Best Drones for Fishing: 2020 Buying Guide
By now we’re sure you’ve seen a drone fishing video. If not, check out the one below.
Fishermen hook their line up to a drone which then deftly flies their bait over to where saltwater gamefish are feeding. After a few seconds of dangling the line above them, they can’t resist and take the bait. The line falls off the drone and the fisherman frantically reels to set the hook. It looks like a blast! So what are the best drones for fishing?
We’re here to find out. In this buying guide, we review our favorite drones for fishing and recommend different versions based on price, quality, and ability. As drone technology gets better and batter, fishing with drones will become more commonplace. The best drones for fishing have to be able to hold your fishing line effectively as well as work for long periods of time since fishing can take hours.
We feature a quick summary of our favorite drones for fishing below. If you want to get into more detail, we go into our reasoning in the following sections and include the pros and cons of each drone review. Let’s dive in!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
Overall Best Drone for Fishing
DJI Mavic Air 2
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is our overall best drone for fishing. It’s packed with everything a drone fisherman needs and takes power and portability to the next level. It’s flight and camera capabilities are the best in the industry at its price point, which allows its controller to hunt gamefish like never before.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 comes with an impressive flight time of up to 34 minutes. Combine this with its camera gimbal system, and it helps you pull off the most aggressive and fast-paced shots. It also has an advanced obstacle sensing system that senses objects in three different directions. This makes it extra easy for beginners to learn the ropes and improves overall safety when flying your Mavic Air 2.
The Air 2 also has an excellent fishing capability due to its compatibility with established fishing payload systems.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 has many brand new components and upgrades from the original Mavic Air. The Air 2 has advanced shooting functions that make aerial photography over water easier than ever before. Its Spotlight system helps the camera lock onto a subject and reduces inflight disruptions. The ActiveTrack system also keeps the focus of your filming centered.
The camera has an impressive 48-megapixel sensor and the 3-axis gimbal allows for 4K video at 60 fps. The camera also has HDR capabilities with it’s Quad Bayer image sensor with OcuSync technology. OcuSync allows for video transmission up to 6.2 miles or 10 kilometers away.
The Quadcopter comes with 2 additional rotors for replacement and an easy to use flight controller. Beginners will still be able to fly the Air 2 with ease due to the three-way object sensing system. This helps prevent accidental crashes or disturbance.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 comes with the Mavic Air 2 Drone, a convenient remote controller, flight battery, RC cables (USB, lightning, micro-USB), control stick, three low-noise propellers, a gimbal protector, and battery charger.
It can fly for up to 34 minutes and hit speeds of 42.3 mph in its sport mode. It has dimensions of 7.4×3.8×3.3 inches when folded, and weighs 20.1 ounces.
- Brand new drone technology.
- Highest feature to price ratio.
A little pricier than economical options.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is our winner for the overall best drone for fishing. It’s a combination of brand new drone technology with all the features you need to start fishing with drones. It is worth noting that you will need to buy a drone fishing payload attachment separately, but the performance of the Air 2 still justifies it winning our best drone for fishing.
Best High-End Drone for Fishing
DJI Phantom 4 PRO
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO is the best fishing drone for fishermen who want to have it all and are ok paying for it. The Phantom is DJI flagship drone system and has been at the top for years now. It has a more powerful lifting system than other drones we tested and is compatible with the highest number of fishing payload systems.
The drone’s frame is built out of titanium alloys and aluminum to increase strength and rigidity in flight. The Phantom PRO has a Flight Autonomy system that adds dual rear vision cameras and infrared sensing systems. This gives the drone 5-direction obstacle sensing capability and 4-direction obstacle avoidance.
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO has an upgraded Lightbridge HD controller that adds 5.8ghz support on top of the 2.4ghz the standard model comes with. This prevents transmission lag and helps keep the drone exactly where you want it at all times.
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO also has a brand new flight technology called Draw. Pilots can draw a route on screen and the Phantom 4 Pro will move in that direction drawn while flying at the same altitude. This helps the pilot to focus on other controls (such as camera or payload controls) and enables more complex flying strategies.
The DJI Phantom 4 PRO has dimensions of 16 x 14 x 9 inches and weighs 6.5 lbs. It comes with a lithium powered rechargeable battery. The video processing system supports H.264 4K videos at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps. These both have a class-leading 100Mbps bitrate. The Phantom can fly for approximately 30 minutes on a full charge.
- The golden standard in professional drone technology.
- Durable construction and advanced object sensing.
