SUP Fishing

SUP - General
The Boards
The Fishing Tackle



Stand UP Paddle Boarding

Why fish from a Paddle Board?
Good question, surely you will just fall off and maybe even loose your fishing rod?  No the larger boards are quite stable and in calm condition you should not fall off. The easiest way to answer the above question is to list the pros and cons of SUP fishing.

Area - The ability to cover a lot of water and find the fish even when they are few and far between.
Vision - Standing on the board you have much better vision into the water than someone lower down sat in a kayak. This is especially important for “sight fishing”.
Nature - The above point also has the benefit of letting you see a lot more wildlife in and on the water.
Ease - Easy access onto the water, no slipway required.
Access – The ability to get into secluded hard to reach areas on the water.
Depth - The ability to go into very shallow water, much shallower than a float tube.
Quiet - Stealthy quiet approach
Exercise – the effort is similar to that used when walking but uses core muscles which aid overall fitness.
Castability – Standing up you can cast much easier be it with lures or flies.
Versatility – you can use you SUP for fun for all the family, some versions can surf small waves and others you can even put a windsurf sail on. Fishing is only one of the uses of the board.

Weather – the water does need to be reasonably flat. When standing up you get effected by the wind more than in a kayak or canoe. Head winds can be particularly hard work and best tackled by kneeling down if the wind gets very strong.

So as you can see there are a lot more positive reasons to give it a go than negative ones. Let’s go into a bit more detail –

Area – Without putting huge amounts of effort in a Sup travels at about 2 to 3 knts so in a hour you can cover 3miles of coastline or around most lochs/lakes trolling lures or you can get to areas to far by foot or to tricky by boat. In 2 hrs you can travel 6 miles, even on a bad day you are going to go past quite a few fish in that time. Getting them to bite is another matter though.

Vision -  I strongly recommend wearing polarized glasses on all but the dullest days. Polarized glasses cut out surface glare and allow you to see down into the water. Since paddle board fishing I have seen things that I have never seen in 35 years of fishing, such as 5 mackerel following my lure, seals swimming under the board etc. This diagram shows how much better the vision is compared to when sitting in a kayak.

Access – Most boards can be easily carried in one hand, they all have a carrying handle specifically positioned to allow you to carry the board with one hand. The weights of the boards vary a bit but a reasonably fit person should be able to carry the board about a 100 meters with ease, further than that you can use various trolleys or slings. Once at the water edge you don’t require a slipway and once on the water you are free to go where you want (within reason).

Exercise – Just how physical is it? Paddling tends to be at a work rate that you don’t really notice the exercise, only after a few hours do you notice any fatigue. Paddling into a strong head wind is hard work and is best avoided but of course weather can change and sooner or later you will have to paddle into the wind. If you find it too hard work then by simply sitting or kneeling it reduces the area the wind can act on and it becomes a lot easier.

Versatility – Paddle boards are so much more than a fishing platform, you can surf ,  windsurf and go white water rafting on them, you can even race them. It is unlikely that all your family members are going to want to fish from the board but its adaptability cam make it popular across the whole family.

Weather – The wind is the biggest limitation to when you can fish from your SUP, but the weather is ultimately the biggest consideration for any water born activity. Generally on fairly open water paddle boarding becomes hard work in anything over about 5 mph winds. You can still have a good session in stronger winds but you need to take the wind direction into consideration and find a sheltered area. (Safety Note- once the wind gets towards 15 mph it becomes very hard if not impossible to paddle into it standing up. In such conditions you must sit or kneel to reduce the windage. Once kneeling it is possible to make headway into about 20 mph winds but it is hard work and is best avoided.) People sometimes use the wind to their advantage and have a friend drop them off along the coast or at the other end of a lake/loch and then paddle with the wind and providing the water is not too rough you can travel along quite quickly, in fact too quickly for trolling lures. But it is a great way of covering larger distances with minimal effort.

I think the easiest way to learn a bit more about fishing from a paddle board is through some questions and answers, so here you go –

Q. Is it hard to do, won’t I fall in all the time?
A. If you have the right board and use it in the right conditions then after the first hour or so you shouldn’t fall in. Once you have a board, get the hang of it first don’t try to fish off it the very first time. Get a feel for paddling the board and how it behaves underneath you. (Safety note – be prepared to fall in. Be safe wear a wetsuit)

Q. Should I wear a life jacket?
A. If it helps your confidence then initially yes. And of course it depends on your swimming ability.  There are many comfortable buoyancy aids that you could also wear. Be aware of wearing a fishing vest and stuffing all its pockets with fishing tackle. It would hamper your swimming and make getting back on the board more awkward. Also consider if you do fall in without a lifejacket you are much more likely to drop and loose your fishing rod than if you were to fall in wearing a buoyancy aid.

Q. What should I wear?
A. You should start of wearing a wetsuit.  And on your first session even if you haven’t fallen in you should make a point of going into the water just so you can see what it is like getting back on. Not all wetsuits are equal some are only suitable for sunny summer days while others will keep you warm in the depth of winter. Please ask for advice. (Safely note – a wetsuit is a safety item). But to recap – Start in a wetsuit and then as your experience builds you will soon know when its shorts and t-shirt weather and when its winter wetsuit weather.
Avoid cotton t-shirts. If you fall in they are then cold and unpleasant to wear. Wear fast drying clothing such as polypropylene, then if you do get wet they remain reasonable comfortable

Q. The boards look very big, are they heavy?
A. No the average large board weighs about 14kg

Q. What happens if I fall in?
A. With the boards being low in the water they are easy to get back onto.

Q. Can my children use the same board to surf small waves.
A. Yes the most larger boards suitable for fishing off can still catch and ride small waves.

Q. Should I use a leash?
A. At times it may be sensible to wear a leash. It is a personal decision. (safety note – When you fall off to the side of the board the board will be next to you in the water but if you fall off the back or front the board may be pushed away from you by the action of falling. The board can end up 15 meters from you.  You need to consider this when deciding what to wear.
Inflatable boards will drift very fast if you fall off. A leash should be worn if there is any breeze at all.).

Q. Is there a chance I will loose my fishing tackle?
A. There is always that risk but as you will see on the “tackle “ page there are safeguards you can take to make sure your rod and reel don’t end up on the sea bottom.

Q. Do I need a licence or permission to fish?
A. The law is the same whether you are on the shore or a board. You don’t need a licence or permission to fish in the sea but you normally do in fresh water.

Q. Can I take a child out on the front of the board?
A. Yes, any board stable enough to fish from would have enough buoyancy to support an adult and child.

Q. Can I take paddle board lessons?
A. Yes various places offer organised lessons.

If you have a question and we haven't answered it please email us.

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Sailrepair, Seawinds, Kirk Brae, Shandon, Argyll, Scotland, G84 8NP..... tel - 01436 820948 or 07881 581618