BY BOB WILLIAMS
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
WAUSAU, Wisc. – Ed Moes is such an avid fisherman that he partakes of the sport throughout spring, summer and fall. Come winter, however, when lakes here freeze early and thaw late, fisherman Ed simply chops a hole in the ice – and goes ice fishing.
What’s more, he’s brought technology to this sport that can, at times, become boring. After he lowers his fishing line through the ice, you see, he chops a second hole and lowers an underwater camera.
“I’ve been ice fishing my whole life,” says Ed, who is 51 years old and who lives in nearby Lindenhurst, a small town on the Wisconsin-Illinois border. He was fishing the other day on Half Moon Lake here in the Wisconsin River Valley, between Green Bay and Minneapolis/St. Paul. “With the camera, I can actually see what the fish are doing before they bite. I can even shake my jig and tease them.”
According to Ed, using an underwater camera has added a whole new dimension to ice fishing. It’s also drawing an increasing number of excited fishing enthusiasts to the once-boring sport of ice fishing.
Ed says he began using an underwater camera about 20 years ago.
“Initially I made PVC waterproof housing for a small electronic camera that I hooked up to a portable television set,” explains Ed, who owns www.crappie.com, an on-line fishing forum. “Back then it was such as novelty that I’d put my line in the water and sit back to watch the screen. Before long I’d have 10 people crowding around to watch the screen with me.”
The advantage to using an underwater camera, Ed explains, is that “you can see what kind of fish your bait is attracting, and if the fish are not biting you can change the bait. It’s a lot of fun.”
He drops in the underwater camera, which is connected to a flat screen monitor by a line the thickness of an indoor extension cord.
“I position the camera so that I have a perfect view of the end of my fishing line, with the hook and bait in clear view, Ed says. “Then it’s just a matter of sitting back to watch the action.”
The underwater camera works perfectly with ice fishing, Ed explains, because the water is usually clear and still and, of course, the ice is not moving. In summer months, he says, using an underwater camera from a boat isn’t effective because of water turbulence and a rocking vessel.
“These days, we even have infra-red underwater cameras with LED lights, so that even if the water is dark and murky, and even if you want to fish at night in the dark, you can see exactly what’s going on down there,”