DRONES IN THE SURF – March 2019

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(Photo Illustration: TF&G)

Deploying Remote Control Aircraft to Catch More Fish

DRONES ARE BEING USED by anglers more and more as they become more and more common. Today, using one to boost your catch rate at the beach is a smart—and fun—tactic.

A drone can give you a leg up in two ways: scouting the beach for good spots, and deploying your bait. As far as scouting goes, with that eye in the sky you can spot breaks, sloughs, and other fish-attracting features that may not be obvious from the beach.

The best part is that you can quickly scout a stretch of beach in both directions while standing in one spot, as opposed to taking a long walk in one direction and then the other. When it comes to deploying the bait, your longest cast just became a whole lot longer. With some high-end drones; you’ll be measuring distances by the mile instead of by the foot.

Drone choice is important, if you plan to get a drone specifically for this purpose. Obviously you’ll need one that can carry a payload of several ounces, as well as meet the range requirements you’re looking for.

Just about any drone can be equipped with a downrigger clip that drops the bait with a tug. There are also a few models with automatic release mechanisms made specifically for fishing or carrying and dropping a payload.

One of the most important aspects of drone fishing from the surf has nothing to do with the drone, and everything to do with your fishing tackle—line capacity. Hitch a bait rigged on your usual surf rod to a drone and let it fly. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you run out of line—probably long before you come anywhere near maxing-out the drone’s range. However, you can maximize the distance you can deploy your bait by shifting to an up-sized reel with a larger spool, then load it with relatively light, thin braid,

Say for example, you usually surf cast with a Penn Fathom 15H, loaded with 270 yards of 50-pound braid. That’s a great rig for casting, but by the time you account for height and wind bow you’ll be lucky to get your bait 200 yards past the breakers.

However, if you up-size to a Fathom 30 and load 30-pound braid, you can pack on over 1,000 yards of line, which still has plenty of beef to fight in big fish if you finesse it a bit. That’ll get your bait way farther out there than anyone without aerial assistance can hope for. So get that drone, prep your gear, and let it fly.

 

DIGITAL BONUS

 

A Drone Fishing Example

 

Drone fishing made simple with a DJI drone fitted with a Gannet bait release. Using the right equipment from hooks to rods and reels can make drone fishing effortless.

 

—story by LENNY RUDOW

 

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