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How to Make a Drone Fishing Rig

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.

Drone Fishing Rig Infographic

Choosing the fishing rod for Drone Fishing

Traditional surf rods can be used for drone fishing – but they are not ideally suited to this style of fishing.  Essentially, surf rods are designed with a cast action and are usually between 10-14-foot-long to maximise casting distance and to also keep the line out from the shore break. Surf rods are also not designed for long retrievals under load and are generally limited in line break strain and drag ratings, so they do not cope well with a hook up from large deep-water sea creatures. Offshore boat rods have the strength required to deal with the large retrievals under load and deal well with large monsters of the deep, but lack the height required to keep the line above the shore break.

The ideal rod for drone fishing is a hybrid surf and offshore boat rod such as the OANNES Drone Master Series. Drone Master Series rods have been specifically designed and built to OANNES high quality standards, employing state of the art carbon fibre and X weave blank technology. All OANNES rods are equipped with high end FUJI components specific to the rods design, and the task at hand – To Submit and Conquer!

Ideal attributes of a Drone Fishing rod are;

  • Capable of handling large targeted fish of 20– 40lbs, with the strength to deal with the wanted or unwanted by-product monsters of the deep 60-130lbs
  • Have the strength and resilience capable of regular large line retrievals of 300-450 metres under load
  • Have the adequate height of a surf rod to keep the line above the shore break and without the need for casting action
  • Utilise high end guide rings to minimise and dissipate heat on large line retrievals and use appropriate guide frames such as Fuji K series to reduce line tangle
  • Fitted with heavy duty and corrosion resistant reel seats to cater for matched reels specific to the task – enabling large spool capacities up to 400 – 600 metres and drag ratings up to 20 – 40kg’s

What fishing reels are best suited to drone fishing

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.


Overhead reels perfectly suited with adequate line capacities include, Daiwa Seaborg 800MJ and 1200MJ, Shimano Talica TAC50II, Shimano Talica 16 and 25, Shimano Tyrnos 20 and 30, PENN International INT50VISW and INT70VIS, PENN Fathom FTH40NLD and FTH40NLDHS, Shimano Forcemaster 6000 and 9000 Electric reels, Shimano Beastmaster 9000 Gigamax, and Maxel Rage 90n.


Spinning reels Suitable reels with adequate spool capacities include, Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight 8000DF and 8000DHF, Daiwa Saltiga Expedition 8000H-EXP, Shimano Stella SWC 14000 PG, PENN Slammer III 8500, 8500HS, 9500, 10,500 and PENN Spinfisher VI 9500 and 10,500, Shimano Baitrunner 14000 XTB.

The lists above are not exhaustive and there are many other reels that can be used and cater to your budget – so long as the spool capacity can handle your chosen line. Please feel free to comment and let us know what reels you use.

Selecting the line for drone fishing

Drone fishing requires line that has a very small diameter with high breaking strains to enable a greater quantity of line to be spooled to the reel.

PE Confusion and what it is exactly

PE is an acronym for Polyethylene and is a Japanese measurement/numbering system of line diameter ‘Area’, also known as ‘gouw’ and was originally used as a measurement for silk thread. As such, this is what has caused so much confusion as it is the measurement of diameter and not the breaking strain. PE ratings vary between manufacturers due to the different technologies employed, materials used, and the number of braid strands utilized.

One manufacturer may advertise a PE rating of 5 and note a break strain of 30lbs when another manufacturer may have a break strain 40 – 50lbs.


If you are using braid for drone fishing, look for one that has a low PE with matched break strain ratings relevant to the rod used. Drone fishing requires large line capacities of ideally 500-700 metres, so the smaller the diameter ‘PE’, will enable more line to be spooled on your reel.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a braid is its abrasion resistance and quality. The braid should be silky smooth to limit reel bind and reduce heat on retrievals over large distances and always use a fluorocarbon or Mono shock leader

Mono or Fluorocarbon

Mono can be used effectively, is cheaper than braid and fluorocarbon and has more elasticity. Fluorocarbon can also be used and has several advantages over mono such as its higher abrasion resistance and is less visible than mono. Another important factor is fluorocarbons generally have a thinner diameter than mono with the same break strain ratings – enabling larger spool capacity.

One of the most important factors to understand is the Pendulum effect. Pendulum effect is created when a weight is suspended from a pivot point and the weight begins momentum. When a line is attached to a drone with the weight closer to the drone, it will create a greater Pendulum effect, resulting in the drone becoming highly unstable with the potential of line tangling around the drone – resulting in a catastrophic crash. Always ensure the weight is a minimum of 3.5 to 6 metres below the pivot point of the drone. The Cuta-Copter EX1 features an anti pendulum effect safety feature and enables shorter rigs to be used.

The Basic Drone Fishing Rig

A basic drone fishing rig is ideally 4.5 – 6 metres long and a simple rig comprises of the following starting at the main line and working down.

3-way swivel to main line and a 1 metre drop loop attached to the side of the 3-way swivel – (Used to attach to the bait release on the drone)
1.5 metre Fluro carbon joining the 3-way swivel to another 3-way swivel at the end
From the 3 way swivel your hooks can be connected and the hook setup is determined by the fish species being targeted with a maximum length of 30cm.
From the bottom of the 3-way swivel attach another 1.5 metres of lighter gauge Fluorocarbon or mono to the sinker – the sinkers you use are determined by a combination of factors including floor structure, current and wind.
This basic rig can be increased in length to include a second hook setup and the length can also be extended to suit the water column you are fishing.

TIP: Simple party balloons can also be used to lift the bait higher into the water column – we find the balloon inflated to the size of a tennis sized ball works best.

9 thoughts on “How to Make a Drone Fishing Rig”

  1. Alfredo Miler

    Great blog. I like you talk about how to catch them & your technique. Most blogs just show the fish they are catching. But you’re showing fishing techniques. Thanks & good luck.

  2. Hi Guys
    Came across the blog and it is super helpful. I need some advice on the on the line set up, leader, hook etc. I am new at this and would appreciate your feedback

    Thank you

  3. Hi, very informative blog thanks. Looking for a NZ supplier for these rods so I can match with a Shimano Beastmaster electric reel spooled with 80lb braid.
    Still deciding on which drone to purchase ( splashdrone 3+ or aerokontiki).

    1. Hello Wayne
      Thank you for your nice comment – We are looking for agents in New Zealand right now and hop to have them your way by end of Jan 2020 – please sign as a member and we are sending regular Newsletters with updates – don’t worry we won’t spam you – We enforce a strict catch and release policy, so if you are not happy simply remove the hook and unsubscribe

  4. Adventskalender für angler

    I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

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