We explore some of the best drones for fishing, how they can be used and look at the benefits of using drones for carp fishing.
The angling community raised an inquisitive eyebrow at the introduction of the bite alarm, which turned into a furrowed brow when the bait boat made its maiden voyage, yet the technology boom in angling shows no sign of slowing despite the visceral cries of fishing purists.
The newest addition to the technological surge in angling is the drone. Drones where once reserved for covert military operations, but just like every other advancement, eventually the technology breaks the chains and makes its way to consumers to implement in any way they like.
Drones were first used as toys before eagle-eyed manufacturers noticed the potential in such a product. In no time at all, stunning 4K cameras were attached to the drones and the rest, as they say, is history. Drones are now used for photography, filming, inspections of properties, security and, of course, fishing!
Drones and angling were first used by lakes that wanted detailed overhead mapping of lakes, and with the addition of sonar, they could get unbelievably detailed maps of their lakes with everything from depth to water temperature.
From here, content creators used drones to get stunning footage from high above, and with the use of polarising lenses, beautiful scenes of fish completely ignorant to the drones’ presence. Of course, this also meant that drones could be used to track fish on the lake and within a few minutes of arriving at a venue, you could map out the best swim on the lake just by taking a few overhead flights. With this in mind, we’re going to explore the best drones for carp fishing and break down the pros and cons of each.
Important Note: Most venues in the UK will only allow you to fly drones with prior permission due to the regulations, air laws and to avoid disturbing any other angler. Check with the venue before you fly a drone over their water.
Budget drones for fishing
Just like bait boats, power banks and bite alarms, there are products at both ends of the pricing spectrum. You can purchase a top of the range product for thousands, or a basic option for much less. It all depends on how much you have in your budget; how likely you are to use the item frequently and how much you think it will add to your angling.
First off, we’re going to explore some of the budget drones for fishing, before moving onto the premium products on the market.
Simrex X900 Drone For Fishing With 1080p HD Camera
This Simrex x900 is a wonderful entry-level drone if you are new to this type of technology, which most of us are. The most important aspect and feature of these types of drone are that the user gets a chance to use all the features available in a premium option but simplified.
We’re going to explore the key features in the Simrex X900 and break them down in some context with a pros and cons list.
- In-Unit Camera – This camera has a 90degree rotator allowing you move the camera to get the perfect shot, it also has gesture control in which it will lock on to you when you show the palm of your hand to the camera and start to record.
- GPS Path – You can use your smartphone as the controller and actually map out the route you want the drone to take, it will then do so in Autopilot.
- Altitude Hold – This will keep the drone steady at a set height without the need for controlling it.
- One Key Take-off and Landing – With this setting on, the drone will return to the same spot it took off from with the click of one button.
- VR Mode – If you have a Virtual Reality headset, you can connect it to the drone, seeing in VR what the camera shows.
- Battery Life – The X900 has a flight time of 15-18 minutes.
- Camera and VR – The camera in this drone is its key feature, especially for the low price. While not 4K, 1080p will be more than enough to complete some basic fish and feature finding and saving yourself a long walk around the lake. The VR option also allows you to immerse yourself into the fish finding process and, let’s be honest, that sounds really fun.
- GPS – The auto route function is invaluable to be able to plan a trip around the lake, allowing you to pay attention to the live stream instead of controlling the drone.
- One Key Take-off and Landing – The only thing worse than blanking would be blanking and losing your drone, so this auto home feature removes any worry!
- Camera – Ironically, the camera is also on the cons. The 1080p is enough for finding fish but would be quite a let-down for filming the stunning footage for use in a vlog or film. There are tons of drones out there with 4K filming capabilities so the addition of 4K would be a great upgrade.
- Distance – The distance of the drone to the receiver is just 100m which may sound like a lot, but there are some massive waters out there that this drone may not be able to handle.
The X900 is a great drone for the beginner. It folds away very small to be easily kept in a fishing bag, it’s easy to operate, it has a camera and benefits from many other brilliant features.
The price of £59.99 is actually astounding for the technology within the little machine, and you could do far worse if you’re looking for your first fishing drone.
