Paddle Board Fishing Setup Guide [SUP Fishing]

Paddle board fishing setup

How to set up a fishing paddle board? Paddle board fishing setup is very different from a typical fishing setup. SUP boards are agile, allowing you to navigate some very narrow waters. You can attach a bag in the front and a cooler in the rear with two bungee storage places. Then install fishing rod holders to the gear mounts.

How to Set Up A Fishing Paddle Board?

Fishing with a paddle board has numerous benefits over overfishing from a kayak, including enhanced agility and stealth, better water vision, and simplicity of travel. In recent years, paddle board fishing has become a huge fad in fishing communities, and it’s easy to see why.

The following are the stages of setting up a fishing paddle board:

  • Select the appropriate board and paddle.
  • Make sure you have all of the appropriate safety equipment (and a valid license or registration, if applicable) to operate a paddle board.
  • Make a list of the fishing equipment you’ll need.
  • Make a list of the ancillary equipment you’ll need.
  • Learn how to properly store your stuff on your paddle board.

It might be daunting when you first start paddle boarding, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ll be casting on the lake in no time if you follow this simple step-by-step tutorial.

Paddle Board Fishing Setup Tips

Weight Distribution

The heavier gear should be kept in the middle of the SUP, equally distributed from nose to tail in a balanced way. Remember to account for your body weight while filling up your fishing SUP setup. Because you’ll be standing in the center of the board, make sure you have enough room among your fishing gear.

Scotty Mounts

These mounts will store fishing rod holders, action cameras, cup holders, and other fishing gear. Stand up paddle boards with these accessory mounts pre-installed will be superior. When you start SUP fishing, Scotty mounts will be your best buddies.

Bungee Cords

Our GILI SUPs come with detachable bungee cord storage systems on the nose and back of the board. This is an excellent method for storing dry bags, water bottles, and other small goods you’ll need on the go. Other bungee cords and d-rings around the deck may be used to tie and lash down fishing more excellent boxes, buckets, and tackle bags.

Prioritize safety

Here are some safety tips for paddle boarding that you might want to consider when out on the water.

  • Always use a PFD with a leash that the USCG has authorized.
  • Inform your loved ones of your whereabouts.
  • Carry your phone with you so you may call for assistance if necessary.
  • Other safety items to include are a knife, whistle, light, map, etc.
  • If at all possible, avoid going out on your own.

Paddle boards are tiny and have a lower weight restriction than surfboards. Don’t get carried away with it. The performance of your stand up paddle board will be harmed if you exceed the weight restriction. It will be unstable, sluggish, and difficult to handle. And if you stand over, you may lose a lot more.

Other Suggestions

Nothing spoils a vacation like having to return to the vehicle or the bait store to retrieve items that should have been on the board in the first place.

  • Balance your weight equally throughout the SUP, from nose to tail and rail to rail.
  • Before getting in the water, make sure you have everything you need on the board.
  • Once on the water, load up on your big coolers and fishing poles.
  • Before standing, start paddling on your knees to help you establish your balance.
  • Pack just what you’ll need and avoid overpacking.
  • To avoid leaning down, use vertical rod holders.
  • Anchors are a fantastic option if you want to stay still and avoid frightening away schools of fish.
  • Always prioritize safety.
  • Play around with your setup! Everyone is unique, and you’ll quickly discover what works best for you.
  • Next, look up the weather prediction in advance. Even if you like fishing in the rain, it’s a pain when you.
  • Don’t anticipate it and bring the incorrect gear.
  • Check the water quality as well. Before you go off on your journey, think about the wind, current, and tides.
  • Before embarking on a full-fledged fishing adventure, spend some time getting to know your new paddleboard. When getting on and off your SUP, make sure it’s safe.
  • Before adding gear, practice balancing and steadying oneself on the board, and take it out for a few minutes to get used to being on the board.
  • Then, add some essential equipment like your pole and net. Try it out to make sure you can cast and reel from your SUP without falling off.
  • Load more of your things onto the paddleboard once you’re comfy. Get into the mood. To find out what works best, experiment with various combinations of gear placements.
  • Pack all of your accessories and gear the night before your vacation so that you can get up and leave.
  • Remember to bring bottled water and snacks to stay hydrated and energetic.

Check your paddle board registration and boating license before heading to the water. A fishing license issued in one state may not be valid in another, so double-check before heading out.

When preparing your paddleboard for a fishing expedition, it’s crucial to meticulously arrange and anchor your equipment. However, that’s just one part of the equation. Guaranteeing one’s safety and the effortless reach of tools when floating is paramount.

