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Can I Fish On My Stand Up Paddle Board?

The world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes offer endless exploration and bountiful recreation opportunities. Many people have their favorite water activity, whether it’s snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, or SUP boarding. But if you are someone who truly loves the water, the odds are you have more than one aquatic passion.

One beautiful aspect of watersports and aquatic hobbies is that they can usually be combined. Take SUP boarding and fishing for example. These are two activities that both involve the water, but couldn’t be more different from one another. With the right board and preparation, however, you might wonder if it’s possible to successfully fish on a SUP board.

It is certainly possible to fish on a SUP board if you take the necessary precautions, use the right board, and are properly prepared. When selecting a SUP board for fishing, choose a long and wide board with great stability, plenty of places to store belongings, and ample D-rings to attach essentials. When you start out, fish in ideal weather conditions and safe water that you know well.

Factors To Note Before Fishing On From Your SUP Board

The Type Of Fishing You Plan To Do

Just as there is not one type of paddling, there is also not one type of fishing. Fishing methods vary significantly, often based on the type of fish you are trying to catch, and the conditions in which you are fishing.

Naturally, deep-sea fishing isn’t something you will do on a SUP board, but fly fishing, lewer fishing, bait fishing, and drifting are all possible. However, the method you plan on using will dictate your SUP board setup and what you need to bring along.

The Size Of Your Board

The size of the board is a major factor to consider as you start to plan your SUP fishing adventure. As a general rule, the larger the board, the better it is for fishing. This is because fishing on a SUP board requires lots of stability, and also plenty of space. Fishing can be done simply. But even when you fish with minimal equipment, you still need supplies, a rod and reel, a net, and likely a cooler.

Inflatable Versus Hard SUP Boards

The type of board will also factor into whether or not fishing is a good idea in your SUP board. Inflatable boards can puncture, so hooks are certainly a hazard and require extra caution. The good thing about inflatables is they tend to have lots of D-rings. There are some great hard boards that are specifically designed for fishing and are a great investment if you plan on fishing on your SUP board often.

What You Might Catch

Think about the type of fish that are in the waters you are fishing, and what you are going after. Large and fighting fish might be thrilling to catch, but can be very difficult, if not impossible, to land on a SUP board. Remember your balance is limited, and a strong fish can drag you into dangerous waters. Make sure you are fishing for fish that you can actually hook and reel in without endangering your safety.

The Climate And Weather

Your climate and the specific weather are also factors to consider. SUP board fishing in Alaska might be fruitful, but the waters are near freezing temperatures. There is an increased risk of falling in and even capsizing on your SUP when fishing on it, so note the climate. You should also aim to fish on warmer days with no chance of rain and minimal wind. Windy days are particularly challenging when fishing on a SUP board.

The Water Conditions

The water conditions, including currents, water flows, depth, and rocky versus sandy bottoms are all things to consider before fishing on your SUP board. Make sure when you first start fishing on your SUP board that you are only fishing in areas with minimal currents, like lakes or protected coves.

Features To Consider When Selecting A SUP Board For Fishing

If you are on the hunt for the perfect SUP board for fishing or are trying to decide which of your boards is best for a fishing trip, there are some features you should consider. Below is a list of some of the most important aspects of a SUP board you should be on the lookout for when choosing the perfect fishing SUP board.

  • D-Rings For Attaching And Securing Items: The more places to latch on and attach things, the better. Lots of D-rings and attachment points will ensure that all your belongings are secure, even if you take a spill in the water while fishing on your SUP board.

  • Storage Bungees: Just like attachment points, bungees help secure your belongings like dry bags and tackle boxes.

  • Long And Wide Board Design: You should look for a board that is a minimum of 12’ and 33” wide. The longer and wider the board, the more stable it is likely to be. Also, large boards have plenty of space for you to put all your gear, a cooler, and space to move around when you fish.

  • High Weight Capacity: You also want a board that can handle lots of weight. Some inflatable and introductory budget boards can’t withstand much more than 300 pounds. Remember that a cooler and fishing gear can weigh more than 50 pounds, so you want a board that can handle 400 pounds or more.

10 Tips To Help You Fish Like A Pro On Your SUP Board

1. Keep Your Gear Connected And Secure

Fishing requires lots of gear and accessories. You need backup tackle, bait, gloves, a net, and more. Not to mention the rod and reel, and all that comes with packing for a SUP board adventure. Remember that even if you are a great and stable paddler, there is an increased chance of tipping over when you are fishing.

