“It’s fast, easy to use, and catches plenty of big snapper.
” That’s from a proud Aerokontiki owner.
The Aerokontiki is a unique fishing drone for taking out long-lines.
It flies up to 25 baited hooks out at least a kilometre, and after dropping the line via a simple remote-controlled switch the drone has an autopilot system that returns it to the take-off spot on the beach.
There are several drones on the market for fishing but what makes the Aerokontiki perform above the rest is its power and strength.
Designed and made by Kyle Parshotam, founder of Envirobotics Ltd in Auckland, this drone flies a large number of hooks and sinkers out into the sea way beyond the surf and can do so in very blustery winds.
Any keen fisherperson of any age can operate an Aerokontiki.
One of its fans is 68-year-old Max Vertongen from Manawatu.
“When I retired from being the NZ cycling team’s coach I took up fishing and have owned several different kontikis during the last 15 years or so; and the Aerokontiki is the best.
”Max goes to Waitarere beach near Foxton on the West Coast and says he can get the line out effectively and simply on his own without any help before breakfast.
“With my old motorised kontiki, which went under-water, I used to have to wade out in the current and it was really heavy,” says Max.
“I looked at a few drones but most were small and couldn’t handle the wind or fly out with much weight attached to them.
” Max says the Aerokontiki takes out up to 25 hooks, can fly further than 1km and usually results in a plentiful supply of decent-sized snapper and gurnard along with a few kahawai.
“I caught a snapper that was about 18lb a few months ago and that was pretty amazing.
” Max says being able to fly the Aerokontiki above the waves prevents problems, such as battling the sea current or losing bait in the water while getting the hooks out.
“It takes just a few minutes to get out and I have an electric winch that I bring the line back in with.
I basically fish from the same place every time.
“Sometimes I catch nothing but other times I might get at least six decent snapper in one hit.
”Max likes to try new technology for fishing and when he heard about the Aerokontiki there was no going back.
“I like gadgets and when a friend of mine asked me if I had heard about the Aerokontiki I was a bit dubious because I thought being a bit older and not a techie person it may be difficult.
But when he recommended it and I saw the Aerokontiki work I thought: ‘That’s me!’”That was about three years ago and Max is now onto his second Aerokontiki.
“It has been upgraded and I have upgraded with it.
“I started off with six hooks and have now progressed to the point where I fly it up to 1200m out and take the maximum number of hooks allowed – 25.
”How does he get the long line back in to shore? Unlike most Aerokontiki users, who use a powerful game reel like Shimano Beastmaster 9000 with a maximum drag of 25kg, Max uses an electric winch attached to the back of his vehicle which he parks on the beach.
“It’s simple, strong and easy to use – like the Aerokontiki.
For example, I’ve easily wound in eight legal-sized snapper from one drone trip, and a couple of kahawai with the winch.
“Parallel to that the beauty of the drone – even for a person of my age – is that it is so easy to fly, and guide the line according to the current.
The drone is in and out within about five minutes.
Within no time it’s back sitting where it was flown out from.
”Another huge advantage in buying a fishing drone like the Aerokontiki is the rare after-sale service that Kyle and his team offer.
“When I was starting with the drone I could ring Kyle and he would talk me through everything.
He does maintenance and any repairs, as well as upgrades on it.
” Max, like other avid Aerokontiki users, recommends the drone for its reliability, strength and ease of use, and of course it also catches plenty of fish.