While drones are around us for a few years already. Drone fishing is still quite new. Now don’t get me wrong, people use drones for fishing for several years already. However, when we think for a moment about the senior anglers, for them, using a drone was something that they never considered. They are too old school to use drones for their fishing. And, to be honest, some senior anglers have enough experience that they don’t need a drone in order to catch a big fish. So, drone fishing is more appropriate for this new generation of anglers. Anglers that want to reach this level of experts in less time that the old school is offering. So, do you want to be like those senior anglers, that catch big fish, but without spending several years for that? If you do, keep reading.
Fishing – the old school
10 years ago, surf fishing had its learning curve. You would start targeting small fish. Which on that time, you were learning the beach, you were learning how to use your tackle, improving your knots and so on. Maybe, after a year or two, depends how intense you have been, you could start dreaming about targeting bigger fish. And in case you wanted to go even higher, then after a few more years, you could target a GT, amberjack, and sometimes, maybe, even a tuna fish.
Targeting amberjack, a GT or even a tuna fish from the beach requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience and patient. It is not just buying a rod and a reel. Buying the fishing tackle is the easiest part in fishing. And you can find a lot of fancy tackle that not necessarily is what you actually need.
Anglers that masters their field, know how to catch monster fish with a tackle that won’t break their wallet. But again, reaching this step will take you several intense years.
For example, here is a guy that in my opinion is a master. He is not using a drone. And the reason I say he is a master is since he is using a light tackle to catch 20Kg fish. I am sure that most people won’t be successful if they were in his situation.
Drone Fishing – Spreading the rumor
When the idea of drone fishing came out, many people said, “Wow”, “That Simple?”, “Amazing” and even “How I didn’t think about it before”.
So many anglers started trying to catch fish using a drone. However, unfortunately, many drones’ owners crashed their drones in the middle of the sea. Why? Well, since flying a drone is one thing. But flying a drone for fishing is a different thing. And when flying a drone, sometimes a very small mistake will crash your drone.
And to make story short, today, you can find in the ocean a lot of dead drones in it.
Many anglers thought that drone fishing is a piece of cake and spent more than a 1000$ for a drone, that maybe flew a couple of times before it crashed deep into the ocean. This is why I decided to write this post. Sharing with you the available techniques, and recommend you what you should do, and what you should not do.
There is no Right or Wrong. However, there is Safe or Risky. You will decide which technique to use.
Drone fishing – The available solutions
In the past 5 years, new companies were founded offering solutions for drone fishing.
There are dozens or maybe even hundreds of different accessories for drones. However, here I will bring you out the most popular and well-known accessories which will guide you on drone fishing and will save you a lot of money and sorrow.
Having that said, you can also use your drone for fishing without buying not even one single accessory for it. Of course, I do not recommend you to fish like that. It is not safe! But I do want to list all the possible ways for it. So in case, you will see a video introducing a technique I did not list here, I don’t want you to think it is safe in case it isn’t.
Last thing before we begin, if you don’t have a drone yet, and you still consider which drone to use, you can read our post about the best drones for fishing in 2020.
Drone Fishing Tutorial – The Techniques
In this drone fishing tutorial, I will explain 5 major techniques that you can use in drone fishing. I will start with the easiest and safest way and will finish with the most dangerous way (When I say dangerous, I mean for your drone). The 5 techniques are:
- Fishing with a dedicated fishing drone.
- Bait dropping with electronic payload release
- Bait dropping with a mechanical payload release
- Drone fishing using homemade improvised tools.
- Fishing with just a drone.
Drone Fishing with electric or mechanic payload release is debatable about its professionality. Many questions were asked about which one is better than the other. I personally think that both ways are good and safe enough for your drone. Of course, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. However, regarding safety, they are both good enough.
Drone Fishing Tutorial – Dedicated fishing drone
Waterproof Fishing drones
Drone fishing with a dedicated fishing drone means that when you use the drone for fishing, your drone is prepared for any fishing threat out there.
Since the biggest threat to drones is water, dedicated fishing drones are completely waterproof. Some of them also float on water. Usually, floating also means that they can land on water and take off back again from the water.
These drones typically have a high-quality camera along with an electric payload release, which allows you to drop your bait where ever you want.
I will start with the Cuta-Copter EX-1 Fishing Drone. The EX-1 fishing drone was specially designed for fishing. Cuta-Copter is a South African company, and its drones become very popular in recent years. Cuta-Copter made their way up slowly. Their drones are very robust. And in 2020 they have released their first drone that is completely waterproof with a camera on it.
The Cuta-Copter EX-1 Fishing is able to carry up to 3Kg of bait, which is the heaviest weight a fishing drone can take (All the others can carry much less weight). And before I jump to the next drone, keep in mind that the price of the EX-1 is super attractive.
Here is a short video of the Cuta-Copter EX-1 Fishing Drone:
Currently, the SplashDrone 3+, by SwellPro, is the only drone out there that features everything I have just listed. It even has more great features like flipping in water, so, in case you landed it on the water and a wave flipped it upside down. You can still flip it back and continue as nothing happened. This single feature is not available on any other drone in the market.
