Can You Fish From A Paddleboard?

Whether you cast your line from the shore or from a boat, chances are you’ll appreciate learning new ways to hook a few more fish on your line. To gain better access to local waters, many anglers are taking advantage of a new method of fishing.

Woman on paddleboard

SUP Fishing Is More and More Popular

Stand up paddleboard fishing, or SUP fishing, is increasingly popular with anglers of all backgrounds. It might take a bit of effort to learn the ropes and enjoy success with this method of fishing, but once you do, you won’t look back.

To help you prepare before heading out and to give you a bit more insight into paddleboard fishing, here’s a short but detailed guide to get you up and running with some SUP fishing.

Differences Between SUP and Kayak Fishing

Both kayaks and stand up paddleboards are human-powered fishing machines, propelled through the waters by your own effort. For years, anglers have been enjoying the many benefits of kayak fishing, and manufacturers have taken notice by designing kayaks specifically meant for fishing.

These modern kayaks are reliable, sturdy and comfortable and are very useful in both saltwater and freshwater. In a fishing kayak, you sit in the cockpit and fish from the surface of the vessel.

Sunset paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboards are similar to surfboards. They have become increasingly popular with anglers as well. Though these paddle boards have been in use for a very long time, fishing from them is a relatively new sport.

SUP fishing can be done in both freshwater and saltwater. When fishing from a SUP, you stand on the board and fish from the surface. Though there are many similarities, both kayak fishing and SUP fishing have their own benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages of SUP over Kayak Fishing

Though it’s a relatively new type of fishing, don’t let this fool you. There are many benefits to SUP fishing over kayak fishing.

Easily Transportable: There are a few different types of stand up paddleboards to choose from. You can even find inflatable models that roll up to the size of a sleeping bag when deflated. This makes for easy transport, even if you have a tiny vehicle. There are also hard-bodied epoxy models of SUPs that can take a lot of knocks.

Cooler Compatible: Despite the name, don’t worry that you’ll be standing the entire time on your SUP. You can easily bring along a cooler that can hold drinks and snacks as well as act as a seat when you need a break from standing. The cooler can be attached with the front or back bungees on your stand up paddleboard.

Maneuverability: Paddleboards allow you to maneuver into tight spots where fish might be hiding. With experience, you’ll be able to move around quite freely on the deck pad as well as turn the SUP easily through the water. Kayaks certainly offer more maneuverability than regular boats, but even these can’t best the paddleboard’s mobility.

Superior Vantage Point: When you are fishing from a boat or a kayak, it can often be difficult to tell what is beneath you without the use of special equipment. However, when you are stand up paddleboard fishing, you will have a much better view of what’s around you. Because you are standing up while you are doing your scouting and fishing, you have a much better vantage point than if you were sitting. Many people enjoy sight fishing, and if you are one of them, SUP fishing will bring you better results.

Super-Quiet and Stealthy: Another advantage you’ll have occurs when you’re trying to sneak up on the fish you are hoping to catch. Stand up paddleboards are very lightweight compared to a boat and make precious little noise as they glide over the water. This makes it much easier to take your prey by surprise.

Fitness lady doing scissor kick exerciseFitness, like. You know… this kinda thing

Great For Fitness: If you need a better workout, SUP fishing is the way to go. When maneuvering a kayak, you will work out your arms, chest, and back, but when you’re paddling on a paddle board for SUP fishing, you’ll get a full-body workout. You need to engage your legs and your core for stability, and you will also use your arms, chest, and back while paddling. SUP fishing can greatly benefit your overall fitness level.

Pop It In The Car With Ease: Getting your stand up paddleboard from one location to the next is also a bit easier than doing the same with a kayak. You can easily load your SUP on top of your car and strap it down to get it to your fishing spot. If you’ve got a bit of a trek from your car to the water’s edge, you’ll find the paddle board has a handle in the center to make it easier to carry. You’ll also be happy to know that even epoxy SUPs are surprisingly lightweight and easy to shift around without straining yourself.