Choosing the best PFD for SUP is essential, not just for its primary safety purpose, but also for comfort during the activity. It’s not solely about the fishing paraphernalia, but also those additional items that enhance your SUP fishing journey. Think of a buoyancy aid designed for both security and flexibility, or a specially crafted nook ensuring your paddle is always close by. Every component is crucial in refining your aquatic angling adventure.

Accessories for SUP Fishing Setup

What do you need to create the ultimate paddle board fishing setup? Everything is there to make a unique SUP fishing setup, from the SUP rod to the cooler and anchor.

Paddle Board

A paddle board is required for SUP fishing. It’s preferable to go big and broad. This will provide extra stability and room on the deck to carry your fishing gear. For fishing trips, inflatable paddle boards are great. iSUPs are lighter and more straightforward to maneuver in and out of the water.

You’ll need an inflatable paddle board that can be folded up and packed away in your baggage if you intend on fishing from a paddle board while on vacation. The paddle board you purchase will decide what sort of fishing you want to do with it and where you choose to do it. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to fly to your destination.

There are two paddle boards: all-arounders and displacement nose touring/racing boards. Which board you pick will be determined by your destination. If you intend on utilizing a paddle board on local waterways, you may choose a more classic and durable epoxy type.

Short Fishing Rod

You’ll need a fishing pole. This should go without saying, but you’ll also need to know how to use it. The smaller the fishing pole, the better – after all, we don’t have a lot of room on our SUPs. You can reach farther out from your SUP with a rod than with a hand line, allowing you to drop your bait into rocky outcrops and bays.

Rod Holder

Having a rod holder fitted on your SUP is a game-changer. It frees up your hands to use your paddle to guide your board into the correct location. It also lets you fish with your hands-free while keeping your fishing rod within reach. The fishing rod holder is a simple attachment to your board’s action mount.

It’s insane to go paddle board fishing without rod holders. A fishing rod holder secures your rod, allowing you to paddle or relax with your hands-free. You don’t want to lose your fishing rod since it’s pricey. Make sure you pick a rod holder that will work with your rods while shopping.

Paddle Holder

A paddle holder is pre-installed on one rail on all GILI paddle boards. This enables you to go hands-free while certain that your paddle will not float away. Paddle holders allow you to store your paddle without fear of it being misplaced. You may then fish in peace.

Tackle Box And Cooler

With a giant board, you can carry all of your gear, including tackle and cooler boxes. Secure your stuff on the nose and near the rear of the SUP using d-rings and bungee cords. Don’t carry your whole tackle bag with you from the shoreline. This is an excellent way to save room and weight if you have a smaller paddle board.


PFDs (personal flotation devices) are essential, and you should always follow the restrictions for the area where you want to paddle. While paddling a watercraft, including a SUP, several jurisdictions require you to wear a coast guard-approved PFD.

When fishing on a paddle board, you can acquire great dedicated fishing life jackets with plenty of pockets and loops for hooking additional equipment and bait. The vast majority of persons who drown in boating accidents are not wearing a life jacket.

You must carry a Type I, II, or III category life jacket or personal flotation equipment everywhere on your paddleboard. Anglers who desire storage possibilities in their life jackets will have to settle with vest PFDs.

Medical Kit

While you should always bring a first aid kit in case of an emergency, this is especially important if you plan on paddle boarding in areas where apex predators like sharks frequent, as they are attracted to the shape and shadow of paddleboards.


Keep 40-50 feet of parachute cord on your board at all times. You’ll need one to secure any fish you capture that are too big to put in a cooler, and you may need to tow someone (or need a tow yourself) if you somehow lose your paddle.

Knife for pocket

A knife is helpful to have on hand to protect sharks and other aquatic predators that swim too near for comfort. It may also be used for fishing (cutting lines, gutting fish, etc.) – it’s essential to keep a knife on hand at all times.


An anchor is critical in high-current areas like the ocean to prevent being washed out to sea (or at least out of the place you want to fish in). Adjust the rope to the desired fishing depth. Anglers benefit from anchors because they retain them in one spot. Drifting around the water might startle the fish or even move past a nice area. Use an anchor to avoid repeatedly picking up your paddle and moving back into your favorite position. While paddling out to the ideal fishing place, put it away in your tackle box or behind a bungee cargo net.

