Fishing with a Drone

by Capt. James Marko

Tripletail fishing while using a drone, sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I actually attempted this with a client and gave him a call the night before and asked for his permission and he was surprisingly excited to attempt this. If you’ve ever tripletail fished before, you know that they hang out at crab buoys sometimes, so we went out a couple miles and we found a line of them and started driving to see if there were any tripletail. We found two and landed them both on rod and reel. Once we had a couple under our belt and one in the livewell for dinner, we decided it was time that the next tripletail we find was going to be the one we were going to catch on a drone. Well wouldn’t you know it, we ran about two hours and couldn’t find a single one. It was quite discouraging but at the same time we already landed two and had one for dinner.

We decided to switch it up and go try some goliath grouper fishing at a spot that wasn’t far away. On our way, we found one lonely pot all by itself and as I drove up, I saw the shadow of a triple tail. I had my buddy take over the wheel. After a couple of minutes of setting the drone up and getting the bait in line position right, I decided to tape the line itself to the bottom of the drone. Drones aren’t cheap, but I was determined. I was feeling confident and put the bait right in the fish’s face. Immediately he took it! I told my client “he’s got it, he’s got it reel”. As it yanked the drone back-and-forth several times I got extremely nervous, but tried not to lose my cool knowing that I had an expensive piece of equipment dangling over water.

About 3 to 4 minutes of fighting the fish, we finally got it next to the boat. My mate Mike stuck his hands in the water and snatched the tripletail up like a professional. After a minute of celebrating and high-fives, knowing that what we just did had never been done before, we decided that it was best to let this 18” tripletail go! We quickly looked at the drone footage and realized we did get it on film, but the boat camera footage wasn’t that good. After a quick edit, we put it online and it was spread across the Internet. It’s something I probably won’t do again, but to say you’re the first to do something and give that to my client is what I like to bring to the table for my business and my clients.

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