Gear-Ready: Some of the stand-up paddleboards come with a lot of gear already, so you don’t have to purchase it separately. For example, SereneLife inflatable stand up paddle board has everything you need – you just need to get your fishing equipment and you are good to go!

SereneLife inflatable stand up paddle board

Disadvantages of Stand-up Paddleboard Fishing

Though there are a bevy of benefits to paddleboard fishing, as with anything, there are also some drawbacks.

Limited Storage Space for Gear: From poles to tackle to lures, anglers tend to have a lot of gear. Finding the right gear for the right situation is part of the fun for many fishermen. When fishing from a kayak, you have a bit of storage space to hold this gear. On a stand up paddleboard, there just isn’t much space to store any gear. You also have to be careful not to overload one side too much or you’ll dump yourself overboard.

Stability Issues: When sitting in your kayak and fishing, you have a lower center of gravity, which helps ensure your kayak remains stable in the water and helps you stay inside the boat. Standing on your SUP for fishing requires you to maneuver carefully. Once you’ve gotten some experience, you should be able to move freely along the deck of the board, but until then you will want to be cautious, so you don’t wind up in the water.

Costly: Top-of-the-line fishing kayaks are a bit less expensive than the stand up paddleboards used for fishing. However, as the sport becomes more popular, the prices are likely to drop.

Hard on Windy Days: If you get caught in some wind, being in a kayak offers a serious advantage over being on an SUP. When in a kayak, you can still safely row through the water, whereas when you are standing on your paddleboard, your body is essentially a giant sail. This will work against you getting quickly where you need to be on a windy day.

Not Ideal for Long Distances: The plastic hull of a kayak is designed to move efficiently through the water, bringing you to ideal fishing spots with every pull of the paddle. If your favorite spot to cast your line is quite a way from shore, a kayak can be the better option for getting you there. An SUP is clearly designed for the water as well, but it is not as well-suited to traveling long distances. You will have no problem getting your SUP to the shore, but if your desired fishing spot is a long way from there, a kayak might be a better option for reaching it safely and quickly.

Can You Fish From a Paddleboard?

Yes, you absolutely can fish from a stand up paddleboard, but there are some important things to keep in mind before you hit the water on one. When choosing your SUP, keep in mind the shape of the hull. There are many different types, and you want to look for one that’s medium-sized and boasts a planning hull.

If you are inexperienced on a stand up paddleboard, consider purchasing a wider board. The wider the board is, the more stable it will be in the water. Once you’re confident on the board, you can switch to a narrower model.

Be sure to look for an SUP expressly designed for fishing. Many of these have mounts, tie-downs, and bungees to hold your rods and other fishing gear. There isn’t a ton of space atop the board to store your gear, so you need to be more selective.

Consider your home storage space as well as how you will be transporting your stand up paddleboard. Do you have enough space to stash and transport a full-sized epoxy SUP, or should you opt instead for a more compact inflatable SUP that allows for easier storage and transportation?


There are many benefits and drawbacks to fishing from kayaks as well as stand up paddle board fishing. Depending on you and your situation, there may be a clear cut winner here, but that choice is personal. Be sure to take stock of all your options before making a purchase. Both require a moderate financial investment, so keep your specific needs in mind. There is sure to be a model of either craft that has the features you want.

2 thoughts on “Can You Fish From A Paddleboard?”

  1. Beware when fishing from an SUP. I recently helped to rescue someone doing just that. They had secured the rod alongside the board and I believe were heading back in, but somehow managed to fall off. When I noticed he didn’t try to get back on, I went over to help. He had caught the ball of his foot on a fish hook and effectively couldn’t move. I dread to think how he would have coped if we hadn’t seen him, and a fellow kayaker didn’t have a knife to cut the fishing wire. Luckily, it was a warm day with a few kayakers and SUPers around. Be warned!

    • Eek, that sounds like it could be a bad situation. As always, you have to be careful on the water. I remember coming across a father and son I think but it may have been a couple, it was a while back. Anyway, they were about half a mile out on one of those inflatable lilo sort of things you get for pools. They’d dropped their paddle, but weren’t too concerned – the tide would surely carry them back to shore, they thought. Makes you shudder!

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