Except for SwellPro, there are other companies that are trying to produce fishing drones. One example is the AguaDrone. They are still kicking their way out to market. I do hope they will have their drone released later this year. Once it happens, I will post it up.
As a drone fishing enthusiast, I would love to see other new drones like the SplashDrone 3+ coming out.
Here is a video showing the SplashDrone 3+ in action.
Non-waterproof Fishing Drones
Getting forward on my list, and it is time to explain about dedicated fishing drones which are NOT waterproof.
For sure protecting the drones against water is not an easy task, and SwellPro really justifies their slogan as the “pioneer of waterproof drones”.
Upcoming new fishing drones…
In the following months, we will see a new player in town, and it is called MOBULA fishing drone. The MOBULA, made by a company named Rippton, is offering us a fishing drone that can carry out 2 kilograms of bait and for a longer distance than the SplashDrone 3+. The price of it will be higher than the SplashDrone 3+.
Like the CUTA COPTER, the MOBULA is water-resistant, so it means this drone cannot be submerged in the water.
Drone Fishing Tutorial – Mechanical payload release
Drone fishing with a mechanical payload release has its own unique advantages. And the way you use it, compared to the previous ones is quite similar.
The first advantage of such a device is very clear – you are not using batteries. You do not need to charge the device in order to work. In other words, the mechanical device will work all the time.
Another advantage of the mechanical device above electric devices is not having any electric failures or electric shortage. While some electric payload release devices refused to drop the bait in several situations, such an issue will never happen with a mechanic payload release. By the way, when the payload release device is refusing to drop the bait, all you have to do is to return the drone back with the bait. This is very risky since the line can get tangled very easy, which, as you know, can cause your drone to crash.
Mechanic payload release devices feature another way to fish with your drone. While with dedicated drones for fishing, or with electric payload release devices you used the drone for taking your drone out to the point where you need to drop the bait. With mechanical payload release, you can first look for the fish. You then lower the drone, offering the bait to the fish, while the line is still attached to the device. And once the fish bites, the line gets released from the drone, allowing you to capture everything on video. This situation is not possible with most of the electric devices. This even allows you to capture the whole fight with the fish until you land it.
Since the mechanic device releases the line when there is tension on it. You can drop the bait by just flipping the bail of the reel and fly the drone away. The tension on the device will get the bait released.
Sky Rigger by Sea Ulcer
In this category of devices, there is only one professional device, which is the Sky Rigger. The Sky Rigger like Drone Sky Hook is pilot safe, allowing you to load the bait with one hand. The device is far from the props, which is very important for your safety. The Sky Rigger allows you to maneuver the drone freely to any direction without risk of tangles.
All the rest of the mechanical devices in this category are simple and cheap. Also, they are simply a downrigger and not really a device which is safe. I will explain about them later in this post, including a video showing how to set up a downrigger.
The Sky Rigger was invented by the ones who probably are the only ones that got hundreds of millions of views on YouTube after their first catch.
The rig for this setup is the same as the ones before. Nothing new here.
Sky Clip is a new company which entered the market lately. This company, which is experienced in making fishing drones accessories, has a great variety of payload release devices for the most popular drones out there. You can find one for the Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Mavic, Spark, SJRC S70W and XIAOMI.
What’s also great about the Sky Clip is its price. While we got used to seeing bait dropping devices that cost around 150$ to 200$, the Sky Clip is sold for only 60$ (shipping included).
With SkyClip no batteries are needed, you just need to set your desired tension, mount it on the drone (won’t take you more than a minute) and you are done.
A great advantage of the mechanic payload release device is keeping your drone safe from crashing when the line is getting tangled.
Drone Fishing with an electric payload release
In this section and the ones after, the drones I will be speaking about are non-waterproof drones. Not being waterproof raise the risk for your drone, and like I said in the beginning, the ocean is full of drones that crashed due to a pilot error, or a drone failure. And it doesn’t really matter what the reason was, a drone that crashes into the water means that the chances are you won’t see it again, and you will need to buy a new one.
Most of the drones that are being used within this category are DJI ones. Models Like Phantom, Mavic, and Inspire are big names in drone fishing. And since these series of drones are very popular, you can find that there are many accessories available for them, which some of them will help you fish.
PGYTECH is one of the popular air dropping devices. This system was designed especially for DJI Phantom 4 Series. You have a switch for dropping your load using the remote control.
It is mounted in the bottom of the drone exactly in the center, making sure that the sensors of the drone are not blocked.
Drone Sky Hook
One company who offers accessories for DJI drones is Drone Sky Hook. They have different fishing accessories for each DJI drone. Drone Sky Hook offers payload release devices that can be installed in seconds and does not require any tools for the installation.
Another great feature with their payload release devices is the safety for the pilot. In general, most payload release devices require you to click a button on the remote control to load the bait to it. Which, means both hands will be busy, which makes it a bit difficult. You need with one hand to use the remote control and with the other hand to load the bait (or lure). All of this while the drone is hovering in the air. This situation is a bit risky, since not paying enough attention, can get the fingers hit with the props. And you don’t want that to happen.
