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Best Drone for Fishing

Frankly speaking, the very first person to ever score a catch using a drone was David Darg in 2013. Still, some people choose to relate the launch of drone fishing to September of 2015 when Derek Klingenberg succeeded in bringing some small fish back home using his DJI Phantom. 

Anyway, we must all agree that drone fishing has not been around for a long time but statistics, experiences, and favorable reviews all support the fact that it will be around for quite a long period. 

The reasoning behind such a statement is the fact that drone fishing is beneficial for all anglers, and, at the end of the day, you’ll have always learned a new hobby. Drone fishing is useful for beginners and experienced anglers, saltwater fishermen, and freshwater fishermen, plus kayakers and non-kayakers alike. 

A drone will take you to places that you’ve never been before both metaphorically and literally, boosting your spoils quite a few notches in the process. Moreover, you can use a drone for scouting novel areas where unknown treasures might lie without putting yourself in any danger. 

Last, but certainly not least, your drone will, quite efficiently, place your bait exactly where you want it, thus, cutting you a lot of slack. So let’s get down to the 5 best drones for fishing.

Comparison Table:

Model Battery-Life Range Camera
DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone 30 mins 7 km 20 mp – 4k/60 fps
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K 23 mins 5 km 12 mp – 4k/30 fps
DJI Mavic Pro 4K Quadcopter 27 mins 7 km 12 mp – 4k/30 fps
3DR Solo Quadcopter 25 mins 0.8 km Needs action camera
VOOCO X-Star Premium Drone 25 mins 1.9 km 12 mp – 4k/30 fps

The 5 Best Drones for Fishing in 2021

1. DJI Phantom 4 PRO Professional Drone – Best Overall

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Drone

There are a plethora of reasons why this drone is at the top of our list. It is a combination of all that’s good in the world of aircrafts. 

Firstly, it’s constructed out of a hybrid alloy of titanium and magnesium, therefore, providing the frame of the drone with equal amounts of strength and durability. It can also take a lot of water splashes, plus,  significant collision and pumping. 

However, it’s quite rare for this device to bump into anything no matter how crowded the area around it is. That’s all due to the abundance of sensitive sensors embedded in its design, along with the 5-direction obstacle avoidance technology. 

Although some might argue that such an option is not extremely useful when fishing in the sea, you can never know what might hit you or your drone. 

Since our main topic is fishing drones, we have to speak about payload, and the one that comes with this drone is, to say the least, superior. It gives you a range of 800g to 1kg so that you can comfortably attach your bait, hook, line, and anything else that you might want to connect to your aircraft. 

Moreover, the Phantom Pro 4 has been designed to last, as in addition to its strong build, it comes with several advanced safety options. Such as extreme temperature tolerance, battery saving options, and a return to the home key. 

If your drone is starting to run low on battery, it will, by itself, start to regulate charge-usage. Plus, if your drone is far away from you and you are incapable of retrieving, then one press will bring it back to its original take-off position. 

Speaking of takeoff and trafficking your device, this one comes with an automatic takeoff and landing option which might be the scariest step for many amateur drone pilots. Additionally, it is designed with a waypoint feature that allows you to record a certain place that you like to frequent and your drone will go there with just one click. All of these options come with a fantastic signal range of 7km and a 30 mins flight time, allowing you to do all that your heart desires. 

Lastly, we will talk about the camera which is one of the top cameras amongst its peers today as it can give you a whopping 1 inch 20 megapixel CMOS photography in addition to 4K 60 FPS videography along with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen which allows you to check your product at your own leisure. 

On the other hand, this drone is quite large and heavy, therefore, difficult to transport from one place to another. Lastly, it’s set up process is quite difficult and time-consuming

Pros:

  • Auto take-off and landing
  • Single-switch return home
  • 5-direction obstacle avoidance technology 
  • Titanium and magnesium alloys build
  • Extreme temperature tolerance 
  • 800g – 1kg payload 

Cons:

  • Large
  • Heavy
  • Hard to set up 

Bottom Line

The bottom line for this product is that it is top-line quality. It gives you everything that you might possibly need; from a great camera to durability, strong construction, safety, options, and an unprecedented payload

2. DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K – Best for Beginners

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter 4K Drone

This model by Phantom is one of the best on the market today. It has held its place for quite some time, and against countless competitors that have come and gone from all around the world. 

