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How to choose the best fishing drone - The essential guide to drone fishing.

How to choose the best fishing drone - The essential guide to drone fishing. 

 

As far as investments in your fishing tackle go, none can be more exciting—and perilous—than a drone.  But with some intimidating price tags, it's essential to know what will give you the best value for money, what will make your fishing experience more rewarding, and what will give you buyer’s regret the moment you open the box. 

Herewith the essentials buyers’; guide for your fishing drone.  The things you need to pay attention to should you want to add hours of fishing pleasure. 

Battery Life

 Drone Fishing Batteries

Limited battery life is absolutely one of the most challenging problems drone fishermen face.  Fishing is a game of patience, and short battery life and patience do not play well together.  Or worse: running out of power while running a line over the water and your investment ends up in the drink.  While it is not always the reality, long battery life will allow anglers to spend as much time as they want on the water’s edge. 

In perfect conditions, today’s top drones only have a battery life of thirty minutes,  add to that the weight of your lines and flying in less than ideal conditions, and that half an hour flight time can drop to twenty-five, or even twenty.   The upside is that it should be more than enough time for you to get a fantastic location to drop your cast and make it safely back home. 

But that is one, maximum two casts, and while the future will certainly hold better battery life-spans, today’s avid angler will invest in either a portable battery charger for their drone or in extra batteries. 

Camera

Drone fishing camera

A camera is in no way a do all and ends all for your entire decision making, without the on-board camera, the drone has very little use other than for fishing. 

One thing that is vital is a camera that can give you a clear and stable view of what’s going on beneath your surface for an optimal line drop.  You definitely want a high-resolution camera mounted on a stabilising system for high-quality imaging.  And if you have the resources, some drones will even allow you to attach the camera of your choice for even better images of your destination. 

Distance

Fishing Drone Distance

While fishing in rivers or lakes or other small bodies of water, distance is not that much of a factor as you use it to scout for your ideal location, but in offshore fishing, it is essential: You will want your drone to cover long distances without losing transmission signal, lest you bid your investment farewell as it flies off into the horizon.  If you don’t have the range, you may be in trouble.  The good news is that even if you currently have a short-range drone, you can buy transmission boosters that can boost your range significantly. 

(Just remember that the law requires your drone to always be in line of sight, so don’t go peeping around corners!)

Payload

 Drone payload system

A drone’s payload is how much load it can carry and still fly safely and reliably.   Unless you are using it purely for photography and scouting reasons, you will need one that can handle more than its own weight.  You will need to choose one that will carry your baited hooks, release mechanism as well as the drag on the line, not to mention the sinkers. 

This also drains the battery and diminishes flying time, so it is important to you only attach what you need for your fishing pleasure.

Waterproof

 Waterproof fishing drone

A drone’s waterproof rating might just be the thing that saves your drone that one time it lands in the drink, this does happen. Unless you are working on a tight budget, this should be one of your boxes to tick when deciding. Understand that there are drones that claim to be waterproof, which they are to an extent but will your electronics, motors, battery and camera be safe?   

FAQs

 

Q: What is drone fishing?

A: Done fishing has many commercial and recreational applications.  While some people are using drones to study the marine world, capture aerial footage of the underwater environment, or just using them to film their catches, there are more useful angling applications.  By applying drone technology to fishing, anglers can use a drone to scout locations for ideal angling locations or use it to release bait in hard to reach fishing spots

Q: How does drone fishing work?

A: drone has an ability to cover large areas, and with an integrated camera system, a drone can relay live information to the controller via a live screen on the controller, smartphone or tablet. 

In fishing, the angler can explore the waters for the best places to fish, and either cast, kayak out, or even drop the line via the drone itself to get the bait in just the right spot. 

In order for the drone to drop the bait, the drone uses a downrigger clip, or bait release mechanism which holds the line, hooks and baits. Once in location, the reel is locked, and the mechanism drops the bait into the water. Once a catch is hooked, the reel is stopped or button pressed, the tension in the line releases the clip, and then the angler can fly his drone back. 

For serious offshore big-game fishing, some more daring anglers have flown their lines out as far as 1,200 feet (365 meters) to snag bluefin tuna and even Hammerhead, spotted ragged-tooth, bronze whaler, grey and cow sharks.

Q: What makes a good fishing drone?

