If I would get a dollar for every time I saw the question “Which Drone Should I Buy For Fishing”, I guess I would have been a millionaire. This is by far one of the most common questions you will see in drone fishing groups on Facebook. By the way, the second most common question people have is which bait dropping device they should buy, so you are welcome to read that as well once you finish this one.
A Short History Of Drone Fishing
A few years ago, when we started drone fishing, the market was a bit different than what it is today. On one hand, there was the DJI Phantom drone. There were many other drones, but the DJI Phantom was a great drone that was stable and easy to fly. On the other hand, there were highly expensive and dedicated fishing drones, which, by the way, weren’t available for sale in the entire globe. These dedicated fishing drones were called as such, mainly because they could drop a bait in the middle of the sea. So as you can understand, your options were very limited, which led the majority of the people to use the Phantom drone for fishing.
Things started to change in 2014
In 2014, SwellPro company was established and came out to the market with its first SplashDrone, which was an improvement to the Marnier Drone. This drone was waterproof and floats on the water, which gave the pilot a peace of mind when flying the drone above the water. 2 years after, in 2016, the third generation of the drone was released, which was a great improvement. Back then, if you were asking yourself “which drone should I buy for fishing”, the SplashDrone 3 was an option you should not ignore anymore. Having that said, still, it had several issues that caused people to skip it, and stick with DJI.
In 2018, SwellPro released a major improvement and released its SplashDrone 3+, which had major improvements and became a solid drone in the fishing industry. Since then, the community of SwellPro grew dramatically, and SwellPro got its footmark in the market.
Since then, after learning their “trick”, several companies popped out with their own versions of fishing drones.
Today, More Options are Available
Since 2019, you could choose from a wider selection of drones for fishing. And due to the increased options, people today want to use their drone not only for fishing, but also for their daily photography tasks, or even enjoying flying the drones.
And with the increasing amount of drones from DJI, SwellPro, and other companies, it became easier for you to choose a drone for your individual purposes.
Which Drone Should I Buy For Fishing
So, after you know a bit of history regarding drone fishing, let’s step forward. Now, I encourage you first to read about the best drones for fishing in 2020, so you will be aware of the most relevant drones for you. Once you finished reading it, we can continue.
The questions you should ask yourself
Now let’s focus on what exactly you should ask yourself before buying a drone for fishing:
- Do you have experience with flying drones? If you are a beginner, you should consider purchasing an easy to fly drone first.
- Do you have experience with fishing big game fish? Some people want to get into drone fishing for not the right reason.
- What is your budget – New fishing drones are everywhere – but some of them are expensive. However, you should know that you can start drone fishing in a non-expensive way, and still not losing quality.
- How much the accessories to the drone cost?
- Which baits are you going to use in your fishing?
- What do you also need the drone for (I mean except for fishing)?
The questions you should ask about the drone
Once you have answered these questions, let’s move on to the questions you should ask about the drone.
- How experienced is the company that makes the drones? How long are they in business?
- What special features does the drone have, that supports fishing?
- How is the customer support of that drone?
- How big is the community of that drone?
- Can the drone get upgrades by 3rd party companies?
- Which fight controller is drone using?
Now let’s start answering the questions one by one…
Let’s start answering the questions that you should ask yourself
How experienced Are you with flying drones?
The first question is regarding your experience. Why? Well, the answer is simple, you don’t want to buy a drone that costs 1,500 US Dollars, and crash it on your first flight. And trust me, it happened to people! So, if flying drones is quite new to you, you should consider buying a cheap drone that you can practice with it. And then, when you feel comfortable with it, you should combine it with your fishing.
On the other hand, if you are well experienced with flying drones, I will recommend you to buy a good dedicated fishing drone. This will increase your adventure and excitement in drone fishing.
But, and here is a huge but… That also depends on your answer to the next question.
Do you have experience with fishing big game fish?
Before you decide which drone you should buy for fishing, it is important that you will have experience in fishing for big game fish. You see, since there are lots of epic videos of catching great game fish (such as great yellowfin tuna), so you might think that it’s easy, and the only thing you need for it is a drone. That is a huge mistake that many people did.