The DJI Phantom 3 Pro comes with a battery life of 23 mins, which is perfect for laying your bait comfortably and performing initial scans on your fishing environment. 

The remote control here is rechargeable, therefore, it is quite revolutionary. Moreover, it offers you a multitude of easy, one-click options that are straightforward and hassle-free, making it a great choice for beginners. 

Also, if you wish to connect your smartphone to your drone, that is perfectly fine as the DJI pilot app is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. Hence, if you ever forget your remote controller, or fail to charge it, you can control your drone using your smartphone. 

Furthermore, our drone can explore new areas and lower your bait as far as 5 km with a strong signal. 

The 4K UHD videography is supported by a fully stabilized three-axis gimbal and vision positioning system, which helps the drone significantly when navigating narrow obstacle-filled spaces. 

Additionally, the camera does not stop at 4K as it offers you 30 fps to go with it, and readily available 12 mp photography so that you can expand your hobby-base if you want. One more thing is that it comes with the option of live streaming, which is designed for fishing drones. 

Unfortunately, this drone has been followed by several models which brought finer details under the microscope. Firstly, it’s obstacle avoidance technologies are not the best out there as more advanced models come with more detailed, safer options. Notwithstanding the fact that it boasts only a few flying modes, therefore, limiting your techniques.

Pros:

  • Robust build
  • User/beginner-friendly
  • Live HD streaming
  • 5 km signal range
  • Straightforward controls

Cons:

  • Small variety of flying modes
  • Not so advanced obstacle-avoidance technology 

Bottom Line

This item is a great pick for beginners, as it offers them everything that they might need. From an advanced camera to great signal transmission, 23 minutes of flight time, and simple control, while still limiting them in order to ensure their and the drone’s safety.

3. DJI Mavic Pro 4K Quadcopter – Best Design

DJI Mavic Pro 4K Quadcopter Drone

This drone is the best option if you are always on the go, traveling from one place to another. The arms are completely foldable turning it into a very small device, which is a huge plus. Such a design makes the DJI Mavic Pro the most portable drone on our list. 

Now, before we get into the specifics of this aircraft, we’d like to tell you about its impressive package as it comes with two DJI intelligent flight batteries, a 16 GB microSD card, 3×8330 quick-release folding propellers for the drone, a gimbal clamp, a charger, an AC power cable for the said charger, two RC cables for the controller; one of them being lightning and the other is a reverse micro-USB, and finally, an RC cable slider, plus of course the remote control. 

So, you definitely do receive a lot of value for your money when you purchase this drone. Moreover, it has a robust build and an advanced OcuSync transmission system which is a prominent reason for its superior signal transmission distance of 7 km. 

It’s also designed with an ActiveTrack mode which explains your photography mode arsenal. Speaking of photography, the camera here is an amazing 4K 30 fps, one which brings 12 mp to the table and can take a few splashes of water. 

Furthermore, it is quite durable in the air as it comes with an intelligent battery that knows how to regulate power usage, plus both a forward and a downward vision system that boost obstacle avoidance significantly. 

One more thing is that it comes with a built-in GPS, which supports a lot of built-in technologies. 

On the other side, the major problem that comes with this drone is its quality control. There have been reports of people receiving faulty, unattached batteries that do not work, while some products seem to have been used before.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Foldable design
  • Light
  • Forward/Downward vision system 
  • 27 mins flight time
  • 7 km range

Cons:

  • Quality control

Bottom Line

This aircraft is designed for travel and moving. It would take on a lot of wear and tear, while not hindering your travels in any way.

4. 3DR Solo Quadcopter – Best Flying Modes

3DR Solo Quadcopter Drone

The 3DR Solo has five autonomous flight modes for you to choose from, they’ll come real handy when you need the drone to pilot itself to keep your hands free.