Fishing requires balance, and a bit of pull from a fish can throw you off balance. So you need to make sure all your gear is secured. This means placing everything in bags and clipping them to a crate or D-ring. Use multiple dry bags to organize and secure belongings you don’t want wet, and keep your pole and equipment locked in.

2. Convert Your Fishing Cooler Into A Seat

One great way to make fishing on your SUP board comfortable while also maximizing space is by using a sturdy cooler as a seat for fishing. Using a cooler as a chair is a way to turn your SUP board into a kayak of sorts. It gives you a powerful and stable position to cast and reel in fish from as well. It can be much easier to crank in a fish while seated than while balancing on your feet.

Coolers are essential for long days on the water, but they take up space. Sitting on the cooler frees up more space on the nose and tail of the board for other essentials.

3. Purchase Or Build Secure Pole Holders

In order to have a safe and pleasant time while fishing on your SUP board, you really need to invest in a quality pole holder or two. Ideally, you want a device that latches onto your pole and will keep hold of it even if your board tips over.

A good pole holder also makes it possible for you to fish and paddle at the same time. You can keep your line out, secure the rod, then paddle, drop an anchor, or grab a snack. When you only have two hands and so much to do on your SUP board, fishing is challenging unless you have a reliable rod holder.

4. Bring Along Quality First Aid And PFD

With so many variables at play, you don’t want to have to worry about whether or not your safety gear is up to par. Wear a quality fishing PFD in case you take a spill into the water. Remember you might even fall in while holding your reel, so a great life jacket is essential. You also need to wear it all the time. This means it should be comfortable. Buy a PFD that you can cast and paddle in without it feeling like it’s inhibiting your good time.

5. Secure Your Paddle At All Times

In addition to securing all your fishing gear, you need to make sure your paddle is also always safe. If you have a paddle board with a paddle holder that’s fantastic. But paddle holder or not, make sure your paddle is connected to a rope of some sort that is also attached to the board. This will prevent your paddle from falling into the water when both of your hands are occupied.

6. Bring An Anchor To Help Keep You In Place

With so many moving parts, it’s nice to have an anchor to keep you in place when you are fishing on your SUP board. Some fish like when the bait (and you) drift, but in other instances it is best to stay put. This is particularly true if you are fishing a particularly successful spot with lots of fish. Drifting can also get a bit dangerous if you aren’t constantly aware of your surroundings. Staying anchored in one spot keeps you in safe waters that you know.

7. Have All The Essential Gear Within Reach

It is one thing to pack all the gear you need, it is a whole different challenge to have everything you need in arm’s reach. When you pack your belongings for a fishing trip on a SUP board, be strategic. Keep things you will use frequently on top and within reach. Items you are unlikely to need should be stored closer to the nose of the board. SUP boards are not as stable as other vessels, so having things close will make the balancing act much easier.

8. If The Fish Is Too Big, Cut It Loose

While every fisherman loves the tale of “The Old Man And The Sea,” this doesn’t mean it is a good idea to get dragged around in your SUP board by a large fish with lots of fight. Make sure you know your limitations going in. Start small, and go after small fish that are manageable. If you happen to hook a larger fish, that’s great as long as your safety doesn’t feel impacted.

If you find yourself unprepared for what’s on the hook, or if you sense danger, cut it loose. You might lose a few dollars in tackle, but that’s nothing compared to an emergency rescue by the Coast Guard.

9. Only Cast Out In Ideal Conditions

When you are still a fishing while paddling beginner you should only paddle out in ideal conditions. it is essential you check the weather conditions before you SUP board on any occasion, but with added variables and challenges involved with fishing on a SUP board, you should only choose days with fantastic weather.

10. Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

It is easy to get gassed up and over-eager when you prepare to fish on your SUP board. You may already have visions of a great battle with a large delicious fish, but remember to remain realistic. Start out small and get comfortable with the act of fishing on a SUP board before you try anything too ambitious. Remember both fishing and SUP boarding are skills that take time and patience to master, and when you combine the two the same philosophy applies.

Final Thoughts On Fishing On Your SUP Board

SUP boards might not be the most popular vessels to fish on, but it is entirely possible if you plan and prepare yourself. Make sure you have all your belongings secured onto your board before launching your SUP board. You should know the waters you are fishing in, including what the currents are like and the type of fish that inhabit the waters. Most of all, it is best to start small and not overly ambitious, as it takes time to master the skills and balance required to fish on a SUP board.

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