Welcome to the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 Review – All you need to know !! article by FishingMad. I have covered so many different forms of fishing across various platforms on the FishingMad TV show and website. ( inshore, offshore, estuary, freshwater, boat, kayak, land-based, bait, lures, plastics, fly you name it we have likely covered it ). I get genuinely excited about the variety and challenges it presents and the knowledge you gain by trying something new. I’m fascinated by innovation in fishing and am always looking at ways to catch fish in different ways, explore new systems and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Watch this vid on how to operate a bait-dropping drone and catch big sharks !!
It’s important to know the rules and regulations on operating a drone. We recommend visiting https://www.casa.gov.au/knowyourdrone/drone-rules to familiarise yourself with the current regulations. For good measure, we called CASA who confirmed
- You do NOT need an RPL ( Recreational Pilot Licence ) for drones that weigh less than 25kgs
- You cannot fly your drone at night
- Drone max altitude is 120 meters ( 400 feet )
- Can only operate 1 drone at a time
- Be respectful and keep away from people when flying ( min 30 meters distance )
- Can not fly near airports. 5.5-kilometre restrictions apply
At the end of 2023, I started exploring filming opportunities and ideas for the 2024 season of FishingMad ahead. I released one area we had not covered on the show was land-based drone fishing for big species like sharks, tuna, kingfish and even smaller but very desired species like snapper. I was excited and a little daunted by the idea. Learning how to fly a large-scale drone as well as needing big game gear with large line capacity, learning complex rigs with wire traces and wind on shock leaders plus handling powerful toothy fish is not to be underestimated ( I will touch on this more below ). I started researching bait dropping drones online and came across the new SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2. On the surface, the specs looked brilliant. This was a drone that could drop a large bait up to 3.5 kilograms in weight out as far as 1.5 kilometres. With a battery run time of 30 minutes and wind resistant up to 40 mph. Plus it can float whilst being saltwater resistant which was very important as I had damaged some other drones in the past. Finished with a built-in 4K camera and GPS technology.
I was really excited about this idea. It would open up a whole new world of land based fishing possibilities. Stuff I had never dreamed of. I went ahead and purchased the drone which arrived in the post about a week later.
SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 first thoughts
When the drone arrived I was amazed with its large size and build quality. To date, I have only operated smaller aerial drones which I use frequently on our B-Roll footage for the TV show. Historically using drones such as the Mavic Minis and Phantoms. The SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 came packed in an awesome case great for storage and portability.
The SwellPro Fisherman Max comes very neatly packaged in a portable case
I quickly realised that I had a bit of a learning curve ahead of me and may have underestimated the preparation, training and gear needed to use the drone successfully to target big game fish and sharks. I love a challenge and I knew that being able to learn to operate this drone and catch big fish land-based was going to be an accomplishment to be proud of.
The preparation required can be categorised into different areas. These are important things for people to consider when buying a drone of this nature so let’s explore them together in more detail.
Learning to fly and operate the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 drone ( Category 1 )
As mentioned above I have several aerial drones. Currently, I use the Mavic mini 3 for the majority of my aerial drone footage. At first, I found these small drones a little daunting too but I quickly found they were easy to set up and the learning curve to fly and film awesome footage was quite fast. Easy to operate and intuitive. I found myself with the same feelings when the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 arrived. Because of its sheer size, and extended set of capabilities. I studied instructional footage and took it to my local beach to practice and just like the mini drones I started picking it up quickly. Learning how to set up the drone ( add battery, attach propellers, attach floats, add SD card etc ), fly it competently, film and most importantly take large baits hundreds of meters out to key strike zones. It took some time to get confident with assembling the components, charging and replacing batteries, getting familiar with the remote control, flying the device, and dropping baits.
The unit comes with a remote control which has a large screen and is very intuitive to use. Unlike other drones you are not reliant on needing to download an app and pair the device to operate it but instead power on the unit and remote control and start flying ( which I like a lot ). You can also use the mobile app if you choose to and the remote has a clip that allows you to use the remote and mobile simultaneously. ( The mobile App can be really helpful for GPS plotting and setting drop points ). The remote control has multiple toggles and switches that make the drone so easy to operate. A couple of very easy-to-use switches that I like a lot were one button recording of video, one button payload drop of your bait, one button return to home and GPS lock. It made the unit pretty easy to use straight out of the box. But soon it quickly became second nature and my confidence levels grew more and more every time I used it. This takes us to our next category.
