As phone cameras improve lens clarity and resolution, the distinction between POV cameras and phone cameras diminishes—or at least the distinction in their use. So, we pulled together a selection of camera and phone mounts for boaters and anglers, and put them to the test. Here is what we found.
How We Tested
We stuck the suction-cup models on a clean window to see how long they would hang in place. We connected pipe-clamp models to a boat-brush pole and jostled them around as hard as we could without damaging the pole to see how firmly they held. And we checked out adjustability for the camera angle and view.
Sea Sucker Flex-X Phone Mount
How It Works
As the name implies, the mount employs a 4-inch suction cup activated by a vacuum-pump plunger on the mount. The suction cup adheres on a clean, smooth surface with surprising force. We declined to measure it in our tests for fear of breaking the glass before the suction cup gave out. A red or orange warning ring appears as the cup loses suction, providing a useful visual warning to repump it.
The Flex-X arms are spring-loaded to open and close the rubber pegs securely around the phone. For added security, a rubber lanyard or harness stretches over the corners. Properly secured in the X-grip, the buttons are accessible and the camera is unobstructed. The flexible post can bend to the proper viewing angle, which is best done when the base is secured. The post is stiff, and flexing it attests to the strength of the suction-cup holder.
Tips for Success: Always clean and wax the surface before adhering, and always store the suction cup in the included protective cover to prevent damage that reduces suction.
Trials: We stuck the mount to a window, and 24 hours later, it showed no sign of detaching and no trace of the red or orange warning collar.
Summary: Our suction mount remained firm 24 hours after installation and needed no repumping. But take care: A dirty or scratched surface, or a scratched suction cup, holds suction poorly. The 4 3/4-inch suction base sacrifices too much visibility, so it needs to be mounted on a bulkhead, hardtop or dash top.
Sea Sucker Action Cam Flex Mount
How It Works
The flexible stalk is 7 inches long and firm enough to hold position in normal conditions once adjusted. Sea Sucker recommends moistening the suction cup before mounting. A spray bottle of water or boat soap will do the trick. Press it to the glass or smooth fiberglass bulkhead or the top of the console, and push the plunger about 10 times to get the suction to hold it in place. If it takes more to get it to stay, keep a close eye on it—your mounting surface might not provide an airtight seal.
The camera head is milled aluminum with a precisely manufactured receiver for GoPro-type mounts. Anodized aluminum or plastic mounts are best. Be sure to disassemble and wash in fresh water after saltwater use.
Tips for Success: The POV mount does not swivel, so determine camera direction before choosing a position for the suction cup. We solved the flexibility problem with a ball-head mount and 1/4-by-20 threaded adapter set for about $25 (hsushop.com).
Trials: We stuck the mount to a window, and 24 hours later, it showed no sign of detaching and no trace of the redish orange warning collar.
Summary: The suction cups have a threaded hole on the top of the plate and on the side, greatly expanding mounting options by sticking the cup on a vertical or horizontal surface. The flexible post has just the right amount of rigidity to adjust without much shaking or bending under the forces of use.
Shurhold Camera Adapter
How It Works
This simple-as-can-be POV mount snaps onto the end of a Shurhold boat-brush pole for an adjustable extension length. For offshore fishing, the 9-footer ($44.98) gets the cam outside the boat to catch the fish-landing action. We mounted the pole in a transom (shotgun) rod holder and used a wooden wedge to lock it in place for a view of the entire boat. On a short pole, we snorkeled for scallops and captured the fun on video.
It’s made of corrosion-proof plastic and fitted with a stainless-steel mount clamp screw and stainless-steel snap lock, so the device is good to go in salt water. And there’s no reason not to use it on dry land, say at a rock concert or sports events.
Tips for Success: Dissimilar metals cause galvanic corrosion, and the stainless-steel snap against the aluminum pole will cause the aluminum to corrode before the stainless steel does. Always disassemble the mount and the telescopic pole after saltwater use so the parts don’t corrode. A spray marine grease like Boeshield T-9 is a good tactic to prevent corrosion.
Trials: The mount is secure when the index pin snaps in place through the index hole on the pole. It attached firmly.
Summary: The weakest link in the device is the POV cam’s installer. We had no fear the mount would come loose from the pole, but jostling could loosen the slotted camera mount. If you want less of the pole in the video, an extension between the pole mount and the camera mount is a useful idea.
RAM Mounts Quick Grip Phone Mount with RAM Twist-Lock Suction-Cup Base
How It Works
For decades, RAM Mounts has been in the business of creating rigid mobile mounts for laptops, phones, marine electronics and more for military and law enforcement, including water patrols and wildlife officials. RAM’s most popular devices use a rubber-coated ball and clamp-on socket built into an arm. One ball is cast with a screw-down base; in this case, it bolts to a suction-cup base. The other end has a ball with a receiver for various mounting attachments. It’s a modular system, but the arrangement works like a double-jointed knee or elbow, with 180-degree hemispherical articulation on each ball joint.
Some assembly is required on the phone mount. Namely, side pegs must be bolted in with supplied bolts and nuts to keep the phone vertically centered in the cradle.
Tips for Success: Assemble the phone cradle first and fit it to the arm before placing the suction cup. That will enable optimal positioning on the first trial. For the small side braces, work with the bolts and nuts over a towel that will catch them when you drop them—you definitely will.
