today.

Aqua Vu was the pioneer in this industry, and Marcum was the next big player. These 2 are the most used, trusted, and well-known manufacturers of underwater cameras. While I normally would stick to the most trusted, I’m highly intrigued with some of these new off-brands on Amazon. They’re packed with features and the price looks right. Some of them even have some good reviews, but keep in mind you get what you pay for MOST of the time.

Aqua Vu Underwater Fishing Camera

Aqua-Vu AV715c Underwater Fishing Camera

Underwater fishing cameras have come a long way, but in that time, one thing holds true.  They have gone from black/white to color and the screen has gotten thinner. They’ve added a lot of bells and whistles otherwise, but if you want the basics done right…this is your camera.

Here’s what I like about this underwater camera:

  • DURABLE – This has a thin LCD color screen that’s made for cold conditions.  I’m afraid of the knock-off brands and their screens.
  • LONG CABLE – It has 50 feet of cable, which is ideal for the vast majority of situations.
  • TRUSTED SERVICE – Aqua Vu will service/warranty their stuff, and this is why you go with a trusted brand.
  • PRICE – Have you seen the price tag on some underwater cameras???  This is realistic, in my opinion.

Here’s what I don’t like about this underwater camera:

  • NOT 360 DEGREES – This goes back to the hand twisting thing I hate with cameras.  This camera is not 360 degrees, so you’ll want to buy an external part to go with it for turning.
  • BASIC – It lacks a lot of cool features, but again, if all you want to do is see what you’re fishing, this will work great.
  • NOT GREAT IN BRIGHT CONDITIONS – I’ve had my best luck in an ice house, versus a boat.  You’ll want to shade it to be able to see it clearly on bright days.

Overall, you should be happy with this unit for fishing.

Marcum Underwater Fishing Camera

MarCum VS485C Underwater Fishing Camera

This would be your next step up in features from the previously mentioned camera.  I’ve owned a couple Marcum cameras myself and they’ve lasted for YEARS.  This underwater camera I’m hoping is no different.

Here’s what I like about this underwater camera:

  • SIMPLE LAYOUT – I like the way this camera is laid out as a whole.  For a 7″ underwater fishing camera, it’s just simple.
  • LONG CABLE – It has a 50-foot cable, which is pretty standard and is what you normally need.
  • BRAND NAME – Like the Aqua-Vu brand, it comes with a 1-year warranty and great service.  I’ve dealt with Marcum’s customer service myself and it was a positive experience.
  • PRICE – I think this is a fair price for this underwater camera.

Here’s what I don’t like about this underwater camera:

  • NOT 360 DEGREES – I’m always going to pick on any camera lacking this feature.  It’s just a pain, and you need to buy a secondary product to turn it to save your sanity.
  • STILL, A BIT BASIC – It still lacks features such as DVR recording, 360-degree turning radius, etc.
  • SO SO IN BRIGHT CONDITIONS – Like ALL cameras, they’re better viewing in dark situations.  But this comes with a sun shield, which is always nice.

I think this is a solid unit for the price.

best underwater fishing camera

MarCum LX-9 Digital Sonar/Underwater Fishing Camera System

If money was no object and I could buy the best underwater fishing camera on the market…I would probably buy the Marcum LX-9.  Why?  Well, it combines sonar with an underwater camera.  This gives you the best of both worlds.  When I tried this model with a buddy, we fished the sonar on the primary fishing line and the camera was pointed at the deadstick.  This allows you to see what’s going on with both of your lines.  Okay, let’s talk about the Pros and the Cons of this underwater fishing camera by Marcum.

Underwater Fishing Camera Pros

  • GREAT SETUP– This model has an 8″ LCD screen, with a side by side layout of the screen.  VERY easy to read.
  • SUPER LONG CABLE – It has 75 feet of cable, which is nice to get the camera away from you (if you need it).
  • DIGITAL SONAR – It has a great responsive sonar design, which makes digital where everyone is going.

Underwater Fishing Camera Cons

  • NOT 360 DEGREES – Am I sounding like a broken record yet???  For the price, it should have something with it for this.
  • PRICE – A bit spendy for me.  It can’t drop 4 digits on a unit even with sonar built-in.

As I stated, if you have the coin to spend on an underwater fishing camera…you won’t go wrong with this camera.  It has great reviews across the web as well.

So there you have it!  My top 3 underwater cameras for fishing.  There are a TON of cameras on the market these days, so feel free to shop around.  But there’s a great chance you’ll end up BACK on one of these 3 units.  They’re from trusted companies and are dependable.  If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on a camera, you just can’t go wrong here.

So best of luck in your pursuit of BIG fish!

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