If you have any interest in kayak fishing, you have probably done a few searches for videos on YouTube. We have all seen the videos with terrible quality, bad audio, and tons of dead air. We have also seen the videos with perfect video and audio, great editing, and even some special effects. BMJ Fishing doesn’t pretend to be the most advanced channel out there, but I am proud of the video and audio quality of my videos. The best part is, you don’t need super expensive cameras, wireless mics, or a second person filming to make videos that look great!
In this post, we will be looking at the gear that I use for my kayak fishing videos. We will cover cameras, SD cards, camera mounting, audio recording, and how I power it all on the water. This is just how I do it for BMJ Fishing, so don’t think this is the only way to do it. This is just the setup that I have found works the best for me. We’ll talk about editing in another post soon.
“Over the Shoulder”
This camera angle is the foundation of my entire shoot. I use a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with a battery eliminator mod that allows me to plug in the camera to a USB power connection on my kayak. This lets me use a 64GB SD card and shoot in 1080p all day long. This non-stop footage helps me sync up my other camera and audio and gives some great perspective for viewers who want to see how and where I casted. It also catches great shots of fish jumping, spitting the hook, etc.
This camera angle gets all of the glory with those awesome “grip and grin” shots of me holding up a fish after bringing it aboard my kayak. I use a GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition shooting in 4K in a waterproof housing. I also use a PolarPro polarizing lens filter, the stock GoPro battery, and the “one push” functionality of the camera to turn on and start rolling with one push of a button.
I connect this camera to my kayak with a custom mount I created. I had a RAM mount for a fish finder that was too big for what I needed, so it sat on my shelf until I found a camera rig solution. I connect my GoPro with an adhesive GoPro mount that I have securely stuck onto the mount and I make sure the camera is as close to the center of the kayak as possible for a fully straight-on angle.
On the other side of my custom mount, I have my audio solution. Getting clear audio was always the biggest problem for me when making videos. I use a Zoom H1 audio recorder with a 32GB SD card. I let it run the entire trip and almost always use a fuzzy filter to cut down on wind noise. Using the H1 allows me to keep both of my GoPros in their fully waterproof cases, which protects them from the elements at all times. Although my H1 is without water protection, it rarely gets wet. In the event of a rain storm blowing in, I pull out a simple Ziploc bag and tighten it up around the recorder so only the microphones are showing. So far, it has worked great!
How do I power all of this stuff? This is where I went a bit overboard. I have two big batteries rigged up beneath the deck of my kayak that supply power to anything I need. One battery is dedicated to my Lowrance Elite 5 fish finder, while the other battery powers the 8 USB ports and 12v cigarette lighter plug I installed on my kayak. This lets me plug in my GoPro on the rear of my boat to USB power for continuous recording. If I ever needed to power a spotlight that uses a cigarette lighter, I got it covered.
In my sit-inside kayak, I use one battery in a custom battery box I made. This box powers my fish finder and running lights on board. For my rear camera, I use a portable battery from Newtrent that I place in my rear waterproof hatch. This battery usually gives me 12 hours of continuous GoPro power.
And that is my setup! So how do you have your kayak AV equipment setup? Send me some pictures and videos in the comment section below. In the next installment of this series, I will dive deeper into the editing process and how I take the hours of raw footage I record and make a YouTube video.