Drone fishing comes to the Palm Beaches

Posted at 10:36 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 15:55:34-04

It's not fly fishing, but you still need to fly.  There’s a new way to fish that’s happening now in the Palm Beaches.

A local fisherman has added a drone to his tackle box.

“Drone fishing is kind of a new thing,” Norman Hirsch explains to us, as he rigs his pole and drone.

His drone has a built in camera, and tracks height and distance. He customized his with a release, designed to hold onto the line, until you want to drop it in. He picks where they were biting Monday, 550 feet away from shore. That day, he could see them on camera.

About 300 feet further than he could cast it by hand.

I watch that pole while he rigs up another for his wife Julie and casts.

And we wait.

As he welcomes his drone back to shore, grabbing out for it, I ask him, “Alright so now it's back to old fashioned fishing right now?

“Yep,” he says, becoming distracted by the shore. “Oh look there's a shark right there in the surf!"

Norman's eye is confirmed from the sky with Farshad Foroudi's drone, a friend of Norman's. Online he's known as the DroneFanatic. (You can search him on Facebook and YouTube).

We can track them in the surf from the drone, to direct our lines.

They're close enough to cast by hand.

“I thought we would have two of them by now,” Norman says.

The sun begins to set. The ocean swallows the shore. A couple bites, but they get away.

"Oh oh oh, something's going on,” he says with excitement.

But then we get one.

“He may jump,” he says, directing our attention into the surf.

And then second one at the same time.  I start on a nurse shark and Julie starts reeling hers in.

I battle with the shark, reeling in when the shark and surf allows me to.  Finally, it’s on the sand. We release it back to sea. 

My first drone assisted catch.

Julie tires and Norman insists I take over, but before I know it, it frees itself from the line.  It’s gone.

“I think he broke it. Wind it in,” Norman says.

“Still a good day though!” I say, high-fiving him.

“Yeah, get a little workout.”

If only the drone could reel for us.