A: You want to be a fisherman, not a pilot, so your drone needs to be easy to control; you would want something with a stable hovering capacity to fly easily and safely even with some weight attached.  You also need long battery life for extended scouting and casts, a high-quality camera and optimal distance range.  And it needs to be tough so it can survive rough landings and the occasional collision with a tree.  Or yourself. 

Q: How do you use a drone for fishing?

For scouting, simply send it out with the camera attached and review the footage for the best place to place your bait.

If you want to use it for line deployment, there is more work involved.  You will need an accessory named a downrigger release clip or a bait release mechanism, a mechanism designed specifically for holding fishing lines and casting the bait. 

On a drone, balance is everything, so you will need to attach it to the center of your drone, lest your drone flies off balance leading to an array of problems.  Attach your line to the clip or bait release and your bait to the line.

Unlock your reel so you won’t get dragged down by line resistance and fly to your ideal spot.  When you have reached your location, locking your reel will tension the line, and the rig will drop your bait into the water or if you are using an electronic release, you would use your dedicated button. 

When you got a hook (trolling), the tension on the line will build up and release the line.  Now you can return your drone to home before the fun begins: reeling in the big one.  While some say that you can use the drone to lift your catch out of the water and return it to you, this is not a great idea unless your drone cannot handle the payload or drain your battery mid-air and then you lose the fish and the drone!

Q: What are the benefits of drone fishing?

A: some benefits of drone fishing are that you could become a better angler, catch more fish, and have more fun fishing. 

By transmitting live aerial footage showing where the fish are, you can drop your bait precisely which will enable you to catch more fish.

Some places are only accessible by kayak or boat, and with a drone, you can cast farther and those places are now within reach. 

Drone fishing combines the joy of fishing with the thrill of flying, thus enabling the angler to have a lot more fun on the water or shoreline. 

Drones will enable you to study your target species, which will give insights as to how well your bait and techniques are working,

 

Before you use a drone for fishing 

Make sure it is legal to fly a drone in your area.  Some locations severely restrict the use of drones (not just for fishing!), while others have even outright banned it.  Always make sure you are on the right side of the law by consulting with your local authorities. 

Ensure that you have the skills to fly comfortably and control your drone in normal circumstances.  Drones can get tricky to get used to, and sudden gusts of wind or other unexpected phenomena can send your drone off course, and learning how to fly it—with a payload of a drone fishing rig attached to see how this affects flights—with confidence on dry land is always a good idea before you take to the water.  And remember:  always read the instruction manual.

Precautions to take before you go drone fishing

Make sure your batteries are fully charged and that the drone is in good flying condition.  A mid-air malfunction could see your investment at the bottom of the sea. 

Don’t fly in adverse weather.  Windy conditions could compromise battery life and your hovering function, not to mention your controlling capacity.  A gust of wind could send your investment into an unwanted obstacle and endanger yourself and others around you. 

Unless you will be on the same spot as when you have cast, disable the ‘return to home’ function, unless you want your drone to touch down where you were half an hour ago. On a boat, you drift, and you will watch your drone hit the ocean a couple of hundred meters away. 

Birds do not like drones, and some bigger birds have attacked drones, with a disastrous effect on both the drone and the bird.  Be respectful to the winged wildlife, and they will be respectful to your hardware. 

Speaking of respect:  the water belongs to everyone, and do not fly your drone close to other anglers, or where they have dropped their lines.  You would not like a buzzing object around you while you are trying to have a peaceful time on the shore or get your line tangled with someone else’s, so don’t do that to them. 

The drone’s vibrations and shadows can spook the fish.  Keep a flying/hovering height of at least ten meters above the water. 

Always keep an eye on battery level and range, this is one area where you do not want to be caught by surprise. 

Final Thoughts:

Drones are here to stay and are used in everything from wedding and real estate photography to package and even pizza delivery.  The fishing community has capitalised on this technology and anglers are now using drones to catch bigger fish, more often.  Extending casts, targeting species and precise bait dropping has fishermen embracing this technology all over the globe.

If you can master drone fishing, it can, and will, make you a better fisherman both on the shore and on the water.  And give you a better fishing experience than ever. 

To start: do your homework and your research.   You will need to get yourself a capable fishing drone, and if you ensure they have all the qualities and features needed for a pleasant angling experience, you are off to a great start.  Get the drone that is right for your needs, whether you just want to use it as an occasional tool in your tackle box, or want to go into commercial drone fishing. 

Take it out of the box, and learn how to fly, and then, go to where you want to be: the open waters. 

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