Imagine how aggravating it would be if your paddle board kept drifting away from you while you were paddle board fishing. SUP fishing involves patience, and you may need to stay in one area for a long time. That is why a SUP fishing anchor is required. It will stabilize your paddleboard until you are ready to go. Paddle board anchors are generally under 4 pounds in weight. Before purchasing an anchor, consider the water you will be fishing in. If you fish in saltwater, a rust-resistant anchor will come in handy.

Bucket And Net

A net and bucket are essential on a paddle board and every fishing expedition. During the session, you’ll need a place to keep your fish. You never know when you’ll need to sweep up and capture fish in the water with a net!

SUP stabilizers

SUP stabilizers are add-ons that can be mounted on either side of your paddle board for more stability in the water, making them excellent SUP fishing equipment. These are significant purchases if your balance isn’t entirely where it should be.

Fishing Rod Leash

It is possible when you hope you don’t fall in a while throwing a line from your paddle board! It’s a good idea to plan for the worse. After all, you don’t want to have to go swimming halfway through your SUP fishing excursion with all your gear! While you concentrate on fishing, a coiled ankle leash will keep you out of the way.

When paddleboarding, the USCG does not require you to use a leash. However, if you fall off your paddle board, it will not stay motionless until you return. It’ll most likely start floating away. There’s no knowing how that narrative will finish if you can’t swim quickly enough to get to the SUP. You may need to remain on your paddle board in dangerous conditions. It could well save your life. You can’t afford to lose contact with your paddle board. While you are not required to use a SUP leash, make it a personal rule to never enter the ocean without one. The aim is to have a good time, catch some fish (if you’re fortunate), and return home safely after your SUP fishing adventure.


If you intend on spending the whole day fishing, you may want to consider adding a seat to your setup.


If you’re fishing late in the day, having a bright light (other than the flashlight on your phone) may be handy. You might not be ready to pack up and call it a day just yet as dusk approaches!

Dry Bag

Dry bags are a critical piece of gear that every paddle boarder appreciates. Purchase a medium-sized dry bag that you can drape over your shoulder or put under the nose bungee. This will protect all of your belongings from water damage. You should also carry an additional layer or jacket in case of the weather changes while you’re out there.

You don’t want your phone to be the only item that gets wet. You should always be prepared to tip over, no matter how excellent a paddler you are. And if that occurs, you want all of your valuables and gear to be unharmed. Credit cards, wallets, keys, and other small valuables should be kept dry in a storage bag. This bag keeps them dry, but it also floats when submerged. As a result, retrieving it will be easy. To make the bag flow, make sure it is complete with air.

Sun Protection

Are you planning to go fishing in the sun? It’s the last thing you want to happen. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, suitable clothes, and polarized sunglasses. Long sleeve rash guards are excellent paddle boarding swimwear because they provide excellent UV protection. To keep the sun off your head, we suggest wearing a bucket hat or baseball cap. The most acceptable paddle board fishing sunglasses float and are polarized. As you travel from sunny to shaded places throughout the fishing session, this particular lens will assist you in seeing into the water.

Paddle boarders are particularly sensitive to the sun’s rays since they are out on the highly reflecting open water, which causes them to get scorched from above and below. Bring SPF 30 or higher sunscreen and reapply to avoid becoming sunburned throughout the day.

These sunglasses minimize glare and increase visibility significantly. It was fishing from a paddle board while standing provides you a height advantage and a better perspective of the water. This advantage is not harmed by glare from the sun because of these glasses. Purchase polarized sunglasses that are not too dark and comfortable to wear. You may have to wear them all day. They should be light and comfortable to wear.

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Cell Phone Holder

Get your hands on a fanny pack for a convenient storage pocket while out on the lake. You can store your phone, keys, pocket knife, and even munchies — everything you need in one convenient place! A waterproof phone cover may also be of interest to you. This is an excellent addition for keeping your phone secure when SUP fishing while still saving you connected if necessary. We like going off the grid for a bit. You need to go away from reality now and then and leave your phone at home!


Taking such a valuable item into the water is dangerous, but having a phone on board might be critical in an emergency. Most cell phones include a camera so that you can take a picture of your gift. Make sure you have a waterproof case with you.

Waterproof Cell Phone Case

There are many helpful SUP apps available, and you also want to keep in touch with your loved ones. The majority of smartphones are not waterproof, so you may not be able to share a picture of your catch with your friends on social media. A watertight case, on the other hand, eliminates this concern.

Cup Holder

This accessory, like rod holders, attaches to an action mount on the front of the paddleboard and has been designed specifically for fishing SUPs.

