Drone Fishing Risks

Table of Contents

Drone Fishing Risks

Drone fishing looks so easy on YouTube, I bet you were wondering to yourself when will be that day that you will buy yourself the drone to use it for fishing.

But hey, do you know how much money you are putting on the line? Are you aware for all the risks you are putting your drone into? I am not telling you not to buy a drone! On the contrary, I do want you to buy yourself a drone, and I wish you will catch great fish with its’ assistance (and when you do, don’t forget to share with us the great pictures as well).

What I want from you, by the end of this post, is to be confident to buy a drone and use it also for fishing, but I also want you to know the risks that this wonderful hobby has.

If you already know that there are risks with it, and you are here only to be aware of new drone fishing risks that you might be missing or not knowing, well, you have certainly come to the right place.

Even thou, this post is describing drone fishing risks, I will also share with you drone risks in general – Risks which are not related only to drone fishing.

Remember! Not being aware to the risks can end up your drone looks like this:

DJI Phantom Crashed drones

And since crashing your drone is a very simple task, I have decided to share with you all the drone fishing risks I am aware of.


Well, if you haven’t read our guide about drone fishing, I recommend you to read it first, prior to the drone fishing risks, this way you will get the whole picture before just reading the hard and ugly part of it.

Depends on the drone that you have, you will need to adjust yourself to the tips and warnings I am about to give you. However, if you didn’t buy yourself a drone yet, I don’t think that I can emphasize how much SwellPro Splash Drone 3 will be the best fishing drone for you. And yes, I have heard about so many other drones… There are great drones out there, but the best one that we think of is the SplashDrone 3+ by SwellPro.

If you want to read more about the best fishing drones that we have checked, make sure to read our post about the best drones for fishing for 2018, so you will understand why we recommend the Splash Drone 3 as the best drone for fishing (and not only for fishing).

The good, the risks and the ugly

The Good – Returning home carrying a 40 pounds’ fish on your back is probably what you imagine when “drone fishing” crosses your mind. And to be honest, this is sure a reality, but don’t forget that there is another side to this story… The Risks – not only the drone alone will not be enough, there are several risks that you will need to consider before deciding to take your drone along with you for fishing. And last, the Ugly – If you won’t come prepared to this new style of fishing, you will return home not only with no fish in your basket, but, also even worse, without the drone as well.

drone fishing risks - the good and the ugly

So be sure to read the tips and warnings, so you will be on the good side all the time. And I encourage you to always learn more and more about this, so you will do the greatest effort not to ever lose your drone.

What they don’t tell you

First, take a deep breath!

I am sure that this is something you don’t want to hear about, you don’t want to see, and I am sure you don’t want it to happen to you. Do you know what I am talking about?

I am talking about the day you will be crashing your drone right into the water.

Do you want to hear the truth? I am sorry to be the one that tells you that, but yes. Probably it will happen to you. The only question is when?

Look, if you have a car, how many times did you scratch your car? Did you want to scratch it? And your car is probably more expensive than your drone. And I am sure you are being careful. But, hey, those things happen. You know why? It’s because you are human, and sometimes it because the other car drivers are human.

Sooner or later it will happen, if not this month or this year, it may happen next year. The only way I can promise you not to crash a drone is by not flying one. I mean, ever in your life! And this is something that for sure it is not considerable. Right?

I saw people that are flying drones every single day. They are real pros to flying drones, and still, even them crashed a drone or two (or three…). So, don’t lie to yourself and think that you can run away from it. I wish you can avoid it, and I hope you will never crash one. But, I am here to advise you how to avoid it as much as possible.

Types of Drone Fishing Risks

When we speak about drone fishing risks, there are 3 types of risks that you need to be aware of. You can’t protect your drone from all of them, but for sure you can prevent a lot of them.

The 3 types of risks are:

  1. Your flying skills.
  2. Drone errors.
  3. Risks caused by nature, like winds, birds and etc.

Some crashes will happen due to lack of flying technics, some due to flying skills, some of them will be due to video lagging. Some of them will happen due to weather conditions, and sometimes even due to a bird that felt threatened by your drone and attacked it. Of course, there are so many other reasons that can crash your drone, but I am sure you got the idea

Hard in training easy in battle

Okay, I am sure that everyone knows that you need to practice as much as possible before taking your drone to a real fishing mission, or even to any other flying mission.

However, I do want you to keep in mind that it is also very easy to crash it while practicing. So here is the list of our drone fishing risks when practicing.

