DIY ProTroll underwater video camera

Parts:
6 stainless steel eyebolt sets (bolt, nut, washer) https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00LGYXX9O?psc=1&ref=yo_pop_mb_pd_title 
1 section of 3" PVC or ABS (about a foot +/-) 
1 3" PVC cap (or whatever material you choose) 
1 3" to 4" coupler
PVC cement
1 camera mount with tripod screw (the camera I bought came with one) 
1 underwater-capable video camera (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MAVPM6P?psc=1&ref=yo_pop_mb_pd_title

Directions: (well, what I did anyway...) 
1. Dry fit your PVC together to gauge size. There's no magic length but a little longer may be better.
2. Drill holes in the PVC for the eyebolts:
 - 1 top dead center on the cap, forward on the curve. This is for higher speed trolling.
 - 2 top dead center on the pipe, the first pretty close to the cap, the second pretty close to the middle. 
 - 2 bottom dead center on the pipe, the first straight below the center hole on top. This is for straight drops. You'll have to guess where the balance point is but it need not be perfect. 
 - 1 on the 4" coupler at the bottom for the camera mount. This goes up through the coupler and secures the camera mount to the coupler.
3. Attach the eyebolts. To the one on the cap, I attached a 6-ounce bank sinker to offset the buoyancy of the camera housing and to provide some front weighting. You can see it here in this picture:
 If your eyebolts are attached ahead of your center of balance, you can skip that step. This is where the DIY part really comes in. I'm sure I'll be adding a lot more weight to mine over time, because mine has a tendency to rock up and down if I'm not trolling with a planer or have it secured from the front at higher speed. Ideally, I'll buy a downrigger ball or something like that but it needs more density overall to keep it stable. 
4. Cement the PVC. CAREFUL! PVC cement sets in about a second, so when securing the cap and coupler  it's a good idea to draw a mark from the pipe to each piece for quick matching. I messed up on the coupler and had to redrill that hole. No big deal, but a cautionary tale for sure.
5. Secure the camera mount to the coupler. The underwater housing will clip into that. Mine folds forward far enough that I can put in the camera without removing the housing, which is convenient.
6. Screw as heavy a bank sinker as you can get to the bottom eyebolt. You'll have to bend it to get it to work with the coupler, but this is an important weight, as it keeps the whole thing upright and serves as a little bit of a keel. I'm considering adding plastic 'wings' to further stabilize it under troll, but I'm not sure it's necessary.

Usage notes:
This design is perfect for a true downrigger, but I don't have one, so I bought two 50' paracord lengths and tied them together with a uni-to-uni. This is nice because I at least know where the 50-foot mark is. I tied the other end to a heavy-duty swivel-snap for easy clipping and unclipping. I also doubled a section of 65-pound test to connect to a planer. That's about 3 feet with swivel snaps at both ends. I attached a quick release to the planer, but don't have any success in seeing fish hit lures yet. I have seen a barracuda making passes at a pogie on a jig. That was cool. And of course  the Goliath grouper on the bottom at Standish. That was amazing.

I had some issues getting lines tied up because the guy I had with me wasn't terribly helpful with driving, etc.

Replies

  • blackcloudblackcloud Posts: 173 Deckhand
    Nice job.  I made one right before I went to palm beach and used it for trolling. Forgot to put it down on some reefs.  The trolling was very slow so we didn’t capture anything but you could tell it would’ve 

    Little harder to pull at ballyhoo speeds so I put it behind a 32 ounce trolling lead 
  • Knotty DreadKnotty Dread Posts: 155 Deckhand
    Nice write up and explanation. Thanks! You’re gonna have some
    cool footage. 


  • dontezumadontezuma Posts: 199 Deckhand
    Yeah, for now, I have a ton of useless footage of the camera rocking up and down, and a glimpse of a barracuda here, a spadefish there.  I got like 4 good seconds over three passes of a barracuda inspecting my pogie, but he never struck, so I didn't even know he was there.  More experimentation in my future, for sure.  

  • WeberWeber Posts: 110 Deckhand
    Cool, I need to see some footage of usage and a little more if how to use it.

    I’ve been playing with my GoPro more and more.
  • sandy1147sandy1147 Posts: 153 Deckhand
    Nice. I have a gopro I never really used. I see new life for it now. Thank you. Maybe I read over it but the only thing I can't figure out is how to attach the camera to the coupling. 
    ___________________________
    2019 Pioneer Islander 180
    "Sandy Blue"
  • sandy1147sandy1147 Posts: 153 Deckhand
    sandy1147 said:
    Nice. I have a gopro I never really used. I see new life for it now. Thank you. Maybe I read over it but the only thing I can't figure out is how to attach the camera to the coupling. 
    Okay, I'm a little slow but I think I'm getting it. Does the camera mount screw on to the back of that eye bolt below it?
    ___________________________
    2019 Pioneer Islander 180
    "Sandy Blue"
  • dontezumadontezuma Posts: 199 Deckhand
    @sandy1147 exactly. Drill the hole in the bottom of the coupler close enough to the edge that the mount will fit. It may hang over the edge a little, and that's fine.

    I'll try to get some footage this weekend with my second camera of how I get the footage. 😂
  • sandy1147sandy1147 Posts: 153 Deckhand
    Awesome. Thank you. Off to Home Depot. 
    ___________________________
    2019 Pioneer Islander 180
    "Sandy Blue"
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