Another great feature is the ability to sense when the line is tangled. In this situation, the device will release the bait. This situation can happen in several ways, the line can get stuck in rocks, weeds or maybe when the bail of your reel got flipped by mistake. Either way, this will cause tension on the drone, which at some flying speeds, it will lose its balance and crash into the water.
The way you fish with electric payload release device is very simple. You first install the payload release device to the drone. Depends on the device, some will take a minute or two. And some will take a few seconds. Just read the installation guide before you do it. Then, you attach your line with the bait to the payload release. You fly your drone to the place you want, and once you found your spot, you drop your bait by clicking a button on the remote control.
Other electric payload release devices…
Other than that, there are other good solutions for electric payload release devices. Notice that they are not offering everything that Drone Sky Hook offers, but they are still good and reliable. Payload releases like the FLiFli, and Gannet. We will review some of them in the near future.
Regarding the price for such a device, their range is from 50$ to 250$.
Drone fishing tutorial – No rod, no reel
The setup for this one will take you the longest time. It is still very simple. However, it is the most dangerous technique. I do not recommend you to do it, and if you do it, it’s on your own risk.
Drone fishing without a rod and a reel mean you attach your fishing line directly to your drone. Basically, you need to tie the line around your drone, or around the landing gears, like the Phantom. Then just tie the line between the landing gears.
One thing you need to make sure, which is placing the rest of the fishing line in the middle between the landing gears. This will provide the drone with its maximum strength without losing its balance when you have a fish on.
In case you insist on drone fishing with this technique, I recommend you to drone fish with it only at freshwater, since saltwater fish are usually fighting harder than freshwater fish.
There are many disadvantages to this technique, and I will list some of them for you:
- When you catch a big fish, if the drone cannot pull it out, that means that your drone will be pulled into the water.
- Since it is difficult to drag the lure in the same way you do it with your rod, you will find it difficult to give it some good action to look natural.
- If your fishing lure gets tangled, then your drone is stuck along with it. In this case, you will need to have a rescue plan in case it happens.
- Working with sinking or suspending lures is very risky since the lures can get tangled.
- Since you cannot use a very long rig, you will need to fly your drone relatively low, which might scare the fish out.
Here is a short video introducing you this simple (but risky) technique.
Drone fishing tutorial with homemade improvised tools
Last option I will show you on this drone fishing tutorial, is how to drone fish using tools you already have at home, or you can get them very cheap.
Like I said in the previous method, these techniques are less safe for your drone.
One of the most popular ways within this category is fishing with a coat hanger. You just attach the hanger underneath the drone, pointing the same direction of your drone. Then you make a loop in the fishing line, which allows you to hang it on the coat hanger. Then you fly your drone to the place you want the drop your bait. Upon reaching this place, you flip back the bail of your reel. Turn the drone 180 degrees and let it fly backward. This will slide your fishing line out of the hanger, which finally drops your bait to the water.
In the following video, you can see exactly how to set the metal wire into the drone’ landing gears.
By the way, do you remember I told you that the ocean is full of drowned drones? Well here is one good example showing a drone failure which caused it to crash into the water.
Drone Fishing with a Downrigger
In this drone fishing tutorial, I have decided to explain another way to drone fish. This one is using a downrigger. A downrigger is another simple and cheap way to drop your baits. If you have a Phantom or a Phantom-like, you need to tie a rope underneath the drone, between the landing gears. In case you have a Mavic or any other drone like the Mavic, which does not have landing gears, you will embrace the drone with the rope. Do it very carefully not to block any sensor and don’t let it be too loose so it won’t hit the props during flight.
Next step, you need to prepare a strong line which has a clip on one side, and a downrigger release clip on the other side. This line should be around 10 feet long. Next, attach the clip to the rope. Try to place it in the middle as much as possible. The balance of the drone during flight is vital for its safety.
Then, all you have to do is attach the fishing line to the downrigger. Open the bail of the reel, fly your drone wherever you want, and once you find the place to drop the bait, you just flip back the bail of the reel and fly your drone forward, so your line will be released from the downrigger.
Here you can see a simple installation of a downrigger. How to set it up and the way you use it.
Keep in mind that using these techniques you won’t be able to drop your bait accurately. So in case you want to drop your lure is a very specific point, using the metal wire (hanger) or a downrigger will be a bit harder.
In this drone fishing tutorial, it was important for me to list for you all the possible ways I know in drone fishing, so you can choose one of the methods for your fishing. Some techniques I love more and some I would never use. You choose whatever you feel more comfortable with. Of course, you do it on your own risk.
One thing is sure, no matter which solution you decide to go with, you already spent a lot of money on a drone. Don’t try to save a few dollars on an accessory for a drone that cost you a 1000$. There is a good saying that goes: “I don’t have enough money to buy cheap”. And I adopted this approach in my life. You try to save yourself money, but in the end, you will find yourself spending more money than you should if you chose the first “expensive” solution.
Hope I helped you out. let me know which technique you prefer the most, or if you have a different technique I would love to hear about it.
Till the next time… Fly safe and tight lines.