3 Best Surf Fishing Drones

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post covering my 3 best surf fishing drones to buzz in 2021. As usual, this post has come from experience in real life as I sat on the beach the other day doing a spot of fishing. You see a guy came down with a rod, reel and a backpack. He asked me what was about and when I said “not much”, he told me he would find me some fish.

With that he pulled a drone from his backpack and before long, we were looking at vision on his phone of fish swimming out past the breakers. And to cut a long story short, he attached his rig to the drone and dropped it out on top of where the fish were. Bang! he was on.

He then hooked my line up and again, fish! It was awesome. So of course I am now researching drones so if you are interested in picking one up for yourself then grab a controller and let’s see what we can come up with…

My 3 recommended surf fishing drones

I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:

 DronePriceGet it
best surf fishing drones - option 1DJI Mavic Mini Drone$CURRENT PRICE
best surf fishing drones - option 2Swellpro Spry+ Plus Waterproof Drone$$CURRENT PRICE
best surf fishing drones - option 3DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone$$$CURRENT PRICE

What are fishing drones?

So, just in case you are not sure, a drone is a little unmanned aerial vehicle (also known as UAVs) that is usually controlled by a remote control or mobile phone app. They can range in size from a couple of inches wide up to a couple of feet for the big industrial use models (and obviously much larger when you discuss military options). Most are fitted with cameras and are used for a number of reasons outside of fishing such as aerial surveillance, checking of crops, looking for animals and so on.

For the purposes if this post however, I am going to stick to what I am calling a fishing drone. These are the models that have payload options included so that they can be used to take a fishing rig and drop it in a spot outside of normal casting range, or where fish are located.

best surf fishing drones - drone

Ethics

One thing that did pop up in my research was quite a bit of debate around the ethics of using a drone for fishing with (of course) there being two strong sides to the argument.

  • Those against them feel that they are taking the fun and challenge out of fishing where you use your ‘nouse’ to find a good location and work it to angle a good fish. Drones take that away and are allowing you to put baits and lures in places where fish would normally be safe and able to restock.
  • Those for the use of drones tend to believe that, like many other things in life, you are using technology to your advantage and that you still have to land your catch even if you are putting the bait “down its throat” so to speak.

I personally can see both sides of this argument and have to admit that I did have a lot of fun with it the other day. With all things fishing, as long as it is done sustainably with bag limits etc. maintained, then I am ok with it. That said, I would love to hear your thoughts below!

Legalities

Regardless of where your belief lies in regards to drones and fishing, their use is something that can be effected by legalities and regulations within the area that you are working them in. At time of writing, there didn’t appear to be too many legislative pieces in play that I could find however there are some regulations that may come in to play in your jurisdiction including:

  • Drones cannot be flown around government buildings.
  • Restrictions are usually in place around airports and airfields (which often back onto beaches).
  • Drones cannot be flown above where people congregate (again, which often happens on beaches).
  • Strict privacy regulations are in place in many places to do with drone cameras.
  • Drones may not be flown outside of line of sight or above certain height limits
  •  

As always, check restrictions in your local area before taking to the skies.

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Update: The purchase pages for some of these drones state that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration requires registration for some drones above certain sizes to fly in the U.S.

What should you be looking for?

Ok, so now that we have all of that out the way, like everything there are some fairly decent variations to consider when it comes to drones. Let’s run through them below…

Cameras

As with cameras on any device, the better the quality, the better the picture you will see. Drone cameras are designated in the same fashion as their general use cousins as well in terms of specifications such as 4K, 60 frames per second (FPS) or even the old megapixel rating. Also look for zoom and distance capabilities as well if you really want to pinpoint where the fish are.

When it comes to camera mounting, the more movement capability you have the better. Some will move up and down allowing you to see in front or below whilst others are mounted onto a Gimbal which allows the camera to rotate in all directions – great if you want that cinematic experience.

best surf fishing drones - drone view

Flying time/battery life

This probably goes without saying but the flying time for a drone is usually determined by its battery life. This is usually measured by a ‘flying time’ description of anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour or so. When you are checking this out there are also some other aspects to keep in mind such as:

  • Again, this is probably obvious but if you will be dragging heavy sinkers out to sea with it, then battery life will be reduced.
  • Some drones only allow themselves to fly up to around 80 – 90% of battery life which gives them time to return to their starting point (see below) once they sense that the battery is running out of charge.

Most batteries are Lithium (same as a cell phone) and are charged via a USB power cable.

Range

This is how far the drone can fly from the controller. This is obviously something to keep in mind as you are going to be flying over water and some of the cheaper models will simply try and land once they exceed their range length (this can happen a lot easier if you are in a boat too).

