Everything You Need to Know to Get Into Freshwater SUP Fishing

The standup paddleboard pattern appears to have been taking up the out of doors house lately. It’s arduous to enterprise to a lake, river, or shoreline with out seeing the the hefty boards out and about, paddlers simply navigating the water with seemingly easy strokes. SUPs current a stable exercise alternative, a enjoyable floating possibility for sundown cocktail hour and a recent method to tour waterways with pals.

However for a subset of SUP customers, these floating boards have additionally modified up one other beloved pastime: fishing.

Two women fish from stand-up paddleboards on Oregon's John Day River.
Picture: Jess McGlothlin Media

Fishing from a SUP is a good suggestion at instances and never at others; simply because it’s a match for some anglers and perhaps not the most suitable choice for sure customers. For each spin fishers and fly anglers, it presents a recent method to discover waters you might have in any other case cruised proper previous within the boat. SUPs draft far shallower than the typical raft, drift boat or bass boat—usually as little as 5 inches with fins—permitting entry to water that in any other case is unreachable.

For fairly match paddlers with reasonably good steadiness who’re navigating nonetheless or slow-moving waterways, paddleboards are a highly-mobile fishing platform. It’s surprisingly simple to choose up the paddling stroke, and with the choice to drop to one’s knees in turbulent water, there’s no cause to be intimidated by attempting out a SUP for the primary time.

There are a lot of paddleboard iterations available on the market at this time: from surf hybrids, fishing-specific boards, fitness-minded SUPs and even gigantic, eight-person mega boards. And all paddleboards fall inside one of two categories: both inflatable or arduous (typically referred to as fiberglass or epoxy boards).

Inflatable SUPs have grown in reputation over the previous a number of years, and for good cause. Deflated, they sometimes roll up to match into a big backpack, providing simple transportation and storage. The sheer displacement of the boards means they’re fairly secure (wider or thicker board are much more so), and they’re extremely sturdy, displaying spectacular tolerance for unintended bumps into rocks on the river. Take into consideration rowing a raft versus a hard-sided drift boat; the raft will fare higher whenever you rub that hidden rock in the course of the river.

SUPs and rafts wait on the edge of a river.
Picture: Jess McGlothlin Media

Hard boards, clearly not fairly as simple to transport or retailer as their inflatable brethren, are barely extra agile and supply higher glide—vital for health fanatics and touring SUP customers. Providing higher velocity and a extra environment friendly trip at lengthy distances, many arduous boards can be utilized for SUP browsing as properly.

For anglers, nevertheless, inflatable boards are the overwhelming pattern, largely due to their stability and ease of transport. For fishing, search for an inflatable board with a planing hull—the entrance of the board will seem huge and flat (with no V-shape on the underside of the board), which supplies stability and good maneuvering.

In distinction, displacement hulls have a pointed nostril and contoured backside, and whereas they slice by way of the water extra simply, providing improved power and a sooner trip, they’re barely much less secure for the back-and-forth fishing.

Woman on stand-up paddleboard navigates the John Day River in Oregon.
Picture: Jess McGlothlin Media

Many new SUP anglers are so involved with the considered falling in that they disregard gear group on the boat. The very last thing you need is for a high-end rod to be tipping off the facet of your board or underfoot as you’re attempting to paddle. A number of manufacturers supply suction-on rod mounts, designed to trip on the entrance of the board and maintain your rod in a ahead vertical place, retaining it out from underfoot and safely secured till you want it. It’s a worthwhile funding for each ease of use and peace of thoughts.

Spend money on an excellent waterproof bag or case (I favor the YETI Hopper Flip 12 Cooler) and strap it to the entrance portion of your SUP. This supplies you a “hub” for sort out/fly containers, water bottles, PFD … something that you just don’t need to roll off the boat. Use the SUP’s bungee system or strap the bag to your board, and maintain it closed snugly when not in use. The purpose with on-board storage is to maintain issues well-fastened. If the board by some means flipped over (extremely unlikely), would your gear nonetheless be connected whenever you flipped it again over? Make it possible for it will be.

Dry baggage are additionally a favourite for these gadgets you need to maintain shut, like sunscreen, a mobile phone or keys. Discover a fundamental roll-top mannequin just like the Discovery View Dry Bag, and maintain it sealed and buckled round a strap. It’s a straightforward method to maintain organized and may go together with you for those who select to cease and go away your board on the seaside for some time. Some anglers like to convey alongside a full-size cooler, positioning it mid-board as a seat whereas paddling. It could actually add lots of bulk and restrict your maneuverability on the boat, so make sure you nonetheless can transfer and paddle comfortably for those who select to convey one alongside.

