Guide To Fly Fishing From Your SUP

Paddle boarding and fly fishing are incredibly fun activities, so why not combine the two?

SUP fly fishing has become very popular over recent years, and more and more anglers are taking this route.

It’s fun, great exercise, convenient, and packed with benefits.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely add it to your list.

It makes your fishing experience so much better.

Here is all you need to know, from boards and gear to our best tips:

What is SUP Fly Fishing?

fly fishing

The name is pretty self-explanatory, but it is basically fishing but on a stand-up paddle board!

Combing these two activities comes with loads of benefits, but it is also super fun and exciting.

SUP fly fishing is convenient and relatively easy – once you’ve got the balance thing down to a T.

Fishing from a SUP is a total game-changer! It engages both your mind and muscles and is not as hard as it sounds.

Many of you are probably picturing your precious fishing gear flying off and lying at the bottom of a lake, but no need to worry about that – you’ll be a professional in no time with a little bit of practice!

Fishing Essentials:

In order to have the best fishing experience, you will want to make sure that you have all of the essentials on you.

Here is what you’ll need:

Anchor

When fly fishing in the middle of a body of water, there will likely be a current or a breeze that just might move you out of your perfect little fishing spot.

Investing in an anchor is the best way to tackle this minor problem as it will securely keep you in your place.

You can easily find lightweight and foldable SUP anchors.

Another handy tool is a sand spear; this is really helpful for when you’re in shallow water and you’ve gone sight fishing.

Paddle

paddleboard seat

A good paddle will make a world of difference when SUP fishing.

You will likely be paddling far out, and this can be tiring.

A quality paddle can make paddling easier, improve your paddling ability, and use up less energy – giving you more energy to fly fish!

Paddles made from carbon fiber are the best!

Paddle holders and fishing rod holders

Having a holder for your fishing rod will make such a difference, whether you take multiple rods along or just one.

It is nice to have the option of freeing up your hands; it certainly makes fishing a lot easier!

It is better to get rod holders that can effectively accommodate long and short fishing rods as they will prevent the rods from falling in the water and will keep the poles separate on the deck.

Paddle holders are also essential, you can get velcro paddle holders that can clip onto the back and front D-rings, and they will keep your paddle out of your way and keep it secure.

PFD

A PFD is a personal floatation device.

Sounds super cool, right? Well, yes, we think that safety is very cool!

A PFD can literally save your life, accidents happen, and things go wrong.

The best way to avoid the worst is to have safety gear on you.

NRS Chinook PFD
NRS Chinook PFD via REI

Leash

Imagine catching a monster of a fish, and the sudden movement of reeling it in throws you into the water, and now your paddle board is floating into the far distance, which is not ideal!

A paddle board leash is a simple solution; this way, your paddle board will always be close to you.

Tackle case

You will still want to have all of your tools, fishing baits, and favorite hooks with you when on the paddle board.

So take a tackle case with you, but take only what you need as there is a weight limit on the board.

Tackle rack

The tackle rack can hold your backpack, fly rod, action camera, fishfinder, and any other accessories you may need.

They don’t take up much room at all, which is a major bonus since you are not working with loads of space to begin with.

Net

A fishing net can be very helpful when fishing on a stand-up paddle board.

Look for one with an adjustable handle and one that is lightweight.

woman with fishing sup

Dry bag

Dry bags are excellent, you can store all of your belongings like your phone, sunscreen, water, and more in them, and none of your valuables will get damaged.

SUP cooler

You will be out on the water for quite some time, and it gets hot out there, so an ice-cold drink could come in very handy.

Not only can the cooler store drinks, but you can also put the fish in it and keep them nice and fresh!

Choosing the Best Fly Fishing Paddle Board

The wrong board could ruin your whole fishing experience. Different SUP boards are created to suit different SUP activities.

Hard Fiberglass Boards, Inflatable Boards, and Soft Top Boards are excellent choices for SUP fishing.

They’re better geared towards fishermen and offer everything you may need.

Nevertheless, fish paddleboard designs and dimensions differ significantly from those of the other paddle board types.

Let’s talk about some of the things you should take into consideration when deciding:

guy fishing from paddle board

Fishing gear compatibility

SUP boats come in a variety of sizes and designs; some may allow you to bring along some basic fishing gear, while others may be compatible with an extensive range of gear.

