Our second Fathom user spotlight of the month is Thomas Volk. Thomas is an avid fisherman living in North Dakota. He first backed the project on Kickstarter because he feels the drone will be a perfect tool for ice fishing, a hobby of his for the past 28 years. During his time as a beta tester, Thomas hopes to use the drone in order to scout ideal fishing locations under the ice. Because of the F1’s small size, he will be able to fit it through a hole in the ice and navigate it through the ice depths in order to see where all the fish are hiding.

Hats off to Thomas for this creative use-case and also for suggesting a neat attachment we hadn’t previously thought of: a light on top of the drone that would allow an ice fisher to find the drone under the ice. A bright enough light would shine through the ice and indicate the drone’s position. That way, if you see a bunch of fish on the camera, you can drive the drone up to the sheet of ice and cut your new hole wherever you see the light shining.

Thomas has lots of experience with the outdoors. Growing up, his nickname (which he still uses to this day) was “Natureboy” because of his love of camping, fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities. Thomas also has experience building his own underwater drone! In order to capture better fishing footage, he constructed an underwater ROV out of PVC, plexiglass, a waterproof camera, and bilge pump motors (See picture).  In order to get better motion, Thomas rigged the vertical motors up with a dimmer switch, allowing him more fine-tuned control. We are very impressed with this story and are definitely going to hire Thomas as our technical lead should anything ever happen to John.

Anyway, when I asked Thomas about his coolest experience on the water, he told me about a time that he discovered a new fishing lake. He obtained detailed fishing records and did some intense data analysis to figure out that this new, previously un-fished lake would be a prime spot. On his first trip there, he caught a perch, the length of which tied the North Dakota state record.

Here’s hoping the F1 helps Thomas scope out new waters for more record-breaking fishing! We are very much looking forward to getting his feedback during our upcoming beta test.


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