How Exactly Does Drone Fishing Work? A Beginner’s Guide

Last week I heard that drones can be used for fishing and I thought that sounded incredible. I had never heard of that before and was extremely curious to learn more, so I did some research on how Drone Fishing works and made this beginner’s guide for others to learn about it as well.

What is drone fishing and how does it work? Drone fishing is when fishing bait and a line are hooked up onto a drone as it flies out hundreds of feet away from the shore or the boat. When a fish takes the bait, then either the drone or person reels it in. This makes it possible to get closer to fish without them getting scared away.

Drone Fishing isn’t only insanely cool, but in my opinion, it is a sneak peek into what the future of fishing holds. I did more research on the basics on Drone Fishing, so keep reading to come to further understand just how incredible and innovative this new fishing techique can be.

The Drone Fishing Basics


At the beginning of the year 2016, a video of Drone Fishing went viral on the internet. A man in Australia got footage of himself using a drone to catch a huge fish. What he did was he hooked up a line with bait on his personal drone and sent it around 400 feet away from the Australian shore.

His drone recorded all of the footage and the results were quite impressive. This wasn’t necessarily the first time that fishing with a drone had happened, but it sure did help it become more known to everyone and this was initially what started to make it popular.

Many people love drones, and fishing is an extremely common hobby for people all across the United States, and the world. It was only a matter of time until someone had the idea of combining the two activities together.

Drones are aircrafts that are controlled remotely with cameras and controllers. No pilot is needed to fly a drone. This is one of the main reasons that they became so commonly used by militaries across the globe in the late 1900s.

Since the early 2000s drones have gradually become more and more popular for the recreational use of civilians. With their high-quality cameras, photographers can take breath-taking shots of scenery that humans simply can’t get to.

Many people also love just having a super high-tech remote-controlled aircraft to fly around their neighbourhood.

How it Works

People with all sorts of fishing backgrounds have started to Drone Fish. The basic idea is to use a drone to give the fisher an advantage and make fishing more efficient and effective. With the high-quality cameras that are installed on drones, a person can scope out the best fishing spots.

When we are land-locked on the shore or stuck on a boat it is hard to know where the fish are currently or where they usually like to hang out. The bird’s eye vision of a drone comes in handy, informing the fisherman of where his line needs to be.

Drone Fishing also allows the fisher to get close enough to the fish before they leave or get scared away from their presence. Depending on the type of fishing that is being done a normal fisherman can cast their line anywhere between 30-70 feet.

At that distance, it is quite likely that the fish already know they are around. A drone can take a fisherman’s line and bait hundreds of feet without any problem. This gets the bait to the farther and more remote areas where fish are more likely to be without them being aware that humans are near.

With the controls for a drone in hand, a fisherman can sit back, relax, and fly right to the best spot in the water and catch the biggest fish visible.

What Makes Drone Fishing Effective?

Fishing has been done by humans for thousands of years and continues to be a great and important resource of food for people in just about every country in the world. As a kid, I used to go fishing all the time with my uncle and grandpa.

We would go up into the mountains to lakes and streams and fish for hours. Sometimes we had great success, other times not so much. One of the biggest issues that I saw with fishing is that fish are smarter than we give them credit for.

They rarely take a chance if they have a feeling that something could be dangerous. One wrong move and they are gone.

This method of Drone Fishing is very innovative and the efficiency is unmatched. It solves 2 problems that are commonly faced by fisherman across the globe whether they are fishing in the sea, rivers or lakes:

Problem 1: Not knowing where fish are.

Problem 2: Getting to where fish are without scaring them away.

Solution Drone Fishing provides to problem #1:

Have you ever gone fishing for hours and hours and didn’t even get a single nibble on your line? That is super common, especially for beginners. I know I’ve experienced this many times myself. A big cause of this problem could be that you just weren’t in a good location.

Fish try to stay in the parts of rivers, lakes, oceans, etc that have the best and most abundant food source. Is it very hard for humans to know where those are without a little help, especially when we are land-locked or just limited to the vision we have on a boat.

Due to the helpful fact that drones can fly very high in the air and are equipt with great, high-definition cameras on them, they provide an answer to this commonly faced problem. They give a nice bird’s eye view of hundreds of feet of the area that is being fished.

Their footage shows exactly where the fish are located. Some images and videos I have seen of this show thousands of fish all huddled together. This is every fisher’s dream, now no time is wasted casting lines where the fish are sparse.

Solution Drone Fishing provides to problem #2

Sometimes you know exactly where all the fish are, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to get any of them. When I was young I remember seeing groups of dozens of fish popping out of the water at a time, but as soon as I got to where they were they noticed me and had already vanished. I’m sure that many can relate to me on this.

Drone Fishing allows the fisher the opportunity to drop the bait into any location, whether it be dozens or even hundreds of feet away from the shore or boat. One doesn’t have to risk the chance of getting that dream sized fish by approaching it too quickly or getting too close.

Bait is dropped by the drone right where it needs to be and there is no reason in the fish’s mind not to go for it. The rest is simple, the fisherman can real it in and go onto the next one.

Many pro fishermen are saying that drone fishing has opened up a world of opportunity. People are seeing things that they have never seen before, and it is quite amazing. This has helped people from all over improve their fishing techniques and learn how to become better.

What Does One Need to Drone Fish?

Drone Fishing is a lot more simple than it may sound to someone who isn’t familiar with it. Besides the main fishing supplies that one will need such as a fishing pole, fishing line, bait, etc, you only need to purchase a drone. Once a drone has been purchased, fishing line with bait is attached and added to it. Once this is done, it is ready to go.