DEERC D30 Foldable Fishing Drone With 1080p HD Camera
The DEERC D30 is even cheaper than 4DRC V4, but how does it compare? Well first off, they both feature the same camera, they both have gesture control in which you can signal the drone to start recording from the show of your palm or the peace sign and they both feature the same flight path, one touch take-off and landing, and altitude hold features.
Let’s take a look at the features in more detail and then we’ll explore them with a pros and cons list.
- Camera – The 1080p HD camera is the same quality as you can find on the 4DRC V4, however it has a more limited control with only 50degree movement.
- Battery Life – This drone will fly for about 17 minutes, which is more than enough to scope out some spots before setting up for the session. You can quickly recharge these batteries on the bank with a power pack too. Check out our article on the best power packs here.
- Control – You can control the drone and its inbuilt camera using either hand gestures, the app on your phone and even voice control.
- Altitude Hold – Just like the 4DRC V4, the DEERC D30 has an altitude hold feature for catch pictures or to fly a little closer to the water to get a closer look at feeding fish.
- Autopilot – Simply draw a route out on the app for your drone to follow and watch it take flight.
- The DEERC D30 has a lot of the same features as the slightly more expensive 4DRC V4, and the voice control function makes life much easier from the bank.
- The altitude hold function makes lowering in on hotspots much easier when you need to get a better look at a potential target fish you may have spotted lurking near some reed beds.
- Again, the autopilot function is a fantastic addition to the drone, allowing you to mark out a route for your drone to take while you watch the water intently from your smartphone.
- Camera – It’s unfair to not mention the 1080p camera on this drone too. 1080p is more than enough for reviewing the water, but you’ll miss out on the top-quality filmed footage of feeding fish, features, scenic shots and catch videos.
- The drone only has a range of 50m with the camera which really reduces how much you can use it on big waters. You would need to still walk around the lake with the drone and the battery life of 17 minutes may not be enough for that.
The DEERC D30 is another great budget option for the beginner in using drones for carp fishing. The camera and added features are all really useful in angling situations and this is another good low-cost option that may give you the experience you need to confidently purchase a more premium model.
Budget carp fishing drones all tend to feature the same pros and cons, with cameras leaving a little to desire, but the impressive manoeuvrability features more than making up for whatever downfalls you can identify.
If this is your first fishing drone, one of these budget options may be the best option to garner the experience you need to work out whether drones can add something to your angling locker, or whether you do just fine without them.
Some anglers find them, invaluable time savers, while others find that it takes them further away from the angling they love. Either way, these budget drones for fishing give you the chance to find out without denting your wallet.
Premium Carp Fishing Drones
Now we’re on to the big boys of the drone world, and while drones are still pretty new, some brands have really emerged as frontrunners in drone technology. Check them out.
DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone
The Mavic Air 2 is just one of many superb fishing drones from DJI. It features a stunning 48MP, 4K camera, and the capability for 8K HyperLapse videos. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this unreal drone, so we’ll let the feature list, and pros and cons do the talking.
- Camera – The Mavic Air 2 features a 48MP, 4K camera that even live streams in 1080p HD. The built-in gimbal allows the drone to film in 4K/60fps allowing for professional quality video and smooth cinematic transitions. The camera has a constant HDR feature that takes pictures with layered images to make them more dynamic than any other drone.
- Draw Routes – The Mavic Air 2 allows you to map out detailed and complex flight paths all while focused on an object or person for the best footage. This is perfect for catch pictures, action shots of casting or for autopilot flying while you scan the water.
- Obstacle Avoidance – This Mavic Air 2 has a feature that prevents it from flying into any obstacle, which could be invaluable if you’re hunting for fish by overhang trees.
- Home and Hover – The hover feature keeps the drone perfectly stable in mid-air and the homing feature allows you to bring the drone back to the take off point with the click of a button.
- Battery Life – The fly time on a full charge with the Mavic Air 2 is 34 minutes, and the drone fly’s up to 68kph to get round the water in quick time.
- The stunningly powerful camera allows for everything from stunning footage and photographs to detailed views of features and fish below it. In fact, the camera is so accurate and clear, spotting target fish on your syndicate will become child’s play.