SUPs will not be exempt to the principles of the river. Courtesy round different watercraft is paramount, particularly on busy waterways with many different anglers. Don’t be that paddler that makes the “drift boat” guys hate on SUPs for the remainder of their lives. Push round different peoples’ boats with cheap house in between (SUPs are extra maneuverable than most bigger boats). Look ahead to angler’s casting lanes and respect the house, simply as you’d in every other watercraft. Smile, wave and play like a giant child.

Particularly for these newer to paddleboarding, bear in mind you don’t want to be a rock-star, 60-foot caster when fishing from a board. The truth is, it’s higher for those who’re not. Fishing from a SUP affords elevated maneuverability and stealthiness, so don’t be afraid to transfer properly inside your casting consolation zone and maintain your casts shut as you get used to the sensation of casting from a smaller platform. Casting from a board is a brand new feeling and can seemingly really feel wobbly at first, however after a little bit of apply it’s remarkably secure (and slightly environment friendly).

Floating traces are sometimes simpler to handle from a SUP, and contemplate bringing alongside a stripping basket (milk crates make nice makeshift baskets) to pool your stripped line into. Eyeball the entrance of your SUP and reduce surfaces that would doubtlessly snag your line. Flip D-rings down, safe the fasteners in your field or bag and maintain all the pieces streamlined—this may go a good distance to stopping the frustrations that typically come from managing fly line on any type of boat.

Woman fly-fishing from SUP on Oregon's John Day River.
Picture: Jess McGlothlin Media

Mess around on the board earlier than you ever choose up a rod on the SUP; get used to dropping to your knees and popping up once more, adjusting your course with minimal paddling, and simply shifting round on the boat. Decide up your rod and put the paddle down lengthwise on the boat, between your ft, and apply switching back-and-forth.

The wind can have a nasty behavior of kicking up simply as you hook right into a fish, and in some unspecified time in the future, you’ll end up juggling each a rod and a paddle, attempting to appropriate your drift whereas managing a fish. Slightly apply prematurely will make the juggling course of a lot smoother.

And lastly, maintain ‘em moist! Drop to your knees when dealing with fish, leaning gently over the facet of the SUP and eradicating the hook with minimal dealing with. “Keep ‘em wet” is a motion designed to assist anglers launch fish with minimal stress: minimizing air publicity, eliminating contact with dry surfaces, and decreasing dealing with. Attempt to keep away from bringing fish onto the board; most fishing SUPs are secure sufficient it’s fairly simple to drop to your knees and lean over, and even sit astride the board whereas managing a fish. Do your half to assist guarantee a wholesome launch so another person can catch that very same fish sooner or later.

A woman releases a smallmouth bass caught while fly fishing from a paddleboard on the John Day River in Oregon.
Picture: Jess McGlothlin Media

Fishing from a SUP affords a brand new expertise for seasoned anglers, and an attractive intro into fishing for watersports lovers. For these wanting to get in a exercise whereas fishing, have pals who paddleboard, or are simply searching for one thing totally different, it’s a extremely enjoyable method to benefit from the water, problem one’s fishing abilities, and presumably fall in love with a brand new sport.

Anglers who’re used to fishing from kayaks or canoes will discover their capacity to spot fish a lot elevated whereas standing, and shortly will discover their consideration on the fish, not on their steadiness.

Notes on Gear

Any SUP that’s fairly huge and thick (many boards run 32- to 34-inches huge; some, like BOTE’s Rackham Aero are as huge as 38 inches, providing elevated stability) will work nice as a fishing platform. Some, like Body Glove’s Mariner, are marketed as fishing-specific boards with options designed for the angler: attachment factors for rod holders and an anchor line system. NRS’s Heron options two facet chambers that inflate for excessive stability, performing like outriggers—rendering the craft rather less environment friendly for lengthy paddles however extremely secure for angling.

And naturally, it’s clever to pack alongside the requisite security gear. Put on a life jacket (PFD)—there are such a lot of minimalist, comfy choices available on the market there’s no excuse not to. When you’re crossing turbulent water, contemplate a leash so, in case you half methods along with your board, you stay tethered. Discover a paddle that fits your particular person wants; anglers usually hunt down ergonomic, light-weight paddles and break down into three items for simple storage and transportation. Add in light-weight, sun-protective clothes and a tube of sunscreen and also you’re good to go.


The article was initially revealed on Standup Paddling


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