To cast further from the beach, I got a longer rod…
To fish away from the shore, I got myself a boat…
To sneak up on fish silently, I got a kayak…
To use larger baits, I got a kite…
They were all great until I got a fishing drone and now, they are ALL BETTER!
They say that there are two types of fishermen/ladies… those who fish for sport and those who fish for fish – with Drone Fishing, you can be both!
What is Drone Fishing, I hear you ask…
In simple terms, instead of casting a lure or bait with a rod, you use a special drone to take your bait, further, faster and accurately to the exact spot you want it. On top of that, you get to get a bird’s eye view of the action. You fly your bait out and reel the fish in – that’s it.
Let me take you through the process and learning I went through to use a drone to up my game wherever I went to fish. Join me on this series of posts and I will share what I have learnt along the way about drones and fishing with them. It might seem like an unholy marriage to some to take a drone fishing – I completely get that as I was firmly of that opinion before. Let me show you that not only can you have fun and learn some new skills, but you can also land fish that you wouldn’t have had a chance with before.
Now I find myself taking my fishing drones (yes, I have more than one now) with me to so many different types of fishing spots. Even my friends who were doubters are seeing the light. They would laugh at me and say, “that’s not fishing mate”, but after comparing my catch to theirs, day after day they now know that my drone is not a toy. That’s not to say I always take a drone to fish, but I can tell you there have been so many fish in my chiller that wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been for my fishing drone.
I have been Drone Fishing now for a quite a few years but had never flown a drone before that. To say it has been interesting is an understatement! I haven’t just learned some new skills - I have added a whole new dimension to my favourite pastime.
I hope by taking you through my journey I will save you from making the mistakes I made as a “Drone Fishing pioneer” and make the experience easier, better, and more fun for you.
I will break my thoughts down into different posts. If you’re new to drone fishing, don’t worry, I will take it easy. If you already use a drone for fishing, I’d like to think you might just learn a thing or two as well.
Why use a drone for fishing?
Perhaps the first thing to understand is the “why?” of fishing with a drone. In some ways, adding more equipment to an already full tacklebox might seem like a bad idea, but the capability that a drone adds to the sport makes the rest of your gear work even better.
Fishermen can be very creative when it comes to our sport. Over time, people have used kites, helium balloon, even remote control boats to get their baits where they want them. Fishing drones are the natural extension of these ideas, but also so much more!
Let’s start with scouting. There is a reason that sea birds fly high over the ocean and that’s simply to see where the fish are at. That same ‘bird’s eye view’ can be yours with a drone. If your fishing drone has a high-quality camera, you can see schools of pelagic fish and baitfish shoals clearly. The aerial perspective can also help to identify wrecks, reefs and rock channels all favourite fish haunts that are not otherwise visible from the surface.
Also, a good quality camera will allow you to capture stunning images of some of the beautiful scenery that we fish in. On those ‘off’ days, you can comfort yourself by at least bringing home a cool photo even if the haul is nothing to boast about. When your partner complains that you have wasted the day, you can divert their attention to the stunning photo that you took for them.
Extended casting range
If the shoal you’ve identified is in close to shore or your boat, you’re in luck and you can cast directly into the school. Luck is always a part of fishing, but we all know not to rely on it. That’s where you trusty fishing drone comes to the rescue. Apart from scouting, your fishing drone can take your lure, jig or bait right to the action and drop-in with pin-point precision. What’s even better is that you can watch the action from above to see if you should change your rig or position. As the school moves on – so do you!
Casting large baits
Even if you consider yourself a gun caster and you have a 15ft beach rod, you will be challenged to cast large baits a good distance from the shore or your boat. Physics and just shear strength are working against you. Keep casting all day and your tiredness will also play into your casting abilities. Of course, it’s not distance which is important. Accuracy of casting long baits by rod is completely hit and miss. On the other hand, with a fishing drone, not only can you easily lift heavy baits (more than a kilo/2.2lbs) of bait or lure, but you can also drop it precisely where you want it and keep dropping each cast in exactly the same spot!
So, whether you are beach fishing, rock fishing or casting from a boat, your fishing drone is going to greatly improve the range of baits you can use as well as your distance and accuracy by a super-human factor.
Accuracy & repeatability
Whether it’s on the same day, the next week or even in a year’s time, the right fishing drone will be able to get your baits back exactly to the same spot you chose last time. I once drove up a beach track that I had used a year before to catch monster trevally from an offshore hole. I rigged up my bait to the drone and set it off to the stored fishing spot. Much to my surprise, the drone flew off down the beach and out to sea before dropping the bait. I had come up the wrong beach track! It didn’t matter though as it was still a perfect cast!
Less Lost gear, less polution
Lost fishing lines, lead weights, hooks and rigs all contribute to ocean and lake pollution. A surprising benefit of being able to accurately cast your bait by fishing drone is that you need less dead-weight (lead sinkers) on your line and your likelihood of miscasting into snags is greatly reduced. That’s good for the environment, good for your gear budget and good for your frustration levels too!
Cheaper than a boat or Kayak
Many fishers are shore-bound. Either because they don’t want the hassle of having to launch a boat or kayak, or they don’t want the additional expense. The good news is that a fishing drone will allow you many of the fishing advantages of a boat without the cost or the hassle. Having said that, I am fortunate enough to have access to a boat and a kayak (thanks Jonno and Kim!*) but I still use my fishing drone from these platforms as that’s the icing on the cake.
*Q: what’s better than a good friend? A: a good friend with a boat!
Next time we will look at how Drone Fishing works in practice and then we will get into gear selection and options. If you have any specific questions or issues you think I should talk about please post me a question below.
Until then… bent rods, tight lines, warm breezes, good friends