Fishing from a Paddle Board: An Essential Guide for Beginners

How to Fish From a Paddle Board: A Beginners Guide to SUP Fishing

If you’re looking to add some excitement to your fishing routine, why not try fishing from a paddle board? It may seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, you’ll find that it offers a unique and exhilarating experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of SUP fishing, discuss the necessary gear, and provide some helpful tips to make paddle board fishing your new favorite sport.

Why Choose Paddle Board Fishing?

You might be wondering why you should fish from a paddle board instead of a boat or a kayak. Well, there are several advantages that make paddle board fishing worth considering.


One of the main advantages of fishing from a paddle board is its lightweight and portable nature. Unlike boats, paddle boards are easy to transport and store. They can be conveniently hung on your garage wall, taking up minimal space.

Additionally, paddle board fishing gives you a height advantage. With the right gear, you’ll have a better view of the water and fish habitat, allowing you to spot fish before they take your bait. The wide, open space on a paddle board also provides ample room to cast your line and store your gear, unlike the confined cockpit of a kayak. Furthermore, paddle board fishing offers great exercise and fresh air, allowing you to quietly approach your favorite fishing spot without disturbing the fish with a noisy motor.

Ultimately, fishing from a paddle board is simply more enjoyable!


While there are numerous advantages to SUP fishing, a few potential challenges should be considered. Firstly, paddle board fishing requires some skill. If you’re new to stand up paddle boarding, it’s recommended that you master your skills before attempting to fish from a paddle board.

Stability is another crucial factor to keep in mind while paddle board fishing. You need to remain stable on your board while casting, reeling, and handling fish. Therefore, SUP fishing is best suited for intermediate or advanced paddlers. However, with practice, anyone can develop the necessary stability.

It’s also important to choose a stable paddle board that can support your weight and the necessary gear without throwing you off balance. Finally, always ensure that you have the required safety equipment, such as a personal flotation device (PFD) and an ankle leash, in case of unexpected falls.

Essential Gear for SUP Fishing

To make the most of your paddle board fishing experience, there are a few essential gear items that you’ll need. Let’s take a look at each one and why it’s important.

Paddle Board

Naturally, you’ll need a paddle board to embark on your SUP fishing adventure. The best paddle boards for fishing offer ample storage space, attachment points, and action mounts to rig up your fishing gear. Fishing rod holders are essential for stowing your rod while you paddle into optimal fishing positions.

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When choosing a paddle board, consider whether you prefer a solid board or an inflatable one. While solid boards provide smoother glide and tracking, inflatable SUPs offer greater advantages for fishermen. They are lightweight, easy to transport to remote fishing locations, and can be carried in a SUP backpack. Whichever type you choose, make sure it has a wide deck to enhance stability and sufficient weight capacity to support both you and your fishing gear.

Fishing Pole

Of course, you won’t catch any fish without a fishing pole. Many paddle boards can be equipped to carry multiple fishing poles simultaneously. Whether you have multiple rod holders mounted on action mounts, a milk crate with vertical rod holders, or a tackle rack, having multiple poles on hand gives you the flexibility to choose the best weapon for different fishing conditions.

Rod Holder

A fishing rod holder is an essential accessory that allows you to park your pole while you paddle. It enables you to easily slip the rod’s handle into the holder when you need to focus on paddling, and quickly retrieve it when it’s time to cast your line. Vertical rod holders are particularly useful, as they allow for easy access to your pole while also providing a secure storage option when the wind picks up.


Choosing the right amount of tackle is key. Be minimalist! Consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing and pack only the necessary gear. Your SUP board should have bungee storage space to secure your tackle box, making it easily accessible when you need to change your rig or grab pliers.


A personal flotation device (PFD) is not only essential for safety in any water sport, but it may also be required by local laws. Look for a life jacket that offers plenty of arm room for freedom of movement while casting, reeling, and paddling. Additionally, consider a PFD that doubles as storage space, with multiple pockets for storing extra jig heads and clips for attaching pliers.


An anchor is a must-have item for paddle board fishing. It keeps your SUP in place in your favorite fishing hole, so you won’t have to constantly paddle to reposition yourself. Choose an anchor that can be easily stored in a bag to prevent damage to your board. A grapnel anchor is the preferred choice, as its four-pronged flukes provide a strong grip in various environments. However, if you’ll be fishing in shallow waters, a stake out pole or sand anchor may suffice.


Fishing can be demanding work, especially under the sun. Make sure to pack a paddle board cooler filled with cold beverages to keep you refreshed and energized throughout your fishing trip. Attach the cooler to the D-rings of your board using bungee cords, ensuring that your drinks remain secure and don’t end up in the water.


If you’re using live bait, a bait bucket is essential. Attach a minnow bucket to your D-rings and let it trail behind your SUP as you fish. This keeps your bait fresh and readily accessible. Alternatively, if you’re using a cast net to catch live bait, you’ll need a bucket to keep them fresh until you’re ready to fish.

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Depending on your fishing style, two types of nets may come in handy while paddle board fishing. A dip net with an extended handle allows you to scoop up your catch when it reaches the edge of your paddle board. This prevents overextending and risking a fall while trying to maintain your balance. Alternatively, a casting net can be used to capture live bait. Ensure that casting nets are legal in your area before using them.

