Monday, January 21, 2013

GoPro Fish TrapCam : 25 Feet Below The Gulf

Last week, while fishing with my my friend Capt. Denny, I had a bout of inspiration.
On board was a small pinfish trap that we had brought along in hopes of catching something small, but neat for my daughter's classroom aquarium.
Also on board was my ever present GoPro Hero camera.

I stopped catching black seabass for a moment, borrowed a ziptie from Denny, and in a flash, TRAPCAM was born.
With the GoPro ziptied to the inside top of the trap and facing the bait box, we lowered my precious baby to the rocky bottom 25 feet below.

We soaked the TRAPCAM three times while we continued to fish. Each soak was about 20 minutes.
I have uploaded two of the videos to my YouTube account (Natcoast's channel).

They are longer than the usual video here, but soothing in a "watching fish and listening to a live healthy crackling sea" sorta way.

For those of you who want just the highlights, I jotted down a few times when major events happen. The site is a patch of limestone rock that offers some relief to an otherwise flat sandy bottom . It was a plankton rich day, so throughout the video tiny specks of life drift across the view.
The seabass and grunts find the trap just a moment or two after it hits bottom. Later, a moray eel (honeycomb moray) shows up and joins the feeding frenzy.

Here is a time line for those of you who are short on time or just impatient.
  • 51s - Touchdown on the bottom.
  • 2:28- First fish in the trap.
  • 6:11- Black sea bass stares into camera.
  • 11:23 - Haul up to check tank.
  • 11:50 - Drop trap back down.
  • 12:16 -  Touchdown number 2.
  • 12:27 - Moray swims by in the background.
  • 12:49 - Moray approaches trap.
  • 14:46 - Moray enters trap.
  • 1530: - Chomp! Black Sea Bass bites camera.
  • 15:51 - Moray up front.
  • 16:26 - Sea Bass bumps camera.
  • 17:47 -  Grunts at the door.
  • 20:37 - Lift off and return to surface.
The crackling and popping soundtrack is simply ocean background noise, much of it provided by shrimps and other invertebrates.

The abundance of fish in the video, both around the trap and passing in the background, is pretty awesome. That is due entirely to the presence of the rocks which provide valuable hard substrate real estate for all of the sessile organisms that need a hard surface upon which to attach and grow.
The sponges, soft corals, barnacles, and oysters that attach to the rocks not only provide food for predators, but they also become part of the structure ... literally part of the habitat.

All of the fish in the trap were released except for one moray, a sand perch, and a sea bass that now reside in our Cedar Key Marine Science Lab.



Caroline said...

The right superlative interjection just doesn't come to mind, so simply WOW! How neat!
It is 10F here at the moment, with little flakes of solid water falling from the sky, what a treat to see and hear the life in liquid water this morning.

edifice rex said...

Very cool! I find it interesting that the fish would even pay any attention to the camera; it being thoroughly non-organic looking.

threecollie said...

Oh, my, so amazingly cool. Love the frying sounds. Love the green. Amazing how big fish fit in through small openings. Wow!

Pablo said...

I LOVE these videos. Thanks for enriching my understanding.

Dan said...

That's wonderful!

cinbad122 said...

Cool! :)

Pablo said...

Happy Birthday, FC!

Aunty Belle said...

Thas' really nifty, FC! The green deep is relaxin'. Yore B'day? Felicitations!!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Y'all!
Yes, I hit double nickles yesterday!

Aunty Belle said...

Musta been a looooong celebration, heh. Happy happy!

Anonymous said...

That is cool, I didnt know Moray eels were found up here...thought they were basically in the Keys and real tropical waters.