The remote control is intuitive and easy to use with one-press button features and a large screen
Best Fishing Gear and Rigs to work with drones ( Category 2 )
Now that I was confident in assembling and flying the drone and using features such as the camera and bait dropper I now needed to spend time researching and testing the fishing gear and fishing rigs required to work with the bait dropper properly.
Now let me say straight off the bat that when targeting many of our local desired species like snapper you can use your standard spin combos. You just need to ensure your reel has a big spool capacity to fit about 500 meters of line. For this I simply used my existing Surf reels including Okuma Surf 8K, my Penn Slammer 8500 or even something like a Daiwa Sensor 45 SCW 5000LD however with the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 at my disposal I had my sights on bigger species like sharks and tuna which require a bit more specialised gear.
Gear requirements were a real eye-opener. The massive benefit of these drones is being able to drop a bait up to 1.5 kilometres away, even though I know on most occasions I’m likely to drop a bait 300 to 400 meters away. Most spin gear only has a line capacity of 250-400 meters which just isn’t enough. Even my beautiful Stella 14000 and Slammer 6500 could be used but realistically just don’t have enough line capacity on the spool. I needed to get some overhead game gear that could hold a minimum of 700 meters and ideally 1,000 meters of heavy duty braid or mono. Plus a reel that can easily be put into free spool so you can fly a bait out without any hassles. After doing a lot of research and testing I purchased a budget-friendly Shimano TLD25 and a more expensive Shimano Tiagra 30. I was able to put 1000 meter of Tasline Elite 100lb braid onto both these reels which was perfect. I paired those overhead reels with Shimano Terez 30-60lb and 40-80lb overhead rods. Having the right gear was critical and ensured I had enough line to fly big baits into desired depths and strike zones and enough access line for a shark or tuna to run an additional few hundred meters when it takes the bait. Plus gear heavy enough to allow you to battle sharks, kings and tuna ensuring the gear allows you to stay in control which has less impact on the fish being caught.
Reels that can hold large capacity of fishing line are very important when done fishing
First, we were going to target big sharks land-based in local waters of Port Phillip Bay and then extend this offshore fishing the Bass Straight in areas like 90-mile beach. We would be using baits such as full bonito, Australian salmon, yakkas, snook, eel and others too. We would require rigs with large size 10 and 12 circle hooks ( circle hooks to minimise impact on sharks and stop them from shallowing hooks so they can be released easily ). We would require them snelled and in wire trace to prevent shark teeth from cutting the lines. Heavy duty wind on shock leaders to take the strain off knots and we would also need a heavy sinker to prevent the line from going slack and a float to keep the bait upright and away from less desired species like banjo sharks, port Jackson sharks and rays.
This took me some time to get right. My final rig was 100 lb of tasline elite to a pelagic custom wind on shock leader in 300lb to a 2 meter length of wiretrace finished with size 12 snelled rigs with the traced shrink wrapped. Between the wire trace and wind on shock leader was a 90mm float to keep the bait off the bottom ( top half of water column where sharks are ) and a 4-meter length of light mono to a size 12 sinker. Using light line so this can breakaway easily should it get snagged during a battle. Tied together with a bimini twist or fg knot. It’s one of the more complex setups I’ve ever done, that’s for sure but it was very necessary when targeting big sharks.
Now Ready !!
I was now ready and excited to put the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 to work in real situations targeting big sharks. Locally sharks are most active at night so we setup in the evening, getting baits out roughly 350 meters into prime strike areas. We have many sharks in Port Phillip Bay. Our prime target species was a Bronze whaler shark or as we call them Bronzies. Beautiful looking sharks that are super powerful that can grow to impressive sizes of 3.5 meters and beyond. We also have gummy sharks which don’t grow as big but a highly regarded shark and 7gillers which are less desired.
We started by putting out 2 baits a full Australian salmon which I had caught on my kayak the previous day and a full bonito bought from our local shop. We waited an hour and finally, we had a massive run. The TLD25 reel was screaming, after a 15 minute battle, we landed a 7 giller which was roughly 3 meters in size. We released this shark as it wasn’t our target species and we battled on. Roughly 20 minutes later the Tiagra30 screamed off. This time after 20 minute battle we landed a magnificent 3 meter bronze whaler shark. Our target species and a special accomplishment. We got some photos and then set this magnificent shark back on its way.
