A Dunsborough man of Western Australia is pioneering a high-tech and potentially revolutionary fishing method that is making waves in the angling world.
Last week on the northern New South Wales coast, Jaiden Maclean hooked a 20kg longtail tuna about 350m offshore.
Here’s the catch: he did it from the beach.
Using a secret rig attached to a drone, the 26-year-old flew his bait out to sea and dropped it in the middle of a school of tuna.
The drone’s high-definition live feed allowed him to find the school of fish and pick his spot.
His friend, NSW man Byron Leal, 36, reeled one in much to the pleasure of the onlookers who had gathered on the sand.
Mr Maclean, who moved interstate earlier this year, uploaded the footage to his Sea Ulcer Aerial Media YouTube account.
The video has attracted about 500,000 views, but unauthorised Facebook reposts have racked up millions.
There are very few examples of drone fishing online and nothing comes close in terms of proved success.
Mr Maclean said he had been blown away by the reaction.
“I’ve been getting hit up by people all around the world with business opportunities and marketing plans and all sorts of weird stuff,” he said.
“Outside Australia, a lot of the interest has come from the US, the UK and South America.
”It’s been pretty crazy.”
The technology blurs the line between onshore and offshore fishing and gives any angler the ability to cast hundreds of metres.
Mr Maclean said most people were excited by the possibilities but some had accused them of taking the fun out of fishing or making it too easy.
“It took us days to land a tuna and it’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had fishing,” he said.
“I was watching the tuna come at the bait from above and then I was shouting, ‘You’re on, you’re on!’
“There’s no boat out there and nothing to deter the fish so it’s really interesting from that perspective to see how they react.”
Like so many clever ideas, Mr Maclean said the drone rig concept was conceived over a couple of beers.
The men were sitting out the front of their house in Fingal Head, watching a school of tuna through the drone’s camera when it came to them.
After a day of trial and error, they attached the drone to 600m of line on an overhead boat rod and went fishing.
”The drone has a range of two kilometres and your typical reel would have 300m to 500m of line on it,” he said.
”It gets to the point where you’re actually limited by how much line you have on the reel.
The pair had some early concerns about the legality of their method but Fisheries WA and the NSW Department of Primary Industries have given it the green light.
They are heading to the crystal clear waters around Fiji this week to do more experimentation and filming.
When they come home, they plan to take their new toy out on a boat to target big-game species such as marlin.
The drone rig elevates one of Australia’s favourite pastimes, but Mr Maclean said he also hoped it could help more people share in the joy of fishing.
”I know there are people out there with disabilities and people who can’t get out in a boat who would still love to catch big fish,“ he said.
Repost from The West Australian