Choosing the Right Drone For Your Fishing

Most any drone is actually capable of fishing, it first just needs to be properly accessorized. They are all able to carry and dropping a fishing line and bait to targeted locations.

When researching drones for fishing, keep in mind what types of environments it will be encountering, what types of fish it will catch, and how much time, effort, and money you are willing to put into it. When comparing drones keep in mind the following things for each of them during your research:

  • Maximum speed, altitude, and flight time
  • Carrying weight limit
  • Ease to customize and add accessories
  • GPS capability
  • Resistance to water damage
  • Self stabalization. This is very important if any strong winds, unstable waters, or large fish bits are encountered.

What Are Good Models of Drones for to Buy for Fishing

As mentioned above just about any drone can be used to fish with as long as it is equipt with the proper accessories. However, some drones have been tested and listed as ones that are better for fishing than others.

This is due to their speed, carrying capacity, water damage resistance, and other things. Here is a list of specific drones that some professionals have made that are known to be good for fishing (keep in mind that prices may vary):

  • DJI Photon 4 Pro – $1,500

This drone is good for fishing because it is relativly light weight weighing in at only 3 pounds. This will make it’s battery life last longer alowing it to travel farther and longer. It also can reach 400 ft high in altitude, however for fishing purposes this height isn’t needed, but it great for scouting out good fishing locations.

This drone can also remain airborn for 30 minutes, giving fish more than enough time to take the bait.

The downsides to this drone are that due to its lightness in weight it doesn’t have as much capacity to carry like other drones might have. This will make it unable to pull most fish out of the water. Its prices is also at the higher end of the spectrum making it harder for some to be able to purchase it.

  • 3D4 Solo Quadracopter – $500

This drone weighs just under 3 and a half pounds. Under normal circumstances it can stay airborn for 20 minutes. It can get airborn up to 400 feet and fly at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. This drone is great, especially for beginners due to its easiness to control even under choppy waters and high winds.

It also can be controlled from up to 1,000 yards away making it excellent for scouting. It is also at the lower end of the price spectrum making it even better for beginners.

Due to the fact that it is heavier than most drones adding fishing hear to it will take down its flight time, making it need to be charged more often than other drones. Over large bodies of water this drone’s GPS system has been known to get a little spotty and isn’t as effective as those on other drones.

  • DJI Inspire 1 Pro – $3,000-5,000

This drone weighs a whopping 6.5 pounds and stays airborne for 18 minutes. Due to this drone’s heavy weight, it can pull in any small to medium sized fish. Its high-tech GPS system allows it to be controlled to up to 2,000 yards away. It can travel up to 22 miles per hour.

This drone not only is expensive, but its batteries and other parts that could eventually need to be replaced are also very pricey. This puts it out of reach for many amateaur fishers.

The Verdict

Based on the research that I did on each of the drones I would conclude that they are all great and very effective for fishing. It mainly comes down to what the buyer’s price range is, and how much they are going to commit to drone fishing.

For those who plan to use the drone for more scouting, the DJI Photon 4 Pro is a great choice due to its speed and battery life. For fishers who want to use a drone for pulling in fish, the DJI Inspire 1 Pro could be a better buy due to the fact that it has a higher payload capacity.

For an all-around drone and one that is great for the beginners I would reccomend the 3D4 Solo Quadrocopter.

Things to Keep in Mind When Drone Fishing

Drone Fishing as mentioned previously can not only be a more effective and futuristic way to fish, but there are some important things to keep in mind.

Drones, like anything technological, need some sort of power to keep them running. You won’t be able to use one drone during your whole day of fishing. Most drones when scouting out fishing areas and dropping bait will online last 20-40 minutes before needing more charge.

This means that you need to be careful and keep close tabs on your drone. You can’t expect it to get you through a day and even a couple hours of fishing. Some fishers have purchased multiple drones so that when one’s battery life gets low they can replace it with another and keep the fishing going.

Another thing to keep in mind in that fishing, along with hunting and other activities, with drones can be illegal depending on what state or country you are in.

With some simple research, online one can find out exactly which states prohibit it and then focus their fishing on the ones that allow it.

A nice aspect to drone fishing is that you don’t have to worry about accidentally hooking a person near you with the backstroke of a rod. However, the four propellers on a drone can be dangerous and one much be very careful with it when it is taking off or landing.

Be very comfortable with your drone and how to fly it before taking it to the waters. Sudden gusts of wind or uncalm waters can make it very difficult to fly and can damage or take your drone away. Know how to fly it, especially when weather conditions aren’t as favourable.

Along with being comfortable with how to fly the drone it is also imperative to know everything about it inside and out. Know how long the battery life lasts, how far it can fly away while still maintaining control of it, how high and fast it can fly, etc.

Related Questions:

Can drones be used for hunting? Drones are not commonly used to hunt animals, but instead to scout them out and locations they commonly go to. In some states, however, it can be illegal to do this. In the states where it is not illegal, it would take extreme skill to do so.

How much do drones cost?The price of a drone can vary drastically. It all depends on what bells and whistles come with it, how fast it can fly, etc. One can look on Amazon and buy a drone for $100 while another person can easily drop $5,000 on a different more efficient one.

Do photographers use drones? Photographers often use drones due to their built-in cameras that can rotate and swivel. With drones, they can get pictures of places that most others cannot get to. This has gotten more common for photographers to do recently.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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