Here’s What We’re Gonna’ Do

| July 1, 2010

Talk about scattered from here to there, and everywhere in between. We’ve got a hurricane that came in to South Padre Island, Texas, yesterday about 100 miles south of Brownsville, with bands that, if they hold together, will reach all the way to North Texas.

Texas, as you may recall, is a pretty darn big state. From Denton’s door to Grandma’s door in Weslaco, Texas, is 530 miles. The bands from the hurricane are plenty big, and will pack some rain, but F2 Hurricane Alex was far enough south to spare the Valley severe wind damage and tidal surge associated with most hurricanes. High wind gusts did register on the Island, but sustained winds are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to hurricane damage in general – except, that is, for rain.

Although Hurricane Beulah was a bad mother of a storm, the aftermath of rain as she ran up the Rio Grande proved to be the real second punch that no one at the time saw coming. If you’re wondering, yes I was there for that one.

So we will just have to wait and see what happens down there as the hurricane winds down, and the rain continues to fall out. “It ain’t over ’till it’s over” – Yogi Berra 1973,

Here’s What We’re Gonna’ Do (in the meantime)

We (input is freely accepted) have to come up with a new camera and / or camera system so that you can get some action video of fishing. I currently have on loan a neat little camera called the Contour HD, and although I have yet to get it in the field, it’s a frontrunner in the potential search for a replacement for the Sanyo Xacti. Also being given serious scrutiny are the GoPro HD and the Oregon Scientific ATC 5K. I have to admit these cameras do rip open that envelope I have been complaining about for years, namely that most of today’s video and still cameras are based on the last century’s version of what cameras “should be”, which is a box that holds a lens. These are anything but boxy.

By sheer degree of coverage alone, the Contour is light years ahead with a 135-degree field of view. There’s no monitor, or screen to squint to see in bright sun either. Instead, it has two laser dots that you position the camera with, turn it on and off with a simple slider switch on top of the barrel. All controls are covered by a rubber cup on the backside, and that includes the small usb connection and micro sd card slot. The Contour could best be summed up as functional. It is NOT waterproof though, but can handle getting splashed. There is a waterproof case for it, but that eliminates the microphone pickup. I will be shooting some sample video with it in the next few days, so check back to see how that turns out.
Oregon Scientific video camera
What the Contour lacks in amateur comforts, the Oregon Scientific ATC 5K more than makes up for. It still eschews the boxy mentality of old cameras for something that looks like it belongs on the space shuttle, and has the pop twist of coming in different colors. The 5k has a flip up screen on back and has a huge upside of running on double-A batteries. In case you were asleep, the whole world now runs on double-A batteries now. By contrast, the Contour recharges an internal battery while connected to USB power (or as I am discovering along with you – a usb plugged battery charger). NOTHING is as convenient as AA’s. Besides the power source, this baby comes right out of the box waterproof to ten feet! Add a screen for seeing what you’re getting, and half the price of the Contour … stay tuned.

The third camera, GoPro, is a recommendation by a very experienced multi-media professional who is lending me his Contour for a tryout. All I have to go on with this one, unless readers can advise TFC, is doing the research and message board reading. It’s not nearly as fun as field testing one of these, so you can expect the hands-on experience to lend an edge to the Contour.
GoPro Hero
What Happened?

The camera that I have been using for almost three years, the Sanyo Xacti, a pistol grip of a video and still camera, quit working. To be specific, it quit focusing and left me with everything working except that it was blurred like looking through six inches of cheap glass. I could hear it starting to go out as the focusing became less and less able to attain, and the sound of it racking to find focus was becoming more regular. That was that. I sent it in to the west coast authorized Customer Care Clinics in North Hollywood, California. It’ll cost 25. to crack it open and get an estimate on what it will cost to bring it back from the dead. These days, I realize sending a Sanyo Xacti camera in is a lot like keeping Ted Williams head cryogenically frozen – neither one is likely to come back to life, but I had to give it a shot. I have a sneaking suspicion, by the lack of surprise and very organized way I was routed through finding out where repairs are sent, these cameras have “issues.”

Sanyo will sell you the new Xacti for 400. usd, but I think I may have been fooled once (read previous paragraph) already, and at 400., that’s more than double what I paid for the one I now “have.” Once bitten …

The last video I recorded on my Sanyo Xacti was from fishing on the middle of the south lake at Northlakes Park in Denton. The largemouth bass seem to be keying on big flies, and I threw a fly everyone calls the Double Bunny at them with some great success. I was thinking of a friend who throws plastic worms when I made these flies, and they are BIG, with two strips of magnum zonkers running down about four to 6 inches. They pursued the natural color relentlessly and I am beginning to suspect that besides the sexy undulations the fur does in the water, it reminds bass of mice or snakes in color. This fly worked in three different places in the last four days, and all fish were very nice size. Feel free to start a thread on “The Fray” if you want details on how it’s tied. I haven’t caught any bass smaller than about 1.5-pounds, and am about to drink the cool-aid, and say; big bass eat big flies.

Double Bunny in Olive

I know there still has been no expose’ on the hot carp flies for the North Texas flats, but I was going to do them on video — until the camera fritzed. I did shoot some stills, so look for those to come out this weekend in their simplest form – no explanations, just pictures.

I decided to show as well as tell you about the bass I mentioned earlier, so here is some raw unedited video of the bass at North Lakes Park, in Denton, Texas. Go do it!


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Category: Culture on the Skids, Fly Tying, Photography, Raw Fly Footage

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

Comments (3)

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  1. shannon says:

    The Contour makes some fun and funky video. That wide angle is just spectacular. If you even get in the ballpark, it is on you, and the distortion does a couple of things – brings the viewer in, and gives a sense of comic fun.

  2. shannon says:

    That’s one camera I actually found at Best Buy, and it has a lot going for it right out of the box. That kodak name could be coming back!

  3. Kenny Smith says:

    I have been having a blast with the Kodak PlaySport. …and it is water proof to 10 feet. 1080p and 5mp pictures. It also has image stabilization. Check out the tarpon feeding video on my blog done with the PlaySport.

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