Fishing from a SUP

We have all seen the sport of Kayak fishing explode in the last few years. It’s economical, eco-friendly and provides easy access to places where boats would be high and dry. “Yakers” are now a mainstream group of hard core anglers. Because of that, there is a new paddle craft emerging and offering new opportunities. They call it the paddle board. Many of us have seen these over-sized surfboards playing in the waves, or cruising just past the breakers, but fishing from one is a new idea to a lot of us. While the proper term for the boards is “Stand Up Paddleboard” or SUP, many boards are being modified so they can be sat on. Not having a place to sit can make fishing next to impossible. Several manufactures are producing models designed to attach kayak seats, but most are simply adding a cooler to them. A cooler with a rod holder becomes a tackle box, storage container and seat combined.
​Kayaks, while easy to drop and transport, still don’t offer the simplicity of the paddle board. Lightweight and easy to carry, you can launch it just about anywhere. Those fantasies we all have about that road side spot you drive past and have always wanted to fish, or that day at the beach with the family when that pogy pod swims in and gets mauled by aggressive predator fish, those fantasies can now become reality. While not suited for open or rough water fishing, the real beauty of the paddle board is it versatility in shallow water. With its stability and shallow draft, it gives anglers options that would be unavailable in a boat or kayak. During low tide in muddy creeks, it makes sight fishing those cruising reds easy, while at the same time giving you the option to carry live bait and anchor on an oyster bar as the tide rises.
​When it comes to fishing the flooded grass flats in Northeast Florida, it becomes the ultimate stalking vessel. With the ability to float and pole through grass, over shallow spots and only a step down to wade, it is fast becoming a favorite of tail chasers. With a limited amount of time to fish the water covered flats, ground can be covered quickly, extremely quietly and from a higher elevation than wading alone. Using a flats boat to scout an area and then launching a paddle board to move into that area is extremely effective. As with all fishing, everyone has their own style. When it comes to moving in for the cast, there are different ways to go about it. I prefer to pole until I spot a fish, then step off and wade in close if I can. Others like to stay on the board, finding casting from the board easy, even with a fly rod. You should practice and become familiar with being able to cast off the board. Often times, it’s your only option. Fishing flooded grass is by far the best way to cover the most ground and maximize your fish catching time. You can cover literally acres more water than wading and thus allow yourself many more opportunities to find the fish on the flats. There is nothing more satisfying than a properly placed presentation given to a head down, tail up redfish and the aggression in which he attacks that presentation.
​When it comes to tackle selection, keep it simple. A smaller assortment cuts down on weight and the amount of time you spend digging for that perfect bait. When it comes to rods, take the bare minimum and be prepared if they end up over the side. Overboard Rods, and they’re ability to float when they go in the drink, are a must. Nothing ruins a trip more than a flipped board and lost poles.
​So get yourself an SUP and see what the fuss is all about. There are economical options out there.
Bent rods and Screaming Drags,
Capt. Sean Abbey

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