Hard Cooler

You may save money by using a hardshell cooler as a seat instead of purchasing a cooler plus a chair. It’s a good choice for the minimalist fisherman or if you’re worried about running out of room on your board. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, you can purchase one of those coolers with a high back seat, like the Nash cooler.

Folding Chair and Cooler

A cooler is a great place to store fish and beverages and a place to keep cold drinks and snacks. A folding chair will elevate you to a comfortable position for your legs and back, and fishing is more accessible from that vantage point. Keep your SUP dimensions in mind when purchasing a folding chair and cooler. A seat or cooler that is excessively large or hefty is not a good idea.

Bug repellent

Fishing is best done at dawn and dark, and mosquitoes, midges, and gnats also like these year periods. To prevent them from bothering you, bring a repellant. This is a must-have if you’re paddle boarding in inland locations like lakes and rivers.

Paddleboard Cart

Fishing paddle boards are lighter than fishing kayaks, but they are still difficult to transport. A paddle board cart comes in handy and is straightforward to operate. You may also wish to travel on an inflatable paddle board after it has been inflated. These iSUPs may be as heavy as 55 pounds.


You can shield your face, neck, and ears from the sun by wearing a hat. The material should be breathable and non-itchy. A light and well-fitting hat will also come in handy. A knife is helpful to have on hand for protection if the sharks above and other aquatic predators swim a little too near for comfort.


Out on the water, you never know when you’ll need a new towel for cleaning your hands or blotting sweat from your eyes. A towel can also be used to stop bleeding in an injury. Storing your towel in a closed bag will keep it dry.


You don’t need to carry a whole dinner, but protein bars or anything simple to keep your energy up wouldn’t harm. Even if you’re not hungry when you start a paddle boarding excursion to go fishing, paddling is strenuous labor, and you’ll be hungry before long.


It may seem obvious, but forgetting to bring water is easy to do, and once you’ve been out on the waves for a few hours in the scorching sun, you’ll regret it. Bring a bottle for every hour or two you plan to spend on the water to stay hydrated.

Warning whistle

Carrying a safety whistle enables you to notify adjacent boaters of your presence before they have a chance to notice you. This may lower the likelihood of a boat-to-paddle-board accident (which is likely to be much more lethal to you as the paddle boarder).

Signals of distress

Onboard your watercraft; you’ll need at least three signs in any combination (pyrotechnic or otherwise). If you get stranded without a paddle or find yourself paddling in shark-infested waters, distress signals like aerial flares make it easy to signal for help.

How Do I Choose Sup Fishing Paddle Boards?

There are several compelling reasons why more and more people are taking up the sport of SUP fishing.

Anglers can tweak and change almost every aspect of their fishing experience to achieve optimal results from a standup paddleboard. Paddleboards are easy to transport, durable, and steady. They provide simple access to locations that are sometimes overlooked by other fishing vessels. They’re also enjoyable to maneuver, give a good workout, and are simple to transport.

Fishing from a standing position seems to be more natural than sitting down. Standing on a SUP gives you a higher vantage point, more expansive views, and the ability to cast in any direction. Anglers can also easily alter their surroundings. They may spend the morning fishing in a salty bay, then switch to a crystal-clear freshwater lake in the afternoon.

Individual anglers do not need assistance in using a SUP to and from the sea. Inflatable boards are easy to transport and store in their cases. SUPs are easily transported on top of or in the rear of a jeep, truck, or SUV.

Paddleboards are not only useful for different forms of fishing but also for a variety of other activities. They can be used as a base and a conduit for other fun activities like yoga, touring, racing, and navigating whitewater. There may be nothing more therapeutic for those who like going out on the water than paddling a board out to a peaceful location away from the masses.

Rig rigid or inflatable paddle boards? There isn’t a simple solution to choosing the best paddle board for angling. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so don’t get caught up in selecting the best one for you. Consider your requirements and break them down into the following elements.

Rigid SUP Boards for Fishing

SUPs are popular for various reasons, including their minimal weight and ease of usage. Plastic, fiberglass, and wood are commonly used. For many anglers, a hefty one may be a deal-breaker. Fiberglass boards are lighter and more durable than wood. They are, however, more rigid.

The quality of construction and finishing determines their performance and durability. A fiberglass fishing SUP may not be able to withstand impact. There aren’t a lot of wooden paddleboards explicitly designed for SUP fishing. When it comes to performance, rigid paddleboards are often superior. They move more smoothly and quickly than inflatables.

