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Fisher’s Eye In The Sky

Fisher’s Eye In The Sky

There is a new way to fish that is taking flight on the Gold Coast, and it is nothing like fly fishing. However, you do need to fly your drone to the fish before dropping your hook line and sinker. Andy Kancachian chats with local drone enthusiast-turned-drone businessman, Brendan Archie, who is at the forefront of this exciting new fishing technique.


Drone fishing utilises a drone with onboard camera, fitted with a remote-controlled release mechanism designed to hold onto the fishing line, until you want to drop it in a specific location. It is ‘your eye in the sky’, as Brendan calls it.


“Drone fishing enables one to target large fish in the previously unattainable ‘far surf zone’ or back gutters,” explains Brendan. “When drone fishing from a boat, you can target your bait/lure out to the pelagic fish without starting the boat or making any noise which might scare the fish away, outsmarting the clever game fish.”


Brendan recalls how he first got into drone fishing. “It all started with me purchasing a basic drone, then discovering that laws prohibited me flying it in my local area. As an unlicensed recreational drone-user living in suburbia, I found it necessary to find legal places to fly it. So, flying the drone over remote river systems and surf beaches, or from my boat over the ocean was a logical solution.”


Brendan combined his surf fishing and offshore scuba diving knowledge to dream up the idea of casting way out over the surf. “While regularly scuba diving offshore, I noted that many large fish can be found way beyond casting length when beach fishing. I dreamt of being able to cast just that little further to where the deeper gutters were.”


So Brendan put on his thinking cap, and went about finding a release mechanism for his drone to fly out his bait and tackle to where the fish were. “I went to my local hobby shops to buy the mechanism, but was unable to find anything suitable. Eventually, I managed to bend some fish hooks, then rig up a remote control servomotor on a separate radio inside a small box, and attach it to my drone. I tried it out and it worked brilliantly.”


Since then, Brendan has established Drone Fishing Pty. Ltd., a company committed to supplying the best-suited equipment, that has been designed, tried and tested for drone fishing and the marine industry, including submarine, camera and filming products.


Brendan is a catch-and-release advocate. Although he would rather not say exactly where and how he uses his drone to catch his great hauls, he confirms that he once caught four longtail tuna and three hammerhead sharks, in a day.


In these winter months, May to July, Brendan expects to catch a myriad of species when drone fishing, including mackerel, tuna, jew fish, sharks, flathead, whiting and bream.




“I have found that I rarely use the camera anymore, as you cannot just hang in the air waiting to see a fish. There are other drones that suit spotting the fish better, yet they are not waterproof,” says Brendan.


Recommended equipment:

  • Use the Swellpro RTF Splashdrone with a fishing release. The specifications state that a drone can carry 1kg for up to 1 km but with wind drag and slack in the line. Our maximum distance we fly would be 500m. (Also look at the Agua Drone, available in Australia in July.)
  • Invest in a decent reel. The best set-up I have found is a Shimano Tekota 800 with 550m of 100lb braid, and be sure to keep it well maintained. Then you can practice how to run the reels out without jamming. “


Drone fishing is actually not as easy as it sounds. Brendan explains, “Drone fishing is far more challenging than regular fishing. Not only are you attempting to hook a fish, you also have to manage your drone’s flight and its batteries.”


Simple tips:

  • When drone fishing from a boat it is best to use a waterproof drone, and take off from the water and land back on the water.
  • Turn off all electronics on the boat including GPS, phones, wifi, etc. as these may cause interference.
  • Before you consider going fishing, learn to fly your drone by clocking up your flight time to gain experience. Steer clear of bad weather, high winds, storm clouds, high voltage wires and interference from offshore microwave tower.
  • Most importantly, do up your propellers really tight as they are not self locking.
  • It is best to attempt drone fishing with two people, so that one can handle the rods.




In relation to flying in the Gold Coast Control Zone, the main requirement is not to be flying in Controlled Airspace (Gold Coast CTR – SFC-1500FT AMSL) within 3NM of the boundary of the aerodrome. No permission = No fly. For more details, visit



Drone Fishing P/L is at the forefront of educating users on the best fishing equipment and the latest industry changes. Brendan has assembled a team of drone fishers that his company sponsors with drones, filming equipment, information technology, and film production and editing support.


You can follow Brendan online at Follow the fishing teams on Facebook/dronefishing to get in on the action.


Editorial by Andy Kancachian


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