Don’t fly your drone indoors

Many people, after unboxing the drone, have this common mistake, and prefer to test their drone indoors. They feel this is the safest place to test out the drone. Right?

WRONG!!!! This is the worst thing you can do in order to test out your drone.

And to be honest, it is also the quickest way to crash your drone. But why?

First, while you fly the drone indoors, the drone does not have a GPS signal at all, or, if it will have, it won’t be good enough. And not having a good GPS signal will cause your drone to kind of float on the air and shift to the sides, and that will crash your drone into one of the walls or furniture.

Here is another video, how to crash a drone in 30 seconds:

Moreover, the place is more narrow, so it is harder to maneuver the drone indoors.

If you are new to drones

If you are not used to flying drones, things can get confusing very easily. The main reason for this is the remote-control sticks that are reversed controls when the drone is facing you.

When you first take off, the drone is facing you, at that time, if you take your stick to the left the drone will fly to its left. When you take it to the right, the drone will fly to the right and so on with the other directions. But when you turn the drone to fly towards you it means that when you take the stick to the left, the drone will fly to its right. Everything is reversed. Knowing that is not always enough, since in stressed situations, when the drone is near trees, or at a narrow place, you can forget this due to your panic and crash it. To get used to that it will be only thanks to as much practice as possible.

However, if you have DJI Phantom drone, you can use the Course Lock feature, which will help you not to lose the orientation of the drone. I will explain that further in this post, in the tips section.

But that is not all. In case you have a DJI drone, DJI took care of this part.

DJI Helps Reducing the Risks

DJI, one of the biggest manufactures for drones today, cares about the drone you buy from her. As such, DJI understands that not all the drone pilots are good enough for this mission, and with that said, DJI has developed their DJI Flight Simulator which will help you practice flying a drone, before having the drone yet.

DJI Flight simulator is accessible, intuitive and realistic, and you can practice lots of different training scenarios. It has 3 training modules that will allow you to develop the skills you will need to fly your drone safely for any task. You can practice, take off and maneuvering tasks. You can practice lots of hours behind the sticks.  It accurately has all the drone models and the way the drones perform in real life scenarios, including the effects of winds, sunrise, sunset and more. Learn more about DJI Flight Simulator in the following video.

Video Lagging

As video lagging is a real risk to your drone, I want to be sure you understand what it is. So here is a quick explanation about video lagging,

When you fly your drone, the monitor will show you the video it captures. However, sometimes there is a delay in the video, sometime the delay will be half a second, sometimes a second, and sometimes even worse and it will be 2 seconds. This lagging can be deadly in certain situations. And will make the whole difference for your drone.

Flying Backward

Many people love to have a video showing how the drone is flying away from them. However, there are many problems with that.

First, the sensors are not working on backward, so collision detection is not enabled.

Also, you have no view from your camera, hence, if the drone is a bit far from you, you can’t see where the drone is flying, so you won’t see what can hit your drone.

Here is a guy crashing his drone in 15 seconds while flying backward.

Flying next to trees

Another risk to your drone when practicing is flying your drone next to trees.

Let’s assume you fly the drone and you are about to fly below a tree. You see a branch of a tree 10 centimeters higher than you. So, it is okay to continue. Right? Wrong!!!

Your view is from your camera, but your propellers are not positioned at the same height as the camera. So, when you will try to go thru, the propellers will hit the branch of the tree, and the rest is… well, you know what is the rest.

You can probably ask yourself, hey, but the drone has collision sensors, they supposed to protect the drone from these situations. Isn’t? Well, technically you are right. But very small branches the sensors are missing many times.


Among the list for drone fishing risks, we have the powerlines. Powerlines are even worse than trees since the power lines mostly won’t be seen in your monitor, and what worse than that is that the drone’s sensors don’t see them as well. And power lines are an example of what the drone can’t “see” during flight. For example, in the following video, the drone crashed due to a zip line.

Losing the GPS Mode

Not always the drone will use the GPS. Sometimes it is losing its signal. When it is not using the GPS, the drone will get into ATTI mode. Keep in mind that ATTI mode means that the drone will be drifting in the wind and not only it won’t keep its position, but it also will lose its orientation.

Drone risks while fishing

Okay, so after practicing enough, it is time to take the drone to its real destination. Till now, we spoke about risks that are not necessarily related to fishing.

As of now, I will list real drone fishing risks.

