We are now in the later part of 2023, and so it’s time for our much anticipated review of the Best Fishing Drones of 2023 which we award on an annual basis to the top five drones of the year as voted by our panel of seasoned expert drone fishos who have flown them all.
The panel looks at a range of criteria including ease of use, popularity of that model, new and useful features, and value of money. Our review includes both brands we sell and ones we don’t sell, as this is more about giving our loyal reader audience good information.
This year we have some real extremes in prices and therefore budgets making our top five, and again this year we had no shortage of new models being released to look at as possible contenders for this year. A couple of the models also ranked on our last year’s top 5 also.
In the end we had to narrow it down and so here are our TOP FIVE Fishing Drones of 2023 as we see it!
Aeroo Mini Fishing Drone
The Aeroo is a fishing drone out of Australia (yes Aeroo does sound very Australian) that is becoming popular on both sides of the Tasman. it is proving to be a very stable and easy to use drone.
The Aeroo is a small drone that has been out for about a year now. It is much smaller than any of the other drones on this list and this means that it isn’t going to carry as much weight as some of the larger fishing drones available and so in this case the Aeroo will lift upto a max of 250 grams – so is really only designed to carry one bait and a 3 oz sinker (which will suit a traditional surf caster fisherman well). There is a great video review of the Aeroo by an Australian Drone Fisherman here who rates the Aeroo well. A couple of areas where the AEROO shines firstly its more compact than any other fishing drone on the market and fits into a very small case – great when you don’t have a lot of storage space for a drone and secondly the Aeroo is UNDER $1000, which makes it the most affordable fishing drone on the market and therefore it’s easier for people to get into the hobby. The Aeroo can be purchased directly from the manufacturer: HERE
#4 Rippton Shark X
Our number 4 is the Shark X. The Shark x launched in New Zealand at the end of 2022. Right from the start we could see this would be a successful fishing drone firstly because it provides a big 3KG Payload capacity. The Shark X is from the same people that brought us the Mobula a number of years ago, and so it was clear that the Shark X has some smart people behind it. Features like payload overload warning, and estimating flight time remaining with current payload – are advanced features that the other fishing drone manufacturers simply don’t have. The Shark X is a large drone and comes in a big carrying case that might make it hard to store in some places but this also makes the drone frame very rigid.
The other great thing about the Shark X is that it is good value for money. For a drone that will lift 3KG the Drone retails for $3,099 which makes it very good buying for such a heavy lift drone. The Shark X has been a popular fishing drone in 2023 so far, we we have it at number 4. See our full review of the Shark X here, and product information on the Rippton Shark X can be found HERE
#3 Swellpro Splashdrone 4 / SD4
The Swellpro Splashdrone 4 was one of the best for 2022 and again it has made our list in top THREE spot. The drone is the best all-round marine and fishing drone on our list, and is loaded with some great features like: Easy Slide-in Battery (most other fishing drones don’t have this), Advanced Features like Follow the Remote Control (for when you are using it on the boat and the boat moves), and Circle Boat Mode (for creating great cinematic shots while circling around the boat), and has a range of upto 3km (which is more than most other fishing drones).
Another great feature is that there a number of camera options available – from a Fixed Angle Camera right up to a 3-Axis 4K Gimbal Camera. Also the fisherman can quickly change out to different cameras on this drone themselves. The SD4 also lifts 2kg of payload meaning that it makes an excellent fishing drone. The Splashdrone 4 starts at $3799 and goes up from there depending on what camera you want. Our review of the Splashdrone 4 can be found HERE, and More information on the Splashdrone 4 product or you want to buy one then please go HERE
#2 Swellpro FD1 Fisherman
This year, the Swellpro Fisherman or FD1 is our NUMBER TWO Fishing Drone of 2023. Last year we also had the Swellpro Fisherman ranked highly in our rankings, and after another year this drone continues to be an extremely popular option with kiwi drone fisherman. A couple of things to note here, firstly this drone is a simple fishing drone with no additional bells and whistles that you operate manually, and many people like this. Secondly Swellpro has set a good retail price on the FD1 that represents the best value for money on the market. Starting at $2299 for the mechanical release model you get a lot of bang for your buck, with a drone that can lift 2kg of payload weight. Thirdly, the FD1 is very popular with drone fisherman in New Zealand, and is readily available in NZ including our own store. The FD1 simply does the job well as a fishing drone and can carry some good payload weight. More information on the FD1 Fisherman can be found HERE
#1 Swellpro Fisherman Max
This year, the Fisherman Max has been chosen as our NUMBER ONE Best Fishing Drone of 2023. Also nicknamed by some as “The BEAST”, the Swellpro Fisherman Max is a new model of Fishing Drone entering the New Zealand market, and it’s fair to say that this drone has already had some real global noteriety on social media from places like the USA.
It is the very latest model from the original pioneer of the fishing drone – Swellpro, and we have been lucky enough to have some solid flight testing we have done with the Fisherman Max, so we can see that this drone is a winner. It simply handles heavy weights (Upto 3.5KG) like no other fishing drone we have seen before (it will stay in the air for almost 20 minutes with 2.4kg during testing!) and is able even to handle weights that are swinging, also called the pendulum effect (this is particularly useful as often wind conditions on the beach mean that the bait payload is often never hanging stationary). So the Fisherman Max is proving to be extremely stable in flight.
In another big move, you no longer have to calibrate the Fisherman Max at all so this is another real positive move from Swellpro.
From the folding Carbon fibre arms (which makes it ultra compact for storage & transportation), to the high quality gimbal camera (4K), to it’s stability under a signifiant bait payload
Other Specifications of the Fisherman Max include upto 30 minutes of flight time, 1.6km range, the ability to float on the water when you attach the included floats, fully sealed battery which can be easily inserted or removed from the top in a few seconds, a high resolution 4K Camera with Gimbal means you can angle the camera while in flight and get high resolution images. One of our favourite features Is the fully integrated Remote Control (that will even talk to you) which also has a full colour screen built in for watching the drone’s LIVE Video feed, along with all the important drone information. This means you don’t have to use your phone.
The Fisherman Max is priced at $4,699 for the drone OR $5499 for a bundle with additional battery and propellers.
Our own review of the Fisherman Max can be found HERE, and with so many advanced features, it’s easy to see why this is the clear winner of Best Fishing Drone of 2023! More information on the Fisherman Max (or to purchase one) can be found HERE
This year we looked at another number of different models from a range of different manufacturers however our top five listed above are the ones that come out on top for us and so if you are in the market for a fishing drone in 2023, make sure you seriously consider the models from our Top Five Best Fishing drones of 2023, as shown above. We hope you have enjoyed this article and have found it useful!