Drone fishing is the latest technology to attract new crowds, with the sport becoming more accessible to novice fishermen.
The Facebook group Perth Drone Fishing has acquired over 2,000 members in three and a half years, with enthusiasts from South Africa, Europe, and Asia, highlighting the rising popularity of the sport.
Creator of the Perth Drone Fishing Facebook group Giles Coley said he first discovered drone fishing when he was living in South Africa and got hooked due to the drone allowing him to drop baits further from the shore.
He said he did extensive research before purchasing his first drone and practised flying it in parks and beaches to familiarise himself.
Mr Coley said he clearly remembers the first time he did a drop on his own, ensuring the calibrations were correct and his batteries were fully charged.
“I sent the drone out about 200m and then pressed the release button on the controller and the bait dropped, just like I had done many times in the park. It was a great feeling as you are constantly worried about something going wrong and losing the drone in the water, knowing you can’t recover the drone at 200 or 300m out,” Mr Coley said.
He said the reason he started drone fishing was because his family loved eating fresh fish, and it became quite expensive to purchase it.
“You can save the distance you dropped, the tide, the wind speed, what time you dropped, what type of bait you used and what fish you caught in each spot. This is very useful when going back to those spots. It’s just using technology to your advantage and this leads to catching better fish,” he said.
The owner of Perth store Ultimate Drone Fishing, Tony Cornell, said in the early days, fishers would use drones intended for photography and add bait releases to them, however he said they were not waterproof which made mistakes costly.
He said photography drones could only carry 700 grams to 1kg of bait whereas dedicated fishing drones could easily lift between 1kg to 3kg.
Senior technician at Drone Shop Perth, Kyle Francis, said their latest model is the Splash Drone 3+, which has a camera attached to the drop system and is waterproof.
He said fishing drones were much bigger than photography drones and were much more wind resistant, with the waterproof feature allowing for baits to be dropped into the water if necessary.
Mr Francis said the shop had sold four drones dedicated to fishing just this week, with each of the drones costing $2,500.
He said the drone battery lasted 22 minutes, which was close to the most powerful batteries which had a maximum flight time of 31 minutes.