How to Fish On a Paddle Board (SUP Fishing Setup)

How to fish on a paddle board fishing setup

Interested in SUP fishing? You’re in the right place! I’m going to go through all the gear, the dos, and the don’ts. You’ll basically be an expert by the time we’re finished!

Can You Fish On a Paddle Board? In one word, yes! You can fish on a paddle board — and have a load of fun while doing it (as long as you have the right equipment).

If you aren’t experienced on a paddle board, however, you should probably get some practice in before you hit the waves with your fishing gear!

Having said that, there are wider paddle boards available that will help keep you upright but more on that later. For now, we’ll move onto the definition of “SUP fishing”.

What Is SUP Fishing?

SUP fishing, otherwise known as stand up paddle board fishing, is not only an incredibly efficient way of catching fish, but it will also keep you fit and healthy.

The best part is that pretty much anyone can do it! You don’t need too much experience with either hobby (paddle boarding or fishing) to have fun with it. As long as you are careful about the conditions you head out in and you’ve got the right board, you’re all set.

It’s what I’d call an “active fishing activity” since you aren’t simply sat on the shore, casting a line; you’re participating in the action.

You might be interested to know that SUP fishing has far more benefits than fitness. These advantages include:

  • Paddle boards are easy to transport thanks to their lightweight (generally) construction
  • More agile than kayaks and motorized boats
  • You can quickly and effectively reach tighter fishing spots
  • Better field of vision since you’re standing
  • Paddle boards are almost silent (i.e. you won’t scare away your all-important catch)
  • Easier rail casting because you’re standing

Once you give it a try, I’m sure you’ll be able to add to this list of benefits! The enjoyment factor is enough for me to constantly keep coming back for more.

Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing Set Up: The Best Gear, Accessories, and Paddle Boards to Consider For Fishing

Okay, you’re now privy to the exact activity I’m talking about and if you’re still here, I know you’re stoked to get out on the water and give it a try. But, you need to acquire the right gear before you do so!

I’ll spend quite a lot of time talking about the best gear available for your stand up paddle board fishing pursuits. But if you don’t have much time right now, give this checklist a glance for a general idea of the bits and pieces you’ll need to get started.

Your SUP Fishing Setup Checklist

  • A paddle board
  • A paddle board seat
  • A GPS tracker and holder
  • A stand up paddle board light
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • A PFD (personal floatation device)
  • Rods, tackle, and bucket
  • Tackle rack
  • A rod holder
  • A cooler
  • Waterproof bags
  • A board stabilizer
  • A fishing anchor
  • Hat and sunscreen

The paddle board itself is the most important part. After all, there is no SUP fishing if you don’t have one!

Sadly, it’s not quite as simple as just buying the first one you see on Amazon. There are a variety of types, shapes, and sizes to choose from.

The Best Paddle Boards for Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Choosing the right paddle board for you can be tricky since there is so much to consider. Not to mention that every type has its pros and cons. It’s sometimes a case of trial and error, since you won’t really know until you try. However, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

Solid Paddle Boards VS Inflatable Paddle Boards

Solid boards are made from EPS foam, fiberglass, and epoxy. Considering the construction, they are relatively lightweight, affordable, and, somewhat most importantly, durable.

Some brands make plastic ones that are far more affordable than the lighter carbon fiber options. The one you choose will largely depend on your budget.

Why Choose a Solid Paddle Board?

  • They come in a wide range of sizes so it makes it easier to find your perfect fit.
  • They’re a touch more rigid. You’ll be able to handle waves better.
  • If you have designated storage space. Since you can’t deflate them, you’ll need a significant amount of room to store them until your next adventure.
  • They offer the best performance. What do I mean by this? Well, they tend to move quicker and smoother with far less effort on your part.

Inflatable stand up paddle boards, on the other hand, are made from PVC and industrial-strength stitches that allow for a solid air-filled interior.

Included in the purchase of an inflatable SUP will be a storage bag and a pump. As long as you purchase a high-quality one, you should feel very secure under the rigid base.

Why Consider Inflatable Paddle Board For Fishing?

  • You don’t have a lot of space. When they’re deflated, they don’t take up much room at all.
  • You’re walking to the lake. Hiking with a solid SUP is not ideal and can be heavy especially on long hauls.
  • You’re on the go. When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to think about is how you’re going to bring your board with you.
  • An inflatable paddle board can easily be deflated after use and fits in an easy to handle travel bag. It can also be inflated by a light travel pump right on the bay, ocean and lake front.

The Types of Fishing Paddle Boards

Alongside the construction of your paddle board for fishing, you need to consider the type too. There are quite a few variations out there, each offering different qualities for achieving different goals.

All-Around Paddle Board

For those beginners out there, an all-around paddle board will ensure you have the best chance of staying upright. They glide nicely and work just as well in rough seas as they do on calm waters.

Touring Paddle Board

If speed and long-distance paddling are what you’re looking for then a touring paddle board will be your new best friend.

They sport a pointed nose and a far narrower body than the other paddle boards, making them the perfect shape for cutting through choppy waves and skimming the seas.

I do think, however, that you should choose a different paddle board type for your main fishing vessel. Why? Because they are almost too narrow to hold all your gear effectively.

Yoga Paddle Board

These boards are made to be extremely stable. They are wider than most to allow for a strong grip and enough space to perform various yoga routines.

