Fishing Drones – Cutting Edge Technology

Fishing Drones - AeroKontiki - CF Raptor on Landing Pad
Fishing Drones – AeroKontiki – CF Raptor Heavy Hauler with Autopilot System

Drone Fishing techniques open the door to a whole new world of fishing opportunity. This cutting edge technology in fishing drones is now available at an affordable price point. With fishing drones, anglers can explore opportunities never thought possible until high-quality, waterproof, cutting edge, drone fishing became affordable.

With fishing drones anglers can readily access gamefish from the beach. They can fish previously un-fishable spots and stay safe when fishing from the rocks. Drone fishing is an amazing innovation for both land and boat-based anglers. It’s the cutting edge way to extract the most fun from the ancient but ever-changing sport of fishing.

We continue to discover and explore opportunities that were never thought possible until high-quality waterproof fishing drones became affordable. At Pacific Rim, we research and test drone fishing equipment and technology. We can provide the best and latest products suited specifically to this sport.


The first time I saw “assisted fishing” was on 90 Mile Beach on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  The angler was an older Kiwi who used a kite to take his line out past the break. I don’t know what impressed me more, his skill with a kite or with a rod and reel. Not once did I think he was “cheating” by using a kite to take his bait beyond the surf. But I hear a lot of dissension when it comes to drone fishing. I don’t get it! What’s the difference?

Fishing Drones are not going away. Get used to seeing them. Or better yet, learn how to fly one and you’ll be hooked on the possibilities. This article deals with fishing drones that have on board cameras capable of transmitting live video to a remote smart phone or other “smart” device via wi-fi. Here are just a few things you can do with your fishing drone.


1 – Deliver your hook, line and bait to the exact location you choose.
2 – Scout an area for the presence of fish.
3 – Locate rocks or underwater features that might impact fishing.
4 – Document your hook up and angling skills.
5 – Observe the behavior of a species of fish.
6 – Drop burly/chum exactly where your line is waiting.


1 – Deliver your hook, line and bait to the exact location you choose.
2 – Scout an area for the presence of fish.
3 – Locate rocks or underwater features that might impact fishing.
4 – Document your hook up during tournaments
5 – Find fish – camera and/or fish finding equipment
6 – Drop burly/chum exactly where your line is waiting.
7 – Deliver live bait to multiple locations behind your boat without fouling lines.

These are some basic advantages to drone fishing, but please feel free to add to this list in “comments.” That would be great!

There are some “gotchas” to remember when choosing equipment for drone fishing. You might argue about which features are the most important, so disregard the numbering system. This is what I want to have or to know when I’m buying a drone for fishing.

1 – Easy to master flying controls
2 – What is the cost of add-ons and replacement batteries
3 – Is the drone waterproof and has 360 degree viewing
4 – Can the drone fly in strong winds
5 – Long battery life, how heavy is a battery pack
6 – How much weight (live bait, lure, chum/burly) can the drone carry
7 – What is the release mechanism for dropping the line and rigs?
8 – Accuracy of homing device – 2 meters or less
9 – Resolution of camera

Once you’ve found the drone of your dreams, learn to fly it and land it with competence. Now you’re ready to go fishing. I’d suggest you begin by fishing from shore, because landing a drone on a boat presents more advanced challenges. Check the local wind gust predictions to be sure your drone can handle the conditions of the day. Make sure you have a safe and unobstructed landing site staked out.


You need to attach your line and bait to your drone. To keep your drone flying true and balanced, you want to attach your line and rig to the center of the underside of your drone. However, I would advise against attaching anything to the camera or gimbal on your drone. If you have not outfitted your drone with an off the shelf release mechanism (see Gannets at you will need to fashion a mechanism yourself. This is not too difficult to do with heavy monofilament fishing line. Be sure to use strong knots and test them.

Start out by attaching the line from the front of one leg, to the rear of the other leg of the drone, making an X pattern. Then attach your release clip, usually a down-rigger release mechanism, to the center of the X. Once you have the release mechanism ready to go, attach your line and bait to the outrigger clip. Or you can use an old fashion rubber band.

You need to think about the best reel to use when a drone is taking your line out to sea. This is a matter of personal preference, but some reels are easier for free spooling than others. I like hearing the clicker on the reel, so I know how fast the line is coming off. Make sure you keep the tip of your rod lowered until after the drone is over the water. Keeping the rod tip down will avoid interfering with the drone/line at take off.

Take your drone up about 20-30 feet and move it out over the water. Now you can raise the tip of your rod and put it in a holder, or prop it up with some rocks. Look at the video feed from the drone. Your view of the drone from the shoreline is deceptive and it looks like it’s beyond the surf when it really isn’t. Check your screen to be certain your bait is well beyond the breakers before you make the drone hover.

If your drone has an electronic remote release mechanism, deploy it now and watch your bait hit the sea. If you don’t have all this high tech gear, gently adjust the drag on your reel until it is sufficient to break the rubber band or to activate the release on the outrigger clip. Once your bait is in the water, bring your drone home. It’s so exciting to go drone fishing that anglers get caught up in the moment. They want to grab the rod and start fishing. Resist the urge for immediate gratification. Bring your drone home first!

Before you go out and buy a drone, there are some FAA regulations you might want to know about. In the United States, as of Dec. 21, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration requires all owners of drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds to register online ( Last time I checked, the registration cost was $5.00. Such a bargain! Failure to register an aircraft can result in civil penalties up to $27,500.


Make sure you can see your drone all of the time.
Don’t fly near buildings or trees.
Stay at least 25 feet away from people or vehicles, like fishing boats or swimmers.
Don’t take videos of people or property without prior permission.
Don’t fly a drone within 5 miles of an airport without contacting the control tower to let them know what you are doing. (Especially important if you are fishing in Kailua Kona, Hawaii)

Recreational anglers can easily comply with most FAA regulations. However, if you are using your drone for commercial fishing or as part of a business, it’s a whole different kettle of fish (no pun intended). For example, if you are using your drone as part of your business (charter fishing, making fishing videos for sale, etc.) then the drone operator must have a pilot’s license.

I’m not kidding! If you are making wedding videos or surveying roofs for solar panels with a drone – the FAA requires you to have a pilot’s license. To operate a drone while you are conducting business or if you are going to sell your products or services, as of April 2017, you need an honest to God pilot’s license.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to learn to fly a plane to fly a drone. You can opt for a hot air balloon pilot’s license. It’s a lot cheaper than getting a fixed wing pilot’s license. Just saying….

So go fly a kite, or a balloon, …..or go drone fishing. Tight lines!

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