While it is obvious to anyone on the water that stand up paddle boarding is hugely popular, there is a growing segment of those intrepid paddlers that are using their board to not only exercise and enjoy the outdoors but also to provide a tasty dinner. Stand up paddleboard fishing is a new and effective way to get on the water and catch fish.
Paddleboards have many advantages and can allow access to fishing areas that may otherwise be unobtainable. They are light and easy to transport with hard boards averaging less than 50 pounds. Inflatable boards are even lighter and easier to store rolling up and packing away. Paddleboards can be easily launched and retrieved from almost anywhere and learning to paddle one is fun and takes very little time. Maintenance is minimal and when you are finished paddling, with just a quick rinse you’re done. These boards are in fact the essence of simplicity on the water. As more people realize the benefits, paddleboard fishing has become a natural extension of the sport.
John Cleckner of Live Watersports, a manufacturer of premium paddleboards and a unique fishing board points out that most people starting out think that paddleboards are not stable enough to fish off. They see novices trying to stay upright and think that the boards are just not capable of being fishing platforms. His L2Fish board is proof positive that a purpose built board can not only work as a fishing platform but excels at creating a unique and exhilarating way to catch fish. When asked what single factor a person considering fishing from a paddleboard should consider his answer was “stability.”
Cleckner points out that in order to enjoy your time fishing on the water you must have a board that is stable so that you can concentrate on fishing and not keeping your balance. A narrow touring, racing or utility board would not make a good fishing platform because it is too tippy. He points out that the L2Fish board is built for stability. Incorporating a unique catamaran design with a wide 34-inch deck and weighing only 48 pounds, the board provides a wide and stable platform that anglers can not only fish from comfortably but can also move around and load with coolers, fishing equipment and even a passenger of the human or K9 variety.
Other factors to look for in a fishing board include considering necessary attachments and rigging of the board. Because you are not just going for a short paddle but will actually be fishing you will need to bring tackle and rods with you and need a way of securing them to your board. Track systems such as those found on the L2Fish offer a wide array of mounting options (over 150 different attachments for their built in YakAttack system). Other boards may have tie downs or bungee systems, which also work well for holding your fishing necessities. If the board doesn’t have sufficient tie downs after market versions are also available and can be attached. Just as with fishing kayaks you can customize your board to suit your needs.
Where you will be paddling should also factor into what kind of board to purchase says Cleckner. If you will be fishing an area with lots of rocks or sharp obstructions such as oysters you may not want an expensive composite board. They can be made up of thin layers of composites and foam and easily damaged when running into rocks or rocky bottom. A proprietary plastic and composite mix such as that used in the L2Fish can reduce damage. Taking it a step further there are the rotomolded boards that although heavier, are virtually indestructible. One such board is the Kaku SUP. Made of the same material as many rotomolded kayaks these boards are virtually indestructible while still offering stability and fishing room.
If you are on board a yacht or travel extensively an inflatable SUP that is made for fishing may be a better option for you. Boards such as new models made by Sevylor are a good option. With them you enjoy a stable ride with the added capability of deflating them, rolling them up, and packing them in a backpack. With features such as deck bungees, and even a sight window that lets you see underwater, these boards are surprisingly rigid. David Hirst of Coleman, Sevylor’s parent company says that a common mistake with these boards is to underinflate them and recommends using the gauge on their supplied pump to make sure the board is inflated to the optimal pressure.
No matter which board you choose, fishing from a SUP is an experience you will want to repeat time and time again.