The Complete Guide for Drone Fishing

the complete guide for drone fishing

Table of Contents

How to choose the correct Fishing Drone

Why Drone Fishing?

If you love fishing and you love drones, so you probably know that you can combine the two and have your fishing drone out of it. So we decided to write this complete guide for drone fishing so you won’t make the mistakes other people already did.

With a fishing drone, you can cast your baits to places you couldn’t get before. Sometimes you want to cast far but you can’t, or sometimes it’s in places that are not reachable.  Moreover, what is the best spot to cast?

Think if someone was looking from above and could see where the fish schools? Isn’t great? Well, when you use a drone you can achieve everything we have just said.

While using just a drone to see where the fish schools is a great advantage, however, most of the time, the fish schools in places you can’t reach, since it is too far from the shore. So, you probably ask yourself now, “So how is that going to help me?” right?

Well, nowadays, there are many types of devices that you can attach to your drone to carry the bait for you to that exact place that you can’t reach and drop it whenever and wherever you want.

Sounds cool, isn’t?

So thanks to our experience with drones, we decided to write this complete guide for drone fishing, so we can teach you what to focus on. And since drones have lots of great features, not everything is relevant to fishing. So keep that in mind and don’t waste your money on good features that you don’t really need for fishing. Always but a drone if you need it.

The Complete Guide for Drone Fishing- Don’t make a mistake that will cost you a fortune

So if you want to use a drone for fishing, there are several things that you need to consider before choosing a drone just according to your budget, or according to your friends’ recommendations.

But wait, do I really need a drone for fishing?

If this question was passing through your mind, well then you should ask yourself, why do you need a rod for fishing, or even why do you need a reel for fishing? If these questions sound stupid to you… so probably that was the same question that people asked themselves when the rods and reels were invented.  After all, you can fish with your bare hands, bears are fishing this way for many years J

So as time goes by, the technology also improves. Fishing rods are not what they are used to be 100 years ago even not 20 years ago. Every year there are new rods, every year there are new reels, new lures, and… well, you got the idea J.

So, the same goes for drones. Today drones are everywhere, and if you won’t have one, sooner or later you will realize that you stayed behind. This is the same reason why always people say that the previous generation is primitive. This is only since they are not following the new inventions and gadgets that come out.

Do you want to be in the same situation?

Or would you like to return home one day with a fish on your back like this guy:

The Best Fishing Drone Guide - Long Tail Tuna
Best Fishing Drone Guide – Long Tail Tuna

This is a long tail tuna fish that was caught while having the assistance of a DJI Phantom drone.

Still not convinced that you need a drone for fishing?

Well, if you still think that you don’t need a drone for fishing, well I suggest you watch this video:

And if that is not enough, watch this one as well:

So, you were saying…

Does it matter which drone I use for fishing?

Of course, it matters. There is a famous Jewish phrase that says: “Who is the Wise man? The man who sees the future”.  Well, we don’t really expect from you to see the future, but, with all the experience that we have with drones, no matter how a skilled drone pilot you are, your drone will hit the water one day. And you better have at that day a waterproof drone. So it does matter which drone to use for fishing.

Risks you should be aware of

Okay, so you are a skilled drone pilot. Right? I bet you are!

But, let me tell you one thing. Even if you know how to fly a drone, flying a drone with a bait, where there are winds, it is totally not the same thing.

What’s the difference you ask? Well, since the drone carries a bait (or also a sinker) with it, it can cause a pendulum effect each time you start moving the drone, the bait and the sinker will start swinging in the air. This pendulum effect can cause the drone to lose his stability and hence to crash.

To understand the pendulum effect for drones,  watch this video. And what helps preventing the pendulum effect is using a long rig and flying the drone slower to its target. So being the fastest drone in the market, does not mean that it’s better for drone fishing.

And this is only one concern you should consider. While some things you will learn yourself, as time goes by, some issues you better know before you fly the drone with a bait. And believe me, there are many things that you will need to be careful of when using the drone for fishing. And I don’t say that to scare you and convince you not to use the drone for fishing, but I do mean that you should know the risks and so act accordingly.

Moreover, while most of the times when a drone is crashed, is due to a human mistake, sometimes it is not, so no matter how a skilled drone pilot you are, if your battery gets low, or the drone will have a malfunction of any kind, you are basically saying goodbye to the drone.

What makes a drone reliable for fishing?

This is the most important question!!!

