Best Drones for Fishing in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Drones have come a long way in the past few years. From toy drones to shipping and military ones, there are countless things you can do with a drone.

Recently, many anglers have been using fishing drones as a part of their gearing arsenals. They give you the ability to scan for good fishing areas and cast your bait in inaccessible places that usually contain a ton of fish.

Drones come in different designs, sizes, and configurations, which could make picking one for your fishing trips a little bit complicated. To make things easier, we’ve made a list of some of the best drones for fishing you can find on the market today.

Comparison Table:

Model

Flight TimeCameraMax DistanceMax Payload

Gimbal

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

30 minutes4K3.5m500g

Yes

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

30 minutes4K3.5m500g

Yes

DJI Mavic Pro

24 minutes4K7km1kgYes

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

25 minutes4K1.9km1kgYes

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

25 minutes2.7K1km1.2kgYes

3DR Solo Quadcopter

20 minutesNo (bought separately)0.8km0.4kg

No (bought separately)

The 6 Best Drones for Fishing in 2020

1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro – Best High-Performance Fishing Drone

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has all the assets that make for a high-end drone for fishing.

Featuring a sturdy frame made of a titanium and magnesium alloy combination, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro will survive in harsh environments like a champ. Nevertheless, the drone can automatically detect nearby obstacles and avoid them.

Moreover, it has an impressive camera with a 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor that’s capable of shooting 4K/60fps videos, allowing you to capture cinematic footage of your fishing action to share on the web. Not to mention that the camera has a built-in stabilization system that allows you to take professional-level videos.

The transmitter has a bright 1080p display with a high contrast ratio, allowing you to view your footage easily in direct sunlight.

Additionally, the drone’s flight time is 30 minutes with a total battery life of 5 hours, which is pretty decent and should be more than enough for you to cast the bait, but we always recommend getting a few spare batteries just in case. There’s a return home button that you can use when the battery is about to die.

The only problem with the Phantom 4 Pro is the limited payload weight. With only 500 grams of payload weight, you won’t be able to lift big fish with it.

What We Like:

  • High-resolution 4K camera with video stabilization
  • Excellent build quality
  • Auto obstacle sensor
  • Long flying range
  • Return home key
  • Bright 1080p display

What We Don’t Like:

  • Limited payload weight
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

With a 4K camera, long flying range, and great build quality, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro has all that it takes to handle your drone fishing scouts.

2. DJI Phantom 4 Advanced – Best Premium Fishing Drone

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced capitalizes on the already impressive Phantom 4 Pro. 

The main upgrade in the Phantom 4 Advanced is that it’s equipped with an obstacle detection sensor that allows the drone to dodge obstacles automatically. The sensors detect obstacles in front of and below the drone, so you still need to be extra careful from the sides.

Other than that, the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Advanced are quite similar. The Phantom 4 Advanced features the same high-quality 4K camera with the 3-axis gimbal that allows you to shoot stabilized video footage and the flight time is about 30 minutes.

Whether or not the Phantom 4 Advanced is worth the extra cash over the Phantom 4 Pro is up to you. If you’ll be using the drone over the waters in areas that are uninterrupted by rocks or trees, then you are better off with the Phantom 4 Pro. 

On the other hand, if there’s a possibility that you’ll be using it in tight areas with a lot of obstacles, then the Phantom 4 Advanced is the way to go

What We Like:

  • Obstacle detection sensors
  • 20MP 4K camera
  • Long flight time
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • Long flight time

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced is a premium fishing drone with obstacle detection sensors, an excellent camera, and a sturdy build.

3. DJI Mavic Pro – Best Compact Fishing Drone

DJI Mavic Pro

The DJI Mavic Pro is for those looking for a compact fishing drone that can easily fit into their backpack without compromising performance. The modular design allows you to fold the drone for Additional portability.

For starters, the DJI Mavic Pro is equipped with a high-quality camera that can shoot at 4K resolution, allowing you to record impressive action videos. Additionally, the camera can be titled to offer a forward and downward vision functionality. 

Furthermore, it offers you a flight time of 24 minutes, which isn’t that high but definitely acceptable. However, you should consider getting a few spare batteries for extra action.