But, if you are well experienced both in fishing and with flying drones, you can see the result in the following video
However, if you are not experienced in fishing big game fish, I advise you not to start with drone fishing in this stage only. First, get yourself a good rod and reel, and have some experience with it. Learn how to deal with a big fish. Once you are experienced with it, step forward over drone fishing. Believe me, maybe you didn’t expect to hear that, but it’s for your best.
A small tip, if you can join someone that is experienced, it will be the best thing for you to get started.
What Is Your Budget?
If you “qualified” in the previous two questions, we can move forward towards the budget issue. In terms of budget, your options are wide. And don’t worry, it shouldn’t be expensive in order to start drone fishing. You can start drone fishing with a minimum budget as 350$ and go higher up to 2,000$.
If you just start with drone fishing, I warmly suggest you start with a non-expensive fishing drone. There are two reasons for that. First, see that you like it, and can handle both the drone and the rod. Not being able to handle a drone and a rod can end up ugly. The second reason is for you to see that you actually like drone fishing. I don’t like all types of fishing, for example, I don’t like carp fishing. So it will be a waste of money to buy a drone you won’t be using it.
But if you have experience with drone fishing and you want to upgrade yourself, well, in this case, a high-quality fishing drone should be your next thing.
“But, my budget is not an issue, still which drone should I buy for fishing?”
In case the budget is not an issue, it doesn’t mean you should spend it :), right? I will recommend you to consider several things first. Since buying a new drone can be very exciting, you should be careful. You see, some people when they explore their options, dive into the drones world, and forget about the fishing. The reason I say that is since you can start with a need for a simple drone, and end up wanting an expensive drone, which you might not need in the first place. It is easy to get into the spin of an expensive drone. The question is, do you really need it now? You can always upgrade, but you can never downgrade 🙂
Look, I am not trying to convince you to buy a low budget drone, don’t get me wrong! I just don’t want you to buy something you don’t really need.
So, when should I buy a low-budget drone and when I shouldn’t?
You should begin with a low-budget drone if you:
- Have a low-budget, to begin with… quite obvious 🙂
- Don’t have experience with flying drones.
- Just starting up with drone fishing.
- You are not sure you will like drone fishing.
Does a low-budget drone mean a low-quality drone?
Not necessarily, and let me explain that to you. You can choose between a new drone and a used drone. If you buy a used Phantom 3, you are getting a good-quality drone in a low budget. On the other hand, there are several good clones of the DJI Phantom drone that will cost you even less than a used Phantom 3. It is all up to you to decide.
By the way, you can even find a used Phantom 4 for sale, which in this case, can be a great opportunity for you. So later on, even if you don’t like drone fishing, still you will have a fantastic drone in your possession.
The advantage of getting a used Phantom (or even a Mavic) is that there are lots of fishing accessories already made for it. The advantage of the clones is that they are really cheap. But, this way or another, you will get the same results with both of them. Keep in mind, the drone does not catch the fish for you, it is only using as transportation to place your bait where ever you want.
How much the accessories cost?
Drone’s accessories are something you cannot ignore when buying a drone. Accessories are an important factor you need to consider before deciding on a drone. For example, let’s take DJI drones. DJI has its own batteries and you must purchase the batteries from them (or their distributors) in order to have extra batteries. Cuta-Copter on the other hand advertises what type of battery their drone requires, so you can purchase it anywhere you would like. SwellPro did the same to their drones like DJI did to theirs, however, soon people realized what type of battery the SplashDrone 3+ needs and purchase it from every possible dealer they found. And by that lowered the cost for extra batteries.
But batteries are not the only thing that you will need when drone fishing. You will also need extra propellers and also a bait dropping deice. All of that can sum up to an expensive amount as well.
Which baits are you planning to use in your fishing?
There are several options available for you. But here I am not going to recommend one. This you should be asking yourself. The reason this question is important is since not every drone can carry every bait.
There are drones that can carry up to 300 grams, some can carry 1 kilogram, and some can carry up to 3.5Kg. Ther are some advertisements for drones that carry 5Kg, but with all due respect to these advertisements. Maybe they can lift it, but they won’t be able to do it for even a single cast.
So keep your notes about the bait as well. At the end of this post, we will be listing all the options available according to your budget and your fishing style.