So if you reached this point in the article, it means that you agree that a drone will be a great improvement to your fishing.

So, what really makes a drone a fishing drone?

First, if you want to skip all the reading, you can read our article about the best drones for fishing and find out which drone is the best fishing drone. We really recommend you to read it.

So a drone that will be reliable for fishing needs to meet some specific criteria that are important when flying a drone near salty water.

  1. Waterproof
  2. Floats on water
  3. It can hold itself in windy situations
  4. You can have a payload release device on it
  5. It can carry a bait along with it
  6. You can record a video while carrying a bait.
  7. It has a good flying range.

We will leave the price tag out of this scope, however, it all starts with a budget when you consider to purchase a drone.


The most important thing in a drone, that will be used for fishing, is being waterproof. As said before, your drone probably will hit the water one day. And when that happens, you don’t want to say: “Noooooooooo”. And we don’t want to say: “We told you so”.

Here are, for example, 2 DJI Phantom drones that crashed into the water.

DJI Phantom Crashed drones
DJI Phantom Crashed drones

Floats on water

The second most important thing is being able to float on the water. Even thou we said that a waterproof drone is the most important thing, keep in mind that If your drone won’t float on the water than once it crashed on water, you won’t be able to lift it up again in the air. And if that happened far away from you, you won’t even be able to find it

So being able to float on water is important as being waterproof. These 2 capabilities complement each other.

This is, for example, the Splash Drone 3, a dedicated drone made for fishing which is waterproof and also floats.

SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fishing - Waterproof Drone
SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fishing – Waterproof Drone

And while the drone can float, you can view on its monitor what’s going on underwater, like so:SwellPro Splash Drone 3 - Underwater Footage

SwellPro Splash Drone 3 – Underwater Footage

You didn’t think about that, right?

Can hold itself in windy situations

I assume that there will be times that you will fly your drone at strong winds. Each drome has its own strength to hold itself in winds. By the way, some are not. And you will need to check the specs of each drone before you buy it, how stable it is at strong winds. I think that the minimum the drone should hold at winds is 20 km/h.

Payload release device

This is the most concerning issue in fishing drones. And since there are many types of payload releases out there, that is the main reason we wrote this best fishing drone guide for you.

How can the drone carry your bait and drop it wherever you want?

Unless you are planning to use the drone for scouting only, then you probably will need your drone to be able to have a payload release (or a bait dropper – no matter how you call it) installed. As much as it sounds simple, and it is simple, but you must verify that the payload release device will not block the camera, and more importantly, won’t block the sensors of the drone. Otherwise, you will crash your drone.

Another thing, you must be aware that the payload release device will drain your battery faster. So it is important to keep an eye on the remote control to know the status of the battery. Also, keep in mind that Installing a payload release to the drone incorrectly can easily cause the drone to crash.

Let’s start with the types of payload releases that are available on the market today.

dedicated waterproof payload release with a camera

The best option is to have a dedicated waterproof payload release with a camera attached to it, the camera will help you scouting and dropping your bait. And when I say “dedicated” I mean a device that will be native to the drone and will know how to communicate and operate directly from the remote controller. The best ones that I know of, are the PL2 and the PL3 made by SwellPro, however, it is compatible with only SwellPro drones. If you know something like this please share it with us in the comments section below.

SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Payload Release with stabilization gimbal and 4K camera (PL3)
SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Payload Release with stabilization gimbal and 4K camera (PL3)

Waterproof Dedicated payload release with no camera

Waterproof Dedicated payload release with no camera. This payload release is good if you need to drop your bait in a visible place where a camera is not really needed. There is one waterproof payload release that I know of. The first one like the previous one is the PL1 made by SwellPro.  Like the PL2 & PL3, it is compatible only with SwellPro drones.

SwellPro Payload Release 1 Splash Drone 3 Waterproof
SwellPro Payload Release 1 Splash Drone 3 Waterproof

generic waterproof payload release with no camera

A generic waterproof payload release which you will mount on the drone. To be honest, I am not sure how much this will be necessary in case your drone is not waterproof. After all, if your Phantom4 crashes into the water, the last thing to worry about will be the payload release. So since the waterproof version of the payload release is more expensive than the non-waterproof, I don’t think that it is worth the money.

A dedicated payload release with no camera

A dedicated payload release – some companies made payload release devices that can fit specific drones. For example, there is a specific payload release for Phantom 4, and one for Phantom 3 and so on…

Drone Fishing with Sky Rigger - Parts

The one in the picture is the Sky Rigger, which is a professional payload release for DJI Phantom Series, and it is the best option for anyone to obtain this drone.

