And you thought your iSUP was only good for exploring and relaxation. Paddle boards: catch a wave or catch your dinner! Yep, you read that right, cheesiness and all. With a little skill and guidance, you’ll be ready to bring your pole and tackle box on your next iSUP adventure. We’ll outline some pros and cons of this fishing method, along with how you should tackle this task.
Pros of Fishing from your iSUP:
- Easy to transport (much lighter than a kayak)
- Excellent visibility to see fish in the water
- Great full-body workout
- Easy to maneuver and access narrow waterways
Cons of Fishing from your iSUP:
- Be wary of underwater objects (ex. rocks and oyster bars)
- Good balance is necessary (wave activity or a strong fish can throw you off your game)
Tips for Fishing from your iSUP:
- Hold Your Rod- Have vertical rod holders attached to the side of your cooler. This creates easy access to your fishing pole(s) when you’re ready to cast. It’ll get pretty frustrating having to bend down and grab your pole every time you’re finished paddling.
Tip: Screw PVC pipe to the sides of your cooler for an easy DIY solution.
- Wading is an Option- When you’re fishing in shallow water and you’ve hooked a big one, wade in the water to create an anchor. If the fish is strong, it’ll drag you right over the school and scare the fish away. No bueno.
Tip: Bring along a pair of wading boots or old tennis shoes.
- Board Control- Tie a 6-10 foot rope around your waist and the other end to the board. When you’re wading in the water, you can easily pull the board back in your direction.
- Paddle Control- Tie a loop on each end of a 3 foot rope, wrap it around your waist and put one loop through the other. This lets the paddle rest from the loop on your waist onto the board. Lots of movement from picking up/setting down your paddle gets exhausting and scares away fish.
Tip: If you hook a fish, you can hold your pole with one hand and leverage your paddle through the loop to back-paddle.
- Gear Up- Bringing the right accessories are just as important as your technique.
- anchor: Bring an anchor and adjust its rope to match the depth. If you find a nice area, you’ll want to stay in place without constantly using your paddle.
- water/food: Duh. Long days on the water and in the sun can take a toll on you.
- First Aid kit: Just a basic one will do. You never know what’ll happen when you’re dealing with hooks. Even the pros make accidents.
- hat: Does the best job of keeping the sun out of your eyes so you can see the fish.
- pliers: Keep a pair on a lanyard around your neck. Everyone gets a little clumsy on the water, and keeping them tethered will prevent them from dropping in.
- tape measure: If you plan on catching your dinner, have a tape measure or ruler on hand to see if it’s big enough to keep.
- Ask for a Ride: If you have an awesome fishing spot in mind but it’s pretty far offshore, ask someone to drop you off. This isn’t a situation to overestimate your ability, paddleboarding is exhausting. There are plenty of friendly guides or people with boats who will drop you off in the morning and get you in the evening. You’ll waste lots of time and energy by paddling over deep, undesirable waters just to reach a good spot.
The good news is, paddleboards are so buoyant and stable that you can conquer the learning curve relatively quickly. The main reason to try out iSUP fishing is the incredible view of the fish. A better vantage point than any kayak or boat, trust us. The iSUP is just as quiet as a canoe (fish won’t spook), but the point of view is much higher (you see the fish before they see you.) There’s nothing better than sneaking up on a nice red, trout or snook. Also, you’ll gain access to little waterways that would be off-limits with any other watercraft. Remember, hooking a big fish on your paddle board is the easiest and most fuel-efficient ride in town!