Best Drone for Fishing in 2018 – Long Range & Reliable Models Compared
As personal drone technology becomes more advanced and less expensive, more and more sportsmen are turning to them as a means of scouting out locations without disturbing the game. Both by the lake and ocean, anglers are also turning to drones to give them an edge when searching for that trophy fish in hard to access areas of lakes or ponds.
Some particularly enterprising saltwater anglers are even using drones to cast drop bait lines as far out as 400 yards from shore to reel in the real big offshore monsters like bluefin tuna. To make a successful go of drone fishing though, you can’t just choose any drone: you will need to modify it a little to make it your newest secret weapon.
Check out our top picks for the best fishing quadcopter drones, and make sure you get the right one for you.
Table of Contents
- 6 Best Drone for Fishing - Comparisons
- Best Drone for Fishing - Reviews
- Final Verdict
6 Best Drone for Fishing - Comparisons
18 x 18 x 10
16.8 x 16.3 x 13.7
18.9 x 14.3 x 9.9
21.2 x 17 x 12.5
7.4 x 5.8 x 5.6
15 x 14 x 8.2
Best Drone for Fishing - Reviews
1. 3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
Anglers looking for both power and affordability without sacrificing features are going to love the 3DR Solo. This handy little quadcopter drone runs an average 22 minute flight time, making it ideal for those scouting runs up to 800 yards away. You can orbit your boat looking for schools of fish via a GoPro camera (not included), and get crystal clear HD video streams back to your smartphone or tablet.
The near half mile range isn’t the only thing that makes this a great fishing drone though: it’s also got smart tech. You can easily program your 3DR Solo to follow GPS coordinate way points, as well as have it auto recall to your current GPS coordinates. This is a crucial feature to have if you are using your drone to scout fish from a boat, as you can have your drone slowly circle your course to keep an eye out for schools of fish before you accidentally scare them off with your trolling motor or the boats shadow.
As far as bait casting and dropping go, this is also an ideal drone for giving that controversial new technique a whirl. Even with its on board camera and a fairly heavy fishing line tethered to it, this drone still maintains close to its maximum flight time. Simply fly your bait line loaded drone over the school of fish you want to cast into, and lower your drone until the baited line is in the water. Be sure to equip your drone with an auto release kite clip so it isn’t dragged down if you get a bite on your line, and make sure that you recall the drone as soon as the fish has taken the bait and you are reeling in your catch.
Best of all, the 3DR also features intelligent terrain mapping to help it navigate without tangling itself or crashing into buildings, bridges, or trees. Terrain mapping comes in handy when your drone is navigating its way back to you and there happens to be an obstacle in the way that wasn’t present when it launched.
If you want to try drone fishing out for yourself without a major financial commitment, definitely take a look at the 3DR Solo. With a little extra equipment and some minor modifications, you can have it ready to help you find those prime fishing spots at the lake or along the shore in no time.
What we liked
- Half mile range with video streaming to your smartphone or tablet
- 22 minute flight time
- Smart terrain mapping and onboard GPS navigation
What we didn't like
- Returns to launch coordinates, not current controller coordinates
- Camera and gimbal not included
- No compatible with other brands of camera
2. DJI Phantom 4 PRO Drone Quadcopter Bundle Kit
Long battery life with a full 30 minutes of flight time, the Phantom 4 PRO is a top of the line smart drone with integrated HD/4K camera. Not only is this a powerful drone capable of dragging bait lines out to open water with ease, but is also extremely easy to fly. The included controller makes skilled flight possible for even novice drone pilots, and the Phantom 4 also features an auto-leveling and integrated guidance system that lets you plot courses from your smartphone quickly and easily.
If you are looking for a drone that offers exceptional video streaming, the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is definitely the drone for you. With a 4K capable 20 megapixel camera, this drone can capture and record high quality images and videos at a range of nearly 3.5 miles. This range is more than adequate for anyone looking to scout the waters ahead and around them for bigger schools of fish, and if you are looking to “kite” lures or bait further out from shore this drone has you covered.
The guidance system on the Phantom 4 PRO far exceeds the capabilities of most smart drones on the market today. Using your smartphone and the DJI Go app you can set your drone to hover or stream in place as though tethered or draw a flightpath on the GPS map and your drone will follow the set course point-to-point, or it can be programmed to continue following that path until redirected. This feature is especially useful if you want your drone to follow a parallel course to your boat when you are trolling. The hover feature also makes it easy keep tabs on a school of fish while you use stealth tactics to approach for casting.
Best of all, this drone also uses its camera and onboard sensors to automatically avoid obstacles in its flight path like trees, low hanging brush, buildings, and anything else in the terrain that might cause it to crash. The DJI Phantom 4 PRO may be require a more significant investment on your part, but it also provides all the power, video streaming, photography features you will need to use your drone for fishing offshore or from a boat. Whether you are over saltwater or freshwater, the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is ready to help you find those fish and drop your line for the catch of the day.
