10 Tips for Paddle Board Fishing

Standup Paddle Board Fishing has become very popular for its access to the nooks and crannies of Bass Fishing and ease of movement on the flat lake and bay waters that can offer bigger species of fish. Do you want to try the cool experience of SUP fishing and don’t know where to begin?

Here are my 10 tips for what you need to know to experience the wonderful world of SUP Fishing. You need to Know How:


  1. To choose the right Board
  2. To operate a SUP
  3. To Dress your SUP for fishing
  4. Only take things you will use
  5. To Pick accessible spots 
  6. To Navigate water safely 
  7. To learn to Cast from a SUP
  8. What to wear for SUP Fishing
  9. To Use Safety Equipment
  10. To Use SUP Etiquette

Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing is the closest and most ultimate way to feel the natural experience of being on the water. In order to get the most complete experience, you need to learn to do it right.

1. How to Choose SUP Board

When you are ready to look at paddle boards I would suggest what I did and rent one first. The different sizes and types are easy to explain if you know anything about boats or water. There are SUP’s that are round in front that is smaller and lighter that are Surf type paddleboards.

These are not very good for fishing for a couple of different reasons. The first type is a  Surf type Planing Hull that is narrower in the middle and has a rounded front, that rides above the water. This type of board can slap the water as you move forward. This will make noise that will scare any fish away and will add drag to your movement.

The second type is Displacement Hull with a V type front that normally is wide boards and can move better and more efficiently cutting through the water and taking off the drag. The last type is a type I purchased is the Catamaran that is a double V hull.

It has the widest type of platform and a larger surface area that sits on the water adding the most stability. This is the type most guys are buying because of the capability to add the equipment you’ll need to fish with. This is the type I bought. The most important part of this board is that it can provide Balance.

You need a board that you are comfortable riding on and fishing on. Fishing requires motion and motion will require that you are balanced and comfortable.

2. How to Paddle Board For Beginners


Before you purchase a paddleboard you might want to test one or two by renting them. This is a great opportunity to learn the do’s and don’ts and rehearse getting on and around. The guy or gals that rent these boards will give you a quick lesson and you’ll be on your way in no time. There is some sizing according to your body size especially important is the paddle size. There are a few techniques to stand up-kneel down and turn the board around. The movements are easily learned after a while with some practice. You’ll get it.

3.  SUP Fishing Set-Up

If your plan is to fish on your SUP then your paddle board should be dressed to address what you’ll need for the day out on the water. The first is rod holders I use two rods and keep one ready to go just in case I break a line or want to change colors on a lure. Vertical Rod Holders will do the trick. You want easy access to your poles. Box to keep your tackle and equipment in. Most people use an old milk container that you can bungee right to the board. There are endless attachments for everything from Go Pros to Bait Plates to cut your bait or store your lures.

4. Must Have SUP Accessories

Naturally, You won’t have a lot of room on your SUP. So take the equipment you will be using that  If I’m on the bay I will change tackle from the fish Box container for whatever fish I’m looking for.

The Box and Cooler with the Rod Holders are attached to the board and stay but any extra stuff I’ll take off depending on how long I’m going out for what fish I’m fishing for. Whether I am using my stabilizers that I don’t use all the time like deck bags or Anchor that I can trade off for maybe bringing my Labrador Retriever.


5. Pick Spots That are Accessible on Your SUP

One of the things I did on my first trip out using my new SUP, was to get a little into my own thoughts which are not very hard for me to do on the water and drifted away into some shallows filled with reeds mud. Thinking I could paddle my board out, I just got more tangled up and ended up getting muddied and wet dragging my board out. There were a couple of chuckles and comments from my buddies.

In all seriousness, there are some dangerous places to look out for too. If you’re off the side of a river and drift out close to the channel where the boat traffic is. You need to pay attention not to get caught in any currents that you may accidentally float into. It’s all about paying attention to the water.

6. Navigate Waters Safely With Your SUP

On a SUP board, you’re about the most vulnerable person on the water. Watch out for powerboats and other crafts. Use your signaling devices to help them spot you. Wearing brightly colored life jackets and apparel in well-traveled waterways can be a lifesaver. Also, many boating accidents involve alcohol, So it just best to leave the celebration until you’re back onshore. Wear protective gear and travel with a partner.

Even if you’re just out fishing it’s possible to run into problems. Look out for any whitewater or falls up ahead. The paddle board goes place where other vessels don’t go, so keep your eyes open for any logs or debris in the water or running deep to shallow and catching your fin and bottoming out for a nice tumble off the front of the SUP.  I’ve done it.

7. Learn To Cast From Your Fishing SUP

If you are going to stand and cast from a Stand Up Paddle board you need to remember the elements and where you are at. Your standing on moving water, balanced on aboard. There are some issues that you need to be aware of. Drifting with current or tide so that your not trying battle against it is a good idea. There are very few things that you will need to do while fishing on a SUP that creates as much movement or demands more attention than casting. Here is a couple of things you should to do make things safer especially if you are using a fly or lure casting mist of the time.

  • Anchor off
  • Use Stabilizers for SUP’s
  • Drift with the current not through it or against it.

8. What To Wear on Your Fishing SUP

Clothing for SUP fishing is mostly a common-sense approach to temperature and conditions that you normally use when fishing. I don’t go out on my board in the cold weather or when the sun goes down but there is all kinds of clothing for this popular sport.

Paddling Boots or Water Shoes and Booties made from durable nylon and neoprene. Wet suits for colder water, gloves, and Polarized Sunglasses. New Fishing Life Vest that will double as a flotation device and hold all your fishing gear that will free up more space on your board.

9. Safety Equipment For Your Fishing SUP

There are few pieces of necessary safety equipment used when fishing on your SUP. Under normal conditions and depending on where you are fishing, these are the basics

  • A flotation device
  • Paddle Leash
  • A Safety Whistle
  • Floatable Flashlight
  • Compass
  • Sunscreen-Hat-Bandana Mask

10. SUP Etiquette

Because most Stand Up Paddle Boarding is done in groups there should always be some rules of etiquette. With fishing on the lake in my Park, there are other activities that are going on in the vicinity of where some people are fishing some are cruising. The Yoga class has classes there on the weekend in the shallow end of the lake.

The lake is pretty big but there are mixed groups when it comes to SUP or any water activity. A few rules should be that your board shouldn’t get away from you should be connected. The SUP should be aware of any boat traffic and courteous of a right of way. The same rules would apply to surfers or kayakers.  Only Knuckleheads Drink Alcohol on The Water.  The water belongs to everyone.

A few years ago while I was chasing large Mouth Bass in the shallows of a lake located in a local park. I saw a dozen girls on surfboards standing on their heads doing Yoga. I went over and asked them about Stand Up Paddle Boards and why they were doing Yoga on surfboards in the lake and kind of snickered at them when I left.

I own two Boards now and thanks to that day found one of the best ways to fish up close and personal and haven’t used my kayak since.

JimGalloway Author/Editor

Related Questions:


Should I Plan My Water Entry and Exit Points. Yes always,Try and plan how far you have to walk back to the car. Even tyhough the borads are’nt heavy. It coul be better for you.

Do you need to Protect Your Board – again yes. Transporting your board is often over looked.  There is plenty of SUP racks you can purchase for the bed of your truck. If you have an SUV, I suggest getting a board bag and securing it to the roof rack. 

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