Shallow, Stealthy, Simple
Nothing beats stalking the flats on a calm morning and seeing a big redfish or trout waiting for that perfect bait presentation. Sure, you can cover more ground in a boat, but you’re not as stealthy. As long as you can find a spot that holds fish, there’s no reason why you can’t catch just as many fish on your board as you can from a boat. In fact, I’ve caught a lot more fish on my stand up paddleboard than I have in five years of fishing from a flats fishing boat.
“My favorite thing about sup fishing in shallow waters is seeing everything play out, from seeing the target fish, making adjustments with the board according to winds and current to placing that accurate cast, then seeing the fish bite,”
says Harry Madison, BOTE board fishing guru.
Whether you are slinging a fake crab fly or using live shrimp, it doesn’t get much more exciting than hooking a fish from your paddleboard. Seeing your bait in front of a fish and the moment they decide to go for it is exhilarating. With most types of fishing, like casting from a boat or from shore, you don’t get to see the fish take the bait or even see the fish at all until you are about to pull it in the boat. When you are paddle board fishing, you’re completely in touch with what’s going on in the water and doing a hell of a lot less to disturb the wildlife beneath you.
Below I will go over the essential gear you need to stalk the shallow water in your area. A few key pieces of gear will help you make the most out of your time on the water and hopefully catch more fish.
The Best Stand Up Paddle Boards for Fishing
If you’re looking for the best stand up paddle board for fishing, look no further. You can fish off of just about anything we make, but we’ve outlined a few products we love specifically for paddle board fishing.
HD and HD Aero
The HD is the most versatile fishing SUP. It will perform whether you load it up with gear and hunt for trout in the bayou or out for a quick sunset paddle in the harbor. The HD Aero, the inflatable version of the Gatorshell HD, is also a great option if you need something packable and portable.
Both HD and HD Aero come equipped with the same gear attachment options, such as the Tackle Rac and Paddle Sheath. The displacement hull on these bad boys is also going to help you paddle more efficiently so you can save energy and fish longer.
“The HD Gatorshell is the best board on the water! Whether I'm long distance paddling, mangrove fishing, or recreational racing, I ride this board with confidence and pride. It's incredibly functional AND looks amazing in the water. I love my BOTE.”
- Matt L.
Rackham and Rackham Aero
If you are a serious fisherman that is going to load up with extra gear and target larger fish, the Rackham is the best fishing paddle board for you.
The Rackham Gatorshell has the same displacement nose as the HD but has more overall thickness and buoyancy which will allow you to carry more weight and remain extremely stable no matter what you pull out of the water. Both the Rackham and Rackham Aero include a paddle sheath, Rac Receivers, and Sand Spear mounts. If you’re a traveling fisherman, the Rackham Aero can’t be beat for bucket list fishing trips like bonefish fishing in the Florida Keys flats.
Flood and Flood Aero
If you are more of an all-around waterman who likes to paddle surf one day and go paddle board fishing the next, then the Flood is your vessel. Equipped with a planing style hull, this board performs well in the surf and on flat water. While it isn’t sandspear compatible, this board option in both solid and inflatable versions has all the other bells and whistles you need to chase fish on the flats in the morning and catch a few sunset waves.
Paddle Board Fishing Accessories
Now that you have the perfect board picked out for your day on the water, and assuming you already have a paddle, rods, reels, and bait, lets go over the gear that's going to help create the best paddle board fishing experience. Here are our favorite paddle board fishing accessories.
When you see a bonefish or redfish tailing, you have to be able to stop immediately to be in the perfect position to present your bait. You need to be able to stop quickly, quietly, and efficiently, as well as move closer to the fish in a stealthy manner. You can accomplish both of these things by using the Sand Spear as a push pole or as a stakeout pole.
Tackle Rac or Bucket Rac
When you’re paddling around the flats trying to spot fish you need a secure spot to hold your rod and reel, hang your sling pack or other tackle box, and place your net or fish grips. You may also fish with more than one rod with a different bait set up, so you need to have it out of the way but still accessible.
Built to provide support for either a KULA 5 cooler or a 5-gallon bucket, the Bucket Rac is perfect for someone that likes to throw a cast net for bait. If you need to store all the rods then there are 4 more spots on the Bucket Rac.
A versatile alternative is the Tackle Rac, which weighs less and takes up a minimal amount of space if you’re carrying other large items. If you have a Tackle Rac, make sure you grab a Tackle Web for extra, out of the way yet easy to reach storage.
We can become attached to our rods and reels over time, but they can be lost in the blink of an eye if they aren’t secured and fall into murky or deep water. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a Rac system, asap.
When you are out on the water you absolutely have to have a cooler. Whether it’s for storing cold drinks, keeping fish chilled, or having a comfortable seat, a cooler is a must. You can also use it to store bait or as a tackle box.
“Unlike most people, I use my KULA as a tackle box, full of different colored soft plastics and lures,”
- Harry Madison, BOTE board fishing guru.
It should go without saying that if you don’t wear polarized sunglasses there’s no way in hell you’re going to be able to see anything. In shallow water, you are going to be paddling around sight casting for fish. If you can’t see them in the water then you aren’t going to have much luck. Polarized sunglasses reduce the glare off the water and can also help reduce eye strain. They will also help increase the intensity of colors and contrast so you may be able to see objects in the water that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
Most people use a net to land fish when they are fishing from a boat, but that’s not the best option for paddle board fishing because it takes up too much space. Fish grips are an excellent alternative to this. They are basically a set of oversized plastic pliers that can be opened and closed with one hand. You can bring the fish up next to the side of the paddle board and clamp the fish grips on to the bottom of the fish’s lips to pull it on the board. Fish grips make a world of difference when you’re trying to remove the hook to either release the fish or throw it into the KULA if it’s eating size.
SUP fishing is the best way to stay stealthy in the flats and connect with what’s going on beneath the water. By now you know, the best stand up paddle board for fishing can be found right here at BOTE. And while you may only need a board, paddle, rod and reel to get out there, life’s a little bit easier with a handful of paddle board fishing accessories to make it as easy as possible to secure and access your gear.