Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Fishing is one of the most fulfilling and fun activities, especially drone fishing. Whether you do it as a career or a hobby, it helps relieve stress, encourages social bonding, and many other health benefits. Besides, as you learn how to fish, you gain patience and the ability to set and achieve goals.
For a long time, fishing has always been done with fishing rods and casting nets. Later, balloon and kite fishing came along. Even though drones were not initially designed for fishing, tests have proven that they are quite useful.
Can You Use a Drone for Fishing, and How Does It Work?
Yes, you can fish with a drone. All you need is a drone that can handle a large payload, and a bait-release mechanism. It’s similar to casting with conventional fishing rods, only that you can do it while on the shores without sailing a boat into the sea.
Table of contents
- The History of Drone Fishing:
- What Is Drone Fishing?
- How to Choose a Drone for Fishing?
- What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Drones for Surf Fishing?
- Which Is the Best Fishing Drone for You?
The History of Drone Fishing:
Even though Derek Klingenberg claims to be the pioneer of drone fishing, Popular Mechanics shows that the pioneer of drone fishing may have been David Darg.
Derek Klingenberg recorded his video when catching fish with a drone in 2015. David Darg, on the other hand, had recorded a similar video in 2013.
Derek Klingenberg used a DJI Phantom drone in September 2015. According to his statement, he used a hook and a line connected to a drone to snag a fish.
He states that he used false bait, and it took him 10 minutes to catch the fish.
Both Derek and David improvised. However, more companies later rolled drones and accessories that were best suited for fishing.
What Is Drone Fishing?
Drone fishing is simply using a drone to cast and bring fish to the shores. You take advantage of the drone’s GPS to navigate and the camera to spot the fish remotely.
You then attach a bait-delivery mechanism and drop it at the areas where you can spot lots of fish.
Sounds easy, right? But it’s not that straightforward. Drones aren’t allowed to fly in all areas, and many things could get in the way. Either way, drones will enable you to cast up to 500 meters into the sea with or without a boat.
They are also easier to maintain when compared to boats.
Rules And Regulations:
There are regulations on drone fishing in several states. Since the rules may vary, it’s important to consult before setting out to fish. Below are some of the most common laws:
- A drone cannot fly over a federal building.
- A drone cannot fly over people, especially publicly.
- The weight of the drone must not exceed 55 pounds (ca. 25 kg).
- The pilot cannot fly the drone above 400 feet (0.12 km).
- The controller of the drone must keep the drone in sight.
Now that you have learned drone fishing regulations, the next step is to buy a drone.
How Much Does a Fishing Drone Cost?
Fishing drones are designed to avoid crashing into the sea in case the pilot makes a mistake.
Ensure that you buy a quality fishing drone, especially one above $500 because fishing drones below this price range do not have a long battery life or enough lifting capability. Their GPS capabilities are also quite limited.
A good fishing drone ranges from $500 to $1500. You need to look for a high lifting capability, excellent battery life, and advanced GPS capabilities.
Some drones are also waterproof if you’d like to get close to the water. But you’ll have to pay more for the waterproof drones.
An average drone has a battery life of up to 30 minutes, which is an adequate time for you to send out your drone, cast baits, catch a fish, and get the drone back.
If you aim at fishing for a more extended period than this, consider buying a set of extra batteries to supplement the drone’s battery. Drone batteries cost anywhere between $60 to $140.
How Does a Fishing Drone Work?
Fishing drones are created with an in-built return-to-home function, which automatically allows the drone to fly back to the controller when it loses connection or when its battery is low.
Besides a drone, you also need to buy a line and a hook that will be used to catch fish. The line should be long, at least 700 meters, to make sure you can cast further when required.
Then, you will need to configure your fishing line to the drone for you to fish. There are different methods of configuring a fishing line to a drone.
So, a drone with longer landings offers you a lot of space to configure your outrigger clasp. You should also ensure that the bait line is balanced directly below the drone’s middle.
But drones designed for fishing, such as the Cuta-Copter EX1, may have an anti-pendulum effect. This makes them ideal for all types of rigs.
Using a light fishing line, you can harness your down rigger clip from the center point and then mount a bait releasing mechanism device that you can control remotely. There are four different types of drone release mechanism devices.
How to Set Up Your Drone Fishing Rig?
As we have already established, the drone is only one part of the equation in drone fishing. You also need a bait dropping device, and a fishing line.
After gathering all the tools, it’s also necessary to learn how to set it up. This will prevent any accidents and injuries.
As mentioned earlier, the fishing line has to be very long. 700 meters is the minimum, but it would help if you got a longer one. Secondly, rigging devices are different, and they all have different set-ups. Basically, they can be either electric or mechanical.