A short reminder, to use the drone for fishing, means that you need to install a payload release device to the drone, then, practice your flying with the payload release on it. You need to practice how to mount the bait to the drone. And afterward, practice how to drop the bait from the drone. In case you didn’t select your payload release yet, read the post about drone fishing with DJI drones, and scroll down to the payload release section for more information.

Keep in mind that whatever you practiced before, it is still not the same. Some risks we already discussed earlier are not relevant while fishing, like if you go fishing at the beach, there are no trees and no power lines. But in fishing, you will fly your drone to a longer distance and it will carry out a bait for you. These things affect your drone during flight.

Flying far away from your eye of sight

When sending out your drone carrying your bait, you will take your drone far away from your sight. When the drone is not visible to you, there are several risks, which one common is losing your live video streaming. That means you have no idea what is happening with your drone, you won’t know it’s orientation and in this situation, it is very easy to crash it.

Flying too low

The beach is an open area and there are no risks like trees that you can get the drone crash into. But, keep in mind that the drone is carrying out a bait with hooks and a sinker.

Your view is from your camera and not from the hooks. So, whatever the hooks will hit, it will cause the drone to crash. Not mentioning that it can also hit people, which will cause serious damage to the person – Excuse me but in this situation, the safety of the drone is not important.

Don’t fly near birds

Seagulls are a real enemy to your drone. And believe me that I do not exaggerate when I say that to you.

These birds will follow your drone, and they don’t fly alone. The seagulls will follow your drone, and they capable to do it even if you fly your drone in full speed.

The seagulls are responsible for taking down many drones, so פlease do not underestimate this advice.

Not evaluating the winds correctly

One of the top drone fishing risks that exist is not evaluating the winds correctly. When you fly the drone away, you need to look at the drone’s battery. So let’s assume that you have 60% battery left. And you know that in order to fly your drone to its position will drain 25% of your drone’s battery. Well, simple math means that after dropping the bait you will remain with 35% of your battery. Well, that also means that you have enough battery to return it home… because 35%-25% is 10%. So the drone should be able to return with ease. Right? WRONG!

If the winds were towards the drone, when you took it to the dropping position, that means that the winds will be against the drone when it will be returning. That means you won’t have enough battery to bring the drone back.

Here is a good example of it:

A good way to avoid this situation is to always have spare batteries with you.


Not much to say about this. It is important that during flight, your eyes will be on the drone or on your monitor. If you go fishing with friends, it is very easy to get distracted by them. When you are flying your drone away, or when you return your drone back. Your eyes need to be at your monitor at all times. And don’t fly it while speaking to your friend.

However, if you do need to talk to one of your friends, some drones, like DJI Mavic has a pause button. That will keep the drone in its position and it means you are not risking it.

Pendulum effect

As we already mentioned several times during this post, the drone is carrying out your bait. If you will fly out your drone too fast, and your line with the bait and sinker will be too long (more than half a meter) this will cause a pendulum effect to your drone. Pendulum effect is a serious risk to your drone and it caused already so many drones to crash.

Stopping the pendulum effect is not simple. Even when you pause the drone in the air, it is not going to stop the effect right away. If you want to understand this more, watch this video.

Disable the “Return to Home” function

One of the things that caused several people to lose their drones was the “Return To Home” function.

Imagine yourself fishing on a boat. You take your drone out to drop bait for you, or even just scouting the area. And as you sail forward for a few minutes, the return to home is being activated. It could be due to several reasons, like losing the signal, or you just accidentally pressed the “Return to Home” button. What will happen next will be devastating. The drone will go back to its original position where it took off and will try to land. The only difference will be, instead of landing back in your boat, it will be landing on water (since your boat is no longer there). Which in other words, bye bye drone.


After writing about the drone fishing risks, it is time to give you some fare good tips that will help you not only fly your drone safely, but also catch your desired fish.

Use the best equipment

If you take your drone for surf fishing and you target big fish, I can advise you to come prepared for the mission. That means a good fishing rod, fishing reel, and a good fishing line. Use live bait when possible. Squid is always a good bait. First, squids are fairly easy to catch, and second, this bait attracts big fish.

Regarding the drone, as mentioned earlier, I recommend SwellPro Splash Drone 3. This drone is the best drone we tested out for 2018.

SwellPro Splash Drone 3 - Fishing Drone
SwellPro Splash Drone 3 – Best Fishing Drone

One of the best things with the Splash Drone 3, is that even if you crash this drone, it won’t be damaged like the other drones. This is since the drone is waterproof and floats over water. Moreover, it has the ability to carry out a heavier bait for you. So, in other words, some of the drone fishing risks are irrelevant with the Splash Drone 3. You can read more about it at the post for the best fishing drone.