Trials: The twist-lock base was still firmly attached to the window 24 hours later, and prying it off without releasing the suction with the twist mount would likely break the glass. The mount could be fitted with a longer arm.
Summary: The double-ball-and-socket arrangement enables a perfect horizontal or vertical camera angle no matter how the base is mounted. It is by far the easiest to adjust to a perfect camera position.
RAM Mounts Universal Action Camera Adapter with Tough Strap Handlebar Base
How It Works
The quintessential RAM Mounts ball bolts to the nylon pipe strap for a rigid connection. The RAM arm socket connects to the bar ball on the Tough Strap, and to the Tactacam mount ball on the other side. Although the bar connection is rigid, the ball-and-socket system offers near-spherical adjustability. Once the RAM arm is tightened, the Tactacam holds firmly in place. In the case of our camera mount, the bottom joint could have also been attached to a suction-cup plate. Two straps are available for pipes from 7/8 to 1 3/8 inches.
Tips for Success: If you are indeed using a GoPro, the mount is fine, but by adding a 1/4-by-20 thread adapter, the mount becomes a universal threaded mount for many different cameras like Tactacams and mounts.
Trials: The cradle mount’s short arm means a rigid connection that minimizes vibration, but the short mount also limited the camera-angle adjustment. A longer arm could be optionally acquired.
Summary: This works well on a grab rail or bike handlebars up to 1 inch in diameter.
Tactacam Bendy Clamp Mount
How It Works
Tactacam is quickly establishing itself among boaters and hunters as the go-to sports cam. The company believes in simple operation, lens clarity and high-resolution imagery. Tournament anglers use
these mounts for documenting and verifying their catches and tactics.
The Bendy Clamp has a 12-inch alloy metal stalk protected in plastic. It flexes into position. On top is a ball joint with a 1/4-by-20 threaded mount and a GoPro-style adapter. A ring clamp affixes to the adapter. The clamp fits around a 2-inch pipe and has nonmarring rubber jaws.
Tips for Success: If you don’t need the full length of the stalk, double it back on itself to minimize jiggle from the boat’s vibration and waves.
Trials: The clamp won’t grip well on a surface like a tabletop, but it worked well on pipes from
1 to 2 inches in diameter.
Summary: We couldn’t completely mitigate the stalk’s wiggling, but its easy adjustability balanced out that disadvantage. It worked well when the boat’s motion was steady, such as fishing at idle or on a drift.
GoPro Gooseneck with GoPro Jaws Clamp Mount
$19.99, $49.99; gopro.com
How It Works
We found the components separately on the GoPro website and priced them individually. This mount has protective rubber jaws that firmly but gently grip rails to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. We mounted it to the hardtop pipes spreading from the 2-inch stanchion supports. The rubber grips inside the clamp did not mar the powder-coated finish.
The ball-and-socket gooseneck will flex to 90 degrees in any direction. Between the clamp’s orientation and gooseneck flex, getting the camera in the perfect position is a snap. The gooseneck is segmented too, so you can add or remove segments from the column to shorten or lengthen it.
Tips for Success: The clamp mount can even be used without the gooseneck, giving a rigid fit on the pipe, but with less flexibility in the camera angle. With 1/4-by-20 threaded adapters, we could add other cameras.
Trials: When fishing and navigating in moderate seas, we found the gooseneck held position well. Naturally, you can expect some shake and movement in rougher water. Mitigate that with your camera’s steady-cam feature.
Summary: The corrosion-proof design only has one metal part: the clamping spring. We’ve used one for years without failure. Shortening the stalk by removing some of the snap-on knuckles adds stability—you can even completely remove them and mount it directly to the clamp.
Yolotek Powerstick Gen4
How It Works
Bass fishermen were the first to adopt Yolotek’s Powerstick because it runs their POV camera all day on the 12-volt power of the boat’s navigation light socket. We tested a 36- to 53-inch friction locking telescopic Gen4 model with the Super Bundle that included a quad cord—a USB to lightning/mini USB/micro-USB/USB-C power pigtail combo that plugs into every known POV device. It also included 12 moldable silicone putty plugs to prevent water intrusion to the USB port on the stick and on the opened camera. The pole has two USB ports to power both a POV camera and an optional LED spotlight, and a camera tether. The two-pin navigation light connection is fairly standard, as is the pole diameter. However, the locking collar is not, so the Powerstick included three different locking collars. We removed the screw near the bottom, slipped off the collars we didn’t need, and replaced the screw.
Tips for Success: Buy the bundle with the silicone plugs, quad-cord pigtail and camera safety lanyard—you’ll need the first two and will probably use the third. Double-check all clamps at the boat and the camera frequently. Vibrations could loosen them.
Trials: Cameras are surprisingly stable on these devices, even when pushed to full extension. A phone mount is available from Yolotek. If you’ve had an opportunity to view some of the dramatic bass-boat crashes on YouTube, most of those were filmed using Yolotek mounts.
Summary: A full national field of tournament contestants and TV personalities can’t be wrong about this device. There is always a possibility of the mount rattling loose on a rough ride, but that is unlikely to happen when taking the proper care.