- The ability to draw complicated routes around the water, avoiding obstacles and turning to look in corners and bays is a superb addition to the already brilliant drone
- The battery life is incredible considering the amount of technology packed into the machine, and while you may never fly the drone as fast as 68kph, it’s nice to have the capability should you ever need to.
- The only possible con for the Mavic Air 2 is the price. Not because it’s not good value, because the amount of technology and features packed into the drone is incredibly impressive, but just because a lot of people won’t have the budget for it.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 offers an insight into the ever-evolving technology surrounding angling. Since the birth of carp fishing all the way up to the past few years the only way to spot fish as accurately was to climb a tree close by. The crystal-clear camera is the key feature of this drone, but the other features are not far behind.
Holy Stone HS720E 4K EIS Drone With UHD Camera
Moving on from the Mavic Air 2, we look at a premium drone that is considerably more affordable, and in fact, this drone may be more suited to carp fishing.
The key feature, at least for the angler, is in the brushless motors that allow for a more powerful yet quieter flight. That feature coupled with the altitude control will allow you to get closer to bays and cuts holding fish without the risk of spooking them.
It also features many of the same functions as the Mavic Air 2 while being more than half the price. Let’s take a look at the features in a little more detail.
- Camera – As always, the camera quality is the big selling point of a drone used for carp fishing. The Holy Stone HS720E features a 4K camera that shoots in 60fps too. It also features Electric Image Stabilisation to take clearer pictures and footage by reducing blurring.
- GPS Routing, Auto Home and Optical Flow – The GPS routing allows for more complex routes to be mapped out and followed in auto pilot, while the auto home feature ensures your drone will never become lost in some unknown place. The optical flow allows for steady altitude control while keeping the decibels to an absolute minimum.
- Battery Life – The flight time of the Holy Stone is 23 minutes, but it does include a spare battery to allow up to 46 minutes of flying and filming.
- Point of Interest – With this function the drone will either circle or hold still as you present your newest catch, filming great footage that will be completely unique.
- Price – We mentioned during the Mavic Air 2 review that price was the only downfall of the drone. Well, Holy Stone gets extra points for keeping the price low for a premium drone. It is incredibly affordable and considering the amount of technology it possesses, it’s an absolute steal.
- Batteries – While the battery life of 23 minutes isn’t as impressive as the Mavic Air 2, the inclusion of an additional battery more than makes up for it, and will allow you to keep a charged battery in your bag ready for another flight if you’re on a longer session.
- Point of Interest – This is a really interesting feature. We all want stunning catch pictures when we bank a chunk or a character, but there are very few unique poses for a catch shot. So to avoid the classic ‘carp in a headlock’, a smooth arc around you and the fish would make for quite the memento.
- Image Stabilisation – It sounds odd to include a feature of the drone in the cons section, but it’s for a good reason. The Electric Image Stabilisation is a great attempt at providing clearer and non-blurry images and footage, but it can’t quite compete with the inclusion of a gimbal. This means the smooth transitions are pretty non-existent.
- Complications – The biggest complaint of the Holy Stone is how confusing it is to set up, and how complex some of the controls are. Of course, there is a learning curve with everything, but we think the controls and features could be a little more user friendly.
The Holy Stone drone is superb. It’s a true premium drone with a stunning camera for just a little over £300.
The features are very relevant to the carp angler, and the added extras are almost perfect. You can purchase this drone here, and if you’re currently using a budget drone, this could be the best next step for you.
Check out this YouTube video to see the Holy Stone in action searching for carp! This is exactly how a drone can help you with your fishing.
There will always be controversy and an argument about the prevalence and trajectory of technology in fishing and for good reason. You have to think about where the line is for these types of innovations.
However, it’s firmly believed that all of these gadgets are simply ‘edges’, not too dissimilar to a baiting pole or mapping casting distances on Google Earth.
There must be an open discussion about technology in angling, but eventually, they will be accepted. Bite alarms were once viewed with a weary reluctance, and they’ve now become part and parcel of carp fishing, an absolute necessity.
Don’t let the opinions of others on these subjects prevent you from trying it out for yourself, only then will you discover your true feelings on the matter. After all, if it keeps the nets wet and the lines tight, what complaints could you have!