Is the drone only be used for fishing?
Well, many people want to have their drones not only for fishing. In general, it will be great if you could use your drone for other tasks such as recording your family vacation, flying the drone just for fun, or even use it for recording your YouTube videos. And don’t be wrong, there are many other reasons why you should have a drone. After all, the majority of the drone’s owners, don’t use it for fishing at all.
So, in case you want to use your drone not only for fishing, you should look for a drone that has three major things:
- A great camera – 4K camera is available for a long time now – so you don’t need to compromise on that.
- 3-axis gimbal that will allow you to record every angle that you want.
- Great community and support.
What do you also need the drone for (I mean except for fishing)?
Well, sometimes you will want to upgrade your drone and have other accessories on it in order to improve your experience with it. If we take DJI for example, there are lots of third-party accessories for it. You have the option to change its landing gears, add a flashlight, attach a payload release device, or even a parachute. And there are more… While this is somehow related to the previous question I have raised regarding the size of the community, still, most of the accessories are being made by companies and not by individuals. But still, even if the community is large enough, it is not always possible to add such accessories.
So it is up to you to decide how much this is important for you. And before I will wrap this up, I want you to know that, of course, now you won’t think about any other accessory that you will need. But in 6 months from now or a year, there will be something new out there. And does not mean you need a new drone. Sometimes it only means a small upgrade or buying a new accessory.
Let’s explain the questions that you should ask the drone company
How experienced is the company that makes the drones?
Some drone-builders companies are in the business for several years. Companies such as DJI, Cuta Copter, and SwellPro are well experienced and already have enough knowledge to support their customers in case a problem is being raised.
For example, whoever bought the SplashDrone a few years ago, had several problems with the drone. And only after getting customer feedback, the company solved these issues and released improved versions as time went by. So, if we will take SwellPro as an example, it took them 5 years to release a stable and solid fishing drone out to the market.
The same goes for Cuta Copter. Cuta Copter was founded back in 2014, and the feedback about them is great. One good thing that you can notice about Cuta Copter (and which I love about them), is that they take their steps slowly but surely. And 6 years after, they are a major player in the fishing drones industry.
What special features does the drone have that supports fishing?
Every drone has features, features such as return to home (RTH), follow me, and so on. Not every feature in the drone is related to fishing or can help you during fishing. But, some of them are super important for fishing.
So what are the important features that can help you with fishing?
First, is the RTH which I just mentioned. In addition, in some drones (depends on their flight control) you can set the drone to return home when specific “events” occur. Events such as the low battery, or when the signal is too low, are crucial for you. When these important scenarios happen, you would like your drone to return to you right away.
There is a new feature that was recently appeared, it is the auto-release of the bait when a low-battery alert is raised. I am not so sure about this feature since in some situations, in my opinion, it can be dangerous. You can never know when the low battery alert will occur, and who will be below the drone at that specific time.
Another great feature is planning your path to your favorite fishing spots. Like boaters love to fo back to specific places in the sea, the same goes for drone fishing. So, the ability to store those points ahead and set a specific flying path, which includes also dropping your baits in that spot can save you a lot of time and peace of mind when fishing.
How is the customer support of that drone?
Customer support is a very important issue. Since every device will have problems one day, no matter whose fault is it, you want to know that you have someone to help you resolve the problem. This does not matter how good the drone truly is.
How the drone can be repaired in case of a crash? As much as you won’t like to hear that, one day your drone will probably crash. And when it happens, it doesn’t always mean that this is the end of your drone. Some crashes are not serious, however, parts can break. Parts such as motors, or even the aircraft itself.
So, a very important issue is to have a local distributor locally that can repair your drone in case of a crash.
If there is no local distributor, you need to understand that on any issue that you won’t be able to resolve by yourself, you will have to ship the drone back to the drone’s manufacturer, pay for the shipping, pay for the service (unless it is under any warranty plan) and pay for the shipping back to you. Shipping fees can cost you a few hundreds of dollars. You will also have to pay customs fees and duty tax when it will be sent back to you. And, in case the crash was serious, the cost of it will not worth it. So make sure you understand it before buying it.