It has a 25 minute flight time and a range of 0.8kms. The flight time is more than enough, however, the range is somewhat lacking especially when compared to the other drones on this list.

The camera is a downside and one of the best things about this drone. It is a downside as the drone doesn’t come with its own camera, you will either have to purchase one on its own, or buy the drone and the camera as a bundle. This might cost you extra money, however, this means that you are not limited by a single camera and that you can change the camera to any one of your liking at any given time.

The controller feels out of this world, it is very familiar when used and the buttons are super responsive. 

It also has an auto take-off and landing feature as well as a One-key return home key. These two prove quite useful especially in cases where you need your drone back before its battery drains.

Nonetheless, the flight range is low and you’ll have to purchase the camera separately which can be expensive.

Pros:

  • Five autonomous fly modes
  • Auto take-off and landing
  • One-key return home
  • Camera can be upgraded

Cons:

  • Need to purchase a camera separately
  • 0.8 km range

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a fishing drone with five autonomous fly modes, One-key return home, auto takeoff and landing, 25 minutes of fly time, and the ability to buy new and more powerful cameras then look no further than the 3DR Solo. You must however contend with its 0.8 km range.

5. VOOCO X-Star Premium Drone – Best Budget

VOOCO X-Star Drone

An amazing fishing drone that won’t hurt your budget, the X-Star costs way less than any other model on this list, while still providing excellent features, high-build quality, astonishing range and flight time.

It is capable of flying for a rigorous 25 minutes and has a maximum range of 2 km. These are excellent specifications for a fishing drone, as they provide you with a much-needed range and flight time.

Moving to the X-Star’s camera, it is one of its best features. It’s mounted to the drone’s body via a 3-axis gimbal, which not only increases the camera’s stability but assures that you will acquire high-quality footage of your catch. Moreover, the camera itself is extremely advanced in itself, it can easily shoot footage at 4K, 2.7K at 60fps (frame rates per second), as well as 1080 at 120fps.

The battery comes with two battery safe options, and don’t worry, they already come pre-set to 25%. So whenever your drone’s battery reaches 25%, it will automatically return to its home position. This is extremely important especially when your drone’s battery decreases while it’s above the water. Also, if the battery hits 10% and your drone hasn’t reached its home position, it will automatically land in its place.

Not only does it have the automatic take-off and landing options, but it features three additional autonomous flight modes. They are: orbit, follow me, and waypoints. They are self-explanatory, in orbit, the drone will hover and orbit in the same location, while in follow-me it will follow the transmitter wherever it goes, and finally, in waypoints, you can set a point on your GPS and the drone will automatically fly towards it.

However, it is not portable, as it is fairly large and proves hard to move around. Your best solution will be to buy a custom backpack or case so that you can move around with the X-Star easily.

Pros:

  • 25 minute flight time
  • Two battery fail-safes
  • Camera shoots in 4K and 1080p
  • Three autonomous fly modes
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • Large size

Bottom Line

An excellent budget choice the X-Star has amazing features that any fisherman would dream of having in their flying companion. From the two battery fail-safes to the three autonomous fly modes, and the amazing camera. However, you have to contend with its large size.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Making your Drone Purchase

The following list combines and explains the most essential features that can grace any drone in-general, and fishing drones in-specific. 

Payload

Payload is, without a doubt, if not the most important factor, then one of the most important factors that determine the suitability of a drone for fishing. What is payload? It is the weight that a drone can handle excluding its own weight. 

So, if your drone comes without its own camera, therefore is in need of a GoPro, then you’ll need to keep its weight in mind. 

Moreover, if you’re going to attach a line, bait, hook, all of them to your drone, consequently, using it the typical way in order to score your catch, then you must have full knowledge of whether their combined weight will be within the limit of your drone’s payload or not. 

On the other side, if you’re going to choose to go with a downrigger release clip, then you must add that to your equation as well. It’s pretty self-explanatory that if you exceed your drone’s recommended payload, you’re very much in danger of losing your precious drone forever.