The DJI Mavic Pro is equipped with the OcuSync transmission system that provides an extended transmission range that can reach up to 7km, in addition to a 1080p display so you can see your videos in real-time. 

As for the smartphone range via Wi-Fi, the controllable range goes down to 80 meters with a maximum altitude of 50 meters. The drone also lets you download photos and videos directly to your smartphone over Wi-Fi.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy, compact design
  • High-quality camera with 4K resolution and video stabilization
  • Easy flight controls
  • Comes with extra batteries
  • Forward/downward vision system
  • Up to 7 km transmission range
  • Intelligent Battery

What We Don’t Like:

  • Low stability in strong winds due to the compact design

Bottom Line

The DJI Mavic Pro fishing drone integrates performance and functionality into a compact and lightweight body.

4. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium – Best Fishing Drone for Beginners 

Autel Robotics X Star Premium

The Autel X-Star is one of the few drones out there that have a dedicated beginner’s mode, making it a solid contender on our list.

The beginner’s mode allows you to set a limit for the drone’s speed and range. Moreover, the autonomous flight modes will enable you to set a path for the drone to follow automatically.

It features a sturdy design that allows you to fly your drone in severe conditions without having to worry that it’ll fail. However, there’s no obstacle detection mechanism, so you have to take full control of your drone’s movement. Luckily, the drone’s flashy orange color makes it easily visible even from a long distance.

The dual built-in GPS and GLONASS system ensures that the drone flies accurately, even when the signal is low.

To see the camera’s recordings in real-time, you can either use the small monitor built into the transmitter or your smartphone. The camera can record 4K videos, which lets you see everything clearly and record awesome action videos. The high-quality camera is complemented with a 3-axis gimbal that auto-stabilizes your video footage.

Additionally, the flight time is about 25 mins, which is acceptable, but it’d be a good idea to take a few spare batteries to extend the drone’s flight time when needed. Fortunately, the drone has an auto-return function that allows it to come back to you when the battery is about to be empty.

The Autel X-Star Premium isn’t equipped with a payload release mechanism, so you’ll have to purchase one separately for you to be able to cast the bait. The drone’s maximum payload weight is 1kg, which is more than enough for you to pick the line and bait you want to use. Moreover, the drone’s maximum range is 1.9 km, allowing you to fly it over long distances.

What We Like:

  • Auto takeoff and landing
  • Auto return home function
  • 4K Camera with video stabilization
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Beginner’s mode option to limit speed and range

What We Don’t Like:

  • No built-in release clip
  • No obstacle detection sensor

Bottom Line

The Autel X-Star Premium is hands down one of the best fishing drones out there for beginners and it comes at an affordable price too.

5. DJI Phantom 3 Standard – Best Value for Money

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard packs all the drone fishing essentials without breaking the bank.

It’s quite intuitive to use thanks to the smart flight controls that allow beginners to easily fly the drone. Not to mention that flying the drone is assisted by GPS and there are some intelligent flight modes that further enhance the drone’s user-friendliness. 

Just like other premium Phantom drones, the Phantom 3 Standard has an excellent build quality that provides strength while also keeping weight in check. Moreover, the 12MP camera is capable of shooting 2.7K videos of a very competitive quality that’s not far off from more premium drones.

With a flight time of 25 minutes, the Phantom 3 Standard gives you just enough time to find a good spot and cast your bait. The maximum payload is 1.2kg, which is more than enough for fishing purposes.

What We Like:

  • Very affordable
  • Easy controls and intelligent flight modes
  • High-quality camera with video stabilization
  • Low battery alert
  • Auto take-off and landing
  • Return-home function

What We Don’t Like:

  • The camera could be better

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use drone for your fishing scouts or even a backup drone, the DJI Phantom 3 Standard won’t disappoint.

6. 3DR Solo Quadcopter – Best Budget Fishing Drone

3DR Solo Quadcopter

Another cheap fishing drone on our list is the 3DR Solo Quadcopter. It’s pretty easy to use and control, with a ton of features that further improve its functionality. 