A drop loop is the best way to set up your rig. This is where you tie a loop on the bait dropping device. Once you have your main line connected to the drone, you need to create a second loop.
This second loop can either be placed in the middle of the mainline or at the end of the mainline. Ensure there’s a considerable distance (6 to 10 meters) from the drone to the second loop.
This is to ensure the pendulum effect doesn’t occur, especially when the drone hovers.
Electric dropping mechanisms are easy to use since you can just press the open and close button. But for mechanical ones, you have to create tension to release the loop.
You can also choose not to drop loop with bait dropping devices such as the Sky Rigger. This is where you hold the line by applying pressure with the two plates on the device.
Then, you release the line like you would when using a drop loop for a mechanical device.
You have the option to select whether to or not to drop loop, so pick the method that suits you. The pendulum effect is what you should watch out for, since it’s the main reason drones crash when fishing.
Below is some drop loop in action to give you an idea;
Drone Fishing: Bait Release Mechanism:
Third-party Tensity Release Mechanism:
Third-party tensity release mechanisms are devices fixed to a drone and are used to drop the fishing line when you apply tension to the fishing reel. T
The tension applied pulls the line from the third-party tension release mechanism device, dropping it into the water.
Improvised Tensity Release Mechanism:
This device requires a little more rigging while still offering effectiveness and simplicity. To use it, you need to fasten the reel, increasing tension, which allows the fishing line to release itself from a down rigger clip.
Remote Control Third-party Release:
This device works by attaching them to a drone, and then the line is dropped by a remote-controlled transmitter. It is the easiest fishing line release mechanism device available.
Improvised release mechanism devices work by attaching them to a drone, and then when you get to the fishing point, you rotate your drone at 180 degrees, releasing the fishing line, which drops into the water.
After you have rigged, you can then select your favorite fishing spot, fly your drone over it, and then drop the fishing line.
After dropping the fishing line, you can fly your drone back or inspect how your fishing line is faring using the drone’s camera, and after catching a fish, you can use the drone to reel it back to the shore.
An important aspect you might want to know is the drone’s connectivity range because you do not want your drone to lose connection and sink in the water. The drone’s connectivity range is always indicated in the manual.
How to Choose a Drone for Fishing?
There are some essential features that you should look for in a fishing drone. These include a camera, battery life, carrying capacity, and the drone’s connectivity range.
The major selling-point of fishing drones is the ability to spot fishing areas. You can’t do that with a low-resolution camera.
So, before anything else, ensure that you get a drone with a high-quality camera, one that enables you to spot fish even when you are several feet above the water surface.
Consider getting a fishing drone with longer battery life because it is likely to last longer on a fishing expedition than a low battery life drone.
Longer battery life also reduces the chances of your drone powering off during fishing and sinking into the water or crashing on a hard surface. Even though your drone falls and floats on the water, chances are high, you won’t find it.
As a fisherman, you should strive not to overload your drone, since you may damage it. Remember, it acts as the pivot for when you trap the fish and pull it back to the shores.
If the fish is too heavy, the drone will strain, consuming excess battery power. The drone may stop midair and crash.
Drone’s connectivity range:
You should also check the drone’s connectivity range from the manufacturer’s manual before purchasing or using it. If you fly the drone too far beyond its connectivity range, you risk the drone falling into the water.
It is not something you want to happen because you will lose your drone. Typically, when operating the drone from the shore, it is easy to determine its connectivity range.
However, the connectivity range can easily be skewed from a moving boat, resulting in the drone falling into the water. It would help if you were extra careful when drone fishing from a boat.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Drones for Surf Fishing?
- Drone surf fishing is safer than using a boat or a kayak because you are away from the waves.
- The chance of startling the fish is reduced, which translates to a better catch.
- Improved accuracy, especially when you build on skill. Using a camera, you can spot the right fishing area from an aerial view and direct the drone to drop the fishing line in that area.
- Drone surf fishing requires so much practice and skill to perfect the art.
- Drone fishing can be affected by bad weather, and if you are using a non-waterproof drone, you might blow its fuse.
- For those experienced in traditional fishing, drone fishing doesn’t feel the same. It does not bring the same kind of connection and relaxation that traditional surf fishing brings.
Which Is the Best Fishing Drone for You?
There are many fishing drones in the market, but getting a high-quality drone that offers superior qualities can be a daunting task.
As mentioned earlier, a good fishing drone will cost you above $500, and the price increases as the features become more superior.
Let us look at some of the best fishing drones available in the market.
Gannet Pro+ Fishing Drone:
Gannet Pro+ fishing drones are designed for short-distance delivery and come with a uniform camera platform and a hanging bottom camera.
They fly at nearly similar speeds in all directions, but have a streamlined nose to fly slightly faster and propel forward.
What’s interesting is their low-power consumption than other drones, making them better and uniquely equipped for fishing.
Why should you buy the Gannet Pro+ fishing drones?
- It’s waterproof.
- It is easy to control.
- 3.5 kg payload capacity.
- It has a high battery optimization.
- It has a return-to-home button capability.
- Relatively majestic distance range.
- Designed to withstand all types of weather.
- It has multi rigger attachment points.
- It is remotely controlled.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Fishing Drone:
DJI was the first drone company to manufacture consumer drones and also fishing drones. For this reason, Phantom 4 Pro has gained popularity and is one of their best creations.
Some of its best features are its high-quality camera and a long connectivity range. These features make it the best fishing drone in the market so far.
Why should you buy the DJI Phantom 4 Pro fishing drone?
- A high-quality camera.
- Stylish and sleek body.
- Easy to control and fly.
- A return-to-home button.
- Maximum of 1 kg payload.
- A digital battery management system.
- A somewhat majestic connectivity range.
- Magnesium and titanium alloy body.
- Works with a remote control as well as a smartphone.
DJI Mavic 2 Fishing Drone:
DJI Mavic 2 is an upgrade on DJI Mavic Pro and is a fishing drone designed to be small but mighty and is easy to control. It has an incredible connection range and a friendly user control system.
Why should you buy the DJI Mavic2 fishing drone?
- Top of the line 4K camera outputting high-quality images and footage.
- 18 kilometers connectivity range.
- Sleek body.
- Smart battery.
- A strong body that can survive a fall.
- High-quality obstacle sensing.
- Foldable arms.
DJI Phantom 3 Pro:
Now this is a highly designed, well-built, easily controllable fishing drone. It is easy to control even for beginners because it has a beginner mode designed to help you learn how to fly in a safe environment.
Why should you buy this DJI Phantom 3 Pro fishing drone?
- High-quality cameras.
- User-friendly controls.
- Sleek body.
- Good connectivity range of up to 5 kilometers.
- It is made from high-quality material, which makes it suitable to survive a fall.
- It is also beginner-friendly
- Capable of livestreaming in HD.
DJI Inspire Fishing Drone:
DJI Inspire is a high-quality quadcopter that was designed for better fishing and can lift heavy loads. It is designed for both professional and recreational use and meets industrial standards.
Why should you buy a DJI Inspire fishing drone?
- It has a larger payload compared to other fishing drones.
- Easy to control and fly.
- It has a fair connectivity range of up to 5 kilometers.
- Two users can control it.
- It is very affordable.
My Choice- Cuta- Copter EX-1 4S:
In my opinion, this is the best water proofing fishing drone available on the market, but it comes with the price tag. It is a very user-friendly drone packed with powerful features.
After years of research and development, Cuta-Copter Ex-1 is the safest, reliable and the toughest fishing drone on the planet.
Is Drone Fishing Worth It?
Drone fishing as a hobby or a profession is fun. Though it is better and highly advanced, which makes most people believe it is less challenging, it also has some challenges.
Even so, most people prefer it over the traditional fishing methods. So, is drone fishing worth it?
Yes, it is, and here’s why.
Extends Cast Range:
A conventional rod extends up to about 10 to 15 meters. An aerial rod goes up to 100 meters. Consequently, you can fish while on the shore because the drone can reach areas needing a boat to fish.
As a result, the chances of catching a fish heighten.
Better Control Of The Gear:
Drone fishing gives better control of your gear, unlike the traditional fishing method that denies you control over the lure once it gets into the water.
Hence, deep-sea fishing rods sometimes sink, making it easy to miss a catch. With drone fishing, you don’t rely on the hook and lure.
The aerial vehicle gives you better control over the gear. Hence, you can quickly move to the best zone for a great catch.
Besides, you can have control of the gizmo. So, you can move it fast or slowly based on your fishing needs.
Unlike the traditional fishing method, which limits you in that you cannot access certain areas without a boat, drone fishing allows you to find the best fish species to catch because it extends your range.
Also, finding a great area to angle is easy, making it fast to fish.
Besides, drone fishing is cheaper because you only require electricity to power the fishing gears and drone.
What Is the Maximum Flight Time for Fishing Drones?
The maximum time for a fishing drone depends on the drone battery. Most consumer drone batteries, however, can last for 20 to 30 minutes.
On the other hand, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for most consumer drones to do several bait drops, which is enough for an average fisherman.
Is Drone Fishing Really Fishing?
Drone fishing has revolutionized fishing for hobbyists. It has a steep learning curve and may not be advanced for professional fishing yet, but the future looks bright.
Imagine flying several feet above the water, spotting unsuspecting fish, and managing to trap it. Fascinating right? If you haven’t tried it yet, get yourself one of these drone fishing drones and join in the fun.