Richard Kitchingman started fishing from boats with his family, but has recently discovered that drone fishing is a good boat substitute for a city-bound angler.
Far from his days of boat fishing in Mercury Bay, Cook’s Beach and the Firth of Thames, Richard is now based in Auckland, and has discovered a drone can get his hooks in places that even a full surf casting rig cannot.
“My family is based near Thames, and I’m based in Auckland,” he says, “so the drone allows a bit of land-based fishing when I can’t get out of the city.
“It came up about a year ago, and I saw it as quite an effective way to fish off land and get a bit deeper.
“Growing up, whenever I tried to fish off rocks here and there, I never really had any success at all.
“So the drone was a good option.
It’s an alternative to a boat almost - you just get that bit further out.
There’s quite a few places where that extra hundred metres or so is very beneficial.
” Google help He’s also learned a few tricks along the way, such as looking at Google Maps instead of marine charts to check the shallows for hook snagging reefs.
“Google maps is good for that,” says Richard.
“You can kind of see where the reefs are because you’re not fishing in deep water, so you can generally make them out and fish out over sand as much as possible.
“I don’t really want to lose any gear.
I’ve snagged up on kelp once or twice but I have only lost break away sinkers and probably a hook or two from the trace.
So far I’ve had no big main line breakages or anything.
” Past the breakers Richard uses the drone to take the line out and drop hooks past the breaker line, flying a string of between four and seven circle hooks on dropper loops 150-300m offshore.
He then flies the drone back in, giving time for the baits to sink.
With the drone landed he winds the slack out of the line, digging the break-out sinker into the sand.
Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the fish to find the baits and hook themselves against the tension from the sinker.
He hasn’t looked at buying a serious surf casting set up, but says setting up a drone on a budget can be done for about $1000 at the cheaper end of the spectrum.
But he currently uses a boat rod to help get the line a bit above breaking waves.
“My main limit is getting it into my car, so it’s nice to have something that is short and transportable,” says Richard, who says he’s fishing for the table.
“I’m not a big fan of catch and release.
I’d happily put a real breeder back, but generally I’m just out there to catch a few fish to eat and use a rig and baits which suit this.
I’ve very rarely gone home empty-handed, a nice change from my earliest land-based efforts”.