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The Aerokontiki Smart Winch Has Landed

Updated: May 18

Specialist Drone Winch delivered to Kiwis by Aerokontiki (NZ) 

Submitted by Max Vertongen: Aerokontiki Superuser since 2015

After 9+ years of Aerokontiki fishing, I have finally found the perfect winch for users who like to fly out and retrieve their lines within 1000m with ease.

I initially started with a Shimano electric reel. Great at the time, but unfortunately, when retrieving heavy loads of fish and anchor systems (e.g., weight) to combat strong West Coast currents, plus trying to get to an ideal drop distance, I needed to experiment and find something better. 

Over the years, I have used the following winches: Braid Seahorse, Kontiki Seahorse, Dave Vera x 2 winches, Bullet winches, and even a large homemade rod winch. While they all have their unique features, I was still looking for something that would accommodate the lot.

Kyle Parshotam and David Swarbrick, it would appear, with their engineering expertise, have pulled the best available features off most winches on the market to create the very affordable AK smart winch, and after testing on one of the roughest beaches in New Zealand and many rigorous workovers, my conclusion was simple:

“It came through with flying colours and exceeded my expectations” 

in all the areas for my type of fishing, being 25 hooks, using Auto Tractor Mode (ATM), a minimum 2kg breakaway Grapple, and dropping 1350 plus meters.

  • Drum/Spool holds 2000m of whiplash 200 lb braid and 125m of mono 200 lb hook section with a flared drum to protect from overruns.

  • Variation speed retrieval with a medium setting, e.g., 1000m = 20 minutes—basically, as slow or fast as you want!

  • Level winder when retrieving, meaning the hook section can remain on the drum the whole time.

  • OLED display to show the distance the line is out and the battery status.

  • On launching, the drum drag is governed sufficiently to prevent overruns but not restrict the distance. After 30 flights, I never experienced over-spools or line lashing flying out at any speed. 

  • Automatic slow and stop, with a warning beeper that annunciates when the line is almost in.

  • Light weight, compact, and versatile, just over 6kg. My Ak winch is mounted on the back of my Can-Am Defender.

  • Awesome 38kg pulling power which will break a 100-pound breakaway grapple from the hook section and give you the capability to bring in big loads of fish and weights. 

Summary: To date, the best, by far, of the winches on the market for Aerokontiki Fishing. It’s interesting to note that some rod and reel combos might be a tad more versatile up to 1000m (thereabouts), but at a price of $2800, they are severely underdone and, in my mind, overpriced compared to the AK Smart winch, which has many more features than I have mentioned.

Finally, I would like to share some words of wisdom from my very good friend Les Viskovich:

“I think it all depends on what style of fishing you do, your budget, and which beaches you fish off as to what is the best winch for you."

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