Raise your hand if you fish alone often, don’t actually do that, I can’t see you. If you did, well, good enthusiasm but that’s a little odd. Especially if you were in a public place. Anyways I’m sure we’re all raising our hands metaphorically. What happens when you catch a big fish all alone? In the age of social media that we’re currently living in, “pics or it didn’t happen” is all too true. So how do you get a quality snapshot of that “monster” you caught yesterday?
There’s a couple of mediocre options that will still leave critics questioning the truthfulness of your next thirty incher. First is the classic
“fish next to fly rod” picture that we’ve all taken. Sure it looks good enough but it’s bad for the fish and it lacks your beautiful smiling face. Second is the awkward “hold out in front and hope you get all of the fish in the frame while you try and steady your camera” picture. Needless to say most attempts at either of these end in complete and utter photographic failure.
So what do you do to take, at the least, decent pictures of you with your trophy fish. Aside from making some friends and fishing with them it takes some problem solving and patients to get good photos.
First of all, if you have a GoPro, then you’re pretty much set. There
are a few things you’ll need to pick up like a couple of different sized tripods and a GoPro-to-Tripod adapter. Using the GoPro’s time lapse setting allows you to take tons of high resolution pictures hands free. But it does take a little trial and error to get it right; maybe even a little practice too.
When you’ve landed a nice fish keep it in your net as submerged as deep in the water as possible. Do not hold it out of the water for an extended period of time. Whip out the tripod, screw on the GoPro, and adjust the legs to whatever height you need. Remember to set the GoPro to the fastest time lapse setting to get the most pictures in the least amount of time. Stand her up, grab the fish, get your proof, and then let it go.
Here’s a couple disclaimers about this method. First, at the end of the day you’ll probably have anywhere from 30 to 100 pictures to sort through. That’s because on “Time Lapse” the camera takes pictures so incredibly fast. But that’s a good thing, it gives you more chances to have a great shot hidden among the bad ones. Second, you’ve got to know how GoPro’s take pictures. What do I mean by that? GoPro’s have
an incredibly large frame of reference, meaning that unless you get good and close to the lense it’s going to look like you’re really far away. So Don’t be afraid to get within just a few inches of it, if you don’t your proof probably isn’t going to turn out all that great.
If you don’t have a GoPro all is not lost. In place of those awesome little action camera’s you’ll need some type of camera with a timer setting. This is risky, because GoPro’s are waterproof whereas most other cameras are not. So unless you just caught the fish of a lifetime don’t pull out your five hundred dollar camera in the middle of a river. The questionable looks from your buddies back at the local fly shop isn’t worth it.
That being said, let’s say that fish of a lifetime is resting casually in your net and miraculously your hands have stopped shaking. Set your camera up on a tripod and get the settings right, otherwise you’ll end up with a picture to dark, or blurry. Again this is where knowing your camera comes into play. Just like a GoPro different cameras have different viewing frames and different settings based on a variety of conditions like lighting, exposure, and lense magnification.
I suggest setting your camera to “portrait” with the timer mechanism on. The length of your timer is a personal preference, but it must be long enough for you to get the fish out of the net and up in front of the camera. This may take a little trial and error, though you don’t have just tons of time to get it right.
Taking pictures like this is, sketchy, at the least. Unlike a GoPro you’ll have to press the button on your camera each time you wish to take a photo. You may only get a few chances. In all honesty it takes some luck
to get pictures this way to turn out right, but when they do, it makes a great day that much better.
For the fish’s sake this is something you may need to practice. Sometimes you’ll lose the fish while you’re fumbling around trying to get a snapshot of the glorious moment. It’s a risk you’ve got to take. Please don’t keep the fish out of the water, I shouldn’t have to tell you why. Sure it’s fun, and everyone likes to have that oh so important proof, but make sure you’re doing it responsibly. I may sound a little like a “dry fly fanatic / stuck up keep-em wet hipster” but it is important.