Now that we’ve covered the basics around using your GoPro and how to get decent images while you’re out fishing, let’s delve a little deeper into getting those really special shots.
The beauty of the GoPro lies in its ability to be mounted just about anywhere – you are really limited only by your imagination and how crazy you want to get.
In the latest edition of the BBC’s mind bending Blue Planet series the producers went as far as mounting a self-releasing GoPro on the dorsal fin of an orca! While I would highly recommend not attempting that, it just goes to show what can be achieved.
I have spent many hours in my garage tinkering away on weird and wonderful camera mounts, some which worked and some which didn’t, but luckily for you there are countless GoPro mounts on the market to satisfy your creative desires. Let’s chat about a few of the mounts that I never leave home without.
Head strap: Your head is a perfect place to mount a GoPro, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives you a true point-of-view (POV) angle and is the best way to share the excitement of exactly what you, the cameraman, is seeing. If you are using your camera to shoot video then you have the added bonus of mounting your camera on the most stable part of your body – your body acts like a natural shock absorber.
Your head can, however, move a lot during a day’s fishing and often the angler is looking down while fighting a fish rather than at the action. It is for that reason that I have found it is often better to have the person netting or leadering your fish wear the headcam, as they tend to focus more on the fish than the winding.
There are two common mistakes when using a head strap. The first is having the camera pointing straight forward, which results in the shot being too high. A good rule of thumb is to adjust the angle so that the centre of the lens is pointing to an imaginary point on the ground about three metres in front of it. Once you have got your angle set, use a screwdriver to tighten the thumb-screw locking the angle in place.
The second mistake is having the strap too loose, resulting in shaky shots. Get that strap tight on your head!
Chest mount: A chest-mounted GoPro is a fantastic angle for capturing the angler’s perspective. This is mainly because your chest is generally facing your reel while you are playing a fish.
You will achieve unique shots using the ‘Chesty’ mount showing the reel and your hands and arms whilst playing a fish. If you remember you’re wearing it, you can also get great POV-style shots of you holding your catch out in front of your body.
When using a chest-mounted GoPro, ensure that you are constantly checking the lens is clean, as water can spray up from your spool onto the camera. Also, be careful when leaning over the gunwale to grab or release a fish as you can squash your camera between your chest and the boat. The best angle for a chesty is with the camera pointing straight out.
Suction cup: A suction cup mount is great when mounted to glass and I use it a lot on the inside of the windscreen to capture wide shots. I tend not to use it anywhere there is a risk of losing the camera if the suction cup falls off because, despite the fact the mount can withstand speeds of 160kmh when mounted correctly, dried salt water can affect the quality of the suction seal.
Pole mount: The pole mount is a simple mount that can clamp onto a pole. It was originally designed for handlebars and seat poles but works brilliantly on net handles and tag poles. You can get great shots from both these angles, but you need to ensure you are shooting on a high frame rate (60fps plus), which gives you nice slowmotion video – or on a short time-lapse interval when taking photos (0.5 sec interval). That is because the action from a net or tag pole is often very quick and you don’t want to miss it.
Clamp with gooseneck: This mount is basically a strong clamp that can attach to just about anything with an optional adjustable ‘goose neck’ arm. It is invaluable around the boat since it can be mounted, moved and repositioned very quickly.
The versatility of the clamp means that you can put it anywhere, from the rod butt to the roof, and everywhere in between. The downfall of the gooseneck is that it doesn’t work very well at high speeds or very bumpy environments due to vibrations. Also, the camera angle can change. It is best used when stationary or trolling.
Selfie stick: I know many of salty fisher people will roll their eyes at the mere mention of a selfie stick! Take my word for it, though, a camera mounted on the end of a pole is invaluable when capturing quality fishing images.
It gives you the ability to take images from outside the confines of the boat, whether from above or below water. It also is a great tool for taking images which include the photographer in them, which is of course the classic selfie! When using a pole-mounted camera, think a lot about composition – try and have as little of the pole in the image as possible and instead use your arm to adjust the camera angle. You might feel a little silly taking these shots, but I think you’ll find the results are worth it!
I mentioned this in the last article, but I’m going to say it again because it really is that important: think about what it is you are trying to shoot and make sure your lens is clean at all times! There is nothing worse than getting the shot you are after and having a smudge on your lens or fog in your housing ruining your image.
Use the free GoPro app for iPhone and Android to frame your shots and make sure you are getting the subject you want. If you’re shooting video, download the new Quik Stories app from GoPro – it will automatically import and edit your footage for you and also has a huge music library to put soundtracks on your videos. No more excuses about not knowing how to edit your GoPro footage!
Most of all, have fun with it. You won’t get the shot of the century every time you go out, but with some experimentation and a bit of persistence I think you might just surprise yourself. I personally get a huge amount of satisfaction when I review my content from a day on the water and find that magic moment hidden in my GoPro. A lot of the time I actually find that more rewarding than the fish I catch!
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