Inflatable SUP Boards for Fishing

Inflatable paddle boards are popular because they are simple to store and move. The Blackfin Model X paddleboard, for example, is virtually indestructible. The disadvantage is that inflating and deflating your paddleboard every time you use it is exhausting. Specific inflatable SUPs can exhaust you even before you start your angling expedition.

Size And Shape

The greatest SUPs for fishing include a broad deck, nose, and tail. This improves stability and is necessary for loading all of your equipment. A more general, wider board also gives a more stable platform to throw your line. These paddle boards are adaptable to a variety of water situations.

Weight Limitation

The most fantastic fishing paddle boards should be able to effortlessly support you and all of your fishing gear without becoming too heavy. It would help if you opted for a paddleboard that can help the weight of roughly 250-300 pounds. This should be enough to transport you and your fishing equipment for a day on the water.

What are paddle boards made of? Many paddle boards, particularly those made of epoxy, are notoriously heavy and difficult to get up and off the roof of a vehicle by yourself. Several paddle board makers are now releasing new kinds of paddle boards that are meant to be ultra-lightweight for women and smaller boarders who may find it challenging to manage a full-weight board.

The carrying handle is another consideration when picking your board and considering ease of travel. Many older paddle boards have straight carrying handles, making them ungainly and difficult to maintain. Paddle boards have recently begun to have a “butterfly” handle in the middle, enabling the board to be raised alone with considerably less effort and finger fatigue.

Attachment Points

Rod holders, coolboxes, tackle boxes, and other SUP fishing gear may be securely fastened using D-rings and action/Scotty mounts. Attachment points are pretty important. You can secure all your gear with bungee cords, resulting in a great paddle board fishing setup.

Board Width, Length, and Balance

More prominent persons and males will prefer a long, broad board for improved stability and balance, while women and children would want a smaller, lighter board that is simpler to manage and shorter. Choose the most comprehensive, most extended paddle board you can work for maximum balance and lots of storage room for your fishing gear. Anglers who fish from paddleboards want to maximize two things: stability and storage.

A square tail on your paddle board is something to look for since it will provide you with more stability, which you’ll need after you catch a big fish. If you choose a board that isn’t sturdy enough, the first colossal fish you catch will most certainly pull you and your gear into the water.


What Exactly Is SUP Fishing?

Fishing from a paddle board is getting more popular, mainly because it is fun and relaxing. Paddling a SUP does not require any special licenses, unlike operating a boat and trailer for a fishing trip. To go out there, you’ll need your trusty paddleboard fishing setup, maybe a permit or fishing license (depending on where you’re fishing), and your paddle strength.

Why Should You Use A SUP For Fishing?

Paddle boards are lightweight and maneuverable, and inflatable paddle boards are even better. However, are inflatable paddle boards worth it? Fantastic view position – enhanced vision of the area where you’re fishing while standing on top of the fish. Quick and straightforward to carry – no trailers required; put on your vehicle’s roof rack or in the rear if you have an inflatable stand-up paddle board setup. Cost-effective form of transportation for getting out on the water fishing.

What is the best way to put up a fishing SUP?

It’s simple to convert a regular SUP into a fishing SUP. You’ll need your essential fishing equipment, accessory mounts on the board, and enough bungee cords and d-rings to keep everything in place. Prepare your fishing set up ahead of time. If feasible, pack all of your stuff onto the SUP in shallow water to make it easier to carry.

Is it possible to fish from an inflatable paddle board?

Fishing from inflatable paddle boards is a fun way to go out in nature and see the world differently. Compared to fishing kayaks, inflatable SUPs provide a more significant height advantage and a better vantage point. Inflatables may be used for a variety of activities, including fishing.

What is the best way to attach a cooler to a SUP?

Bungee cords and d-rings are required to attach a cooler to a paddle board safely. Choose a good spot on the board, which is usually just behind where you’d stand in the middle. Place the cooler box in the center of the paddle board and secure it to the D-ring points using bungee cords.

What features should a fishing SUP have?

The best fishing SUP is wide and long, which provides the most stability. Inflatable SUPs are often better for fishing than fiberglass boards because they sit higher out of the water and are more stable. The best dimensions for a fishing paddle board are 11′ x 32″ x 6″.

Is fishing from a SUP or a kayak better?

You get a height advantage, allow you to notice fish more readily and access your gear more quickly, and are more likely to catch more fish.

Final Thoughts

Fishing from a stand-up paddle board is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But you’ll need a decent SUP setup to get the most out of it. You have the option of using a rigid or inflatable SUP. Keep your SUP inside if you can because sunlight and temperature changes can cause the foam and fiberglass to degrade over time.

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