One of the most important tips I can give you is community support. Without community support, you might end up with a useless but expensive drone in a short time. I will explain that to you in short. Drones like any other electric device will have problems. Sometimes it can have problems from day 1 and sometimes it can be only a year or two after the purchase. Sometimes it will be your fault, and sometimes it won’t. But, no matter what the problem will be, you need a solution.
The Internet is a great place to start looking for a solution. So, let’s take DJI for example. On Facebook, there are lots of groups that support the DJI pilots. Some groups have dozens of thousands of members, and some even more. So in case you have a problem with your DJI drone, you might find a solution in a matter of minutes. But other brands don’t have it. And some drones have only a few pilots, so don’t expect to find great support when you will need it.
For example, whenever I want to buy something online, I go to YouTube and look for relevant videos taken by customers and not by the company. This is very important since for some drones you will find videos that were released only by the company itself, or by their distributors. I don’t need to teach you that company videos are not objective, right?
So, don’t be afraid of asking how is the customer service for a specific company. And always, but always, look for customers’ feedback. So, the next time you ask your self the question “Which drone should I buy for fishing”, remember this tip, and don’t forget it!
What is the fight controller the drone is using?
Last, but not least, is the drone’s flight controller. This might be something that you are not familiar with, so I will try to make it as simple as possible.
A flight controller is the “brain” that controls everything in the drone from the second you take off till you land it back. The flight controller is responsible for safety, stability, and possible features. Some companies are developing their own flight controllers, such as DJI or SwellPro. While others are using an existing flight controller such as Cuta Copter and Gannet Pro.
Well, most of the flight controllers (FC) are being developed and maintained by the company that made it. So, that makes the responsibility for fixing the problems on the company itself. For example, DJI has N3 flight controller and SwellPro is having its own S3 flight controller. So whenever a company, other than DJI, is developing their drone using DJI’s flight controller, won’t be able to fix any flight controller problems until DJI will fix it themselves.
However, there is one well-known flight controller named Pixhawk, which is quite large and different from the others. How different you ask? Well, this is because it is open source. Open source means that you can add, change, and fix things to it, and the community behind it is simply huge. So in case, the company that is using the Pixhawk flight controller needs something specific, they can do it themselves and won’t need to wait for a formal release. Keep in mind that the Pixhawk is having several different versions and releases. And there is a debate which version is better than the other, but I won’t get into that in here.
Finally, which drone should I buy for fishing – Your options
Okay, that was long, and finally, we arrived at the section you probably been waiting for the whole time. Gladly, you have a wide variety of drones to choose from. I will divide this budget list into 3 groups. Low budget, mid-budget, and expensive.
|0 to 300g||300 to 500g||500 to 800g||800 To 1.5Kg||1.5Kg To 3.5Kg|
350$ – 600$
|Clones of the Phantom drone||Used Phantom 3, Used Mavic Pro||None||None||None|
|SwellPro SPRY+, DJI Mavic Air||Mavic Pro||Used Phantom 4||Used SplashDrone 3+||Used Cuta Copter Matrix|
1100$ and above
|Mavic Air 2||Mavic 2 Pro||Phantom 4 Pro, Yuneec Typhoon H||SplashDrone 3+, Poseidon Pro, DJI Inspire 2||Cuta Copter EX1, Cuta Copter Matrix|
Which drone should I buy for fishing, but not only for fishing?
Well, in this case, your options become very limited. Your options are all series of DJI Mavic and Phantom. And last, it will be the SplashDrone 3+. The reason for that is since all of these drones have 3-axis gimbal, a variety of cameras, and great community support behind them.
Other dedicated fishing drones do not have the ability to record videos, nor having high-quality cameras and even a 3-axis gimbal to control the camera. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful for fishing, but not for other things beyond that.
I assume that you, like lots of other people, are asking yourself which drone should I buy for fishing. Here, on this post, I tried to explain to you what you should consider before buying a drone for fishing. There are lots of options to chose from, so I highly suggest you follow the guidelines I mentioned here.
Also, feel free to ask us any questions you have about it, and I will be more than happy to answer them all for you. I would love to know which drone you chose for fishing, so don’t forget to write it in the comments section below.
Till the next time, tight lines, and fly safely.