LONG-TERM FishSpy marker float

RRP: £129.95 | www.fishspy.com

Fifteen years ago, you knew where you were with photos and videos. Cameras were cameras, devices in their own right.

Now, everything has been turned into a Cyclops. A single digital eye sticks out of your phone, your laptop, your cycling helmet and your car’s rear bumper. And with submergible cameras such as the GoPro becoming massively popular with inquisitive anglers it was only a matter of time before someone stuck a lens in a marker float.

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The idea might seem fairly simple in this surveillance age, but the FishSpy is an incredibly sophisticated piece of kit that took the team at TFG years to perfect. Set against the fact that water and electronics will never be bessie mates, the designers had to factor in the challenges of battery life, range, connectivity and the practical concerns of fitting a camera into a buoyant marker float.

If you believe this type of equipment is cheating – and that’s fair enough – then at least appreciate it for its engineering. And it really is well made. Straight out of the box, the FishSpy feels sturdy and durable. It bloody well should do for £130, we hear you say, but there are plenty of more expensive items in the tackle world that have been rushed to market with a fraction of the solidity of this item.

Will the price put buyers off? We shot our test at Bluebell Lakes, where the on-site tackle shop (more commonly used by anglers who have forgotten essential bits of terminal tackle) had sold out of nine FishSpys, at the original higher cost of £250, in a few days. You will be seeing these devices on a lake near you, that’s for sure.

So how does it fare in use? It’s unsurprisingly heavier than a normal marker float, so use of a beefy rod and a heavy-duty shockleader is definitely recommended. The FishSpy will transmit to an Apple device up to 65yds away (110yds with an extra extender), or an Android device 110yds away, and is certainly capable of being given a big cast without (too much) fear of losing the most expensive float you’ve ever bought!

The float will stream live footage to your phone or tablet providing it is on the surface at the time. Once you wind down the line to get a closer view of the lakebed you need to press record and then watch the video back when the float has resurfaced. Once you have established a connection (the float gives off a Wi-Fi signal that you hook up to) we found you could watch the live footage uninterrupted very well. However, re-establishing the connection after the float has gone beneath the surface and back again was a little more hit and miss. Cold water does nothing for the battery life either, so remember that summer performance will be better than it will in winter.

That said, we witnessed things we could never see without diving into the lake. Even in 10ft of water, the image clarity is excellent and the sight of sweetcorn fluttering to the bottom through the shafts of sunlight was surprisingly artistic. Putting the FishSpy on spots you thought you knew well will really open your eyes – the footage will both excite you and rock your faith in your ‘mind map’ of your favourite swim.

FishSpy accessories

  • Device stick for hands-free operation of tablet: £29.95
  • Iphone range extenders: £29.95
  • iPad Mini range extender: £39.95
  • Black, yellow or orange top fin: £4.95

 

FishSpy stats

  • Claimed battery life: Four hours
  • Recordingtime on inbuilt memory: Seven hours
  • Android range:  Up to 100m
  • Apple range: Up to 60m (up to 100m with range extender)
  • Battery recharging time: Three hours
  • Picture resolution: 640 x 480
  • Weight: 96g
  • RRP: £129.95