Paddleboard Fishing: Basic Setup & Tips

Fishing is one of the most relaxing and yet exciting activities you can do on or near the water. Humankind has been fishing for about as long as they’ve been on the planet, both for recreation and survival.

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime

Paddleboarding is not such an old activity, but it’s still been around in one form or another for at least a few hundred years. Like fishing, it can be both relaxing and exciting, and it’s also a fantastic form of exercise.

So, what happens if you combine these two popular pastimes? You get SUP fishing!

SUP fishing, or paddleboard fishing, provides you with the perfect way to cast your fishing line from out in the water instead of from land. You could use a boat or even a fishing kayak, but standing on a rigid or inflatable paddleboard gives you a unique perspective over the water.

So why should you try paddleboard fishing? Here’s why!

SUP fishing can be a lot of fun.

The 5 advantages and benefits of SUP fishing

Standup paddleboard fishing offers some truly unique advantages and benefits. You only have to try it once to see (and feel) just how enjoyable this pastime can be. The main reasons to take up SUP fishing include:

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1. Easy mobility. paddleboards can go pretty much anywhere, even in very shallow water. You can also launch a paddleboard from almost anywhere too. Because of this, you can seek out hard-to-reach fishing spots and even follow the fish to their hidey-holes. You can’t do that on a boat, and some kayaks may struggle to match paddleboards for mobility on shallow water.

2. Silent movement. You can paddle a SUP while making very little noise. Light paddle strokes cause barely a ripple, so you won’t scare off the fish. Once you are in position, you can just float and wait for the fish to bite. With no engines, paddleboards are also very good for the environment.

3. Good visibility. Standing on a paddleboard puts you in a very advantageous position for scoping out the surrounding area. If the water is clear, you should be able to see down ten meters/30 feet or more, and you should be able to pick out fish that are some distance away too. Knowing where the fish are will make them much easier to catch.

4. Challenging. Let’s be honest; standing on a paddleboard takes balance. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. But, once you have mastered this challenge, you’ll find SUP fishing is very physically and mentally rewarding. It’s also a very enjoyable form of exercise that’s good for your core, arms, and legs.

5. Not too expensive. Fishing kayaks and boats can be expensive. SUPs for fishing are not usually quite so costly, especially if you go for a mid-priced inflatable. Inflatable SUPs are every bit as stable as rigid boards but are usually less than half the price. This means that SUP fishing is a very budget-friendly activity.

The Basic Paddleboard Fishing Setup

Make sure you enjoy Sup fishing by having all the right equipment.

These are the things that should be considered essential:

1. Paddleboard

Whether you buy or rent, you need a paddleboard for SUP fishing. A board made for angling is your best choice but, if you don’t have one or want a board you can use for other types of paddling, almost any wide, stable, buoyant board will do.

“Real” fishing SUPs have rod holder mounts and lots of space to store your other equipment. Some fishing SUPs also have seats for comfort. However, stability is the most important feature to look for, because, if you keep falling off your board, you won’t catch anything!

2. Fishing rod

Casting from a paddleboard can be tricky. It can throw you off balance. Make things easier on yourself by using a short fishing rod. You won’t be able to cast as far, but your casts will be much more accurate, and you are more likely to stay on your board too.

3. Net

a net is very useful for bringing fish onto your board. A large landing net also makes it easier to dehook your catch. Some even have telescopic handles for easier use and storage.

4. Rod holders

Fishing SUPs usually come supplied with rod holders, but they are also available as an aftermarket extra. They allow you to set your line and put your rod down, leaving you free to enjoy your day on the water.

5. Tackle and bait boxes

essential for successful fishing, make sure you can attach your tackle and bait boxes to your board. Most boards have bungee cords and D-rings for this.

You don’t need much equipment to fish from a paddleboard.

6. Cooler or ice chest

keep your catch and your refreshments cold. Again, you need to secure these items to your SUP, so make sure you have enough bungees or straps.

7. Anchor

a small anchor or kedge will stop you drifting and save you from having to put down your rod and paddle yourself back into position. Most SUP anchors are small and compact but are still sturdy enough to stop your paddleboard drifting away.

8. Personal floatation device

Even if you are an experienced paddler or a good swimmer, you should always wear a PFD. It’s no exaggeration to say it can be the difference between life and death.

9. Waterproof bags and cases

make sure you protect anything that could be damaged by water, such as your phone, GPS, or fishfinder. These items can be expensive, and the last thing you want to do is wreck yours if you fall in the water or your SUP capsizes.

10. SUP light

if you want to set out before dawn, or come in after dusk, or even try your hand at night fishing, you’ll need a SUP light. It will illuminate your way and also make you more visible to other watercraft. It can also attract fish. Some lights attach directly to your board, or you can wear a waterproof headtorch. Either way, a light is a must for paddling and fishing in the dark.

SUP Fishing is FUN!

The goal of any fishing trip is to come home with full nets but, with SUP fishing, you also get to enjoy paddling out on the open water. Because of this, even if you don’t catch anything, you can still have a really good time. And, as the saying goes…

Even the worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working!

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