A story in two parts - a passion when young and a return in my later years.
As a lad fishing was a passion but through my working life it became an occasional thing. Retirement gave me the opportunity to return.
In my younger days I was a member of an angling club and we fished mainly in rivers, predominantly the Thames. There were no well-stocked 'commercial' lakes. Coming back to fishing I was seduced by the local 'commercial'. Carp were mythical fish when I was a lad and it was amazing to be able to catch them relatively easily in the 'commercial'.
My best was 19lb and I was hooked. But after a while things became a bit monotonous. It was to a large extent all so predictable.
I've now returned to the rivers, when in season, and in particular am seeking out smaller rivers and streams. I also have a bit of a thing about chub. Fishing in these natural environments brings with it the mystery of not knowing what the next cast will bring. And for me that's what fishing is all about.
At first I photographed the fish. Now I'm videoing my outings. Moving with the times!
In September 2020 I started videoing my outings. On the first trip I simply used my iPhone, either hand-held or on a tripod. As I filmed more trips I started to consider how to improve the footage. I carried on using the iPhone but dispensed with the tripod and started using a monopod. This was easier to plant on uneven banks.
On the earlier videos I added the commentary when I was processing the video for publication. This was because my iPhone was invariably too far away to reliably pick up my voice, while picking up a lot of extraneous noise. In October 2020 I bought a body cam and from that point recorded live commentary, which was far more chatty and less formalised. I think this was a great improvement.
The body cam, however, had limitations, the main one being that the view was often obstructed by my arms when I was playing a fish. In February 2021, therefore, I bought a miniature camcorder that is worn above the right ear, providing an eye-level view. The camera is very light and the results were impressive. This is now my chosen camera for recording the action.
The video can be started and stopped using a button worn on a wrist strap making it ideal for capturing action.
I was still using my iPhone for the 'long' shots but in June 2021 I bought a Panasonic camcorder with an impressive optical zoom. The intention was to record ambient material, such as wildlife, or a closeup on the float. But I was laid low during the summer awaiting a hip operation so the camera wasn't put into action immediately.
When I finally did try it, it became clear that a monopod wasn't stable enough for the heavier camera. I investigated lightweight tripods and found a possible product on Amazon. Made with aluminium it was certainly light and the legs were adjustable using locking clamps, allowing incremental adjustment on uneven banks.
I used the camcorder for a while but my approach changed again when I traded in my little-used Pentax SLR camera and lenses to buy an upgraded iPhone. The iPhone 13 Pro is a 3-camera model with zoom and wide angle in addition to the standard lens. This improved camera system allowed me to revert to using the iPhone for longer shots of me fishing to supplement the head cam footage. It also meant I could again use the bankstick monopod and cut down travelling weight.
The Panasonic camcorder is now used solely as a hand held supplementary camera for taking ambient footage of wildlife etc.
Audio has been a challenge. The head cam has its own mic that works very well and having added a muffle it is very tolerant of wind noise. But when using the Panasonic camcorder or the iPhone I've struggled to find a good audio solution.
I bought an extension microphone lead for the iPhone which worked well after I had added an efficient wind muffle. But the lead can restrict movement, especially when fishing a river where it might be necessary to change position when playing a fish.
I also tried a wireless connection between the iPhone and a lapel microphone but the sound quality was very poor, apparently because of a background noise filter according to the suppliers of the device.
I've ended up using the head cam to record the audio since the quality is very good. For video taken with the iPhone, I now ensure that I am simultaneously recording with the head cam and synchronise the iPhone video with the audio from the head cam in post production. This can be a bit tricky but the final result is very acceptable.
Page updated June 2023
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