Skip to main content

Best drone for fishing in 2021

SwellPro Fisherman
(Image credit: SwellPro)

Looking for the best fishing drone? Our guide will help you find the right quadcopter or your angling needs, and at the best price.

A few years ago it might have been hard to imagine, but consumer drones are an increasingly popular tool of serious fishing enthusiasts. Their unique perspective can really give anglers an advantage. With the addition of a polarizing lens, any drone can look directly into the water and help pick the perfect fishing spot. This as opposed to remote-controlled underwater drone, which we’ve looked at in another list.

If you've been fishing for years, the idea of taking off might sound a bit too complicated so usability is a significant factor. Every drone on this list features GPS hover in at least one of the flight modes so you’re able to take off, fly around, and let go of the controls with no worries that the aircraft will plummet from the sky. Collision avoidance sensors tend to be found on pricier drones, but their utility is not to be underestimated.

In terms of fishing itself, some manufacturers have found ways of adding attachments which assist in the process, such as SwellPro’s bait release systems. These can be controlled remotely, or simply through tension you apply to the line with the drone. Third parties have also created bait release systems for major drones like the DJI Air 2S from on this list (though one unlikely to be recommended by the manufacturer).

If you like to fish in one particular spot, you might find that creating a truly detailed satellite-style map is something you can do with a drone and the right software; another reason why we’ve included a number of drones with good cameras on this list.

Finally, it’s a good idea to look at range – the maximum distance you can control the drone (and still see a video signal back). Even if regulations don’t allow you to fly this far, it gives a good idea of the quality of the radio signal you can expect.

The best drones for fishing in 2021

A powerful consumer drone with all the visual power needed

Specifications
Size: 180 x 97 x 77 mm (folded)
Diagonal size (open): 302 mm
Weight: 595g
Flight time: : 34 minutes
Speed: 19m/s (42 mph)
Range: 18km
Camera resolution: 20MP (5472×3648)
Video resolution: : 5.4K
Storage: 8GB Internal + microSD
Filters: Yes
Waterproofing: No
Reasons to buy
+Best quality consumer drone bar none+20 megapixel 1-inch sensor+Interchangeable lens filters
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof

If you’re able to take off from dry ground, this is a near perfect choice in terms of visual quality, with a 1080P livestream. There are plenty who would be jealous of this drone in the photography or cinematography space. While, like many, it isn't waterproof, the gimbal-stabilized camera can be directed straight down and has an easy filter attachment system, so it's possible to add a polarizing lens and penetrate the surface of a lake. The folding design makes it portable, and the prop(ellors) are relatively quiet. DJI provides high quality charging tools and the control app is easy to use even for beginners while offering advanced features where required. It’s also much appreciated that the system has powerful motors and can make its way home in powerful wind if necessary.

The Air 2S also features an array of collision avoidance sensors meaning you can fly through trees and it’ll plot a route around them rather than plough into them.

(Image credit: Powervision)

A 4K drone which can walk on water and survive a splash

Specifications
Size: 178 x 102 x 102 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 423 mm
Weight: 860g
Flight time: : 30 minutes (without waterproof housing)
Speed: not stated
Range: 6 km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: : 4K
Storage: microSD (max 128gb)
Filters: Yes
Waterproofing: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Versatile choice of flight time or water landing+Can be used as a stabilized camcorder
Reasons to avoid
-Unusual design can be fiddly to set up-Newer 8K model available

PowerVision are known for their underwater drones as well as this uniquely adaptable aerial one. It requires a little on-site assembly – especially if you’re using the waterproof housing and floating landing skids – but in exchange you have a reasonably powerful drone with a competitive battery life which can land on the surface of the water, and lift itself off again. PowerVision makes no exact claims for speed, but it’ll remain controllable in Beaufort Scale 5 winds, which isn’t to be sniffed at. The live-view to a mobile phone (connected to the remote) gives a clear view of what the camera is seeing, and the app is reasonably intuitive. If you want to narrate your lake-mapping you can use your phone’s microphone to record your thoughts onto the video from the drone. The three axis gimbal provides stable video and while the camera sensor is a standard 1 / 2.8 inch CMOS (like a typical phone) the picture is plenty sharp for fish finding. Then, if you change activities, you can take the drone body out of its arms and just use the ‘egg’ as a stabilized action camera – adaptable!