Ankle Leash

Safety should always be a priority. Wearing an ankle leash prevents you from being separated from your paddle board if you fall into the water. An ankle leash wraps securely around your ankle and attaches to a D-ring on your board, ensuring that you won’t drift too far from your SUP.

Optional SUP Fishing Gear

In addition to the essential gear, there are various accessories that can enhance your paddle board fishing experience. While not necessary, they can add convenience and versatility to your setup. Let’s explore some of these optional accessories:


If you prefer to sit while fishing, you can attach a central seat to your SUP using a SUP to kayak conversion kit. This allows you to kick back and relax, enjoying the freedom to stand up whenever you want.

Alternatively, you can get creative with your seating arrangements. For example, attaching a hard-sided cooler or using a milk crate can provide a makeshift seat. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to creating a seating arrangement on your paddle board. Feel free to experiment and save space in any way that suits you best.


If you’re uncertain about your balancing skills, consider adding stabilizers to your paddle board. These flotation devices attach to the sides of your SUP, providing extra stability. Similar to training wheels, they increase the width of your board, making it easier to balance.

Paddle Holder

While not essential, a paddle holder is a useful accessory that makes fishing easier. It allows you to store your paddle securely, enabling both hands to be free for fishing. You can find paddle holders that attach to a D-ring or other attachment points on your SUP.

Tackle Rack

A tackle rack is an optional accessory that helps you organize your gear. It typically consists of lightweight aluminum racks, allowing you to attach additional fishing rods, a tackle tray, a bucket, and a net to your board.


If you plan to fish during sunrise or sunset, it’s essential to have a light source to ensure your visibility to other vessels. Lights that can attach to action mounts or suction cup to your SUP’s deck are ideal for this purpose.

Dry Bag

A dry bag is a valuable accessory for keeping your belongings safe and dry. It’s particularly useful if you have additional gear such as a jacket, hat, or camera. A dry bag seals shut, protecting your valuables from water. It can also hold snacks or keep your cell phone protected.

Sun Protection

When spending time outdoors under the sun, it’s crucial to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Pack sunscreen, wear a hat, a swim shirt, and sunglasses for added UV protection.

Fanny Pack

A fanny pack is a simple way to keep your favorite lures or backup hooks within reach. It can also store pliers for retrieving swallowed hooks or keep your cell phone easily accessible for capturing memorable moments.

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The Perfect SUP Fishing Setup

The perfect SUP fishing setup depends on the amount of gear you need and the size of your paddle board. It’s important to distribute the weight evenly across the board to maintain balance. Here’s a simple guide to setting up your equipment before launching:

  1. Attach fishing rod holders, cup holders, and any other desired accessories to the action mounts on your SUP.
  2. Launch your paddle board into the water.
  3. Load your heaviest items, such as the tackle box and cooler, in the middle of the board. Distribute the weight evenly on each end.
  4. Place your fishing poles in their rod holders and store your anchor in the cargo space.
  5. Ensure that your paddle is securely affixed to its holder.
  6. Step aboard your paddle board. Start on your knees to find your center of balance before standing up.
  7. Grab your paddle and set off to find the perfect fishing spot.

Remember, there are various setup options available, from tackle racks to milk crates and coolers. The key is to pack only what you truly need and distribute the weight evenly on your board.

SUP Fishing Tips and Safety

To make the most of your SUP fishing experience, consider the following tips:


If you’re unsure about how your paddle board will perform with the added gear or whether you can manage while carrying a full cooler, take the time to practice. Start in shallow waters to find your balance on your knees before venturing into deeper waters. Experiment with your gear setup to find a comfortable balance. Once you can stand with confidence, you’re ready to start fishing.

Secure Your Gear

Accidents happen, and it’s important to secure your gear to prevent loss. Before launching, check that all your riggings, mounts, and bungees are tightly affixed to your SUP. This ensures that your gear remains safely secured, even if you accidentally fall into the water.

Monitor the Weather

Weather conditions can drastically affect your paddle board fishing experience. Download a weather app on your phone to stay informed about incoming storms or changing weather conditions. Wind, in particular, can hinder your fishing progress by pushing your SUP towards the shore. Stay vigilant and adjust your plans accordingly for a more enjoyable day on the water.

Stand with Proper Stance

When standing up on your paddle board, adopt a comfortable stance to prevent discomfort or muscle soreness. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in the middle of the board. Avoid adopting a surfer’s stance with one foot in front of the other, as it compromises your balance and can strain muscles you didn’t know existed.

Stay Hydrated and Snack Smart

Paddle boarding and fishing can be physically demanding, especially under the sun. Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle within reach and pack some snacks in your dry bag. You don’t want hunger or thirst to disrupt your fishing rhythm.

In Conclusion

Fishing from a paddle board offers a thrilling and immersive experience that combines the joys of fishing with the freedom of stand up paddle boarding. By choosing the right gear, practicing your skills, and following safety precautions, you’ll have the opportunity to explore hidden coves, enjoy the great outdoors, and spot fish like never before. So why not give SUP fishing a try? Head out on the water and create unforgettable fishing memories on your paddle board adventure!

For the best paddle boards and fishing gear, visit East Coast Paddle Sports. Happy fishing!

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