However, there is a simple one, also a cheaper one, for DJI drones. There are payload releases devices for DJI Mavic series like the Sky Clip.

SkyClip for Mavic Pro Drone Fishing

Payload Release made from a hanger

Homemade customized payload release – mostly made by a hanger. First I must say that I totally do not recommend you to do it, even thou there are many videos on YouTube that show their drone with such a payload release.

I will start with the reasons I am against the use of such a thing:

  1. The way you can drop the bait to the water is not easy like in a click of a button on your remote control. You will need to have an advanced flying skill for that.
  2. You will need to aware of the pitch of the drone.
  3. Some say that the metal part of the hanger can disturb the signal of the GPS – but I never confirmed that with a GPS specialist.
  4. Not installing the hanger precisely in the middle of the drone will cause stabilization issues to the drone – which will lead the drone to crash.

Here is a famous video on YouTube that used such a method and crashed his drone into the water:

On the other hand, the advantage of such a payload release device is its cost. Most probably it will cost you nothing since you can find one in your closet.

No matter what, if the reason you want to use a hanger as a payload release device is due to a budget issue, I suggest you wait a bit, save a few dollars (around 50$) and buy your drone a normal payload release, which this way you won’t risk your drone.

Homemade Payload Release Made of Hanger
Homemade Payload Release Made of Hanger

Here is a video that demonstrates the use of the hanger to carry your bait:

You can see in this video at time 02:45, that the guy wants to drop the bait, and he struggles for it for 30 seconds, when finally he succeeds after tilting the drone in the air.

This is exactly the reason why these homemade solutions are dangerous to the drone. You need to be a good pilot in order not to crash the drone.

Down-rigger release clip

The last option is a down-rigger release clip. Another cheap solution which I do not like. The reason I don’t like this method is since it’s the riskiest solution. Why? Well, you need to understand how this method works.

So, the way this downrigger works is by attaching the fishing line to the clip of the downrigger, than you open the bail of the reel and fly the drone away. In order to release the line, you close the bail of the reel and let the drone fly further away. The resistance on the line will cause it to be released from the clip.

I don’t like this because of the tension that we create to the drone. However, like for the hanger, there are many people that still use this method.

downrigger payload release
downrigger payload release

Here a video that demonstrates to you how to use a downrigger release clip.

Can carry a bait along with it

Each drone has a carrying limit. If your drone can carry 150 grams with it, well despite the fact that you can use a bait that weights 100 grams, that is not enough. Why? Since the payload release weights as well. A simple payload release weights around 100 grams. Some even more. So after considering the weight of the payload release, and the weight of the bait that we want to use, let’s agree that a drone should be able to carry at least 500 grams.

Like in the payload release, carrying the bait will drain your battery faster. So, it is important to keep an eye on the battery very closely.

Can record a video while carrying a bait

So, you succeeded to install a payload release on the drone. Great!

Hey, but what about the camera?

If you decided to go with a non-dedicated payload release device, then you will need to make sure that the way you installed the payload release, it won’t block the view of the camera. Otherwise, you won’t be able to know where is the best place to drop the bait.

Good flying range

I can cast over 100 meters in front of me, some I know that can cast to 150 meters.

As an experienced fisherman, I (and probably also you) know that as much as we go further in the sea, there are bigger fish. For example, the long tail tuna fish that was caught on the first video, it was not schooling near the shore at all.

So in order to really get the advantage of your drone, you need a drone that has at least 1-kilometer range.

Conclusion – That’s it

That’s it, so that is the 7 most important features that we advise you to ensure before you purchase a drone.

Currently, there is only one drone that is giving you all of these features (and yet has a decent price). This is the SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fishing edition. It’s really a great drone, and we can’t emphasize enough how good this drone is.

During a review of the Splash Drone 3, made by the great “Flite Test” group, they said about the Splash Drone 3: “I haven’t seen anything like this… There is nothing else to be compared to”.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable to buy this drone, well, it is up to you, but still, you have other good options (not like the Splash Drone 3, but still).

That’s it, do you think that there should be other important aspects of fishing drones that we didn’t mention or reviewed here?

If so, please comment on your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until the next post… I hope you enjoyed reading the complete guide for drone fishing.

SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fishing - Great experience
SwellPro Splash Drone 3 Fishing – Great experience

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