Brandon Jones knew sharks were finning in his waters just off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla. They were, however, a cast too far and he had no clue as to how he could reach them from the beach.
“After years of shark fishing with a kayak and fighting through the surf, I knew there had to be a better way,” says Jones. “That’s when it hit me–a bolt out of the blue. A drone! I did a little research online, bought my first quality drone, and began teaming to fly it. It didn’t take long before I was able to control it enough to hover 30 feet above the waves and, with the camera, look down at my dangling bait.”
When I spotted a shark, I dropped the bait. Within seconds, the drag was screaming and the sand-spiked fishing pole was going mad. Just 10 minutes later, a 60-pound blacktip shark lay on the beach.”
Jones’ story took me back 15 years. On a full-moon summer night, I, too, was trying to figure out how to drop baits into the shark zone out beyond the first breakers. I hopped on my surfboard, a live bunker clenched between my teeth, and paddled off into the night. About BOO yards out, I heard a splash, followed by what sounded like an explosion. The monstrous 5-foot tail of a thresher shark slapped the water at face level. I spit out the bunker and paddled as fast as I could back to shore. That was the last time I attempted that method of bait deployment. I went on to test others, including three-man slingshots, modified potato cannons, and remote-controlled model boats–all with limited success. My kingdom for a drone.
Indeed, the drone revolution is breaking barriers on a plethora of levels, from the battlefield to pizza delivery to fishing. But before you indignantly huff off, wondering what the heck the angling world has come to, consider a few more fishing stories.