Fishing with RC sailboat - Page 2 - RC Groups
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May 10, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Cheers DT56 , good points, particularly about the low aspect sails.

There are various areas I can fish from on the Island. The Azores are volcanic with not many beaches (not on my island anyway). It's rocks and cliffs and every village has a harbour or Jetty so I should be able to avoid breakers.
I also thought of electric (I fly electric planes mainly) but I would need an awful lot of batteries for a day's long-range fishing, that's why I want to go for sail instead.
Baitboats are, afaik, used only on freshwater. I've not heard of one being used in the sea.

What's inspiring me to try this is that we can see the tuna boats with a telescope and they have 10+ men with poles hooking the fish and swinging them aboard. These are a smaller tuna species of about 2'-2.5'. To operate a normal small boat from the islands one needs to pass a test and have a licence even for leisure craft (no real rescue services there), plus the boat trailer has to have it's own insurance, so it's a lot of trouble.
The small fishing boats go out about 1-2kms/miles for bottom fish, after that it drops to 1000 metres fairly quick, so I reckon there is an unfished zone of about 80m to 500m+ all around most coasts that anglers can't reach and boats don't bother with. I also think that's where coastal winter fish hang out in summer.
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May 10, 2011, 03:40 PM
Big Boats Rule!
boater_dave's Avatar
I'll add one more thing. Sailboats make terrible tow boats. If you attach the tow line to the stern, as the boat pulls tension on the line it will align itself with the tow, changing the angle to the wind. And when the boat slows down, rudder athority drops off fast. A slow moving sailboat may not have enough rotation force to get itself back on course to get any drive from the sails.
My experience has nothing to do with fishing, but lots to do with sailing. I find it amusing to use my big sailboat (54" and 35 pounds) and drive into our clubs' rescue device and sail it out, capture a dead boat, and sail back. Once my sailboat is in the device, which looks like a big 'X', the characteristics of the boat change dramatically. Often taking more than one shot at getting set up to perform the rescue correctly.
I am just having fun, so no harm. As a tool to fish with, I would say poorly performing at best. With surf even worse. Just my opinion, of course.

May 10, 2011, 03:55 PM
Registered User
You may well turn out right, boater_dave....
If sails don't work I'll have to get a load of batteries and go the electric way. I think that would mean having the boat permanently attached to a line, I just don't trust electric on boats. I managed to get a geared, handheld sailplane winch dead cheap at a boot sale on sunday which should be perfect for that.

I think the stern is the wrong place to attach the lines, bottom of the keel is my favourite so far, alternatively somewhere on the deck in the middle.
There should actually be very little resistance from the lines, as anyone who has lost a sinker and end rig will know.
Last edited by Markx; May 10, 2011 at 04:01 PM.
May 10, 2011, 04:20 PM
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1967250s's Avatar
Sounds very manageable, to me. As long as the boat is in sight and the antenna picks up the signal, you should not have aproblem with control, albeit the drag and weight of the line. Get the antenna all the way to the top of the mast. Most antennas made now are 1/4 wave length; if you double the length, or quadruple it, you should have enough length to reach all the way up, and pick up more of the tx signal. Of course, a larger, heavier boat will be easier to see, maybe binoculars, and control in the middle of the Atlantic! The Newport 12 design comes to mind (also the smooth keel outline would not snag the line). Another channel to hold and release the line would seem to be in order. As always, post pictures!
May 10, 2011, 04:45 PM
Registered User
This is somewhat related to what you want to do. Maybe it will give you a few ideas.
Sail line fishing:
An old rc sailboat thread tossing around a few control ideas:
Last edited by jpatters; May 10, 2011 at 04:53 PM.
May 11, 2011, 03:58 AM
Registered User
1967250s: Good point about the antennas. I read somewhere that someone managed to get an 800m range with the aerial RETRACTED (!) by quadrupling the length.

I've been buying up receivers cheap on ebay, now that people are changing to 2.4ghz so plenty to play with.
I'll be using a fibreglass mast, does running the aerial inside fibreglass affect range?.

jpatters: Amazing! Never seen that before! I've heard of kite-fishing but never of sailfishing.
I can see some problems with that as the island is mountainous/hilly so the wind does strange and unpredictable things and rarely blows offshore. Might work in the right conditions.
Last edited by Markx; May 11, 2011 at 04:05 AM.
May 11, 2011, 05:37 AM
Suspended Account
I know this may sound fairly stupid, but wont you need somebody else there to help with teh Sailboat or Bai Boat...

What happens when the line is dropped & teh Fish takes the bait....

The R/C Boat Sails or Floats away...

Out of range maybe loose the whoile thing.

Not sure the whole concept is actually worth the time & effort involved... It's been done before & the same result.. Bit of fun but totally impractical..
May 11, 2011, 11:26 AM
Registered User
LOL, only one way to find out if it's a waste of time!
True about the trolling, I expect to do play fish with one hand and the boat with the other, panic and possibly lose both. Should be fun!

It might be good for bottom fishing though, there should be enough time to sail back some way before anything takes the bait.

