Are you curious about how to fish with drone? Here’s a guide on how to fish with a drone, from choosing the right drone to setting it up correctly.
Fishing with a drone is a highly interesting topic due to the several advantages drones bring to fishing freaks.
Drones add so much fun and convenience to fishing and make the whole expedition more sophisticated and productive.
The most common way of using drones to fish is to scout from the air to locate the fish from the water below.
One another way is to use a drone to drop the bait into the water, which can be done either from the shore or from a boat. Drones can cast the bait farther than you can do it manually.
The actual experience of fishing with a drone can be much different from what you might be imagining. Drones can help find fish or put the bait wherever the fish are.
Some people might question if it is ethical to fish with a drone. Nevertheless, drones make fishing easier for fishermen and this is what I will talk about here.
- Related: Best Drones For Fishing
How To Fish With A Drone?
How To Scout For Fish Using a Drone?
The most popular way of using a drone to fish is to scout from the air to find fish. The top-down perspective that drones enjoy give them a wide coverage area and a much better view than what you can get from the surface of the water.
Looking from the shore or a boat, you can see through the water only up to a few yards. Therefore, it is quite hard to physically spot where the fish are and you will have to rely on pure chance or trial and error.
Drones can see a vast area of water around you. Their vantage point makes it possible to see where fish are. You can also use the view facilitated by a drone to understand what the fish are doing and to study their habits.
Since drones make it possible to watch how the fish react to the bait and also locate the areas to which they tend to move, you can adjust your strategies, presentation of the bait, and the time of fishing accordingly.
Drones can easily study the topography of the sea or lake floor and the water currents and conditions. By understanding how well the fish show up under the water, you can locate fish in a much better way generally and also on any given occasion.
Drones make it easy to know where the fish congregate and also the location of the bait schools. Drones help understand the interaction between fish and underwater features.
One of the challenges you will face while using a drone to scout fish is their limited battery life and short flight times.
You will not be able to have the drone up in the air for hours to scan the water to find fish as the typical length of battery life is only 20 minutes.
While you must make the best use of the limited flight time, you must also have one or two spare batteries with you.
If you are not getting any bites, you may try scouting with your drone once again to check if there are any fish nearby and if slight change in position can get you closer to any other bait school.
Points To Make Sure When You Scout For Fish with Your Drone
To use a drone to scout for fish, you need to learn a few things. Use the drone to learn about the topography of the area where you are fishing and take note of the important features.
Scout alongside the perimeter, weed lines, shoreline, color change lines, sandbars and underwater rock formations.
Learn fish behavior and patterns with the help of your drone. Learn where the fish will show up.
Scouting for fish with a drone can help make adjustments to positions. You need not depend on your drone to spot every fish you will catch.
You just need to have one or two spare batteries to have the flight time you will need on any given fishing expedition.
The propeller wash vibrations can spook the fish. Therefore, it is advised to fly the drone at least 30 feet above the water surface.
While scouting for fish from a moving boat, make sure to set the drone to return to controller mode so that it does not return to the take-off point.
To bring the drone down, you must practice catching the drone mid-air rather than landing it on the sandy beach or the boat deck.
How To Rig a Drone With a Bait Line
Rigging the drone with a bait line is one another way in which you can use your drone for fishing. Drones can carry the bait line for about half a mile from the shore, which is much farther than you can cast with a reel.
Usually, only smaller bait fish come near the shore, while bigger fish and predator fish stay out farther beyond the first set of breakers.
Fishermen trying to land a big fish from the shore have been finding it tantalizing. Therefore, drones have significantly transformed the sport of fishing.
As you can rig a drone to carry a baited line, you can go as far as the fishing line’s length and the controller range of your drone permit.
When you use specialized fishing rigs, the drone can drop the bait wherever you want it, in locations where you find the big fish.
By using your 4K camera to survey the water from above, you can drop the bait wherever big fish are found. This will increase your chances of catching big ones easily.
Since drones can help you discover underwater features like sandbars, you can decide on the drop location in a much better way.
How To Attach a Gannet Release System to Your Drone
Gannet release system is a popular choice as a fish bait dropping rig. The prices range from $75 and $200 and you must choose one depending on the release system and the drone model.
The Gannet system can clip to the bottom of your drone, usually on its legs or the landing gear.
Some versions of this system come with a pressure release system for the fishing line. Some of the models can be plugged into the actual drone and can be released at the push of a button.
If you are not willing to invest in a line release system, you can also make your own version of it using a fishing line in between the drone’s legs and an outrigger clip.
Whatever be your choice, you have to balance the bait line directly below the drone’s middle point so that the baited line’s weight is balanced between the four propellers.
If it is not balanced, it can lead to some flight issues with your drone or the line may get entangled with the propellers. If these things happen, the chances are more that your drone will be lost into the water.
Using a drop loop set up can help ensure that the line and the bait are maintained away from the propellers. It will also help in keeping things well balanced.
This will mean that you have to loop several feet above the baited hook attached to the drone.
The ideal length of a loop is 2 feet long and the baited end hangs at around 9 to 15 feet below that. The main line is found extended back from the loop.
This set up will be simple enough to rig and can also ensure the safe flight of your drone without plunging into the water.
The bait’s size and the fishing line’s length will decide how much your drone has to carry. DJI Phantom can lift around 1.4 kilograms.
However, repeated loading of your drone with the maximum weight can damage the drone’s motors. The maximum weight recommended for a Phantom model is 800 grams so that your drone will stay in good condition over a long use.
How Do Drones Help While Fishing From a Boat
You can use a drone to scout for fish during boat fishing. The drone can help you find where fish are.
Drone can reveal the underwater features near you and you can take advantage of the unique aerial perspective provided by the drone.
Drones can also be used to drop baited lines from the boat in the same way you will use a kite or balloon for the purpose. This method will help you bait out the fish as they will not be scared by the noise of the boat motors.
One added advantage of using a drone in place of a kite or balloon is that the drone is not dependent on the wind and can go to places where you want them to. You can use the drone camera feed to decide the best spots to drop the bait.
While flying your drone from the deck of your boat, you must disengage the return to home function or set it to ‘return to the controller’ mode.
This will help avoid the landing of your drone in the middle of the water. Before flying the drone over water, it is good to practice flying it with your baited line when you are on the ground.
Fishing with a drone FAQs
Is fishing with a drone legal?
International Game Fish Association has approved drones to be used during fishing as long as the line is released before or when a fish strikes the bait.
It is not legally permitted to use a drone to pull in a fish that is hooked using a line attached to the drone.
However, the legality of using a drone while fishing depends on your local laws as these laws can vary between states and countries.
Therefore, it is necessary to check the local laws before thinking of using your drone for fishing in a given location.
Is it Ethical to Fish with a Drone?
According to the International Game Fish Association, it is ethical to use drone while fishing provided the line is released when the fish bites.
However, some argue that using a drone for locating the fish and then delivering the bait precisely where the fish are amounts to cheating them beyond a limit.
Since the main attraction in fishing is the thrill of tracking down the fish, using a drone to scout for fish will amount to losing all the fun of it.
Also, when drone is used to fish large populace of fish so easily, this might also trigger the question of exploiting the endangered species.
Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.