Filming the bite – underwater line camera discoveries

Usually, fishing is very much an activity where you use as much of your experience as possible to determine what is going on when you send a bait or lure down to the bottom of the ocean.

What I found out recently, after sending a camera down with my baits, is that we could be completely wrong about what is actually occurring. Using a bracket made of stainless steel and tipped with wire for safety, I screwed in my Sony action camera to begin prospecting spots with some baits underneath. I hoped to capture both the sub sea structure and the fish that live below.

Pretty quickly, I had captured bites of several species like tarakihi and snapper, seeing kingfish cruising past in places I wouldn’t have expected and many more species I had no idea were on the spots I was fishing. The footage was particularly beneficial in looking at the reefs I was fishing and helping me understand what my sounder told me. The sign over reefs no longer were unknown fish, they were leatherjackets and butterfly perch. When I reeled in my hooks to see no baits left after not feeling a bite, I discovered that leatherjackets had sneakily chewed around the hook to remove it.

When I was catching no fish in a spot where I expected to get bites, tarakihi was swirling all around but not feeding! A john dory even swam past, checking out my hooks before attempting to eat one of the smaller tarakihis. Just eye-opening stuff! On another day, while trying to film a kahawai biting a spinner trolled behind the camera, a decent-sized mako shark rolled into the frame, speeding up into the frame and looking at what was happening. He had a test bite of the bracket and seemed very interested in the small lure. The shark followed for over 3 minutes before turning away back into the deep. I had no idea the shark was even there until I went home and reviewed the footage!

One of the fish I had terrible luck filming was red gurnard; for weeks, I had tried with little to show for my efforts. On a drift on the way home, I managed to get a glimpse of how these fish hunt. So, for the next trip, I set to target a few with the camera recording on the bottom. I captured some amazing shots of gurnard feeding in various ways; some smashed into the bait without thinking, and others were more cautious. The detail I learned most from this footage is that one gurnard eating food means others will come in to try and compete. Several times, I hooked a gurnard, and then from nowhere, a second would either try and steal the bait or grab the second one. 

I look forward to capturing more species on my underwater camera and learning more about what happens while the line is down there in the unknown.

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