Al and Fadi landed a beautiful Bronewhaler shark about 3 meters in size after dropping bait with the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 Drone
There is a real sense of pride when you catch fish using a new gear, technique or platform. I felt a real sense of accomplishment to operate a bait dropping drone of this capability with the right rigs, gear and research to catch big fish like this. The SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 genuinely opens up a world of land based fishing possibilities. Being able to target big game species like sharks, tuna, kingfish and snapper land based fishing is so good. Fishing around Melbourne and Victoria is thriving, the downside to this is that many piers, rock walls, jetties and even boat ramps are jam-packed in peak times. Having a bait dropping drone allows you to avoid crowded areas and target fish in deeper waters.
It’s important to share the steep learning curve required for this style of fishing. However, the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 was brilliant. Rugged, reliable, intuitive and lived up to its advertised specs and capability. For me, it was delivered quickly and I was impressed by its build quality and the way it stores away in its case. You can see that the many generations of this drone which have incorporated years of improvements and refinement that work so well. There are so many adventures and species that I want to sink my teeth into now that I have the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 and the confidence to use it and catch big fish. Watch this space as I’m confident we’re going to have some insane catches to share with it throughout the year.
What species can I target with a SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 drone
You can target just about anything however I think these drones are ideal for snapper fishing in the bay and targeting bigger species like sharks, kingfish and tuna offshore. In the top end of Australia, it will also be suitable for game species like giant trevally, coral trout, Spanish mackerel and more.
- Gummy Sharks
- Bronze whaler sharks, 7gillers, school sharks, and other sharks
- Giant Trevally, Coral Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Queenfish, Cod ( Top end )
SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 Specs
- Bait-dropping Drone
- 5 kilogram bait capacity
- 4K camera
- IP67 saltwater proof
- Calibration free
- GPS 9.0 technology
- Floats with added accessories
- 6 bait drops per individual battery. About 30 minutes of runtime.
- Can handle winds up to 40mph.
- 1 mile range or 1.5 kilometres approx.
Why buy a SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2
- It pushes the capability of land-based fishing. Allows you to fish deep waters and target species you never normally could.
- Fishing is growing and so many of our piers, jetties and rock walls are packed during peak times. Using a drone like the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 allows you to fish any beach in quiet areas
- It’s safer than paddling baits out on your kayak in dangerous waters
- Its rugged, IP67 waterproof, wind resistant
- Dual bait-dropping options can be handy
SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 Considerations
- There is some investment to buy one
- It will take some time to familiarise yourself with the functions and usage. It requires practice to build up your confidence
- If you are going to do this style of fishing then you need to give a lot of thought about your gear choices. Having a fishing reel with massive line capacity, the right rigs and heavy duty gear.
buy the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2
Get an 8% discount on your next SwellPro Fisherman Max FD2 drone purchase by visiting the SwellPro website and using discount code MADSWP on checkout.
The cost of the SwellPro Fisherman Max FD 2 is $3,999 + shipping for the basic package or $4,099 + shipping for the advanced package. Additional propellers and batteries can be purchased separately. The basic version comes with a dual bait release, Advanced version comes with a dual bait release and a 4K camera.
Swell Pro Fisherman Max FD2 print
Waterproof rating: IP67
Drone weight (including battery): 8.3 lbs / 3.78 kg
Size (w/o propeller): unfold: 20*20*7.5 inch / 522*522*192 mm ; fold: 12*10.5*7.5 inch / 306*266*192 mm
Max ascend speed: 7 mph / 3 m/s
Max descent speed: 4.5 mph / 2 m/s
Max flight speed: ATTI: 45 mph / 20 m/s ; GPS: 22 mph / 10 m/s
Max tilt angle: 25°
Max flight altitude: 1 mile / 1500 m
Max flight distance: 1 mile / 1500 m
Max image transmission distance: 0.7 mile / 1000 m
Max payload capacity: 8 lbs / 3.7 kg
Flight time: up to 30 mins ( no wind & no load)
Max wind speed resistance: 40 mph / 18 m/s / 35 knots
Hovering precision: ±1.6 feet / ±0.5 m
Satellite positioning system: GPS/Galileo
Motor: 4114 – 400Kv
Propellers: #1655 carbon fiber
Operation frequency: 2.405 – 2.475 GHz | 5.725-5.825 GHz
Transmitter power (EIRP): <33 dBm (FCC), <20 dBm (CE) | <33 dBm (FCC), <14 dBm (CE)
Working temperature: 14℉ ~ 104℉ / -10℃ ~ 40℃
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