If planning a day of fishing, you’ll bring a rod, some bait, a cooler…and your drone? That’s right!
Although most drones on the market aren’t suitable for life above the seas, fishing drones are becoming more abundant and thus more affordable.
What are the best picks on a budget?
These are the best low-cost fishing drones:
- SwellPRO FD1
- Chasing Dory Underwater Drone
- DJI Air 2S
- PowerVision PowerEgg X
- SwellPRO Spry+
- Potensic Dreamer Pro 4K
Fishing drones can scope large bodies of water, and some can even drop your bait or your line for you.
Keep reading for reviews on the drones above and a buyer’s guide so you can try drone-assisted fishing.
1. SwellPRO FD1
Dimensions: 18.24 x 16.9 x 9.77 in
Weight: 2,050 g
Max Range: 1.6 km
Max Altitude: 120 m
Max Speed: 22 m/s
Max Flying Time: 30 mins
- Awesome drone for dropping bait and casting lines
- Durable body designed to resist corrosion
- Good battery life for the size and weight
- RTH to prevent a lost drone
- Compatible with FPV equipment
- Great wind resistance
- Doesn’t have as many additional features as other SwellPRO drones (which was done intentionally to control costs)
- No camera
The F in the FD1 is short for “fisherman,” so the SwellPRO FD1 is a must on this list.
This IP67-rated waterproof fishing drone is the predecessor of the SplashDrone 3+ yet is more affordable than the SplashDrone 4, costing a little over $1,000.
Designed for freshwater or seawater fishing expeditions, the FD1 can drop bait five times before it needs a recharge.
You’ll have to use that function sparingly, but you could get a whole day of fishing with this drone by your side.
If it’s hefting heavy baits, internal technology allows the FD1 to hold its position and altitude. You need expert-level precision when fishing, and this drone will deliver. It can even carry up to four pounds of bait.
After dropping bait, the drone uses its RTH function to safely reach the shoreline.
Also making it a fisherman’s best friend is the flight time. The FD1 flies for a modest 30 minutes, which is not bad for a drone of its size and weight.
When it comes time to cast, don’t do it manually. Use the FD1, which can cast a line up to a mile away.
You won’t have to worry about your drone enduring tough conditions, as the FD1 has a marine-grade, damage-resistant ABS plastic fuselage, corrosion-proof electronics and motors, and Level-7 wind resistance.
Check out more underwater drones here!
2. Chasing Dory Underwater Drone
Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.4 x 3.6 in
Weight: Under 2.5 lbs
Max Range: 15 m
Max Altitude: N/A
Max Speed: 1.7 mph
Max Operation Time: 60 mins
- Very lightweight for a drone of its type
- It’s fun to use
- Has a bright color scheme so you won’t lose it in the water
- Illuminates underwater
- Has a battery life of upwards of an hour
- Its Wi-Fi connection is sometimes spotty
The Chasing Dory isn’t your average fishing drone. It can do more than get wet but can be completely submerged.
Attach it to its Wi-Fi buoy and tether and this drone can venture out 49 feet underwater.
It will begin transmitting video in 720p quality so you can gauge what’s under the sea and whether it’s worth dropping a line.
The Chasing Dory includes an HDD 1080p Wi-Fi camera with a FOV wide lens and f/1.6 aperture. Dual headlights that illuminate at 250 lumens each project further into the murky depths.
The drone has an accompanying free smartphone app called the CHASING GO2 app that enables you to livestream or use Dual Play Mode to have the drone follow someone swimming underwater.
The app also lets you remotely control the drone and set its depth in a fun, easy-to-use interface that makes drone operations more like a game.
Its battery lasts for a remarkably long time, 60 minutes. However, since the Chasing Dory travels underwater and doesn’t fly, that could explain why it lasts so long per charge.
3. DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.
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06/03/2023 12:49 pm GMT
Dimensions: 183 x 253 x 77 mm unfolded
Weight: 595 g
Max Range: 7.5 mi
Max Altitude: 5,000 m
Max Speed: 19 m/s in Sport Mode
Max Flying Time: 31 mins
Camera: 1-inch CMOS
- Great battery life
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Has several obstacle avoidance measures
- Can take images and videos in great quality
- You can’t get it wet (if you want it to work again!)
Finding a DJI drone for under $1,000 that’s also suitable for fishing is no easy feat, but I’ve got you covered. The Air 2S fits the bill nicely.
First, let me make one thing clear. The Air 2S is not waterproof. You’ll have to be especially careful when flying it over your favorite lake or ocean, monitoring its battery life and how close to the water it is.
If the Air 2S falls into the water or gets swallowed up by a wave, forget it. It’s game over.
That aside, this drone has a lot of features that make it a valuable part of an angler’s arsenal. Its camera features a 1-inch CMOS that can shoot video in 5.4K and images in 20 MP.
The drone includes DJI’s APAS 4.0 technology. DJI has since moved on to APAS 5.0, but 4.0 isn’t too shabby.
Further, this drone can sense obstacles in four directions, so a passing gull won’t necessarily throw it into the water.
The Air 2S is also remarkably lightweight, has a good range, and its battery lasts for just shy of 30 minutes. This is overall a great drone for aquatic surveying before you drop your line.
4. PowerVision PowerEgg X
Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 4 in
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Max Range: 3.7 mi
Max Altitude: 2.5 mi
Max Speed: 40 mph
Max Flying Time: 30 mins
Camera: 1/2.8-inch CMOS
- Has an unbeatable battery life
- Can fly in the rain and linger atop the water with the right accessories
- Can operate like a drone, or you can carry it like a camcorder
- Has a high-quality camera
- Features obstacle avoidance up to 65 feet
- Doesn’t come with waterproof landing and takeoff accessories
- Isn’t waterproof on its own, only weatherproof
For under $900, the PowerVision PowerEgg X is quite the unique drone to add to your fishing setup.
It’s an all-weather drone with a three-axis mechanical gimbal complete with an anti-shake effect.
Its 4K UHD camera is equally anti-shake, so if you need to take footage or photos of an aquatic environment before fishing, this drone has the camera capabilities to do it.
Its battery life is amazingly extensive, lasting three and a half hours. You won’t find that in most drones on the market. You’ll have more than enough time to thoroughly scope out an environment of your choosing.
Use Drone Mode when you want the PowerEgg X to soar. It can handle winds up to 38 kph and fly for 30 minutes while capturing footage in 4K at 60 fps.
Obstacle avoidance keeps the PowerEgg skirting the water or flying through the sky uneventfully. It can sense danger up to 65 feet away and react accordingly, usually landing.
Although it’s not waterproof on its own, you can purchase (separately, mind you) and equip the PowerEgg X with waterproof accessories for landing and taking off on the water.
5. SwellPRO Spry+
Dimensions: 9.3 x 2.6 x 7.1 in
Weight: 6.86 lbs
Max Range: 18 km
Max Altitude: 200 m
Max Speed: 40.3 mph
Max Flying Time: 17 mins
Camera: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
- Completely waterproof and designed for high-octane aquatic activities
- Its camera is encased in glass to protect it and reduce visual distortions
- No fisheye effect here, as the lens is designed to prevent it
- Can work as an FPV drone in manual or acro mode
- Hovers in place
- It’s no longer being produced, so finding it can be difficult
- Surprisingly expensive for a drone that’s no longer in production
- Low flight time
Although it’s discontinued, the SwellPRO Spry+ is still a great fishing drone for those on a budget. It’s under $1,000 and still sold on Amazon and other retailers.
Part action drone, part waterproof drone, the Spry+ is designed for life on the water.
Its remote is equally waterproof, so if you’re standing on the shoreline fishing, you don’t have to stress about the controller being damaged if it gets wet.
The drone and remote also have incredible corrosion resistance, and did I mention the drone can float?
This way, if you crash your drone or it lands prematurely, it won’t plummet into the sea. It will land more gracefully, and you can then recover it.
