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Fish Spy Review

Fish spy review and tips

I’m a big fan of gadgets and when I saw the fish spy I thought this would be another one for the collection. I picked mine up just over a year ago (2019) and have used it a few times since. For comparison I also have a couple of Water Wolfs and a Deeper Chirp, you’ll find reviews of these on the site too. Firstly I will talk you through the setup, then some tips and then my opinions. If you are thinking of buying one, have a read of my review further down the page here to see if it the right thing for you.

How to set up a Fish Spy

The setup is the same as setting up a marker float, which in effect it is. Here is how it should look, taken from the Fish Spy website.

Fish Spy set up rig

If you have a marker float setup or rod ready you can just switch your standard float to the fish spy and then you are ready to connect.

Connecting your Fish Spy

All fish spy’s come with a unique number that you need to have to connect the device to your phone or tablet. This is its own WIFI signal. The number you need is in the paperwork, or if you cannot find that then connect your Fish Spy to a computer via the USB connection and it will show the name. It is usually fish spy-XXX where the XXX is your unique number. You have to do this via “add WIFI network” and make sure you add the correct name, there isn’t a password requirement on the connection. Once it is connected once you do not need to reconnect, it will automatically connect when the fish spy is on.

Turning the fish spy on

There are 3 positions to you fish spy, these are unlocked, locked and redirecting. When unlocked you can plug the device into charge or get your footage. The top of the float will be loose when unlocked. For transporting the locked position holds everything in place and waterproof. If the battery has died you can use it as a standard market float in this setting. Then the next setting is for recording, turn it to this and the recording will start. Connect your phone to the fish spy WIFI and open the app. Cast it out and off you go!

Fish Spy Tips

Here are my top tips for getting the most from your fish spy!

1 – Take your time!

As with all new devices, it takes some time to get the best footage from it. Don’t expect to attach it and then launch it as far as you can and get amazing footage. Due to its weight, it flies differently than a streamlined marker float and can be more affected by wind. I would advise taking it to clear water and having a practice with it before you start using it fully.

2 – Let it go down to the bottom

From my experience, unless the water is phenomenally clear or shallow, you don’t get a great stream from the surface. It is better used to target clear spots and then pull the spy down in the water and watch the footage back when it’s on the bank. This will give you a much better view of your clear spot and makes much better use of the device. you can then watch the data back on the app once you have retrieved the spy. NOTE – You need to turn on record on the app or you’ll only get the live footage.

3 – Consider buying something else!

In my opinion, this isn’t the best gadget on the market, but at its current pricing, it’s decent tool for the money.

If you have a large budget consider the newer version that combines the Fish Spy camera with a sonar feature finder. I’ve not had a chance to have a look at one of these yet and with the limitations of the Fish Spy above the water, I’m not sure that I will as I already have a Deeper Pro Chirp.

4 – Use it at the end of your session as well as the start

If you are using it to find spots and features and recording what the bottom looks like then use it at the end of the session. Send it back down to record what the bottom looks like now – how much of your bait is left? Is there anything specific that the carp have eaten or left that you can learn from. This will help you to identify how good the spots you are fishing over and working on your baiting patterns and mixes for your next session.

Fish Spy Review

This review is based on my personal opinions on the Fish Spy. I bought the Fish Spy myself and have not been paid, or been in contact with Fish Spy about this.

In my opinion, the Fish Spy is one of those things that sounds like a good idea but in practice isn’t a major advantage if you do not use it correctly. If you are already handy with a marker float and feeling the bottom then I would possibly stick to that. Whilst it is handy to look at what you are fishing over and this is the best option for the price.

I have a Water wolf HD camera (see review here) which I much prefer. It has a range of other recording options including looking at your rigs and I use these all the time in the winter when the water is clearer. If I want to see the bottom on a spot I can clip up and cast it to my spot and then just take the memory card out and look at it on my phone. I appreciate you can get the images off the fish spy on to your phone from the app, for me it is just that the Water Wolf is more versatile.

In some cases, I did find the Fish Spy struggle with the range and was a pain to reconnect when it had been underwater at distance. On some occasions, I had to reel in to reconnect it and then cast it back out. I do think the sonar and camera version will not have as many issues as it sits on the surface more like the deeper rather than going underwater as much. Although, this could again lead to issues if the water is not perfectly clear.

