Fish a Paddleboard

Maximizing for the minimalist.

By Peter Hinck

First time on a SUP? You’ll want to travel lighter than this guy…and stow electronic devices and valuables in waterproof containers.

A high-vis, mesh flotation jacket with a pocket to hold a marine-safety whistle is a good start. An inflatable vest, again with that whistle close where you can reach it, is another option. Before sunrise and after sunset, you’ll also need a waterproof flashlight.

What might you add to the board to help in fishing?

A few bungee cords set up on the deck of a SUP may be all you need to hold your tackle and rod in place. But there are other options.

The same crate packs commonly installed on kayaks can be adapted to a standup paddleboard, providing PVC pipes for rod holders and room for fishing gear. They’re easy to add to a fiberglass SUP, either in front or behind where you stand. SUP tie-down kits use adhesive deck anchors that stick to the fiberglass deck and allow you to mount your crate.

Coolers in varying configuration can add a lot to your fishing platform, and not just to keep your drinks cold. A sturdy, latching cooler makes a great dry box to put your fishing tackle, keys, cell phone and other items in. You might also mount a Scotty rod holder and a paddle clip to the cooler. The cooler also makes a nice seat.

Author’s growing fleet of fish-ready SUPs.

Rod holders on standup paddleboards can be PVC pipe, Scotty or Ram holders, or custom made by the paddleboard company. Which ones you use will have a lot to do with the kind of SUP that you have. Fiberglass boards, as noted, will accommodate a crate with the PVC pipe holders or a cooler with rod holders. Bote SUP makes a fishing post that will hold two rods. Scotty or Ram rod holders are easy to mount on a poly-rotomolded SUP, but installation on a fiberglass board is not recommended. Make sure to mount the holder where it will not be in the way of your paddle stroke. The Native Hybrid Versa Board comes with a track system for a groove mount Scotty holder so you can have the rod holder where you like without drilling. Dragonfly SUPs are made to order and the company will put a Scotty holder on the board anywhere you like. Their SUP does come with a mount to attach a Dragonfly cooler that has a Scotty rod and drink holder built in.

You don’t need a lot to hold a SUP in place. A short line with a 2-pound folding anchor or a 4-pound dive weight will do the trick. I like to tie it off to the back of the board. Stake out poles work great on the flats. It will stop you from drifting up on the school of reds and allows you to make the perfect cast. A small drift chute will slow your drift to a crawl and let you stand and work a flat on a windy day.
A fishfinder with a GPS can be a great accessory offshore or in deeper waters—but remember these boards are tippy! A portable unit like the Humminbird385ci with its soft-sided case and battery is an easy mount, if you’ve a stable platform and expert paddling skills.

Livebait fishing can be the trick to landing a large fish on a SUP. A small cooler or bucket will do. Add an aerator and you are ready to go. Be careful not to overfill the bait well. The weight of the water in the well can make the SUP tippy. I like to keep it about one-third full.

Last but not least, a paddleboard calf leash can be a lifesaver, particularly if you’re paddling far from shore or in water over your head. One end hooks up to the back of the board and the other around your ankle. If you get knocked off for any reason, the board will stay with you. These devices are inexpensive and easy to find at surf shops and kayak shops, as well as online. FS

  • Lawrence Ben

    Pete: Another outstanding video!

  • SUPfishgear

    All kinds of new SUP fish gear, check supfishgear.com

  • fathead

    Check out the Deep Blue Talon at http://www.pelagosdesign.com and contact Mike for questions or custom orders.

  • robertmaloney743

    Fishing from a paddleboard seems a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t go for fish bigger than smallmouth bass or perch. I mean, what do you do if you hook a heavy fish like a giant trevally, that likes to drop down like a rock? One mistake and you go for a swim. Btw, found a nice post on fishing and tackle for giant trevally, here: http://hummingbirdfishfinderreviews.com/how-to-catch-giant-trevally-giant-trevally-tackle.

  • Bonefish Cooler Co.

    check out http://www.bonefishcooler.com. We build high quality, ready to go SUP Fishing Coolers.

  • http://paddleboardingcentral.com/ Paddlers Central

    Nice post, am getting more and more interested in SUP fishing and will be featuring it more on my site!