For those of you who don’t now Josh yet – You can do some catching up here.
Flylords: First off where were you?
Josh: We were fly fishing a reef system called the Eastern Fields, off the coast of Papua New Guinea – PNG.
Flylords: What was the last photo you took before picking up the rod?
Josh: I was filming and photographing from the drone when my fishing buddy, Jimmy Laverty, hooked up to a solid GT. I returned the drone closer to the Panga to get some clearer shots and then put the drone controller down to film some different angles with my Sony. This proved to be a fatal error. The drone had already been in the air for 20 minutes, so it wasn’t a smart move to leave it flying, but I’d been too focused on the excitement of the fish. Jimmy landed the GT – a nice fish of around 40 pounds and I took some photos and film. Unfortunately, our Panga had drifted 150 feet from the initial hook up zone, and this was where the drone was still hovering. Fully focused on the fish, we had some high fives and sent the GT on its way.
Flylords: At what point did you realize the drone was in the air?
Josh: Knowing there were more GTs close by, we then decided to head back to where Jimmy hooked his fish. However, it wasn’t until I noticed the drone controller on the top of my seat that I realized what I had done: left a drone – with a near-dead battery – hovering 10 ft above the water. After a quick scan, I spotted it in the distance and it was still in the air. We made a desperate rush to reach it but almost as soon as we headed in its direction, it plummeted into the water below, sinking into the depths of the atoll. I had no chance of retrieving it. Gutting.
Despite the frustration, I picked up my 12 weight and cast at another cruising GT. Another solid fish came rushing towards my fly and immediately hooked up. I was gutted about the drone, but Giant Trevally on fly is one of my favourites so that did help soothe the pain. I was already covered in salt and sweat, so jumped straight in the water for the celebratory photos.
Flylords: Was it worth the fish you landed?
Josh: I am not really one to worry about materialistic things but my main disappointment was that we were not even halfway through the trip and I had lost my drone. The areas we were fishing were so pristine and untouched that I really wanted the drone to get more aerial shots. The opportunity to capture it had been lost. But at the end of the day, yes it was worth it.
Flylords: Is insurance going to cover the drone?
Josh: Insurance covered part of the cost – I put in a further claim, but still waiting to see how that eventuates.
Flylords: Any recommendations for an angler flying a drone – with the fish of a lifetime in casting range?
Josh: Haha, yes, don’t do it. I have pushed the limit with my drone so many times, that this kind of thing was bound to happen at some point.
We were in Papua New Guinea filming and photographing with @flyodysseyaustralia for @sportfishingpng. The saltwater component of the trip was truly remarkable and notably untouched waters loaded with GT’s, Blue-Fin Trevally, Trigger Fish, Napoleon Wrasse, Coral Trout and more.
Stay tuned as we go live with Josh Hutching on Instagram to talk about this story – and learn about what’s in his gear bag! Sunday night April 5th, 9 pm ET
Article from Josh Hutchins, check him out at @aussieflyfisher.