A fisherman on a San Diego pier hooked a drone yesterday, and the drone got the whole thing on video for your enjoyment. Even the drone’s operator had to admit that it was an impressive cast, even if it was a mean-spirited and probably illegal action which could have damaged a very expensive piece of equipment.

The drone belonged to Tice Ledbetter, who was flying it over the pier to get aerial footage, and the footage he got, before someone mistook his drone for a flying fish, is gorgeous.

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Ledbetter managed to fly his quadcopter about half a mile to a safe landing, where he spent some time untangling the fishing line wrapped around one of the quadcopter’s rotors.

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And somewhere in San Diego, at this very moment, a fisherman is telling a story about the drone that got away.

UPDATE: San Diego’s city ordinances make it a misdemeanor to fly an unmanned glider over city property without a permit, and some sources claim the city has similar requirements for powered unmanned aircraft as well, although only the glider ordinance shows up in a search of the city’s municipal code. So it’s not immediately clear whether Ledbetter was within the bounds of the law.

On the other hand, San Diego’s municipal code does make it illegal to “Cast any fishing line or pole overhead or allow any lure or hook to pass inboard of the pier railing while casting.”

This article originally stated that Ledbetter definitely hadn’t broken the law by flying his quadcopter over the pier. It has been edited to note that San Diego has city ordinances requiring prior authorization and insurance to fly over city property, and it’s not clear whether or not Ledbetter was in compliance.


Contact the author at k.smithstrickland@gmail.com.