Drone Fishing Rig

A custom device used to attach live bait to a drone.

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Finding a schools of tuna on the open ocean is challenging. In some cases, tuna will avoid fishing vessels, making it nearly impossible to catch any fish as they swim away from the boat. Some fisherman have begun using drones as a method of delivering bait to schools of fish located hundreds of meters away. For our purposes, we needed a way to secure a line to a drone and very accurately drop the bait on command. Fishing of this type is stressful, everything must happen quickly, you only have minutes to hit a school before it runs off in another direction. This device needed to be easy to use in open water, on a rocking boat, and under extreme time pressure. We decided to leverage an existing UAV, and make our device a kind of universal attachment that could work on just about any multi rotor drone.



CODE FOR RECEIVER (super simple)

#include <Servo.h>
int pin = 6;
int servoPin = 9;
Servo myservo;
void setup()
  pinMode(pin, INPUT);
void loop()
  int r = digitalRead(pin);
  if( r == 0 )
    myservo.write(40); //adjust this number to change the open position
  } else {
    myservo.write(1); //retract the servo


Fritzing file for transmitter

fzz - 4.81 kB - 07/22/2017 at 02:11



Fritzing file for receiver

fzz - 8.01 kB - 07/22/2017 at 02:11



Bottom model

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 27.04 kB - 07/22/2017 at 02:10



Main clip model

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 181.23 kB - 07/22/2017 at 02:10


  • Fishing is Cool, but...

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 20:27 0 comments

    I have been kicking around the idea of making a generic tube like device that could clip on to the feet of a quadcopter.  There are many potential uses for this beyond fishing.  Bandages, water, keys, a cell phone, plant seeds, really anything small that can be delivered by a UAV.  After watching several people interact with the clip while the drone is flying, it dawned on me that there is a better way to do this.  I started sketching a very preliminary idea, but I think this is the direction the project will take.  A quick and easy way to attach a payload to a quadcopter, release it, bring it back and send another payload.

  • We Need a Waterproof Version

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 20:06 0 comments

    Here is the same setup rigged for a SwellPro waterproof drone. The servo is waterproof, so the drone can land in the water. Personally, I prefer the Phantom 4 as it is really easy to land back in your hands. The SplashDrone is too unreliable. And, it turns out, it's not really waterproof. The only good thing about this setup is that the drone has a servo port available, so no external controller is necessary, we just use a switch on the drone transmitter to release the clip.

    Having some fun in the pool:

  • In The Wild

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:50 0 comments

    The tuna season came to close before I had a chance to test this in the wild, but I did test it out on the boat. Unfortunately, my micro SD card decided to take a dump and I lost all my footage. I'm in the process of recovering it. Really sucks.

    Here is the only clip that survived. It was a quiet day, no monster tuna around.

    In the next iteration of this project, I think the mackerel will be put in a holder or tube of some kind. I mean, poor little fish... The dangling is not so nice. But then again, neither is fishing for large tuna.

  • Field Test the Whole Enchilada

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:48 0 comments

    I figured it would be a good idea to test this whole process on dry land before trying it over water. A water bottle partially filled is about the weight of your average mackerel.

    Wait.. What? It worked!

  • Final(ish) Clip

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:45 0 comments

    I settled on this as the final form. The clip is printed in two pieces and then just snapped together. I used some adhesive backed foam to add some grip and give. There are a variety of line weights that might be used when fishing, so I needed a flexible clip that could grab a variety of diameters. The clip is also rounded to eliminate any stress on the line during the process. If you hook a 180lb tuna, the last thing you want is a kink or minor imperfection in your leader, it will snap and everyone will be very sad.  The clip must not introduce any imperfections into the fishing line.

    Here is the final clip wired up and attached to a DJI Phantom 4:

  • 3D Print the Clip

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:41 0 comments

    I started by experimenting with creating a tension mechanism that would lock into place.  I had no idea if this could be done with PLA, I just wanted that satisfactory "click."

    The choice to use PLA in this way is not ideal, but I'm from the school of use-what-you-got, and I wanted to get this operational, so I stuck with it and made more versions.  I continued to experiment with different shapes and forms, moving groves and ridges in an attempt to create a clip that would snap shut, but pop open when pushed by a servo.

    I also experimented with different methods for the clip to hang.  In this version I was trying to prevent the clip from twisting.

  • Issues and Thoughts

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:18 0 comments

    Ok. So the basics are done, we have a woking prototype of the release clip. Looking at the progress so far, I have had a few revelations: The use of the outrigger clip is problematic for a few reasons. First, it's really fussy to use. Imagine trying to get a line in that clip on a rocking boat with people screaming at you, and a frantic mackerel flipping and flapping on the end of the line. It would be tough. Second, the outrigger clip is designed to let the line slide freely through the pulley. This means that there is less control in determining how far the bait will hang. And finally, there are just too many sharp angles and little bits for line to get caught up in.  Building this prototype exposed a lot of design requirements I was not initially thinking about, the exercise served it's purpose.  I needed a better solution.  I need to design my own clip from scratch.

  • Transmitter Enclosure

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:13 0 comments

    This is a quick 3D printed housing for the transmitter.  Can't be using a breadboard with wires hanging all over.  This is not waterproof.  Maybe in version 4.0...

    And, an enclosure for the receiver side.  The servo mounted in the clip would connect to this unit.

  • Wireless Setup + Hardware

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 19:08 0 comments

    For this device to work, we'll need a way for the drone operator to release the clip when the time is right.  Some drones offer an extra channel onboard to be used for this purpose, but it can't be guaranteed.  So we'll create our own, this way we can mount it on any flying machine and have it work.

    There are two pieces to this puzzle:

    1. A handheld remote with a button to release/open the clip

    2. The servo actuate clip on the drone with a wireless receiver

    The handheld transmitter uses the Xbee pin mapping to report the state of a momentary switch. The receiving Xbee in the drone clip reports a pin state to an Arduino Mini, which in turn handles the PWM for the micro servo.

    It works like this:

    Put it all together:

  • First Attempt

    AndrewN07/21/2017 at 18:58 0 comments

    I started thinking about how this device might work, and figured that leveraging existing tools and clips would speed things up.  Why re-invent the wheel, right?  The first iteration used an existing outrigger release clip typically found on boats.  I looked at a few release clips and found one that was suitable to be opened with a servo.  I designed and 3D printed a quick holder that would house the two together.  

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James Smith wrote 12/13/2021 at 05:16 point

Drone fishing is unique and in a lot of ways very similar to balloon and kite fishing. With these fishing styles they all utilise a rig and bait delivery method rather than a casting action. Each of these fishing styles enables the delivery of the rig and bait out to distances of up to 500 metres. At these distances the angler can target much deeper water and larger fish, but as appealing as this is to many – it in turn creates a whole new set of challenges. This blog will take you through setting up the best drone fishing rig and the best drone fishing snapper rig.

But one question arises, What fishing reels are best suited to drone fishing? In my opinion Overhead and spinning reels can be used dependent upon whether the rod is designed for each type of fishing reel and have drag ratings of between 15kg – 40kg. Importantly they must have adequate spool capacities of between 500-700 metres – dependent on the line used and line diameter. You may also choose your favorite fishing gears for drone fishing from here

  Are you sure? yes | no

Gabriel wrote 06/16/2017 at 19:56 point

Older Hatteras?

  Are you sure? yes | no

AndrewN wrote 06/19/2017 at 22:38 point

Very Old Donzi

  Are you sure? yes | no

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