See hotshot fisherman hook drone mid-flight

A perturbed angler takes aim at a quadcopter flying above a pier, and lands the catch of the day.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read

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Aiming for an unlikely catch of the day. Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

The debate over whether drones are magnificent or a menace rages on after one California fisherman clearly registered his vote by masterfully landing a cast on a drone that was filming a group of anglers from above a San Diego pier.

Drone photographer and YouTuber Tice Ledbetter was filming a little 4K footage of the Pacific coast near the pier when he apparently aggravated one fisherman to the point that he quickly reeled in his line, turned toward the drone and launched it at the flying robot, remarkably managing to hook his target.

In the video below, posted Friday, you can see the fishing line in the drone camera's field of view after it's been snagged, and at the end you can see the line wrapped around one of the rotors.

Apparently the drone managed to escape before being reeled in, as the footage obviously survived and the clip ends with a tongue-in-cheek "Wanted" poster of the fisherman for the crime of "being an asshole."

But as the debate in the YouTube comments lays out, it's not settled who the bigger jerk in this scenario is. Although the drone isn't violating any privacy laws by filming a public pier and is also OK in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration for noncommercial purposes, there's still the issue of whether it's rude to buzz by people trying to enjoy a nice day at the pier.

As usual, with most things that inspire heated debates in comments sections, both parties are a little bit wrong and a little bit right.

Fishing is one of those activities where there's a slightly higher expectation of respect and quiet, like in a movie theater or a library, so while the drone might have the right, legally, to buzz the pier, its operator does so at the risk of being a jerk himself.

That doesn't mean it justifies trying to damage or destroy another person's private property by flinging a metal hook at it, however.

What do you think? Watch the video below and then take our poll on the side to help settle the issue once and for all.

One thing I think we can all agree on though -- truly epic cast by that fisherman. Mad skills, bro.