You hear them buzzing around from time to time, like a herd of bees. Drones have become ubiquitous in today’s seaside and offshore environment. And it’s no surprise, the content one can get with a flying hi-res camera is just plain incredible.
In this issue, we discuss the popular pursuit of shooting fishing with drones.
While drone images are rarely focused specifically on up-close and personal fishing, this device has a unique power to really capture the moment from an angle that, until a few years ago, was virtually impossible to get without a helicopter.
To the average drone enthusiast, the idea of flying over water with no land in sight can be a scary proposition — but, ultimately, if you want to shoot fishing from a boat using a drone you’re going to have to get used to it. One of the keys to making it work is having a quality device you can trust; keeping it well-maintained also makes a difference in not losing it over the water because of some sort of malfunction. Without a doubt, shooting fishing with a drone is one of the best ways to get surreal photos and footage, especially when the action is hot.
These days many drones are tiny, the DJI Mavic series and its new minis come to mind. But there is an argument to be made that these drones can lack the robustness that open ocean flying requires. The light weight of these smaller devices is easily overcome by winds that often kick up out at sea. As such, I personally prefer a bigger, heavier device, like a DJI Phantom 4.
They can be a little more of a chore to launch and catch because of their size, but they pay for it by being rock solid in a brisk breeze.
The key to drone photography is practice, practice, practice. Taking off and landing on a moving platform with lines out can be an extremely stressful endeavor and, when it goes bad, it can get really messy. It’s best to just avoid that problem by becoming a pro at launching and landing. Also, the sun can blind you at the least opportune moment, so a great sunshield on your screen can really help.
Pro tip: Remember, a boat is a moving platform so the “return to home” feature will not work as the boat is no longer in the same spot as when you launched. It’s critical to keep this in mind when flying, especially if the drone is beyond your line of sight/visual range. In the event you do lose perspective, one trick is to shut everything down on the boat and listen for it, the drone’s annoying buzz can save you from disaster.
Whether you’re shooting video for reels or still photos for print, if you’re serious about getting killer imagery a drone is a mandatory part of your arsenal. You don’t need to blow thousands of dollars either; just get online, do some research and find one that suits your needs. Then get outside and fly it till you have it dialed. It might take some time, but, after a while, it becomes a natural extension of your brain.
You got this!