Overall I would give it 6 out of 10! For the £60 price tag it now has it’s okay, but the price it was first retailing at no chance!

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Water Wolf HD review

The Water Wolf HD is an underwater camera designed do you can film your rigs and the fish under the water. I’ve been using one for my carp fishing for over a year now and have added some videos and a full review of the product here. If you have any questions about it then add a comment at the bottom of the page or send me a tweet to @casual_Carper.

I’d recommend buying one but read the review for the limitations of what you’ll see on the recordings. There is a lot to learn from using one, but don’t expect perfect videos of you catching monster carp!

Update – I now have 2 of these so I can do a film on 2 rods at once! You can see the videos on my You tube channel here or on Instagram – search “Casual Carper“.

Water Wolf – Carp fishing review

The first thing to point out from my experience of using this in UK lakes – Ignore the very sexy youtube videos on the product. Unless you fish a flat bottomed, gin-clear lake that has an abundance of big carp you won’t get videos like that! But if you use this device for learning about the bottom conditions and how you’re rig looks then you’ll learn a great deal.

To fish with one you’ll need the camera and the bottom filming kit – I’ll show you how to set that up further down the page.

You can buy them here from Amazon with next day delivery

Here’s how a decent video of a carp taken in spring. (Carp comes up on 43 seconds)

How to set up the Water Wolf

To get started you need to get the top off to get it charged – its seriously tight the first time you do it! Put some strong monoline (not braid) through the hole at the top and pull, keep the pressure on and wiggle the line side to side and it will eventually come loose. Then plug the charger in and it will take a couple of hours to full charge – when the blue light goes off it is done.

Next, add the memory card, there’s only 1 way to add it so it clicks in place. Make sure the memory card is clear when you put it in as it can cause problems with the recording if not. To test add the memory card and turn the Water Wold on to start recording. If the red light flashes intermittently then its fine and recording. If it flashes for 9ish seconds and then goes off you’ll need to wipe the memory card completely and start again.

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Setting up the bottom kit

What you’ll need

Water Wolf under water bottom filming kit

Lead core looped at each end (like this below from Gardner Tackle)

Your rig (For ideal recordings you’ll want to be around 5 inches from the device – this is why you won’t catch much with it on!)

Here’s my latest You Tube review to getting the most out of your Water Wolf

Tips for using the Water Wolf for carp fishing

  1. Be prepared to have to use it a few times to get it right. Depending on the clarity of the water you may need to close/ further away from the camera. Sometimes on an uneven bottom you can end up with videos of nothing so its good to keep moving it about.
  2. Remember you won’t get sexy videos – use it for testing different rigs, baits and areas of the swim to see whats there. It’s great for checking out how wafter rigs work underwater or popups – especially if you tie and tweak your own rigs.
  3. It’s best used in spring when the water is a little clearer.
  4. Have 2 memory cards – That way if you take a computer/ tablet with a card reader you can watch some of the footage whilst taking some on the other card.

Here’s a video I took last year of a pellet banjo feeder under water. (You can see the blog – beginners guide to fishing for carp on the method feeder here)

Recently I’ve been getting some better videos from the wolf by concentrating on waters where the water is clearer. Whilst I think I’ll get less bites with the Wolf on the bottom compared to a standard lead I’m still getting some good footage. As mentioned above you need to see this as a learning tool about how your baits are presented on the bottom rather than getting sexy videos of you catching 30s!

Here’s a recent video I took using a popup and losing a carp (keep watching to see the carp!

Things I’ve learned from using the Water Wolf

  1. With out rig foam my rig gets tangled around 1 in 7 casts – So now I’m not lazy and use rig foam every cast if I’m not using a feeder. (like this from Gardner Tackle)
  2. The quality of your popups really matter. I’ve found some cheaper ones act much more like a wafter.
  3. Using tungsten putty on the rig gives a much better presentation to get more bites (in my opinion). Especially when you just use it to sit your hook bait around 1 – 2 centimetres from the bottom.
  4. Roach often swim around with the carp looking for smaller bait they stir up. Not sure if this is lake specific, but when the roach come into camera there’s usually a carp around too.