The more expensive models however will either just hover in place or return to their start point if they find themselves out of range (again, not good if you are on a boat).

That said, most drones that I have seen have a flying range of about a kilometer (just over a half mile) which for fishing should really be enough.

Payload capacity

This is another area that probably doesn’t need explanation however just to be sure, check the payload capacity of the drone (usually measured in pounds or kilograms). In the base fishing models these are usually high however enough to carry most rigs and line weights.

That said, even at the high end of their payload capacity, drones can use battery quite quickly and are more susceptible to conditions such as wind and spray. Oh, and their release remotes often sadly have a much smaller range than what the drone can fly too.

Note: Unfortunately – almost all drones require an extra attachment to be purchased to allow for the carrying and release of fishing lines etc.

GPS and return home

This is a great feature and one that I would look for in a drone if I can afford it. GPS and return home means that the drone will automatically return to its initial base (which you set) if the battery is running low or it looses controller connection.

GPS capabilities also allow for auto flight to preset areas (similar to a fish finder) as well.

Note: The Return to Home feature generally takes the drone back to its initial take off point and NOT where the controller currently is – something to keep in mind if you are moving around on the beach or again, in a boat.

best surf fishing drones - drone controller

Waterproofing

Now, there are not many that have this but some drones are waterproof – which is great as in most cases when fishing you will be flying over water. Some others however are water resistant, meaning they will handle a little spray but not a swim.

Anything that is rated against conditions such as salt water/air is well worth a look here.

My three recommendations broken down

There are a lot of different drones available online and to be honest, the issue here is to find ones with a compatible payload release option so that you can drop baits or lures out into the water. There are plenty of more cost effective options for general pictures and fish surveillance however based on the needs above, I recommend the following options:

1. DJI Mavic Mini – Drone

+

DJI is a well-known and trusted drone manufacturer and this option comes in at a decent price for those who want to use it for a number of options including fishing. Its specifications include:

  • Camera – 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K HD videos on a 3-axis motorized gimbal
  • Flight time – up to 30 minutes
  • Range – 2.5kms (only 100 mtrs with payload device however)
  • Payload capacity – not stated
  • GPS and return home – No
  • Waterproof – No
  • Payload device required separately – Yes

Other inclusions:

  • Extremely light weight – less than 0.55lbs / 250 grams
  • Runs on smartphone app

Why have I chosen it?

This is a great one for those looking for a decent versatile drone to cover every need you may have on the beach, kayak or boat. It is not as feature rich as some others on the market, but for the price it would work very well for those who just want to have some fun with it on the beach. The only concern here is that most of the payload addons do not have great range.


2. Swellpro Spry+ Plus Waterproof Drone

+

This next one is the base model of a number of Swellpro options offering fully waterproof drones designed for the beach and water activities. Options and features increase with the price point however in terms of this model, the specifications are as follows:

  • Camera – 4K Video & 12MP Images on a 3-axis motorized gimbal
  • Flight time – approximately 15-17 minutes
  • Range – 800m
  • Payload capacity – not stated
  • GPS and return home – Yes
  • Waterproof – Yes
  • Payload device required separately – Yes

Other inclusions:

  • Runs on smartphone app
  • Autonomous ‘follow-me’ option – great for boats
  • Can land in and take off from water

Why have I chosen it?

Quite simply, the swellpro range is the only option I could find that is completely waterproof making perfect for beach fishing. It has some great features for the price even in the base model and the payload attachment has good reviews. I personally would like to see greater range and flight time however so maybe a higher price range model might be necessary if this is an issue for you as well.


3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone

+

Now we are starting to get into the higher range of the drone spectrum with a model that covers everything needed for fishing and anything else you may need. It has top of the range capabilities with specifications including:

  • Camera – 4K Video & 20MP Images on a 3-axis motorized gimbal and 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • Flight time – up to 31 minutes
  • Range – 3 – 4 miles (4 – 6km)
  • Payload capacity – not stated
  • GPS and return home – Yes
  • Waterproof – Some water resistance
  • Payload device required separately – Yes

Other inclusions:

  • Runs on smartphone app
  • Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • Multiple charge options

Why have I chosen it?

I have seen this one in action and the picture quality alone makes this one well worth the extra investment if you have the budget (see video below of a recent fishing trip). It is also one of the few drones I have seen with fit for purpose payload attachments available for the exact model. It has good flight time and a great range as well.

Conclusion

And there they are – my 3 best surf fishing drones to buzz in 2021. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price. This may include purchases via Amazon.

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing hobbyists who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to fishing.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome fishing gear that will give you the best chance of catching a fish for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul

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