April 18, 2010

DIY Hat Cam & Wild Brownies

Last fall I wrote a post about video, specifically about a hat cam, (old post HERE).  While I never got around to purchasing one of those tripod hats, the idea kinda got stuck in the recesses of my head and never shook loose.

Earlier this week I was going through my closet and found a bunch of hats I'd probably never wear - just not my style - and hat cam again reared it's ugly head (no pun intended).  After looking in the basement for just the right size nut and bolt, a few quick turns of the electric drill later, and I'm now the proud owner of a MacGuyver-ed camera hat.

Now to get it on the water.

Got a little bit of a late start this AM, didn't hit Valley Creek until 9:30 AM.  Armed (or is it headed?) with the camera hat, I waded to the first hole and tossed out some some flies tenkara-style.  I had no problem whatsoever catching fish today, pulled about 2 or 3 out of every hole or stretch I fished, was just having technical difficulties with the camera.
Notice...no video

First the angle was off and the video was really crooked...next I thought I had pushed the record button, but evidently didn't...you know a bunch of what they call in the tech industry "user error."  Frustrated, I finally gave up on the hat cam and unscrewed it from my head.

Now, wouldn't you know as soon as it was unmounted, on maybe my 3rd cast following, I got a really nice trout on the line?  Most Valley Creek trout run 6-10", but this one was probably 14"+ and putting a nice bend into my  tenkara rod.  Would have made for nice video too - the water was clear and he was showing a lot of flash during the fight.  Alas...he broke off right at my feet, so not even a still photo.  Figures...

After that, the camera was going back on the hat for the last stretch of water on the way back to the car.  And FINALLY...some fish footage.  See, proof I'm not making all of this up after all!

...which yielded this pretty little guy:
The fruit of my labor

So, reflections on the day:

1) This was probably the best day I've ever had on Valley Creek.  Bead head nymphs under the Elk hair caddis was deadly

2) I'm bringing a net next time.  That 14-incher is mine and he's not getting away again.

3) After some trial and error I do like the hat cam.  Think I've got the kinks worked out.  Will give my hack-job version a couple more tries - then maybe upgrade to the "real" thing.


  1. LOL that's pretty darn neat! Those are some pretty fish.

  2. Thats a GREAT day on Valley Creek. Nice job on the day and the video hat. I have a hard enough time remembering to take along my camera, let alone try a hat cam!


  3. Man that is some clear looking water for this time of the season. Great job, Michael.

  4. Love the hat cam! I've got to work up something like that myself. Too bad it wasn't working for the 14 incher. That I would have liked to see.

    Tight lines,

  5. I talked to a friend over the weekend that is from Japan. Knows a little about fishing, but he hasn't heard of Tenkara either. That makes you the Tenkara pioneer for the US and maybe Japan, who knows.


  6. Oh my! That hat cam idea has changed my life.

  7. Great job on the hat! That has some real possibilities.

  8. @ Bill - thanks, I love the colors in wild trout as well

    @ Wolfy - Was definitely pleased, think it was my best day every. Heck, if it's already on your hat, you won't forget!

    @ Mel - It was a beautiful day. Sunny, mid 60s, water was gin clear.

    @ Chris - Thanks for stopping by - I'll get some footage of that brute - he's MINE!

    @ Shoreman - I don't know what to say. I'm not THE pioneer though, Chris Stewart who wrote the prior comment is the original "TenkaraBum." Check out his website: www.tenkarabum.com

    @ Clif & Owl - Once you have the right size nut & bolt, it takes less than 5 minutes to make...seriously.

  9. Nice looking trout---the stream looks like some in the Great Smokey Mountain Park. What length rod were you using? Really impressed with the hat cam. I would like to see more videos if you can make the time.

  10. Bill - I was using my 11' Iwana tenkara rod. It's a great "little" (they go up to 13.5') rod that packs down to 20". It's still a work in progress, but I should have more hat cam in the future.

  11. Don't risk your expensive camcorder for a do-it-yourself hatcam. The hat I bought from Hatcams.com has the mount manufactured into the camcorder so it's as sturdy as can be. Also, the color selection and athethics of the components alone are worth buying it from www.hatcams.com. Their universal knob makes attaching the camcorders much easier than a bolt sticking up through the hat. I thought of making one myself but bought one from them instead - I couldn't be happier.

  12. I tried to make my own too...and now my 200 dollar flip hd is at the bottom of the river i was fishing...I went and bought one of the hatcams from the website, and it is of a quality that I cannot mimic. I've had my hatcam for about 7 months and use it all the time, and have not had a single issue with it.

    Sometimes, the shortcut isn't the most wise. I learned that the hard way lol

  13. Thanks for your posts "Anonymous." I value your opinion, and will take the fact that your IP address is located in CT (the same state that hatcams.com is located) as purely a coincidence.

  14. Yeah, it is interesting. It would be more of a coincidence if Hatcams ads were not on every street corner in my state. I know what town he is from since CT is a very small state and I read the story behind the hatcam at his website, but other than that, your coincidence theory doesn't hold too much water. Too bad though. Since it is such a small state, maybe I can meet the mastermind behind it someday.

  15. Oh well, guess you got me.

    I'm certain I'll break down and buy a real one one of these days...

  16. If yours works, why buy one from someone else? ( Maybe why I can't sell any flies!? ;) )

    What goes on the underside of the thing? I've got that new Playsport that I'd like to mount somehow. Tried it in the vest the other day and it worked "ok" but mounting it on my chest made casting a chore. Of course, if I go to tenkara, my free hand won't be pulling line over the camera face either. lol

    PS - In case you haven't guessed, yes I am going through all of your tenkara posts - and loving every second of it!

  17. @Owl - Literally all this is is a hat with a hole drilled through the brim. Slide a washer on the bolt and insert the bolt up through the hole from the bottom of the hat brim. Tighten on top with a nut and your good to go. The washer holds the bolt in place in the bottom and makes the rig stable.

    BTW, the Playsport works perfect on there. Feels a little odd at first, but you get used to it and forget it's on there. It's the rig I used to film this video:
    Sanatoga Park Sunfish