A basic fishing paddle board is perfect if you prefer a more simple setup, as you can add on all of the essential fly fishing gear.

And if you prefer a fully equipped setup, you can opt for a paddle board that is compatible with tons of amazing accessories.

The gear can include anything from a tackle rack, paddle, rod holders, attachment plugs, a motor rack, and much more!

Inflatable paddle board vs hard paddle board

Some anglers use inflatable boards, and some say hard SUPs are best.

It all comes down to your personal preference and lifestyle.

The inflatable paddle board is light and can become very compact once it has been deflated.

It’s better suited for people that do not have much space.

Another bonus is that it can be transported easily, making finding the perfect fishing spot a breeze.

Inflatable paddle boards are also a lot tougher and long-lasting than you think they may be.

The board is made of military-grade PVC and is very durable.

They are also more resistant to tearing and dents.

The only downside is their performance, as they do tend to be relatively rigid.

A solid paddle board is an excellent choice if you have the means to transport it and store it.

Their performance is top-quality, and their tracking is impressive and smooth – making it super easy to be quite sneaky on the water.

There are hard fiberglass boards; these effortlessly glide through the water and are one of the faster paddle boards on the market.

Then there are soft-top boards, their deck space is large, but they can be on the heavier side.

They are also extremely comfortable to sit on and can handle a fair amount of weight from your fishing gear.

sup in water close up

Weight capacity

Fly fishing doesn’t require too much gear.

However, the weight of your tackle box, rod holder, trolling motor, SUP cooler, and other fishing gear does add up and can end up weighing your SUP down.

If you load too much on your paddle board, it will negatively affect its performance.

All SUPs have a weight limit, so make sure you choose one that can hold both you and all of your fishing gear.

Stability

Stability is essential when fly fishing.

Fly fishing involves a lot of movement, and you’d much rather remain on your board than end up in the water.

A wider board is the better choice; it is much more stable and helps you keep your balance.

Thirty-five inches or wider will be great.

However, it is also important to note that the width of the board also affects its speed as large boards have greater resistance and therefore are slower.

Why Fish From a SUP?

Fishing and paddleboarding

They are quiet

Paddle boards are very quiet since they are human-powered and do not make use of a motor.

This can give you such an advantage as it won’t scare away the fish.

You will be able to sneak up on your catch with no trouble at all.

You can take the SUP anywhere

Bodies of water that are quite out of reach will be easy to get to when on a paddle board, meaning you can go fly fishing in spots that are quieter and much less crowded.

Cost-effective

A stand-up paddle board is a lot cheaper than traditional fishing boats are, so if you are on a budget, they are a great alternative.

They also last long, so you can use your paddle board for many years.

They do not have sides

Paddle boards are flat and give you 360-degree angles that are obstacle-free, so there will be no interferences when landing your catch, reeling, or casting.

Easier to transport

Paddle boards are much easier to transport than boats are.

You can attach them to a roof rack on your car, and if you have an inflatable paddle board, you can easily deflate and store it.

woman paddle board fishing

Our Top Tips

In order to have the best fly fishing experience, follow some of these tips:

  1. Pack lightly. Your board can only carry so much weight, so only take what you need (as little as possible). Too much weight will make you slower, and you also don’t want all of your belongings falling into the water either – the more you have, the higher the risk.
  2. Plan ahead. Pack all of the fly fishing gear you need and your belongings the night before. It is also better to plan most of your route in advance to make the most of your time on the water.
  3. Always take water and snacks along. You will likely be on the water for quite a while, so pack some snacks and ALWAYS have water. It is so important that you stay hydrated.
  4. Check the weather forecast. Check the weather the day before and the day of. You want to avoid going out and encountering strong winds or a heavy storm.
  5. Wear a PDF. Always wear a PDF when going out on your board. Remember, safety first, kids!
  6. Get comfortable with your paddle board. Fishing and paddling require a lot of energy. Practice using your board a few times before going out with all of your gear.

Final Thoughts

Fly fishing on its own is rather enjoyable, but adding a stand-up paddle board to the mix makes it so much better!

It is definitely worth a try. You likely won’t go back to regular fishing after you’ve done this!

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