As we move later into summer, many anglers are gearing up for fishing season in the fall. Fishing is both a mental and physical workout, since you must think critically about where and how you cast off, as well as how you reel in your fish. The sport is also now expanding across multiple types of vessels to be more accessible to a wider audience. You no longer need a traditional fishing boat to be an angler.
In addition to fishing kayaks as a low-barrier way to get out on the water and fish, there are also now paddle boards designed for fishing! Stand up paddle boards, or SUP’s for short, have great potential to be easily-transportable angling options.
How to Fish with a Stand-Up Paddle Board
If you aren’t familiar with SUP’s, they’re essentially wide, flat hydrodynamic boards that you paddle on while standing up, as opposed to a seated position like with a kayak. SUPs are basically a hybrid between a surfboard and a kayak. They float on top of the water, as opposed to a boat where you glide through the water.
Fishing on a stand-up paddle board isn’t drastically different from kayak fishing, you’re just doing so from a different position. With SUP’s, you’re standing up to cast off, as well as reel in your fish, which allows you a more expansive vantage point when doing so. You can sit on the paddle board to cast off, but you won’t be as effective reeling in a fish from the seated position, nor will you be able to see what’s around you, as well.
Kneeling on your SUP to fish is certainly an option. You can either kneel upright or sit back on your heels. It’s super important, however, to keep your back straight when paddling. If you slouch or hunch forward while paddling, you force your arms and shoulders to do all the work instead of your core and you will tire very quickly!
The other thing to adjust to with an SUP is balancing from the standing position and keeping track of your paddle. Paddle boards typically come equipped with bungee straps to anchor your paddle when it’s not in use, and traditionally there’s an anchored ankle loop to use so you don’t get separated from your board if you lose your balance. Keep in mind how you want to anchor your tackle box or cooler on this board as well to maintain maneuverability.
SUP Fishing Tips and Tricks
Now that you understand the basics of SUP fishing, what can you do to improve your experience out on the water? What should you consider before investing in a stand-up paddle board? Here are some considerations:
- The wider and longer the board, the better. Especially if you’re new to fishing outside of a gas-powered boat, the extra length and girth will help you balance better as you adjust to paddling and casting off.
- Be smart about add-ons. You won’t be able to take all your fishing supplies with you on an SUP as you would a fishing kayak, but they do make staple SUP add-ons like rod holders, paddle leashes, and anchors to allow you the simplicity of packing light without sacrificing functionality.
- Prepare for a full-body workout. Carefully consider what shape you’re in, and how much experience you have maneuvering a stand-up paddle board. Since you’ll be standing for most of the fishing trip, you will have to adjust to balancing and bracing yourself from a standing position, as opposed to the seated position. From core strengthening to muscle building, SUP fishing will engage your entire body throughout the trip. Make sure to take breaks and bring snacks so you don’t burn out!
- Embrace your surroundings! SUP’s are usually easily transportable by just one person, and you can carry it down to the water with ease. This expands where you can start and stop from along your fishing trip as well as where you can navigate to while floating. Checking out smaller spots can yield some great catches.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking to expand and challenge your fishing experience, stand up paddle boards are an accessible, fun, and engaging spin on traditional fishing boats. You get the mental and physical benefits of a human-powered vessel, while also contributing to more ecological friendly sporting practices. Everyone wins, so get out there and have a great time!