Know About RC Fishing and Remote Control Boats
RC Fishing is a hobby that is quickly growing in popularity, even among “old school” fisherman. As a relatively recent innovation, fishing using remote control boats can present a bit of a learning curve to traditional anglers. That’s why I’ve come up with this introduction article. Below, we’ll discuss the basics of RC Fishing, including tips, techniques, and rules, as well as the finer points of choosing and using an RC fishing boat.
The Basics: Info, Techniques, Rules
#1. RC Fishing Applications
Not every RC Fisherman uses their remote-control boats for the same reason. Depending on local ordinances, the type of fish desired, and the equipment on hand, RC boats can be employed in one of three ways.
Fish Finders – even the smallest boats can usually carry a fish finder on board, which could provide a stealthy way for fisherman to identify game before pursuing it the old-fashioned way.
Trolling Boats – boats can be outfitted with several accessories (nets, hooks, bait), and can be guided as needed to catch the desired prey.
Precision Angling – As these boats are usually small and agile, they can be guided to specific spots and outfitted to perform jobs that would be difficult with a rod and reel.
#2. Rules and Regs
While RC Fishing is still very new in most areas, but some local governments have been quick to establish rules and regulations regarding the practice. Keep the following in mind.
California is probably the most ahead of the game as far as establishing rules and regulations regarding RC Boat fishing, but other states are catching up as well.
Most governments don’t clearly define what is illegal and what is not. For instance, some only criminalize “computer assisted fishing,” and as RC boats are not computerized, the law should not apply to them.
Before investing in any equipment, it’s best to do some research with your local fish and wildlife commission (which will at least have your back covered).
#3. Before Getting Started
If you want to pursue this method of angling, there are obviously a few things that you’ll have to consider.
Driving the Boat – RC Fishing requires lots of practice. You won’t just need to get your hands on a reliable boat, you’ll need to get plenty of practice using it in different conditions. This makes the sport a good choice for those with time, patience, and at least some technical knowledge.
Consider Techniques – Your area and your game will define which techniques you employ and which you ignore.
Basic Maintenance – RC fishing boats are a tool, so you will need to learn what’s needed to keep them in good working order. While electric models are quite resilient, gas-powered models can present all the challenges of a full-sized boat.
The Boats: Your Complete Buyer’s Guide
Of course, the most basic component of this sport is the remote-controlled boats itself. However, making the right model choice can be intimidating for a newcomer, so I’ve put together the following guide.
#1. Types of Boats
Electric – The majority of RC fishing boats are electric, usually powered by high-quality lithium batteries. They can be submerged for a few seconds at a time, even up to several feet. These models are silent when idle, and rather quiet when operating at full capacity. Suitable for newcomers and pros alike, they range dramatically in price and effectiveness, so lots of research may be needed before making a purchase.
Gas Powered – While not as common, gas powered RC fishing boats often provide more power and more speed, making them suitable for bigger game and rougher waters. They also require lots of maintenance and be easily damaged if pulled underwater or capsized. Fuel cost is a factor, as is the increased noise of gas models. Gas boats are best suited to fisherman who embrace high-speed techniques, and who have some knowledge of maintaining small engines.
Specialty – These are RC fishing boats designed explicitly for RC fishing. They range in price from quite affordable to extremely expensive and can usually be customized rather easily.
Modified – RC boats have been around for decades, so many anglers simply get their hands on a used hobby boat and modify it (either personally or through a professional) for fishing. This can be a cost-effective way to get into the sport but carries with it the risk of failure if the equipment is not designed correctly.
#2. Speed and Power
RC Fisherman are in constant debate over low speed vs. high-speed fishing. Here are some of the most basic arguments.
Slow Speed – These fishermen are not overly concerned with how fast their boat is but focus instead on other features. They usually angle by trolling at slow speeds, using live bait to ensure a good hit on the hook.
High Speed – These fishermen troll at 15-20+ knots, using both live and decoy bait. The argument for the latter is that it will present a more “realistic” lure when traveling at speed. Unfortunately, depending on what type of live bait they use, such speeds may render it ineffective (or even kill it).
In every sport, there are always people that will only use the latest, top-of-the-line equipment, and swear that anyone using less is operating at a considerable disadvantage. However, while RC fishing is high-tech in comparison to other methods, it utilizes reliable technology that has been around for decades. So, what truly is the best approach?
Low Cost – Many RC fishermen advise newcomers to keep their initial costs down until they develop a knack for the sport. Anyone who’s ever seen expensive hobby equipment collecting dust in a friend’s garage can attest to this way of thinking. However, others argue that going cheap can drastically lessen your effectiveness, and possibly cause you to lose interest.
High Cost – Despite the obvious downside, those who consider RC fishing to be a “high end” sport equate buying an RC Boat to purchasing a good hunting bow or pair of hockey skates. You often get a more reliable product, which may lead to more success in the field and – over time – make the initial investment well worth it.
#4. Hull Design
RC fishing boats usually employ one of two hull designs: monohull or catamaran. Each has their good and bad points, but ultimately see almost equal use throughout the RC fishing community.
Catamarans – These boats utilize two thin hulls that are spaced apart, offering stability. This is good, as catamarans cannot maneuver properly when capsized, and need to be retrieved manually. This makes them a perfect choice for low-speed anglers who want a boat that’s easy to drive and hard to pull under.
Mono-Hull – These boats will function when capsized, sometimes even turning back over with a few quick turns by the controller. They can operate and higher speeds and traverse rough waters more effectively as well, making them an excellent choice for anglers who are taking the fast approach to RC fishing.
All in all, there is no right or wrong way to pursue a sport as new and innovative as RC Fishing. As the sport continues to increase in popularity, it is likely that new boats, tools, and techniques will be invented to help anglers more easily approach the sport. For now, carefully consider what you would like to accomplish, the area where you’ll be fishing, and your budget before investing in RC fishing, and you’re sure to get everything you want out of the sport, without breaking your bank (or your boat).