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The Best Fishing Drones of the Year

Now that 2021 is finally over, we thought we would reflect back on what we think are the most exciting Fishing Drone Models of the past year.

In 2021 the Drone Fishing hobby in New Zealand really hit new crazy levels, with people from all ages getting out and active with drone fishing and all sorts of different drone models.  It’s great to be part of such an exciting past time where people get so much excitement from & are catching fish regularly.

This being said, there have been some really exciting developments in the world of drone fishing so we thought we would give you our top picks for the BEST Drones of the year as we look back.  Our main criteria for selecting this list are as follows:
a) Popularity with Drone Fishermen from around New Zealand
b) Exciting new features & advanced technology that other fishing drone models don’t have
c) Good Retail prices that are competitively priced & hit the spot for kiwi drone fisherman

#5 Fifth Place for the Best Fishing Drone of the year would have to go to the DJI Phantom range

This includes the current Phantom 4, along with the older Phantom 3 etc.  Although these are not new drones to the market, In terms of popularity they are up there and this is why the Phantom has made this list.  The Phantom models are not purpose made fishing drones and instead can be fitted with a third party fishing release (there are several on the market at the moment including the Gannet releases & the Skyclip range).  They are reliable and have an excellent phone APP.  Here is a great Youtube Video (using the Phantom) that will really get your blood pumping!

Splashdrone_3_PLUS#4 In Fourth Place for the Best Fishing Drone of the year we have the Splash drone 3+

The Splash drone 3+ for a large part of 2021 was one of the most popular fishing drones on the market in New Zealand.   The Swellpro Splashdrone range of fishing drones were really the first ones to introduce the floating & water resistant drones onto the market & every year they have advanced the tech they are using.  The Splashdrone 3+ for example can also come equipped with a 4K recordable camera which is also submersible (as it hangs below the drone when the drone is floating), which is a real first for any drone.  The SD3+ has been around for a while now and there are a lot of people fishing with it, both in New Zealand and also around the world.  Between the Splashdrone 3+ and the AEE Condor (in third place below) these two are the  most popular dedicated fishing drones on the market and so the SD3+ definitely deserves it’s fourth place on our list.

#3 Third Place for the Best Fishing Drone of the year goes to the AEE Condor

In many ways the AEE Condor is similar in style and size to the DJI Phantom drones (and is therefore also not waterproof) this model was also not originally designed as a purpose made fishing drone & is quite light weight compared to some others on this list (meaning that you wont be able to lift any big baits like some of the other models we mention here).  The drone has been adapted to accept the New Zealand designed Newton 3 fishing release system – which is a tension style system rather than mechanical, meaning you release the bait from the drone by simply locking the reel of on the beach which pulls on the line going to the drone & the extra force causes the line to release from the bottom of the drone and thereby dropping the bait.  When combined with its very good price (sub $2000) which also includes a rod & reel (very good bang for your buck),  it has been very popular with kiwi drone fishermen and it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to get into the drone fishing hobby because its compact and easy to use.   it is also generally regarded as being reliable, something really important if you are starting out in drone fishing.  Our view is that given the popularity of the AEE Condor in 2021, The AEE Condor runs very close to taking out the second spot on our list…

#2 Second Place for the Best Fishing Drone of the year has to go to the Swellpro Fisherman (or FD1)

This is one of two new models that Swellpro released onto the New Zealand market in late 2021.  The Swellpro FD1 (or Fishing Drone 1) was designed to be a “no nonsense fishing drone” purpose made for fishing & built pretty tough & that is exactly what it excels at doing.  It has a mechanical release similar to the Splash drone 3+ which is tried and tested & has clearly marked switches and buttons on the remote control to make releasing the bait easy. We also liked the fact that all of the drone’s telemetry information (ie. battery life, distance, strength of GPS) is shown on the built in LCD screen on the remote control, so there is no need for a phone to get all your important information like distance, GPS Satellite strength and battery voltage. It also has a really good control range of 1.5 km which is more distance than any of the drones listed above & will lift up to 2KG of payload so had good lifting power also.


#1 In First Place, the ultimate winner in Best Fishing Drone of the Year deservedly goes to new Swellpro Splash drone 4

The Splash drone 4 burst onto the drone fishing scene in late 2021 and is the replacement for the Splashdrone 3.  It has really advanced the drone fishing hobby in many ways.  Features like upto 3km range, Easy Slide-In Drone Battery, Multiple Payload options including 4K Stabilized Cameras & even low light camreas, double the weight carrying capacity of the previous Splash drone 3+ (now 2KG) along with other advanced APP features like Circle the Boat Mode – really set the SD4 Fishing Drone aside from all other fishing drones on the market bar none.  Importantly the SD4 is designed to float on the water & the cameras and release system underneath are actually designed to submerse (ie. hang below the drone). If you do select the model with the camera – the camera quality is also the best in the market from any of the true water resistant drones.  In terms of popularity with Drone Fisherman, again this model seems to be “the one” that many people want to get their hands on at the moment.

There are definitely other fishing drone models on the market right now that have their merrits however they weren’t able to make our Top 5 list of the best drones of the year for many reasons, models like the Aero Kontiki, (with big parts of the drone designed in New Zealand), the Cuta Copter, the SPRY+, the Rippton Mobula (which is a heavy lift beast) and the South African designed Gannet models.  These other models simply did not measure up in terms of the popularity with NZ fisherman or success vs. the drones on our Top 5 LIST.  So the TOP FIVE List above are definitely the Best Fishing Drones of the year, and the ones to beat!

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