Best flying height

There are many videos on YouTube showing people that are trying to fish using their drones. But in many videos, the drone is flying too high and it is hard to see the fish schools around. However, if you will fly your drone too low it is also risky for you.

So, what is the best height for drone fishing?

Flying the drone around 15 to 20 meters will be the right height for this task.

This height, not only gives you a good view of the fish, but it also reduces the risk to crash the drone. Flying too low will risk the drone due to the curved line that will hit the waves. This will cause a resistance that will can drag the drone. And Flying higher than that won’t let you see the fish clearly since it is too far.

Winds Resistance

Normally, the winds at the beach are stronger than inside the city.

Don’t fly your drone when the winds are too strong. What is the limit? Well, each drone has its own ability to fly in winds. Here is a list of common drones and their abilities to resist winds.

DroneWind Resistance
SwellPro SplashDrone 3+29 km/h
DJI Phantom 436 km/h
Yuneec Typhoon H19 km/h
3DR Solo40 km/h
DJI Inspire 236 km/h
DJI Mavic Pro38 km/h
DJI Phantom 332 km/h
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium40 km/h
IDEAFLY Poseidon 48049 km/h
UpAir One16 km/h

Beware! Don’t fly beyond the limit, also try not to push your drone to the limits, as it is always a good reason for a drone to crash.

Double the drone, triple the chances

I know what you think… “Is this guy is out of his mind?”

Hold on, I am not J.

Let me explain something, as said before, when the drone is carrying out your bait it is decreasing your battery life faster than normal.

Moreover, when the fish schools, they don’t stay at the same spot for a long time. Usually, they will be gone in less than 5 minutes. So, you have 2 options:

  1. Look for fish while your drone is carrying out your bait.
  2. Use a simple drone, that has more battery life, to find the fish. Once you find it, you send out your fishing drone to drop the bait at the desired spot.

So, with the second drone, which can be a cheaper one, or can be from one of your friends, you will look for the fish and find your best spot. Just don’t forget to show your friend this post about drone fishing risks, so he won’t also end up crashing his drone.

Use Landing Pads

Most drone owners don’t understand the importance of a landing pad.

A drone landing pad will protect your drone’s motors from sand, dirt or any other type of unwanted object getting into your motors.

In other words, it will make sure that your drone will last longer, so do your drone a favor and don’t save the landing pad from it.

Some tips for DJI Phantom Drones

As DJI Phantom is one of the most popular drones in the world, we can’t you with some specific tips for it as well.

Disable VPS

VPS stands for Vision Positioning System.

The reason I advise you to disable the VPS is since the drone can get disoriented when flying over the water.

To disable the VPS, start your Phantom and look at the Go app. Tap on the copter icon, it’s located on the top left side of the screen. This will bring up the MC settings menu. Then click on the “Advanced Settings”. Then you need to disable the Visual Positioning System. You will need to approve it in order to disable it.

Just don’t forget to enable this setting back.

Use Course Lock

This is an excellent feature of the DJI Phantom. It is beneficial for beginners, however, even novice drone pilots are using this feature.

This feature helps you not to lose the orientation of the drone. As explained in the beginning, when flying the drone when it is facing you, that means that the front of the drone is now at your rear.

So course lock feature let you fly your drone according to your initial orientation, and not according to the drone orientation.

In order to explain that, I have added 3 pictures for you that demonstrates the feature.

When you start flying your drone this is its’ orientation:

DJI Phantom Course Lock Feature

Then if you turn the drone back to you, as it is now facing you.

However, in course lock, if you turn the drone to face you and you push the sticks forward, then the drone will fly in the same direction as it was before turning it.

As said, this is a great feature, especially for beginners.


Since fishing with a drone gives you more fishing opportunities, you must be aware of the drone fishing risks as well, so you will know what can cause your drone to crash.

So, read this post over and over again. Make sure you understand the risks and the ways to avoid them. Remember, Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect.

Also, practice flying the drone with bait, and the way to drop it safely. There are several payload release devices that will help you do the job easily. Some of them are electric and some are mechanical.

Let me know what you think about the risks we just mentioned. Let me know if there are more risks that you know about and which I didn’t mention here.

Have a safe flight!

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

Did you like this post? Don't keep it just for yourself. Share it with others

2 thoughts on “Drone Fishing Risks”

Leave a Comment