(Image credit: SwellPro )

3. SwellPro SplashDrone 4

A drone built to survive the ocean and drop bait

Specifications
Size: 234 x 249 x 90 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 450 mm
Weight: 2180g with battery
Flight time: : 30 minutes
Speed: 18 m/s / 40mph
Range: 0.8km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: : 4K
Storage: microSD (max 64gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Powerful lift capacity+Versatile with bait and camera options+Unsinkable 
Reasons to avoid
-Not especially portable-Requires phone for monitor

An IP67 waterproof drone built for the water? You bet. At over 2kg, with capacity for a load of about the same again (that’s around 25 pieces of bait on a line) the SplashDrone 4 (especially paired with the PL1-S bait release mechanism) is a powerful – if a little pricey – option. The orange shell of the drone can float and take off from water; if it finds itself the wrong way up, it can even flip itself upright which is stunning to watch. All the usual drone treats that a high end consumer pilot would expect, including high-res live view and intelligent follow, are there thanks to the NaviFly app (you will need a phone clipped atop the remote control) but extras, like the bait release, get more traditional feeling buttons and switches on the IP66 waterproof remote. 

SwellPro support their SplashDrone series of drones with a number of payload release mechanisms for “skytrolling,” so you can troll for fish up to 1.6km from the shore without a boat.

(Image credit: DJI)

4. DJI Mini SE

Lightweight consumer drone which can be flown without registration

Specifications
Size: 138 x 81 x 58 mm (folded)
Diagonal size (open): 213 mm
Weight: 249g with battery
Flight time: : 30 minutes
Speed: 13 m/s / 30mph
Range: 4km / 2.5miles
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: : 2.7K
Storage: microSD (max 256gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: No
Reasons to buy
+Compact and portable+Cheapest way to get a DJI drone+Great family all-rounder
Reasons to avoid
-No lift-and-drop function-Not waterproof-Not available in Europe

The DJI Mini SE was created as the entry-point to the leading drone manufacturer’s range. As such it might leave a few of the latest features out, and the camera’s 2.7K video recording irks some tech heads, but the 720P live video to the phone monitor is crisp and clean (within sensible range, anyway). It also shares the same well maintained and easy-to-use software with other DJI drones making it easy to learn. The camera gets a sharp image because it is on a gimbal, which also allows you to remotely tilt it. Crucially… drum roll please… the Mini is also just under the weight limit which requires registration, meaning you won’t need to do any paperwork with the FAA (if you’re in the USA). This is a drone we recommend as a starter in many contexts, and (so long as you can keep it dry and carry a phone with you) this is one more. 

(Image credit: Potensic)

5. Potensic D68

A budget option with decent specs

Specifications
Size: 173 x 91 x 69 mm (folded)
Diagonal size (open): 320 mm
Weight: 520g with battery
Flight time: : 25 minutes
Speed: 10 m/s / 25mph
Range: 500m
Camera resolution: 8.2MP
Video resolution: : 2048 x 1152 px
Storage: microSD
Filters: -
Waterproofing: No
Reasons to buy
+Low budget way into flying+GPS return+Easy to fly
Reasons to avoid
-No gimbal to stabilize image-Official flight time a bit optimistic-Short range

This is a great option if you’re looking to get a taste of the benefits of a drone without the budget for a DJI Mini SE (or DJI Mavic Mini in the UK/Europe). The video quality lacks the sharpness of the DJI because the system uses a shock absorber rather than a mechanical gimbal, but the camera can be operated pointing directly down if required, which is useful for sweeping lakes. The system isn’t completely without luxuries either; there is an optical flow positioning system for assisted hover even where the GPS signal is weak, and the drone can return to home automatically or even fly on paths you choose in the app. The 25 minute flight time, while nothing special, isn’t bad for a budget drone either and the 2048 x 1152 px videos it records aren’t bad at all. 

(Image credit: SwellPro)

6. SwellPRO Spry+

A fishing drone for speed freaks

Specifications
Size: 234 x 249 x 90 mm (without water legs)
Diagonal size (open): 270 mm
Weight: 436g + 196g battery
Flight time: : 17 minutes
Speed: 18 m/s / 40mph
Range: 0.8km
Camera resolution: 12MP
Video resolution: : 4K
Storage: microSD (max 64gb)
Filters: -
Waterproofing: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Water-repellent shield over camera+ATTI-mode for stunt flying+Optional bait release system
Reasons to avoid
-Lower resolution live display -Usability closer to hobbyist drones

This certainly looks like a piece of marine equipment, and for some the optional TrollSafe bait release tool this will be enough. It works when you fly your line out and it reaches a certain tension, releasing the bait and line. 

It’s also a very exciting drone, built on powerful motors. Sometimes this can be a little bit of an issue (GPS return to home can be a touch enthusiastic) but SwellPRO have made refinements to the design and software since the first edition. That’s good because underneath there is the heart of an FPV racing drone.That means you get very low latency video feedback and the option of goggles for FPV view, but on the downside the resolution you view on the monitor is not as high as the more photography-oriented drones like those from DJI. On the plus side, there is a color screen built into the remote control which is waterproof.

Read more

Best indoor drones
Best camera drones
Best drones for kids
The best drone accessories
Drone rules and regulations
Best waterproof camera
Best handheld GPS
Best head torch

Adam Juniper

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook