The sun’s shining and your lucky fishing hat is secured on your head. It’s time to load your SUP for a day spent fishing on the water. Choosing only the best paddle board fishing accessories can make your day more enjoyable.
Let’s get started.
If you enjoy fishing, you need to try fishing from a paddle board. A SUP is easy to maneuver and allows you to quietly sneak up on fish in hard-to-reach areas.
The key to successful SUP fishing is to organize your supplies. By limiting your tackle and safely storing your fishing poles and accessories, you will be more prepared and ready to slay some serious fish.
Related: check our guide to the best inflatable paddle boards of the year.
SUP fishing is a unique adventure that may not be ideal for every fisherman. Let’s review the pros and cons of fishing from a stand up paddle board.
A paddle board is easier than a boat to transport and launch into the water, and it beats fishing from the shoreline. When fishing on a SUP, you have a height advantage to improve your visibility of the fish and to experience fewer snags. A stand up paddle board can quietly slip into a fishing hole without a noisy motor scaring the fish away.
There are a few disadvantages to SUP fishing that can be remedied with good planning. Given the limited space and the need to balance on a SUP, organizing your fishing setup is essential. Choosing only the optimal SUP fishing accessories will help load your board for a great day on the water.
Before loading your board with SUP fishing accessories, it’s best to ensure you have all of the necessary gear for a day on the water.
Now that you’ve planned your fishing adventure and charted your route, let’s load your SUP with the optimal fishing gear.
When fishing on a paddle board, it’s hard to paddle while holding your fishing pole at the same time. Finding a way to secure your fishing rod and reel can prevent your gear from ending up on the bottom of the lake or ocean.
Here are a few ways to secure your fishing pole with rod holders:
The GILI rod holder threads into the action mounts of any 2021 GILI board or newer models. After easily mounting to your board, you can adjust the angle of your fishing rod. Secure into position with the locking mechanism and get ready to haul in the fish.
Scotty makes rod holders in many sizes and styles. The accessory mounts are of good quality with ease of use and simple attachment to your board. There are many varieties available to find one that’s perfect for you. The GILI 11/12’ Adventure, 12'/15' Manta Ray, and the 11’6 Meno paddle boards come with Scotty mounting plates included. You’ll need a mounting bracket and rod holder!
You can also channel your inner Martha Stewart and make your own setup! A milk crate secured to your SUP allows water to pass through easily and provides extra room for storage. Using zip ties, you can attach PVC pipe along the milk crate’s edges to create a useful rod holder. It can also be used as a seat.
A 20-30 quart cooler on your paddle board can hold ice for food and water as well as keep the fish you’ve caught from spoiling in the sun. A cooler can also double as a seat. It’s important to choose a light-weight cooler that’s wide enough to span your board to maintain balance. A well-insulated cooler is necessary to protect your food and fish from the sweltering sun. A GILI Deck cooler bag can be attached to most SUP with bungee cords and provide the perfect amount of cold storage.
A small bag is the keyword. We’d love to haul our loaded tackle box filled with our secret weapons, but we might not stay afloat with all the weight. It’s recommended to pare down your fishing gear to include essential items only. You can carry a backpack or fanny pack to optimize your board space, or you can simply secure a waterproof tackle bag to your board with bungees.
Your tackle bag should include an extra fishing line, needle-nose pliers, a line cutter, sinkers, hooks, and bobbers if desired. Narrowing it down to your favorite lures is the tough part, but choose few and choose wisely.
If you use live bait, then don’t forget to pack extra hooks.
Circle hooks are mandatory when using natural bait and are required by some local laws. Circle hooks don’t require you to set the hook, so they are good for children or if you’re passively fishing while you eat a sandwich. You simply reel in the line.
J-Hooks are used with live or cut bait. A J-hook requires you to set the line after a bite, so they are used by avid fisherman who are actively fishing. J-hooks can gut hook a fish, unlike circle hooks.
A good fishing setup needs a net to land a fish on a paddle board. When balancing your board and reeling in a monster fish, a net will ensure that the fish makes it onboard. A landing-net with an adjustable handle is recommended to avoid leaning over (and then off) your SUP. A net can also be stored in a rod holder with your spare fishing poles.
In addition to securing your ankle with a leash and bungee-cording your gear to your board, don’t forget to secure your paddle. Using a paddle holder or paddle leash will prevent the loss of your paddle that could leave you stranded far from the shore.
Specially designed SUP fishing racks can connect to paddle boards and provide another option to store fishing rods and tackle. The vertical lightweight aluminum racks contain rod holders and extra space to store your cooler or tackle bag.
If your SUP still floats with the fishing gear you’ve already loaded, then there might be room for more. There is additional gear that can be added to make your fishing trip more comfortable when paddle boarding.
When reeling in one big fish after another, you’ll want to pack your GoPro to verify your fish stories! An action camera or GoPro can easily attach with the GoPro Adapter on an action mount to securely record your fishing adventure.
Even if you’re a master at paddle boarding, SUP stabilizers may keep you from fighting for balance with a board full of gear. The added stability from the SUP stabilizers provides extra security to keep you dry so you can concentrate on fishing.
A modified milk crate can be mounted on your paddle board with bungees to provide organized storage, extra seating, and an attachment for rod holders. An easy and versatile way to organize your SUP surface.
A Larry Chair is a travel chair that rests directly on your SUP for a comfortable mode of fishing. Many Larry chairs fold up for compact transport and can also be used for picnics, gardening, or other land activities. Some options include a carrying case.
A detachable paddle board seat can easily convert your SUP into kayak-mode. Sitting may be preferred to lower your center of gravity as you maneuver your board into tight spots or simply if your back gets tired. Thick cushioned neoprene material adds padding to the seat, and it is easily attached to your SUP in minutes. This seat adapts to fit all boards made by GILI.
When searching for a school of fish or the monster lurking in the weeds, a fish finder may be helpful. If you’re on uncharted waters, a fish finder can put you over the fish faster. Many fish finders can be directly mounted onto your SUP. Also, consider using a GPS tracker to chart your course or pin your favorite fishing holes. The GPS also ensures that you don’t get lost while tracking the fish.
When fishing after dark, you’ll need a light for your paddle board. A deck light can attach easily to most SUPs with a suction cup. Deck lights provide safety on dark waters while also meeting USCG requirements for a stern light. Also, consider a headlamp so you can find your favorite lure in the darkness.
Not all SUP fishing trips require an anchor. The decision to bring an anchor should factor in your location and the weather conditions. If targeting fish in a weed bed, an anchor can prevent your paddle board from repeatedly drifting in the wind. If jigging with a bobber, an anchor can keep your line on the bottom.
A folding grapnel anchor is the best recommendation, and it easily stores in a bag for transport. A grapnel anchor grips many terrains such as sand, rocks, or weeds.
As you load up your SUP, you soon realize your available space is precious. Utilizing a fanny pack for tackle or other quick-grab items is quite useful. Maybe you have your cell phone to capture photos of the fish you’ve caught or you need to use your GPS. You can load your fanny pack with easy-access hooks, lures, or a line cutter.
A waterproof fanny pack means less moving around on your board and are more convenient than a tackle box on a stand up paddle board.
Packing extra bungees is always a good idea. You can use them to secure your cooler and tackle or keep them on hand for gear that loosens during your fishing adventures. If your equipment is teetering on the edge of your board — Bungee it.
You’ll need your cell phone to capture and send photos of your awesome catch to friends and family members. When you take your phone out of the dry bag, you run the risk of losing it in the water, so that’s why a waterproof phone case is recommended to be included in your fishing setup. This one includes a lanyard to loop it around your neck.
A waterproof phone case ensures your phone is close but also protected.
With all these SUP fishing accessories, you'll also need basic sun protection such as a hat and sunscreen. Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes while also allowing you to visualize fish from your height advantage on the paddle board.
A first aid kit can help treat the accidental hook through the fingertip and provide emergency gear “just in case.”
With a paddle board full of gear, the risk of overturning your board is higher than average. If a monster fish pulls you overboard, you’ll need a PFD to keep you afloat. A PFD is always necessary on your SUP, whether you’re fishing or enjoying a day paddling down the river. Here’s one we recommend:
An ankle leash attaches you to your board so it won’t sail into the sunset leaving you behind bobbing like a buoy. The GILI ankle leash is a durable product to keep you safe.
A dry bag will secure your wallet, cell phone, keys, and snacks while keeping them from getting wet. And loading your phone with GPS tracking and a weather app might protect you from getting lost or approaching storms.
YES! Fishing on a paddle board requires good planning with a touch of balance. The key is to find a stable SUP with at least a 31” deck width to improve your stability. Look at the paddle boards weight requirement and factor in your tackle and gear.
Efficiently packing for a day of SUP fishing will make you glide more easily with less chance of falling. Use your D-rings and action mounts to attach rod holders, cup holders, or multiple bungees to secure your gear. If you don’t want to fish standing up all day, then throw on a seat with the kayak conversion kit to ride in comfort.
When paddle boarding there is essential equipment that you need no matter what activity you want to enjoy. You obviously need a paddle and a PFD. Your ankle leash secures you to the board in case of a fall. Bring your cell phone to watch the weather for rain or wind that will put a damper on your day. Secure it in your waterproof phone case.
If fishing, you add the essential gear listed above and secure it to your action mounts, your gear racks, or simply bungee your tackle down in the cargo space. Pack up a cooler with cold drinks, and you’re ready for fishing (or simply hanging with a few friends.)
The US Coast Guard has classified SUPs as a vessel and paddlers must adhere to regulations when paddle boarding away from a beach, surfing, or swimming areas. Adults are required to have a USCG approved lifejacket (PFD - level III). Paddlers aged 12 and under must wear the appropriate PFD, while adults can keep it attached to their paddle board.
A cooler is a necessary SUP fishing accessory. It provides adequate storage for your food and water or storage for your catch of the day. A cooler conveniently doubles as a seating option to lower your center of gravity so you can maneuver in the water, or it simply allows you to get off your feet.
When researching the best cooler, you need to know how they attach to your SUP. You can use velcro straps, suction, clips, or bungees. The GILI deck cooler adapts to any paddle board bungee system with easy-to-use S-hooks that attach to your board’s D-rings.
If you love to fish but haven’t yet tried fishing from a stand up paddle board, add it to your bucket list — It’s amazing!
Paddle board fishing offers the advantages of easy maneuverability and better visibility high above the water. It’s also an active, healthy way to explore the water in a relaxing manner. Organizing your gear and tackle is essential for a better fishing experience. Simply choose the best paddle board fishing accessories on this list for a great productive day on the water.
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