A previous question again: I'll be using a fibreglass mast, does running the aerial inside fibreglass affect range? I think it would on 2.4ghz but would it on 27, 40 or 35mhz?
Last edited by Markx; May 11, 2011 at 12:54 PM.
May 11, 2011, 01:00 PM
Big Boats Rule!
boater_dave's Avatar
I would think a second person to act as skipper of the boat would be a good thing. That way both tasks will get the attention they need.
And a fiberglass mast along/near/around the antenna should be OK, but not a carbon one. My boat has a wood mast and the antenna is soldered to one of the side stays so is in effect is about 6 feet long. I regularly sail out 800 to 1,000 feet (240 to 300 meters).
The keel would be a bad place to attach the tow line, for the same reason the transom is bad. Usually when a sailboat is towing something big, a bridle line is made up that makes a big loop from one side to the other, maybe from the chain plates or primary winches, and going astern enough to clear the transome and rudder. A sliding ring on the bridle will allow the sailboat to turn ahead of the tow line.
Here is a video of my 54" Frer. I picked this video because at the end it shows the boat out of the water so you can see the keel.


Frer and Etchell sailing (2 min 14 sec)
Last edited by boater_dave; May 11, 2011 at 03:42 PM.
May 11, 2011, 10:43 PM
Registered User
Sackie's Avatar
Markx, I think Boater Dave has a valid way of achieving what I think you had mentioned earlier, that of being able to have the fishing line secured about mid hull, say, by the shrouds. You will need a loop, with a quick release on either side, and a ring attached to the actual fishing line, so the sailboat pull is transferred somewhat directly to where the loop is attached, but the loop must remain some how above the water, otherwise it will foul the rudder. Also, you cannot allow the loop to foul the sheet for the mainsail....nice challenge here....also, you cannot do what you were suggesting of using a fixed attachent, the fishing line must be free to release itself on a fish strike, otherwise a large enough fish will put the entire boat under before you could flick any switch....where I am from, a small Tuna (we call a Bonita), would quite easily exert a pull of 40 or more lbs, for a short while, even if for 3o seconds, it is instantenous....and Tuna's go DOWN when they strike.....

As I said before, nice interesting challenge...
May 12, 2011, 05:26 PM
Registered User
Thanks Dave, I get what you mean about a loop for the line to run on. Also, the keel is interesting, I will make something about half way between the two that line won't catch on.

Sackie: Bonitos are what I saw them catch. To stop the boat being pulled under I'm thinking of attaching the swivel that goes in the catch with some 2-3lb line to the main trace to act as a weak link to the boat. Probably better than a sprung clip.

If I try bottom fishing with a small bag of rubby-dubby (or whatever fish guts and groundbait is called in various parts) that will have to be carried on the boat itself, so it'll need a cargo hold at the transom, the line can still attach elsewhere.
If the end trace with the weight were towed trailing behind the boat, all the bait would be washed out by the time it gets to the drop zone or tangle with a second one, so they'll have to be carried onboard in compartments.
May 20, 2011, 11:24 PM
Registered User
jims123's Avatar

$30. shipped

I've never heard of fishing from a RC sailboat.. sounds fun..

I've done some baloon fishing with off shore wind , that worked really well in a bay I was at once, and a bit of trolling around reefs from real sailboats like Hobie Cat's . but back to an answer to your question.. I would simply get a 2.4Gig el-cheapo rig and try it.. I personally use ASSAN receivers with zero problems at 200+ meters at times even tho I know the boat often heels over to a point where the antenna mounted inside on the underside of the deck mid way aft is under the water-line an inch or so at times on a port tack.. it's antenna leas is about an inch long..

If 2.4 Gig is Ok over there.. bet this radio and $9. reciever would work fine over there out to a point you cant tell what what way the boats going without binoculars anyway cause it'll be too far out..

here is one that is PC tunable for $31. shipped within the US.. it comes set up so you do NOT need a PC if only using std channels, controls and End Point adjustments

Personally i also use ASSAN and like it a lot since it never let me down and i fly RC slope and sail an ODOM with one almost daily..

Please do post a pic of a BIG fat fish you caught from your RC Boat Ok! that will be a 1st here I believe..
May 21, 2011, 04:51 PM
Registered User
I have to go to the Island and build the thing first, Jim! I will post progress reports but it'll be some time. I already have a cheap 40mhz 3 channel set ready to use. I like the idea of a longer aerial up the mast
Not sure I want to risk an expensive winch servo so I'll use a hefty chinese one with a lever.

Also in the middle of figuring a way of turning standard servos into proportional travel winches as an even cheaper alternative. Took one Hitech hs300 apart and it'll involve making up a bearing thingy on the lathe to take the place of the pot inside the servo and then doing reduction pulley gearing to the pot outside the servo. Obviously I removed the plastic travel limit bit. If I can spin up the bits for a few winches from old hitech servos, it'll make it less painful if the boat decides to head across the Atlantic solo (Though I reckon a Marlin or something would probably have it for breakfast... )
May 22, 2011, 09:20 AM
Registered User
jims123's Avatar
Originally Posted by Markx
I have to go to the Island and build the thing first, Jim! I will post progress reports but it'll be some time..
ahha.. I see, I thought we were going fishing like tomorrow..

I believe you'll get better range and far lower risk of stepping on anyone else or salt water getting in with ASSAN.. but what ever works is completely fine with me .. I just want to see a picture of your catch from an RC sailboat
May 22, 2011, 10:09 AM
Registered User
Hehehe Really itching to get started on this but for now I can only get all the components ready.

I'm still thinking of having the attachment point for the line on the bottom of the keel. If the keel and rudder have wire or something connecting them it should stop the fishing line fouling the rudder and the boat could turn circles without tangling the line.

Of course if more than one line were towed (to drop for bottom fishing) It couldn't do a 360 turn without putting a twist in them. The actual trace and weight/groundbait would have to be carried in transom compartments or cargo bays with downward opening doors.

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