The width comes with a price though. They tend to be slower than the others due to the increased friction. However, they make for a grand choice if you enjoy both fishing and yoga or pilates exercises.

Multi-Purpose Paddle Board

Multi-purpose paddle boards are huge. They are big enough to comfortably house a couple of riders and fit all your fishing gear

Although, you will have to be content with moving slower than an all-around board due to the increased size. I’ll be honest — if you’re fishing, you shouldn’t be prioritizing speed anyway as having a large enough deck is more important.

Some multi purpose paddle boards such as this one BOTE Lono are amongst my favorite for fishing because they are a SUP Kayak Hybrid. This simple means you get the best of both worlds.

With this unique design you can enjoy sitting comfortably as you fish or navigate to your fishing destination with plenty of room and storage space for your fishing equipment.

Or, have the Kayak convert quickly into a stable and strong stand up paddle board and enjoy time with your family and friends as you paddle around with great board strength, stability and room.

My Personal Top Stand Up Paddle Board Models For SUP Fishing

You might have already found the paddle board of your dreams based on everything we’ve talked about already. However, I thought I’d give you a few of my favorites so you can get out on the water as soon as possible.

The Megalodon Inflatable Paddle Board

This paddle board comes in 12 and 15 feet lengths to ensure you have enough room for yourself, a fishing friend, and your gear.

The width (45 to 56 inches depending on the exact model you choose) may slow you down but it will increase your chances of an overwhelmingly great catch.

The Sea Eagle FishSUP Inflatable

This one has been made specifically for the SUP fishing sport. Its 1000-denier drop-stitch design allows you to glide effortlessly and quietly to your favorite spots.

The surface area is big enough to ensure you can move around without capsizing. Not to mention that you get a bunch of extras included in your purchase. These accessories are:

  • A repair kit
  • A manual pump
  • A standup paddle
  • A backpack
  • A storage box

The Aqua Marina Drift Fishing Paddle Board

If you’ve done some prior research, you’ll know that Aqua Marina is a pretty famous brand. They have a long-standing positive reputation for producing high-quality equipment.

This particular board features a handy double-sided rail to make sure you stay standing on even the choppiest of waters. Plus, it comes with a detachable cooler box, fishing seat, and a double rod holder.

The Best Fishing Coolers For SUP Fishing

SUP fishing coolers aren’t just for keeping your catch fresh. They can also be used for drinking water, food, and beer if you’re that way inclined.

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (much like paddle boards) so you’ll need to check whether it fits your board before you purchase.

Regardless, here are some of my favorite fishing coolers for SUP fishing.

YETI Roadie 20

YETI is a well-known brand in the industry and rightly so — they never fail to create durable, high-quality products. This cooler is no exception.

Even on the hottest days, this cooler will keep your drinks ice cold. Not to mention that it makes a fantastic seat.

The Anchorpoint tiedown additions also ensure you can secure it safely to your paddle board’s deck.

Grizzly Drifter 20

If you’d prefer a soft-sided cooler box then you can’t go wrong with the Grizzly Drifter 20!

It’s lighter than any hard-sided model and it comes with a variety of compartments and a handy flip-top lid. The interior is effectively insulated with enough space for snacks and drinks.

The only gripe I do have with this one is that you can’t also use it as a chair!

iROCKER SUP Cooler Deck Bag

This is one of the smallest SUP coolers available. At a mere 12.5 x 10.5 x 5.9 inches it is perfect for those who don’t want to take up too much deck space or favor shorter trips. It fits wonderfully on the nose of your board.

The expert construction ensures everything inside stays cooler, even in the sweltering heat. It comes with a handy carry strap and an outside pocket to further increase its usability.

Let’s Talk Fishing Rod Holders For Your SUP Board

Some paddle boards, like the Aqua Marina model I told you about earlier, come with rod holders. However, it might be that your dream SUP doesn’t so here’s what you should look for:

  • The adjustability
  • The kind of mount it comes with (suction cup, glue-on pad, etc.)
  • The usability (whether it fits multiple rods, whether it can handle various types of rods)

My favorite is the Scotty Fly Rod Holder. It comes with a mount so you won’t have to spend ages trying to clamp it to your board. Also, it’s incredibly adjustable so you can get the angle just right!

Quick SUP Fishing Anchor Chat

SUP fishing is extremely enjoyable but it becomes a lot less so if you can’t keep your board still long enough.

This is where a fishing anchor comes into play. It allows you to maintain your position as long as necessary so you don’t miss out on your biggest haul yet.

When you’re choosing an anchor, consider the design and weight of it, as well as the length of the rope. You don’t want to lose it in the ocean!

Additional Tips For Successful Paddle Board Fishing

Once you’re ready to go, keep these top tips and tricks in mind to ensure your experience is as successful as possible:

  • Plan your trip ahead of time and always use a checklist to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast (particularly the wind).
  • Make your first trip short.
  • Practice keeping your balance on the paddle board before your first trip.
  • Bring only necessary items. In other words, just keep things simple.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, your SUP fishing excursions won’t go to plan. But that’s okay! It should mainly be about having fun on the water.

You do need to be safe and bring the right gear. As long as you’re prepared, everything will go swimmingly.

Joseph Gambino

Paddle Board Enthusiast, Athlete and Blogger. Learn more about me here:

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