If the price is not an issue for you, we highly recommend the DJI Phantom 4 PRO. Its titanium and magnesium frame will withstand years of intense drone fishing and heavy use. If you’re a drone fisherman looking for the best and willing to pay more, the DJI Phantom 4 PRO will fulfill everything you need in a fishing drone.
Best All-Weather Drone for Fishing
Gannet Pro Drone
The Gannet Pro Drone is our winner for the best all-weather fishing drone. Gannet set about designing a drone that could fly in the weather conditions you often experience when fishing. This means sunshine, clouds, and rain. The Gannet Pro is fully waterproof and able to fly in the rainiest conditions. The other great thing about the Gannet Pro is it comes with a fish bait payload system stock: the Gannet XSport dual electromagnetic release.
The Gannet Pro has an LCD display system for drone flight control and GPS system that connects to your smartphone. The Gannet Camera is an optional extra and it features 1080p live video attached to an onboard gimbal system. The camera works great for identifying where you want to fish as well as capturing video for creative purposes.
The Gannet Pro features fully sealed electronics which prevents corrosion from outside elements and saltwater. It also has barometric pressure sensing to aid with flight stability. The battery system is expandable to add external long-range batteries and custom payload bays.
The Gannet Pro comes in two specifications the Gannet Pro and Pro+. The Gannet Pro is 380 x 400 mm with props and weighs 1.9 kg. The Pro+ is 450 x 530 mm and weighs 2.9 kg. The original has a max speed of 65 km/h while the Pro+ can only go 60 km/h. The Pro has a flight time of 25 minutes while the Pro+ has a flight time of 20 minutes.
- Designed for all weather conditions.
- It comes with a payload system.
- Weak flight time.
The Gannet Pro is a great option for fishermen who want to use their drones in the rain and don’t want to buy an extra payload system. If comes with everything you need to go drone fishing out of the box and is an excellent choice if you’re ok with spending a bit more than the Mavic Air 2.
Best Waterproof Drone for Fishing
Swellpro Splash Drone 3
The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 was the first waterproof drone, and it’s also our choice for the best waterproof drone. It comes with an S3 flight controller and propulsion system that allows the Swellpro Splash Drone 3 to fly safely and smoothly in wet conditions. The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 also comes with a fishing payload system stock so you don’t need to buy it separately.
The Swellpro S3’s flight system is constantly checking for errors and uses redundancy to keep flight stability high. The GPS system uses up to 24 satellites from the GPS and GLONASS networks for improved accuracy and speed while flying.
The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 has carbon fiber propellers that are light and stiff to propel the S3 into Beaufort Force 4 winds with gusts up to Force 6. The quick-fit rotor design enables fast and secure attachment of new rotors to the motor system.
The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 comes with a custom-designed remote controller that allows the pilot advanced control over the drone. It has a high-brightness 5″ FPV screen that displays live video and overlaid flight data without the need of a smartphone or other equipment.
The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 comes with a hard carry case and weighs 1447g. It’s maximum flight time is 20 to 23 minutes, and has a max flight speed of 20 m/s. It can carry up to 1 kg in payload weight (easily enough for fishing). It is waterproof rated at 600mm deep for short periods of time.
- Original waterproof drone.
- Includes a fishing payload system.
- Older technology.
The Swellpro Splash Drone 3 has everything you need to start drone fishing. For the drone fisherman who wants a time tested solution to drone fishing, the Swellpro Splash Drone 3 is a great option. Its technology may be a bit older than the DJI drones, but it has everything you need to go fishing – and has a cool color scheme!
Before wrapping up, here are some of the features we considered when picking out the best drones for fishing.
Drone technology continues to improve each year at a rapid pace. We wanted to recommend a drone that has cutting technology features and won’t feel old and clunky a few years down the road. The DJI options are definitely the most technologically advanced, but they lack some of the out-of-the-box fishing features. We believe the advanced components of the Air 2 are more important, which is why it won the best drone for fishing.
Fishing Payload Capability
As we mentioned above, we wanted to recommend drones that had fishing payload capabilities either out of the box or easily upgraded to. Since DJI is the biggest name in consumer drone technology, there are many aftermarket options for fishing payload systems available. The nice thing about the Gannet and Swellproof is that they come with a payload system stock. This helps with their pricing, but they’re still more expensive than the more advanced Air 2 (which is why they didn’t win).
We also looked for waterproofing as an added bonus for the best drone for fishing. Since you’ll obviously be flying close to or over water, having waterproofing is an added bonus that helps with confidence when flying your drone. It’s not necessary, but it is an added feature that is nice to have. Both the Gannet and Swellproof are waterproof up to limited depths and time underwater. If you’re targeting some northern fish species, like coho salmon or king salmon, this could be a make or break feature for your fishing drone.