If you love to fish from a kayak or canoe then stand up paddle fishing is going to blow you away! Once you get the hang of paddle boarding you will quickly realize that it is an awesome way to fish. You can get to your favorite fishing spot quickly and check out all the underwater action on your way there due to the height advantage over your kayaking buddies. Fishing paddle boards are quicker and easier to get to your launch spot than a kayak and you will get a great full body workout on the way to your favorite spot, or even find new spots with the extra visibility you get from standing. Why pay big bucks for a tower when all you need to do is stand on your own feet!
Paddleboard manufacturers have quickly caught on to the recent upsurge in fishing from a board and are busy creating specialty boards, accessories, and gear to turn an ordinary board into a portable fishing dock. If you choose the right fishing SUP it will be stable enough for you and all your gear, allow you to move around naturally and get you to the fishing spot quickly and with minimal noise.
The quick answer is below but keep on reading to get all the details on qualities that make an outstanding fishing paddle board and a comparison chart of these boards.
What to look for in choosing the best fishing SUP
Choosing the right fishing paddle board is a little different than most other paddling activities. You need to consider the extra weight from your gear plus have enough room to secure it. Somewhere to stow your paddle is mandatory. A little extra height gives you an increased vantage point.
When shopping for a paddle board the manufacturer always gives weight limits. Be realistic about how much weight you will be bringing with you including ice chests, food and water, extra fishing gear or clothes and whatever you take with you. Don’t forget the weight of all the fish you will be bringing home, especially if you are out for some biggies! If you are right around the limit then round up and move to the next size.
Length and Width
If you know you will have a lot of gear and want to add extra accessories you may want to choose a longer board. The added length will give you additional places to stow gear and also make the board a little sturdier
The width of the board is very important. You want a minimum of 30″ for stability. If you want to feel really solid in the water it’s a good idea to go a little wider than this. The extra width will allow added stability and allow you to maneuver around on the board more. If your cooler is stored at the back of the board you want to be able to turn around while standing and access it. Having to sit down to turn around will get old real quick.
The thickness of the board is also important. Most boards specially designed for fishing will be 6″ thick. This makes the board more rigid and more stable. It will also keep your feet dryer than a thin board which makes a difference if you are in cold water or out all day. The extra inch also gives you an extra height boost giving you greater visibility into what is going on in the water around you.
The hull shape might also be a deciding factor for you. A displacement hull has a v shape to it. This type of hull doesn’t make the water slap noise as much as a round or planing hull. If keeping noise to a minimum is a requirement of yours then you will definitely want something with a pointy nose.
Deck Pad and Cushioning
And last but not least don’t forget some cushioning. You will be standing, or sitting, on your board for quite a while. A pad with a good grip and a little extra cushion can make your day much more comfortable. This is where an inflatable board really shines! You can also add a small seat or sit on your cooler.
And as always don’t buy a board because it has the coolest storage thingy or accessories you want. Really look at the shape, size and characteristics of the board and you can always add all the extras you want later. That way you can really customize it to fit your needs.
Best Fishing Paddle Boards for 2018
|Bote HD 12' x 32" All Around Fishing Stand Up Paddleboard with Free Vamo Tie Downs and Vamo Roof Rack Pads (Bug Slinger)||ISLE 12'6 Airtech Inflatable Touring Stand Up Paddle Board (6" Thick) Package||Imagine Surf V2 Wizard Angler SUP Stand Up Fishing Paddle Board||Zray Inflatable Paddle Board with Seat, 9'9" X1 SUP Package, Pump/Paddle/Backpack Included, 6" Thick|
|Weight Capacity||375 lbs||275 lbs||305 lbs||264 lbs|
|Board Weight||38 lbs||20.5 lbs||68 lbs||16.3 lbs|
|Fins||Center fin only, can add 2 side fins||2 +1 configuration||Center fin only||Center fin only|
|Construction||The Bote HD is available as EPS foam core or inflatable||Inflatable to 15 psi||Molded polyethelene||Inflatable to 15 psi|
|Paddle||Not included on this model||Included - Adjustable||Not included||Included - Adjustable|
|Storage||Bungees front and back||1 bungee in front||Everywhere!||1 bungee in front|
|Warranty||1 year for manufacturing defects||1 year for manufacturing defects||Have to request from manufacturer||1 year for manufacturing defects|
|Available Extras||Paddle Sheath, Sandspear Sheath, Stash pod, Rac System attachments. Options depend on board construction||Any aftermarket accessories you can come up with||4 fishing mounts, 2 rod holders, paddle clip, 2 storage hatches and flip up seat all standard||Comes with an optional seat|
|Pros||Best of the best! Great for fishing, touring, paddling. Amazing performance in most conditions||Amazing inflatable SUP at a can't beat price! Great all around board and good performance for all levels||Excellent board for fishing with lots of accessories standard.||Great starter board at a really good price, lots of happy customers|
|Cons||Pricey and all the extras can really add up||None that really matter but the included pump isn't great, not much standard storage.||Really heavy, not great for any other type of paddling because of all the molded plastic||This is a beginner board and lacks some of the performance the Isle board will have|
Pros and Cons of stand up paddle fishing vs. kayak
Paddleboarding is a great exercise. It will work your entire body, arms, legs, and core. Since your whole body is involved you may be able to go for longer or farther than you would if it was just your arms doing all the work like in kayak, or just your legs in a paddling kayak. You can still sit down and take a break or paddle on your knees if you need to.
A paddle board, especially an inflatable one, is generally lighter and easier to load onto your car and get to your launch spot than a kayak. All the information you need to know about inflatable SUP’s can be found on a previous post here: What to look for when buying an inflatable paddle board
If you have some extra weight or stability issues than a paddle board is probably not for you. Taking a dunk or flipping a fully loaded board is not an ideal situation. If everything is strapped properly you will be fine but….
If you are going to be paddling regularly at a windy spot a low profile kayak will serve you better. Paddling against the wind is hard work and not a lot of fun.
Need more reasons why you should give a fishing SUP a try? Check out what the guys at Salt Strong have to say about it here: 3 Reasons All Kayak Anglers Should Consider Paddle Board Fishing