This includes Auto Takeoff, Auto Land, One-Key Photo and Video Capturing, One-Key Flight Pause, Smart Shots, Orbit, Cable Cam, Follow Me, and Selfie. Furthermore, intelligent flight modes allow you to set a path for the drone to take and let it fly automatically. 

You can fly the 3DR Solo drone for a total of 20 minutes, which is a bit low compared to other more premium fishing drones, but it should get the job done if you act quickly. The transmission range is 800 meters, making it suitable as a scouting device. 

The maximum payload capacity is 400 grams, which is far lower than other drones on our list, so you better stick to small fish with this one. 

It’s worth noting that this drone doesn’t come with a camera out of the box, but it’s compatible with the GoPro Hero 3+ camera that you can optionally choose to get it with the drone. You can also install a 3-axis gimbal to produce smoother video footage.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Easy controls 
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Auto take-off and landing
  • Compatible with 3-axis gimbals
  • Return-home function

What We Don’t Like:

  • Camera and gimbal are a separate purchase
  • Limited payload capacity

Bottom Line

While the 3DR Solo Quadcopter lacks a few functionalities, it’s still an excellent budget fishing drone for scouting and catching small fish.

How to Pick the Best Drone for Fishing

There are a few things you have to keep in mind before choosing a drone for fishing. 

1. Battery Life

Fishing trips usually last for at least a few hours until you can catch a significant amount of fish, which is why you need a fishing drone with enough juice to last for the whole trip. It’s also a good idea to get a few spare batteries to extend your drone’s usage time even further.

2. Stability

Another crucial factor to consider when picking a drone for fishing is stability. Your fishing drone should be able to withstand strong winds and unstable weather conditions since you never know when the weather can suddenly change. The last thing you want is your drone moving around randomly with every little bit of wind.

3. Payload Weight

Before deciding on a drone for fishing, make sure that it has a sufficient load-carrying capacity to be able to lift your fishing line and bait, as well as your catch. It’s critical to be aware of the maximum weight your drone can carry and make sure that you don’t exceed to avoid damaging your drone.

4. Range

A fishing drone that you can’t fly at long distances is a useless one. After all, one of the main reasons to get is to be able to search for and access tricky fishing spots that you may not be able to reach with your boat. Moreover, you could lose your drone if it ever goes out of your controller’s range. Consider getting a fishing drone with a flying radius of at least 1 km.

5. Camera

If you’ll be fishing offshore, then you probably need a drone with a built-in camera. Instead of your drone staying stuck around your field of view, you can let it fly even further until you can find a good fishing spot.

Moreover, it’s preferable that you pick a drone with a high-resolution camera so you can see the live footage more clearly. A 3-axis gimbal for video stabilization would also be a huge plus.

6. Water Resistance

Some drones are designed to be water-resistant to some extent. This allows you to capture action below the water surface more easily. 

7. Release Clip

A release clip allows you to release your bait at the right moment. Some drones have a built-in release clip, which is much easier than having to look for a compatible release clip to install it yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Drop a Fishing Line from a Drone?

Dropping a fishing line from your drone is quite simple. All you have to do is tie your fishing line to your drone in a way that creates an X letter. You also need to get a release clip, which allows you to drop the bait at the right moment.

How Do You Rig a Drone for Fishing?

Follow these simple tips to set your drone up for fishing:

  1. Get a release clip and attach your fishing line to it
  2. Lock the release clip to the drone’s landing gears
  3. Fly the drone over the waters and look for fish using the drone’s integrated camera
  4.  Make sure that the fishing line is tensioned properly
  5. Either wait for the fish to grab the lure and pull the fishing line, or drop the bait yourself by locking the reels
  6. Fly your drone back as soon as you’re done and use a fishing rod to move the fish to the shore

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

Now that we’ve gone through a whole list of the best drones for fishing, it’s time to pick a winner. 

We’re genuinely astonished by the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. It has a 4K camera, an advanced obstacle detection system, and a sturdy frame.

If you want something that won’t cost you a lot of money without compromising much on features and performance, go for the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. It’s super easy to use and even has a low battery alert.

Another good option would be the Autel X-Star fishing drone. We like the fact that it has a beginner’s mode, making it easier for newbies to kickstart their drone fishing journey.