Drone Fishing: An Exciting Future for Anglers

Drone Fishing: An Exciting Future for Anglers

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Video surf fishing with a drone

If you’re a fan of soaking in the beauty of the sea and enjoy your leisure time, drone fishing might just be the perfect activity for you. While fishing is already a fantastic pastime, adding a drone to the mix can take it to a whole new level. Drone fishing offers numerous benefits, whether you plan on pursuing it as a hobby or a career. In this article, we will explore what drone fishing is all about, how it works, and whether it’s worth the investment.

What Is Drone Fishing?

As the name implies, drone fishing involves using a flying robot to enhance your fishing experience. Instead of relying solely on luck, drone fishing allows you to optimize your fishing process using unique drone features. There are several ways to approach drone fishing, depending on your preferences and level of involvement.

You can start by using a fishing drone to scout for the best fishing area. With the drone’s aerial view, you can easily identify excellent spots to fish and locate the fish population. If you’re targeting specific types of fish like tuna or salmon, you can use your drone’s camera to survey the local waters.

Another approach is using the drone as a bait release mechanism. As the drone hovers above, it drops bait, increasing your chances of catching fish. You can experiment with different types of bait to attract various species.

The most common method is “dropping the line.” Instead of manually casting a fishing line, you can rely on the drone to do the work for you. This approach guarantees a catch every time, although it may lack the excitement of reeling in the fish manually. For professional anglers, drones offer the opportunity to extend their catch range or expand their fishing zone.

Drone Fishing

How Does Drone Fishing Work?

If you’re new to boating or haven’t fished in a while, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the basics of drone fishing. First and foremost, you must understand the regulations regarding drone usage in your country. Different locations have specific rules and requirements, ranging from licensing to aircraft registration.

Once you’ve sorted out the legal aspects, it’s time to learn how to pilot your drone. Becoming proficient in controlling and maneuvering your drone is essential to ensure a successful fishing experience. Depending on the size of your drone, you may need to learn specialized piloting techniques.

Equipping your drone for fishing is the next step. Depending on the model, there are various bait-dropping mechanisms available. Some drones come with integrated bait droppers, while others utilize tension-triggered release lines. Choose a mechanism that suits your needs and fishing style.

Finally, finding the right spot to launch your drone is crucial. Whether you’re fishing in public waterways or private property, ensure you choose a location that allows for safe and effective drone operation. You can launch the drone from a boat or use the shore as a staging platform.

Who Started Drone Fishing?

Drone fishing is a relatively new activity that gained popularity in recent years. It all began with an innovative individual named Milton Frear, the owner of JCMatthew in New Zealand. Frear, a distributor of adventure brands and technology, discovered the potential of using drones for fishing.

In 2014, Frear started using the first-generation waterproof drone, the Mariner, for bait-dropping on the beach. Although the drone’s release mechanism was originally designed for emergency life-saving purposes, Frear saw an opportunity to utilize it creatively for fishing.

Soon after, other fishing enthusiasts, like Jaiden Maclean of Sea Ulcer, began exploring the possibilities of drone fishing. Their YouTube video, “Drone Fishing For Tuna,” went viral, attracting millions of views and inspiring a new wave of anglers. SwellPro, the first company to develop a purpose-built waterproof fishing drone, played a crucial role in driving the popularity of drone fishing.

Drone Angler

Is Drone Fishing Worth It?

Drone fishing offers a range of advantages that make it a worthwhile activity for both hobbyists and professionals. While some may argue that it removes the traditional challenges of fishing, it presents its own set of technical hurdles that add to the excitement. Here are some benefits you can expect when you embrace drone fishing:

1. Extend The Range Of Your Cast

With a drone, you can significantly extend the distance you can cast your line. While a conventional fishing rod has a limited range of around 10 to 15 meters, a drone can cover up to 100 meters. This allows you to cover a wider radius and increases your chances of catching a fish. Additionally, drones provide access to fishing spots that may require a boat, allowing you to explore new areas and expand your fishing opportunities.

2. Better Control Over Your Lure

Traditional fishing rods rely on hardware to release the hook and lure. Once the bait hits the water, you have no control over its behavior. With a drone, you gain full control over your gear. You can precisely position your lure and adjust its speed, increasing the chances of attracting fish. This control allows for strategic fishing techniques, resulting in a more successful angling experience.

3. Scout For Good Fishing Spots

Using a drone, you can simultaneously search for ideal fishing spots and identify specific fish species. Unlike scouting by boat or kayak, which can be limiting, drones offer a bird’s-eye view of the ocean. This enables you to locate prime locations for different types of fish, adapting your fishing technique accordingly.

4. Saves Time And Money

Drone fishing is not only enjoyable but also cost-effective. Unlike traditional boats, drones don’t require gas, insurance, or other expenses associated with boating. All you need is a reliable source of power for your drone and fishing gear. Drone fishing also saves you physical exertion, as it requires less effort compared to traditional forms of fishing.

Drone Fishing for Sharks

Can You Use Any Drone For Fishing?

While it’s possible to use any drone for fishing, not all drones are well-suited for the task. To maximize your fishing experience, consider the following factors when choosing a drone:

  • Waterproof Capability: Ensure that the drone is 100% waterproof, including the copter, camera, and reeling equipment. This protection is vital to keep the essential electronic components safe and operational.

  • Wind Resistance and Payload Capacity: Since fishing often takes place in windy conditions, select a drone with high wind resistance. It should be able to withstand strong winds without compromising stability. Additionally, choose a drone with a sufficient payload capacity to carry the bait and fishing gear.

  • Flight Time: Opt for a drone with a long flight time to allow for more drops per charge. This also gives you more time to safely return the drone to shore or your boat. A quality fishing drone should provide a flight time of at least 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Camera Quality: A high-quality camera is essential for scouting and capturing your fishing adventures. Look for a drone with a good underwater camera or one that offers compatibility with external cameras.

What Are The Best Drones For Fishing?

When it comes to fishing drones, there are several excellent options available. Depending on your needs and preferences, these drones offer different features:

SplashDrone 4

SwellPro’s SplashDrone 4 is a fifth-generation waterproof drone designed to meet the needs of anglers at all skill levels. It boasts IP67 seawater proofing and can withstand strong winds up to Beaufort Force 7 (31 mph/50 kph). The SplashDrone 4 offers multifunctional payload capabilities, allowing you to equip it with various optional cameras. It provides approximately 30 minutes of flight time without load and around 12 to 15 minutes with payload.

Fisherman FD1

The Fisherman FD1 offers similar specifications to the SplashDrone 4, with IP67 seawater proofing and a maximum payload capacity of 2kg. It can withstand winds up to 44.75 mph/72 kph and offers a massive casting range of 1.6 km. With the Fisherman FD1, you can complete up to six bait drop missions per charge.

Spry Drone for Fishing


The Spry+ is a lighter scout drone that offers a different set of features compared to the SplashDrone 4 and Fisherman FD1. With an 800 m control range and a 4K30fps camera, the Spry+ is ideal for scouting and capturing high-quality video footage. It is waterproof and corrosion-resistant, making it perfect for exploring the waters.

How Much Does A Fishing Drone Cost?

The price range for quality fishing drones typically falls between $1000 to $2000. The cost varies based on factors such as brand, type, and specifications. While this may seem expensive at first, keep in mind that a fishing drone can replace several pieces of fishing equipment, potentially saving you money in the long run.

What Is The Longest Flight Time For A Fishing Drone?

Most fishing drones offer a battery life of 20 to 30 minutes, which is more than sufficient for an average fishing trip. For example, the SplashDrone 4 and Fisherman FD1 can fly for approximately 30 minutes without any load. This allows you to cover a radius of 1-2 km and perform multiple bait drops during a single flight.


Drone fishing offers a wide range of benefits that make it an exciting activity for anglers of all levels. From extending your casting range to gaining better control over your lure, a fishing drone can enhance your fishing experience in numerous ways. Whether you’re an avid angler or looking for a new hobby, investing in a quality fishing drone can provide endless hours of enjoyment. So, hop on this thrilling trend and explore the possibilities of drone fishing!

To get started with drone fishing, check out East Coast Paddle Sports for a wide range of fishing drones and accessories.

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