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The new device that brings real-time video feeds to angling


Imagine the scene. You have just cast out and, using your mobile device, are watching real-time video of your bait fluttering down through the water, capturing the attention of several fish as it descends.

The live visual feed means you can see their reactions to your bait in real time, allowing you to adjust your technique based on their behaviour. And the moment a fish strikes, you not only feel it through the rod but also see it unfold live on the screen.

Sounds like a pipe dream? Not any more. A US company is about to make that dream come true with a new product due for release early next year.

The project started four and a half years ago when a visit to the lakes of New Hampshire rekindled Dustin Alinger’s passion for fishing. The Boston, Ma. electrical engineer loved being back on the water, but the experience also made him curious – and a little frustrated. Why wasn’t he catching more? Was it to do with his technique or choice of bait, or simply the absence of fish? Just what was going on at the end of his line?

The experience sparked a thought. If he could get eyes on his lure he could get the answers to all those questions. “I felt that the product I wanted would already exist,” says Alinger (pictured). “But it didn’t. There was nothing out there that offered live view.”

It seemed at first that a camera at the end of the main-line would be the solution. But Alinger, previously an engineer for an underwater electronics company, understood the challenges of high bandwidth communications and knew that traditional above-water wireless methods were not options. Then another question rose to the surface: could the line itself be used as transmission for real-time underwater video? The challenge to make that happen quickly became an obsession that has culminated in the launch of eLine, a product that looks and feels like traditional line but which can transmit live video.

Underwater video is not new to fishing. Indeed, one such camera won an award at last year’s ICAST. However, ReelView Fishing introduces a game-changing feature to the market: the ability to fish with live video feedback from any depth and with any fishing style.

While existing underwater cameras capture footage to be reviewed post-fishing or, as with ice fishing cameras, are shackled by bulky cables and completely divorced from fishing gear, eLine – in tandem with a specially designed reel and base station – enables anglers to receive a real-time video feed directly from their line.

“This system is not just about catching more fish,” says Alinger. “It’s about unlocking a new dimension in fishing that engages the sense of sight in real-time, offering a level of excitement and engagement previously unattainable. This live insight provides an unparalleled advantage, offering immediate data and enhancing the fishing experience beyond the capabilities of traditional recording devices.

“While other cameras document the underwater world for later viewing, like a camcorder, ReelView empowers anglers to experience the underwater action as it happens. That’s what we are selling to the customer.

“It’s so outrageously fun and exciting that people are going to want this. You can pilot and present the bait the way you want, making it behave differently. You also know if your bait is dead, buried out of sight or has been gone for the past 15 minutes. The technology adds to the tactile experience.”

The journey from concept to product has taken almost three years, beginning with initial proofs of concept crafted in Alinger’s apartment. That early motivation was driven by a desire to have the product for personal use, but he quickly saw much bigger potential.

A consumer survey in the summer of 2023 reached out to a diverse group of anglers to gauge their interest in a live video fishing experience and drew an overwhelmingly positive response.

“This strong interest bolstered our confidence that consumers would not only embrace the unique experience of fishing with live video but would also gain valuable insights into the behaviour of the fish they pursue,” explains Don Aubrecht, a Harvard graduate with a career in engineering and science. “Additionally, the research showed that sharing of captivating content with fellow anglers is an exciting prospect that further validates the consumer need and demand for RV1.”

The main challenge was devising a system to transmit data from the underwater camera that would seamlessly integrate with traditional fishing tackle, with a huge focus on making it feel normal to the angler. After rigorous testing and refining, the past year has been spent working to perfect the product in collaboration with manufacturing partners. And once confident in this foundational technology, the team turned to expanding the system to include camera, rod, reel and base station.

The camera boasts a 2.6K Sony IMX335 image sensor, great for low-light sensitivity, coupled to Ambarella silicon and a custom 160-degree underwater FOV lens. This delivers the widest viewing angle available underwater and is also capable of custom white balance control and electronic image stabilisation. Also included in the camera are depth and water temperature sensors that provide these data points to the angler in real time.

The ReelView Fishing RV1 system is designed to be a versatile, ready-to-go combo. The 4500 series spinning reel integrates with eLine and features a lightweight aluminium body and high-strength stainless steel shaft and gear. The rod is a 7ft two-piece carbon, medium/heavy, fast action design optimised for compatibility with eLine.

The simple set-up, powered by six hours of battery life, involves attaching the camera to the line, adding the leader and bait and then downloading the ReelView app to connect the viewing device to an iPhone, iPad or other compatible appliance. This straightforward process allows you to quickly dive into the unparalleled experience of live underwater video.

“Our progress in developing these components has been greatly facilitated by partnerships with leading manufacturers, a testament to the extensive network and expertise of our advisory board, which brings together 50 years of experience in the fishing industry,” said Eli Rosenberg, who joined the project to shape the marketing strategy after eight years with online tackle company Catch Co.

The result is that ReelView is now on the cusp of tooling up a production line to deliver the first RV1 units to anglers in 2025 following a go-to-market strategy involving an imminent presale campaign targeting early adopters who can access exclusive early pricing offers.

“This approach will not only help introduce the system to the market but also allows the company to gauge product demand among our most enthusiastic customers,” added Rosenberg.

After fulfilling presale orders, the RV1 system will be made available directly to consumers at reelviewfishing.com in early 2025.

“We would also love to be in retail shops, but some want to see the market demand before committing,” says Aubrecht. “This multi-faceted approach would ensure we reach a broad audience, catering to both tech-savvy anglers and those who prefer the traditional retail experience.”

Not surprisingly, given the research development and engineering costs behind what promises to be a truly groundbreaking project, the RV1 is a premium product. Pre-order cost will be $1299, rising to $1899 post launch. “We’ve carefully considered our pricing strategy to position it within reach of anglers keen to embrace new technology and who put a value on pioneering technology and being able to experience live underwater video.

“The popularity of forward-facing sonars shows that people are ready to put their credit cards down to get more from their fishing,” adds Alinger.

Currently the system will only work with the rod and reel provided, but the team looks forward to the day when other manufacturers are putting out products that are compatible.

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