Almost weekly the Kayak Fishing Blog gets a request to check out a new product that is trying to fund raise or crowd source some capital to go to market. And honestly, I rarely take the time to research it a ton. Today’s “Good Gear or Gimmick” however had me curious what others would think. I reached out to contributor Chris Pierce to give it a look and bring us some straight talk about the AguaDrone.
With the popularity of drones rising and the cost falling, it was bound to happen eventually. A San Diego company has married drone technology with fishing. I know what you’re thinking but hang with me a few minutes.
At the core they’ve built a waterproof drone that floats. That by itself does not seem extraordinary; even though I am sure there are hundreds of former drone users who wish their drones had floated when they lost them in the water. What sets them apart is that they realized that a drone floating on the water has the ability to have its payload under water. Developing on the idea they created AguaDrone that has an interchangeable pod system that lets you carry more than just a camera underneath.
For starters, any drone worth its salt has to carry a camera, so the AguaDrone has a pod with a 1080p sports camera to get those videos or still shots of you fishing, or your third cousin’s wedding (hopefully outdoors). It is Wi-Fi enabled with its own built in LCD screen. It actually resembles another very popular sports camera in the photos and the specifications are similar as well. Take a look for yourself.
Another of the accessory pods carries a remote fish finder. This fish finder transmits to an app on your smartphone. The transmission range is a reported 320’. That’s over a football field of range and it operates in up to 120’ of water. This should allow all but the most extreme fishermen plenty of information to find the bait fish or structure they need to really get into what they’re hunting.
The other optional pod has a line holder. This allows you to attach your lure and line and fly it out as far as you would like to and drop it. That’s right. You can fly your lure / bait out beyond the surf and drop it further than most of us can cast. The drop feature works from a button on the remote control.
So, what is my take on it?
First and foremost, remember that I’ve never actually seen an AguaDrone with my own eyes or put my hands on it so take my opinion with that in mind. My entire take on this device is based on their website and their crowdfunding site. Since I can’t speak to its operation, build or durability, I’ll stick strictly to the concept and its perceived usefulness.
- Using one of the other popular drones to film over water has been risky in the past because if you land it in the water you might be out several hundred or even thousands of dollars. This drone solves that issue. If you lose control or a battery dies suddenly with the AguaDrone, you just boat over to where it landed and retrieve it.
- I can see it being a very handy surf fishing tool. Surf fishermen are always looking for that next way to get their bait further out and this could be just the ticket for them. And coastal winds? This company claims that it can fly in 25 mph winds.
- Filming yourself fishing is a popular activity these days. Using a drone can provide more dramatic footage of you landing the big one. Several other drones on the market have the ability to “follow” the user with a GPS system and some sort of wearable device for the drone to track. This drone does not seem to have this feature.
- I fish from a kayak. A bulky drone is out of the question. In fact, I’m not sure I’d want this much equipment on my bass boat while I’m fishing.
- With an 18 minute flight time on a battery, you won’t get to mark very many spots before recharging (this would be a problem with any drone on the market right now).
I can certainly see the cool factor in the AguaDrone. I am sure it would be great fun at the lake, but I have a hard time seeing the value in using a $999 drone as a fish finder. It seems to me that by the time you setup the drone, power it up, fly it to the target, land it and then fire up your smartphone to see the results you could have made multiple casts to the area and found out the old fashioned way whether there were fish at that spot.
This is not an everyone will have to have one device. It has some cool “toy” appeal but for day to day, it’s probably a pass for now. As the technology improves, flight time gets better, payload increases and footprint gets smaller this might really be something more people could utilize.