What we liked
- Exceptional battery life with a flight time of up to 30 minutes
- Powerful 4 rotor design with auto leveling and advanced guidance
- Highest quality HD/4K camera and video recorder with 3.5 mile streaming range
What we didn't like
- Drone is larger than comparable models
- Camera cannot be changed out for different models
- Auto return feature goes back to launch coordinates, not current controller coordinates
Also Read: Best Fly Fishing Reels – Tested & Reviewed
3. UPair One Drone with Camera
As cost effective drones go, it’s hard to go wrong with the Upair One. Built tough from landing gear to rotor mounts, the UPair One also features a high quality gimbal for the camera or other mounted accessories. Converting this drone into your newest fishing scout could not be easier, and with a 20 minute flight time, it is more than up to the challenge of scouting hard to reach sections of water or towing baited line out to the schools of fish beyond your casting range.
The controls are intuitive, and the controller has an integrated 7-inch TFT display for viewing video and image capture even up to 500 meters away. The included camera features up to 4K resolution, and can stream HD video while in flight that will give you crystal clear perspective on the fish lurking in the still water and pools of your favorite lake, as well as where they are hiding offshore beyond the breakers.
Rigging this particular drone for fishing is easy thanks to the sturdy landing struts. Be sure to test the tension on the kite clip to make sure the line releases under tension you will find it makes an excellent drone for finding and dropping bait to those unsuspecting fish before they even know you are there.
In summary, the chief advantages of choosing a UPair One are its affordability, ease of modification for fishing, and the integrated controller display. There is no need to connect your smartphone or tablet for display purposes, which means one less item to lug out on the boat or to the shore. It also offers the best value for the cost, and due to its sturdy construction it’s also easy to modify. There are few other drones in this price range that are as easily adapted to fishing. Definitely give the UPair One look if you are looking for a cost-effective drone to try your hand at drone assisted fishing.
What we liked
- Heavy duty construction with reinforced rotor mounts and landing struts
- 3-axis camera gimbal allows for complete control of the camera while the drone is airborne
- Controller has built in 7” TFT display, negating the need for a separate device like a tablet or smartphone
What we didn't like
- Flight time is fairly short at 20 minutes
- Can’t be streamed to other devices remotely
- Only works with included camera, so it’s not upgradeable.
4. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Looking to buy some serious muscle for drone fishing? The Yuneec Typhoon H is the drone to get. This drone uses 6 rotors instead of the traditional 4, and this drone has some fairly powerful lifting capabilities. Yuneec has a reputation for building some of the fastest and most powerful drones commercially available, and the Typhoon H definitely does not disappoint in terms of performance. Even in windier weather this drone handles and maneuvers exceptionally well thanks to its additional power plants and advanced automated flight controls.
While it is never recommended to attempt to land a fish using a drone (most experts suggest using it to drop or dangle baited lines further out than you can cast), the Typhoon H could more than likely land smaller fish without any difficulty. To be on the safe side though, it’s probably best just to rig this drone with a kite clip like any other drone so that the line drops away safely when a fish takes the bait. After all, one dip in the water and your drone is more than likely done for.
In terms of features, the Typhoon H definitely delivers exceptional imaging thanks to its GC03 4K mounted camera with 3-axis gimbal. Scouting for distant schools of fish without disturbing them is much easier thanks to the high quality images and video stream that can be streamed directly to the control unit’s 4.3-inch display. Range for streaming and control is out to 1,000 meters, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty making your scouting runs from a boat or the shoreline to where the big fish like to hide.
The intelligent guidance system is probably what makes this such a great choice for drone fishing, as it is exceptionally easy to program, letting you program parallel flight patterns that follow our boat’s course or walking path along a shoreline without needing to stop to redirect it. It also has built in collision avoidance, which can save your pricey drone from snagging in low hanging brush or tree branches while it is on autopilot.
Overall, this is a fantastic choice for drone fishing, particularly if you are concerned about high wind or using heavier bait fish when dragging bait out to schools of fish. It’s well built, fairly easy to modify, and delivers some excellent maneuverability despite its size. Check out a Yuneec Typhoon H while you are shopping around.
What we liked
- Powerful 6-rotor hexacopter provides plenty of lifting power
- High quality 4K capable camera that streams to an integrated display
- Collision avoidance technology helps protect your investment
What we didn't like
- Large size makes it more difficult to pack up and transport in smaller fishing boats.