The 4K camera shoots in 12 MP image quality and 2.7K video at 60 fps or 4K video at 30 fps. The camera has a Sony 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that doesn’t produce a fisheye effect.
After all, you might like catching fish, but you don’t as much care for fisheye footage!
An included SD card can store 64 gigs of footage so you can scope out the seas and successfully plan your fishing expedition.
Your footage will come out crystal-clear thanks to EIS and a glass dome surrounding the camera to reduce glare and distortions.
This drone can reach tremendous speeds, enough to suit it as an FPV racing drone. Considering its battery lasts under 15 minutes, you can do some quick water surveying before the battery depletes.
GPS mode keeps the drone stable while it hovers at a preset altitude, and it also features manual and acro modes for more flexible flying.
6. Potensic Dreamer Pro 4K
Potensic Dreamer Pro
4K Drones with Camera for Adults, 3-Axis Gimbal GPS Quadcopter with 2KM FPV Transmission Range, 28mins Flight, Brushless Motor, Auto-Return, Portable Carry case and 32G SD Card.
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06/02/2023 09:24 pm GMT
Dimensions: 350 x 320 x 195 mm
Weight: ~820 g
Max Range: 2 km
Max Altitude: 392 ft
Max Speed: 5 m/s
Max Flying Time: 28 mins
Camera: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
- High-quality camera for scoping the waters
- Decent battery life of about 30 minutes
- Has automated flight modes for hands-off flying
- Speedy motor
- It’s not waterproof, so operate it carefully
Here’s a great budget pick that you can use for fishing, the Potensic Dreamer 4K.
This powerful, low-cost drone can fly for up to 28 minutes. Its flight time is about average considering it’s not a specialty drone.
It comes with a carrying case you’ll want to bring when you set this drone by the water, as the Dreamer 4K isn’t waterproof, as was the case with the DJI Air 2S.
However, it’s great for scoping fishing conditions, as the drone includes a three-axis tilting gimbal.
The Dreamer’s 4K HDR camera can take images in 16 MP quality, which isn’t too shabby for your purposes. You should be able to see images taken over the water in almost crystal-clear quality.
Send the Dreamer 4K around the water rotationally using DIY Circle Flight or draw a custom flight map using waypoints. The possibilities are endless!
The Dreamer 4K’s ability to quickly pick up power is another reason you should consider it for fishing. It can triple its speed in a matter of 0.1 seconds, which is impressive stuff!
Best budget drones for fishing – Buyer’s guide
Now that you’ve seen our recommendations for fishing drones, you might wonder, how do you choose? We’re here to help, so check out this buyer’s guide full of criteria to consider.
Ideally, a fishing drone should be waterproof. You won’t have to stress if your drone gets wet, even if it isn’t designed for submersion. It will live to fly another day.
Some of the drones I discussed today aren’t waterproof. They’re still good fishing drones for other reasons, but you will have to be especially careful when operating them around open bodies of water.
If your drone has any waterproof accessories you can strap to it, I recommend you do!
A quick flight time of 10 minutes or under doesn’t give you a good enough chance to gauge what’s in the water.
A good fishing drone should supplement you with information, so it should be able to fly for at least 15 minutes and ideally double that.
If your drone can fly for longer still (or linger in the water, as not all fishing drones are airborne), you’ll have even more successful scouting missions.
You don’t need the highest-def image or video quality for a fishing drone, especially if you’re on a budget. However, the quality shouldn’t be so dismal that you can’t tell a fish from a piece of coral.
The camera should also have electronic image stabilization and a sturdy gimbal. Without these features, it doesn’t matter how clear the camera is. Your footage will end up shaky.
Any drone that can withstand wetness must be built better than your average UAV. You should choose a drone with an exterior constructed of sturdy materials. This will help the drone last even longer.
Not all anglers necessarily know their way around a drone. Those that do might not have all the time in the world to use it while also trying to fish.
A drone that offers automated features like tracking, circling, and waypoints will greatly assist a fisherman.