Fishing is a relaxing and enjoyable time spent on the water for many regular and part-time fishers alike. The majority of those who fish are used to doing it from shore or out of a vessel like a fishing kayak or boat. However, many experienced anglers have opted to use a stand up paddle board to enjoy their favorite pastime, fishing. So if you’re curious and handy with a paddle board, then SUP fishing (stand up paddle board fishing) is a great way to enjoy this water activity.

Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Board Fishing

Ease of Transportation

There’s lots to know, but a great place to start is by appreciating one of SUP fishing’s major advantages: transportation. Their ease of use and setup make them a great option because there’s a lot less involved. This offers users the ability to reach fishing locations quickly and easily. No worries about hitching up a trailer and boat to move from area to area or installing a roof rack on your car. Just grab your inflatable SUP in its roller backpack, put it in the trunk, and head to the water.
woman easily attaches a fin to her SUP on the beach

No need for all the hassle that comes with boats and trailers. Easy setup makes for an enjoyable day!

An Affordable Vessel

There are many benefits to using a stand up paddle board to fish. They are not only easy to move from place to place, but they are very affordable. Especially when compared to buying a boat, trailer, fuel, etc. Their cost can be comparable in price to a canoe or kayak. And the best paddleboards come with everything you need to get started, included in an affordable package.

Nimble and Maneuverable

Like those smaller vessels, stand up paddleboards are extremely maneuverable and have a shallow draft. They allow the person fishing to find new shallow water spots to cast from that might otherwise be inaccessible. Boats need to stay away from shallow waters and anything that can get caught up in the motor.

Take a look at how Mike is managing to avoid the rain:

Quiet and Stealthy

Another great thing about fishing from a stand up paddle board is that they’re quiet. You can stealthily paddle into your ideal location without disturbing what you’re hoping to catch. They are also less intrusive than a boat or a kayak, so the fish will be less apt to scatter at the board’s approach.

Ideal Sight Lines and Casting Position

Using a SUP board allows you to look down into the water and cast from a standing position. This gives you a better perspective than fishing from a skiff, kayak, or canoe and is more comfortable for accurate casting. If you do want to sit down on your SUP, you can always grab an attachable kayak seat. You could even attach a cooler to your d-rings, giving you the best of both worlds. In the end, using a stand up paddle board for fishing provides a variety of advantages. It also can open access to a variety of spots you previously may have been unable to reach.

couple paddles from upgraded Thurso Surf SUPs with kayak seats

Easily adapt your SUP into a kayak for seated cruising.

Choosing the Right Fishing Paddle Board

Once you decide to enjoy fishing by paddle board, the next step is choosing the right one. While paddle boards are not going to cost what a boat would, there are a still a few factors and requirements that are worth consideration. SUPs come in all shapes and sizes. So think about what’s important to you as the paddler. Some people will only want to use their SUP for fishing while others may take advantage of having a SUP for all kinds of other activities. Think about how you want to use your SUP and the types of activities you plan to use if for.

man paddles his fishing paddle board near rocks and seaweed

Paddle out and into places where boats and motors can’t reach.

Types of Fishing Paddle Boards

When looking for the best fishing paddle board there are various types of SUPs to consider. As previously stated, the best thing to do is first figure out what you want to use it for. Then see which type fits your goals and interests best. In the end, it’s a personal preference. They all have their advantages and disadvantages; you just have to find the one that suits you best.

All-around – If you’re a beginner, then an all-round board is great to help with stability as your balance is learned and improved. They are stable, and have a good glide for both paddling on flat water and rougher seas. They’re the perfect option if you’re just getting started in the sport or like to do lots of other SUP activities, including fishing, because of their versatility.

Check out how Hiro has his Waterwalker 126 rigged up:

Touring – Touring stand up paddleboards are designed for long distance and speed. That’s why they their nose is pointed and body much narrower than other boards. This helps them cut through any chop as they glide across the water. These boards are great for what they’re designed for so, if you’re planning on doing some long distance touring and speed is of upmost importance, then they’re a great option. However, as a primary fishing vessel, a touring board is too narrow to make it a first choice for SUP fishing.

Yoga – The name says it all. These SUPs are specifically designed with yoga in mind. Not only do you get a SUP, you get a stable platform to practice your yoga routine. Yoga SUPs have a larger deck pad than the other SUPs which allows for good grip and ample space while working through poses. Their larger size does increase their overall friction on the water so they tend to be slower than other boards, but when it comes to yoga, what’s the rush? If you’re going for a specialty board for your fishing vessel, a multi-purpose SUP or dedicated fishing SUP would be a better choice, but a yoga board could double as a fishing board if you enjoy both.

Multi-purpose – These are the giants of the SUP world. Their size make them incredibly stable. They’re more than big enough for multiple riders and have enough padded deck space to easily fit all your gear and keep you from slipping with the big one on the hook. However, their large size makes them slightly slower than the other boards. That being said, if you plan to use your paddleboard for fishing, the stable platform and generous deck pad that a multi-purpose SUP offers is just what you’re looking for.

Now that you’re familiar with the types of SUPs out there, take some time to reflect. Think more about which sounds like you and the type of stand up paddle boarder you want to be. They’re all great options. Each can be used for fishing. It just depends on what type of fishing and possibly other activities you’d like to use your SUP for.

woman paddle a Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP toward rocks in the distance

Get a different perspective on the water while standing.

Our Picks for the Best Fishing Paddle Board

The Max – This board is a great multi-purpose paddle board that is much like a larger all-around SUP. It’s inflatable and can easily be used by more than one rider at a time. That also means it’s great for taking pets along as well. It’s also perfect for fishing, as it can carry lots of extra items as needed, like a large deck cooler. So, if you’re the type of angler that likes to bring lots of gear with you, it’s a great option. Buyers can find it in a package with a good carbon shaft paddle, a tool free quick-lock fin set, a double-action pump, a 10’ coiled leash, and an awesome roller backpack that can be carried and used for storage.

Hope you land a whopper that’s as wide as your board like our friend Spencer:

The Waterwalker 132 – This is a great all-around inflatable paddle board that gives you all the bells and whistles you’d expect at an awesome price. The Waterwalker’s hybrid shape combines the best of an all-around board combined with the extended glide and efficiency of a touring board. It offers excellent stability while also remaining surprisingly quick and versatile. Although you lose some of the capacity and deck pad coverage that you get with The Max multi-purpose SUP, you gain in maneuverability.

Final Thoughts

The best fishing paddle board is out there, but it’s a personal preference. Simply take the time to think about what you want to do and base your decision on that. Remember; you can use your SUP for many more activities other than fishing. When you do finally get your SUP, whichever it may be, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fun it truly is. Many who get started with SUP as a new way to fish are also now enthusiastic stand up paddle boarders. Looking forward to seeing you out there!

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About the Author: Matt G.

Matt Gelgota is a traveler and all around digital marketing guy. His greatest adventure to date was the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile unsupported on and off-road saga from Sweden to Mongolia. He has visited more than 50 countries and has been paddling a Thurso Surf Expedition since 2018. Since then he’s had a chance to paddle board in Nepal, Thailand, Japan, and the US. When he’s not on the road he divides his time between Tokyo and Atlanta, Georgia.

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