- Extra power means a shorter battery life and flight time
- Camera cannot be upgraded
Also Read: The 7 Best Surf Fishing Reels on the Beach
5. DJI Inspire 2 Quadcopter + Zenmuse X4S Starters Bundle
Some anglers are already trying their hand at drone fishing and are ready for the big leagues. If this describes you, then you want to look at DJI’s pricey but powerful DJI Inspire 2. It is a significant investment, but you won’t find a drone with a longer range, better video streaming, or superior flight time for the money.
This is the bleeding edge of current drone technology, and everything about this drone screams premium quality. The struts and rotor mounts are all reinforced, and the landing struts are similarly constructed to be both flexible and strong to absorb landing impacts. In the camera mounting department, the Inspire 2 uses the top-of-the-line Zenmuse X5S gimbal, which allows for near universal angle adjustment on the fly, and provides rock-solid stability whether you are taking video footage or snapping stills.
The camera itself on the Inspire 2 features both a physical zoom to complement the digital zoom capabilities, and can record video and stills up to 4K resolution. Footage can be streamed directly to your smartphone or tablet with the DJI Go app, and you can also program flight paths and use other intelligent navigation features from the convenience of your mobile device.
As far as rigging for fishing, this drone has power and range to spare. It has a 6 kilometer (2+ miles) range, and can fly up to 30 minutes fully loaded. Want to rig more than one baited line for quick release? No problem. Just attach your kite clips with 4 foot leaders and fly til you find those elusive schools of fish. Dip the leaders in the water, and when the fish strike your lines will easily fall away from your drone without dragging it down to a watery grave.
The DJI Inspire 2 is definitely a significant investment, but if you want the best possible tech your money can buy it should be your first choice. This smart drone is built to impress, and seldom fails to deliver on its promise of superior performance in every category.
What we liked
- 6 km (2+) range with a 30 minute flight time for extended scouting sessions
- Programmable autopilot for spotting schools and searching in a grid pattern over a defined area
- Top-of-the-line camera and gimbal mount for pristine 4K video and still image capture
What we didn't like
- Top-of-the-line features cost top-of-the-line money
- Drone is powerful but does not possess very good stability in windy conditions
- Nothing on this drone is weather or waterproof, so it is unsuitable for poor weather flight
6. DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone
Anglers looking to save a little on their investment in drone fishing in case it’s not for them should definitely check oi the DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone when shopping around. Think of it as “last year’s model” that offers excellent quality and features without the higher “this year’s model” price. It does have some limitations compared to DJI’s current Phantom 4 Pro, but it is in no way a poor performer or lacking in quality.
First of all, this drone is exceptionally lightweight at 2.7 pounds, making it ideal for dragging baited fishing line or leaders to where the big fish are hiding. It’s also GPS enabled for auto recall when fishing from shore, and you can program custom waypoints via smartphone or mobile device app. It can also operate effectively in winds up to 22 mph (19 knots), and works well whether you are shore or open water scouting for fish.
The video streaming capabilities of the Phantom 3 Standard are excellent, and capturing high quality 4K videos and pictures from as table platform while scouting is a snap thanks to the 3-axis gimbal and integrated flight stability technology. Finding those large schools off shore at the beach or in the middle of the lake from your boat is easy thanks to the 0.5 mile range, and its 25 minute flight time is more than sufficient for location scouting from land or sea.
One caveat though: disable the auto return feature, as it will return to its GPS launch coordinates, not the current controller coordinates. This could result in a lost drone if your boat has moved away from the drone’s point of origin, or you’ve made your way further down the beach to try your luck elsewhere.
As far as ease of modification goes, the Phantom 3 Standard is simple enough to rig with a kite clip for quick leader release upon a fish strike for a towed and baited line. Remember to keep a close eye on your remaining battery time, and always err on the side of caution when it comes to recovering your drone. A cut line is fairly cheap, but a drone in the water is usually unrecoverable.
Bottom line, the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is an excellent choice for those who want to test the waters of drone assisted fishing without investing significant money up front, and they are also well built and sturdy enough to make them your go-to drone for any and all outdoor activities.
What we liked
- Plenty of high end features without the high end price tag
- Excellent range and wind condition performance on land or over water
- GPS enabled with programmable flight paths
What we didn't like
- Winds over 22 mph can make this unit unflyable, which can be a problem if you are on a boat scouting at sea
- Extra batteries are somewhat pricey compared to similar models
- Controller is proprietary and only allows mobile device support via app, not direct control.
Our choice for the best drone for fishing is the Yuneec Typhoon H. It’s got excellent handling in windy weather, it has an long flight time, and the range is second to none. The display is integrated into the control unit, and thanks to GPS enabled navigation it is easy to mark locations when you find large schools of fish at sea or prime freshwater fishing spots. Definitely give the Yuneec Typhoon H a quick once over while you are shopping for a high quality drone for fishing. It definitely delivers on both performance and quality.