I have to admit that many items I review do not receive much thought after I post their story, but after spending a short time with this new FishEyes Rod and Reel With Underwater Video Camera I realized here was an item with much broader usage.
Sure, this is a unique product that every father needs to bring along on a fishing trip with the kids to enhance their experience while you do your best Bill Dance or Jimmy Houston impression, but I began seeing other opportunities for FishEyes.
While it really only looks in one direction (down) as I lowered the camera into the water I thought to myself this would be a great device to see down drains and pipes especially when looking for that lost kitten or jewelry (or evidence). Since it is tethered with a very flexible 25 feet of cable, what about using it to see over walls or fences or around corners, perhaps putting it on a remote control car and sending it into harms way instead of yourself.
The unit itself has very good low-light capability, so seeing in near darkness is a snap. It does come with a green LED lamp in the housing, but in low light situations all that does is reflect off of the inside of the watertight housing making the scene unviewable.
Most of the device is made of plastic and looks like a child’s fishing pole with a video screen on the reel and a large, clear bobber at the end of the thick, black line. The encased camera head end that goes in the water does feature two attachment points where you can rig up the supplied bait basket to attract the aquatic critters or even attach fishing line and hooks or lures to reel in a catch (fishing license not included).
I got quite a few odd looks taking FishEyes out onto a couple of piers, but after showing fishermen what it looked like down below I heard many “Wow” choruses. I am thinking every dock owner, fish and wildlife specialist, police agency, etc. should put one of these in their gearbox to use for underwater search of items, evidence or species. And as I mentioned above, one can use it for sewer drains, pipes, etc.
FishEyes operates off four AA batteries and includes a much needed shade for the video screen. I found myself also needing my free hand to help shade the screen for better viewing outdoors. The ratchet noise of the reel when rewinding is a bit loud, but reel action is smooth and the thumb release works very well thanks to gravity and the weight of the camera housing. I am not exactly sure what test weight the signal line is, but I wouldn’t rely on it to haul in any trophy catches. For retrieving lost wedding bands, watches, keys, etc. I would rig a treble hook or two off the camera housing eyelets.
FishEyes is going to be a fun babysitter for the kids and should take their minds off the mosquitos and sunburn for a while. At MSRP of $79.99 ($69.99 right now on Amazon) I would get one for each child, that way there are no sharing “issues.”
I would love however for there to be a video signal out jack or at least some sort of record function so that the images could be played back later.
For more information, visit their Website at www.fish-eyes.com.
MSRP: $79.99 (But found on Amazon [affiliate link] for $69.99)
What I Like: Simple to use; Portable; Low-light capability; Endless other possibilities
What Needs Improvement: Brighter monitor screen; Video out; Record function