Camera

It’s a rule of thumb that when purchasing any drone you would want to go for the best camera options available because that’s the essence of any drone. 

Whether you are capturing the moment or just using it for transmitting the current image and state of your surrounding environment, you will need to have a clear sharp image. 

You’d hardly find a drone with a camera that gives you anything less than 4K image in 2021, that’s why you should never settle for less. Megapixels determine how sharp your image will be, so for a fishing drone, 10 to 12 megapixels will be more than enough. 

The higher the frame rate is the better your image will come out, hence, don’t forget to check that out before making your purchase. 

Lastly, try to weave your way to a fishing drone that’s within budget, but still provides you with several modes of videography and photography, plus a respectable number of safety options.

Build

It goes without saying that a drone will take a lot of wear and tear. No matter how cautious you are when trafficking your drone, it is bound to get stuck in a tree or hit a wire. That’s where a strong robust durable build comes into play to extend your aircraft’s life.

Range

Scanning new places and coast-fishing are the two most prominent fishing-related uses of a drone. You don’t want to fish 3 or 5 km away from you. Fishing using a drone truly begins at around a distance of 7 km away from you. Thus, always make sure that your drone comes with a wide signal range, as anything less than that will render it useless.

Battery-Life

No matter how much you charge your drone, it must come with a long battery life. A decent battery life will allow you to cast, wait, and retrieve without interruptions. The continuous need for you to change your drone’s battery and recharge it can easily spoil your fishing trip. Don’t forget to keep a keen eye on both your range and your battery-life at all times.

Control

Some companies have pioneered in their design of remote controls for their drones. Some come with an LCD screen with all the options on it; your battery life and what’s left of it, plus the range and how further your drone can go. 

Every little info that you might need will be displayed in front of you on a compact screen, while other drones come with simpler controllers that allow you to pilot the drones but nothing else. 

Hence, if you can go for an advanced remote control that will save you a lot of trouble, then definitely do it as you don’t want any extra hassle when you are chasing salmon, trout, or cod.

Smartphone Compatibility 

Although a remote controller will save your smartphone’s battery, compatibility between a drone and its owner’s smartphone is essential. It allows you to transfer data back and forth between the two devices with minimal effort so that you can use it whenever wherever it is needed. You’ll always have your smartphone on you, but the remote controller of your drone will stay with it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is a Drone Used for Fishing?

Involving a drone with our fishing process can happen through two different mechanisms; the typical way, and the downrigger release clip. Each of these two mechanisms has its own merits and deficits, still, they both do work and boost your catch rate.

The Typical Way

This is done through fixing your hook, bait, and line to the drone and controlling wirelessly until it reaches your target spot, and that’s when you release your bait. Although this method is easy enough, and straight forward, it doesn’t come with a lot of stability. 

Thus, if you’re going after an overpowering catch, it might very well escape taking your drone, line, bait, and hook with it.

The Downrigger Release Clip

What happens here is that the only extra job assigned to your drone will be to cast out your line wherever you want it. When you actually catch something, the pressure of the bite carries over to the clip. That’s when the clip lets go and you’re free to bring back your drone or film your catch.

Final Thoughts

To wrap-up the key points of what we have explained in this article, the basics of a good drone will always remain the same: build, camera signal range, and battery life are the pillars of a reliable aircraft. That’s why you should always aim for drones that are advanced in such fields. 

Still, we’re speaking of the best drones for fishing and that’s why our top pick and recommendation has to be the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. With its safety options, 7km signal range, 30 min flight-time, automatic takeoff and landing, and return home feature, it’s hands-down the best fishing drone out there. 

Moreover, if you are on a budget and in need of a drone that will provide you with two battery fail-safes, a variety of flight moods, and a fantastic camera, then the VOOCO X-Star Premium Drone is also a great choice. 

Lastly, if you’re a beginner or trying to teach your son how to fish using a drone, then the DJI Phantom 3 Pro has the simplest controls with a revolutionary remote control, 5km range, and a 4K camera that can live stream.