10 Tips for Paddle Board Fishing

Standup Paddle Board Fishing has become very popular for its access to the nooks and crannies of ocean and freshwater and the ease of movement on the flat lake and bay waters that can offer bigger species of fish. 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 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 SUPs that are round in front that is smaller and lighter than Surf-type paddleboards.

These are not very good for fishing for a couple of different reasons. The first type is a  Surf type of 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 a 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 type I purchased is the Catamaran which 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


3.  SUP Fishing Set-Up


SUPs for Fishing

Some people use SUPs for yoga some people use SUPs for exercise some people use SUPs for exploration and traveling but I use my SUP for Fishing. Fishing in places that I could never get to by boat or on foot even with waders on.

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 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 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 is not very hard for me to do on the water and drifted away into some shallows filled with reeds and 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 is 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 that falls up ahead. The paddle board goes to the 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 Paddleboard you need to remember the elements and where you are at. You standing on moving water balanced aboard. There are some issues that you need to be aware of. Drifting with the current or tide so that you not trying to 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 are a couple of things you should to do make things safer especially if you are using a fly or lure casting most of the time.

  • Anchor off
  • Use Stabilizers for SUPs
  • 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 are all kinds of clothing for this popular sport.

Paddling Boots or Water Shoes and Booties are 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 which will free up more space on your board.


What is a SUP Paddle Board?

SUPs (Stand Up Paddleboards) are H2O boards that can be outfitted for fishing, cruising, exploring, or any type of recreation that is done on a lake, river, or ocean activity SUPs come in: inflatable or solid construction 3 sizes & shapes Short-<10′ Medium-10-12′ Long-12′ 6″ 2 Hulls-Planing & Displacement ………………………………………………………………. Read more


9. Safety Equipment For Your Fishing SUP

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

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


What Gear do you Need to Set up a SUP for Fishing?

  • SUP Suction or Attached Mounts System
  • Paddle Clip Mounts-SUP Rod Holders
  • SUP Track Mount System-Air Pump Compressor
  • SUP Stabilizers-SUP Anchor-LED Light Systems
  • SUP Deck Bags-Life Jacket
  • Electric Trolling Motor(optional) with Remote
  • Fishing Cooler Box(Seat)
  • Stand Up Paddle Board Storage Rack-SUP Board Dolly ……………………………………………………………………………. Read more

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 where some people are fishing and 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 and 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.


What are SUP Tips and Techniques?

  • Where to use your SUP
  • How to launch
  • Move from the Kneeling position
  • Standing on your SUP comfortably
  • How to choose the right SUP Paddle
  • How to Hold a SUP Paddle Properly
  • How to Perform SUP Paddle Strokes to move, turn & keep your Board Moving straight
  • How to Fall off & get back on your SUP ..……………………………………………………………………………………………….. Read more


JimGalloway Author/Editor


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