Every serious athlete does it: They watch themselves perform with a critical eye toward getting better. They call it watching film. We — serious anglers — should do the same thing. There's a new product on the market that'll help us do that. It's called Hatcams (www.hatcams.com).
Basically, they put a camera mount in the bill of a cap. It'll let you mount a lightweight camera on your hat so you can film as you fish. In just a little while you'll forget it's there. You'll be acting naturally.
At first, most of the guys using it were simply recording their catch. Maybe somebody didn't believe they caught a 5-pounder, so they bought a Hatcam to prove it. But, when I saw it at ICAST last year, I saw something very different. I saw a tool to improve my fishing.
I thought about filming myself before, but there were just too many problems. It's great to watch film and see what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong, but it's tough to get the film. As a practical matter, you have to ask someone to sit in another boat all day and take your picture. Only a very good friend would do that — a very good friend without a life.
This is not an infomercial. There are a number of ways you can fix a camera in the back of the boat to take your picture. Some of them will work. They'll give you a good picture of yourself casting and moving about the boat. That's valuable information. If you use it right, it'll help your fishing by giving you a good look at your casting form and posture throughout the day.
But a camera in the back of the boat won't give you a good picture of your lure and what it's doing. That's the beauty of the Hatcam. It's on the bill of your hat, so it's looking exactly where you're looking. There's no other way to get that picture.
You can see your lure hit the water. Was it really 2 inches from that stump, or was it more like a foot? And what about the way you were working that Spook. Did you notice that every time you slowed it down, you got a bite? How about all that slack in your line? Maybe that's why you couldn't get a good hook set.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. You need to be able to see what's happening and critically analyze your presentation if you're going to get better. The Hatcam is a good way to do that at a reasonable price. I honestly wish I'd had one years ago.
Watch film and correct your flaws. You'll be a better angler for it. I know I am.