If you want to get a great workout while spending some time out on the water for a few blissful hours of fishing, stand up paddleboards are the way to go. SUPs (Stand Up Paddleboards) are large, stable boards, either solid or inflatable. They're maneuvered with a paddle and can take the weight of a cooler, tools and even your dog.
Paddle your way stealthily over to the fish, get a broad view of your surroundings, and achieve a hearty cast out into the water. Sounds dreamy, right? But first you need a stand up paddle board, and there are many things to consider.
Keep reading for a buyer's guide for picking the best stand up paddle board. Then check out our reviews of the 5 best fishing paddle boards so you can make a stellar choice.
How Paddle Board Fishing Works
It's pretty straightforward; you stand on the board and use a paddle to maneuver and travel. When fishing, you load your board with the required tools (ice bucket, rods, etc.), paddle to the site and drop your anchor. Cast the line and prop it into the rod holder. Take a seat and wait.
Types of Fishing Paddle Boards
Choosing the Best Fishing Stand Up Paddle Board
Type of Paddle Board
The type of paddle board you choose depends on the type and frequency of usage, plus your storage and travel needs. A solid board is best for more serious, long, and demanding outings where speed is favored. An inflatable board is great for limited storage and traveling.
There are two main hull types: displacement (pointed, cuts through the water) and planing (round, skims on top of the water). Displacement hulls are best for faster speeds while planing hulls are better for slower, more chilled-out fishing outings.
Look closely at how the board has been constructed and if there are areas which pose risks of faults or breakages. The same goes for grips and paddle holders, are they sturdy and have a good track record of longevity?
Usage & Paddling Location
Where are you going to be using your board mostly? Will you be cruising in flat, calm waters or aiming for speed in more challenging areas? Will it be a weekly outing or a few weekends in warmer months? This will determine the hull type and accessories you will need.
Board Size, Volume & Weight Capacity
Be sure of your height and weight so you can match with the right board. The higher the volume of the board, the more weight it can handle when on water. A shorter length is easier to move around, while longer boards are generally faster. Wider boards are best for fishing because they have more room for tools and accessories, and are easier to get a good balance when standing and casting lines.
Storage Space, Transport, Portability
Make sure you’ve got enough room to store your board if you're going for a solid board as opposed to the more compact inflatable option. Solid boards require a roof rack for transportation (unless you’ve got a truck). Consider the amount of carrying to and fro, and if any on-foot transport will be involved.
Speed/Ease of Inflation
Assess what special features the SUP has in terms of comfort and leisure. Does it have comfort foam padded seating for long fishing outings? Does it have handy storage accessories such as bungee cords? Is it easy to set up/load? If you’re looking at inflatable models, what are the requirements and does it come with a pump? Is the inflation process suitable for the terrain/conditions you’re planning on facing?
Tracking & Stability
Assess the maneuverability features such as fins, shape, and compatibility with electric motors. Figure out what your needs and abilities are when it comes to moving and maneuvering in the water (do you need extra features for smooth movement?). The stability of the board is dependant on the width, volume, and your weight compared with the weight capacity.
Fishing Features & Accessories
Do you want your board to come with coolers, stabilizers, anchors, GPS systems or fish finders? Assess what you get for the price, and what other accessories the board is compatible with.
Price & Warranty
How often are you going to use your SUP? Is it for a seasonal hobby? If so, a cheaper SUP with a good warranty should suffice. If it's for regular, serious fishing and exercise all-year-round, a more expensive, high-quality model with a great warranty will save you money in the long run. Consider the materials, durability, accessories included, and the general performance quality compared with the price and warranty.
5 Best Fishing SUPs Reviewed
1. Sea Eagle FishSUP 126
Our Top Pick
45 lbs (without accessories)
Max Weight Capacity
Swivel seats, foam deck pads, grab handles, paddle pockets, paddle, storage box, pump, fish ruler, motor mount
Yes, 3 years
First on the list is a fantastic inflatable SUP complete with a swivel seat rig so you can sit back and relax as you scope the surroundings.
The Sea Eagle Fish SUP has been designed especially for fishing, so the accessories, shape, and construction are all geared toward a smooth-sailing fishing outing. For example, the bow is upturned so you can coast over wakes and choppier waters with ease. The swallowtail gives excellent stability, easy maneuverability, and effortlessly handles the weight of a motor (battery or electric).
The large surface and tough materials offer fantastic stability and durability, supporting you as you move and maneuver. The 14 sturdy D-rings allow you to secure accessories to the SUP so that you can strap your tools and cooler in steadily. There’s a paddle pocket so you can stash your paddle safely as you settle in and fish, no risk of getting caught without a paddle.
This is an awesome package as it comes with a pump, backpack, storage kit, and repair box. When you’re done? Deflate it, roll it up and stash it in your backpack for easy transportation and storage.
This is a great choice for you if your sole SUP purpose is to fish, you have limited storage space, and you want a comfy seat to settle into.
2. ISLE Sportsman
Great for beginners
Max Weight Capacity
Paddle, backpack, pump, leash, fins, repair kit
60-day money-back guarantee
Our runner up is the Isle 11'6" Sportsman Inflatable Fishing SUP. This model is a little smaller and sleeker than the one above but is made with military-grade materials for an ultra-durable construction.
The size, shape, and super stiff construction offers excellent stability, even for beginners. The 320 lb weight allowance means you can bring along your dog, kids, or an extra-heavy cooler (depending on your weight).
The bungee cords, D-rings and Scotty mounts give you plenty of options for storing tools, securing boxes, adding leashes, etc. You get all of the necessary accessories you need, such as a pump, paddle, backpack and leash and fins.
The front and rear carry handles allow you to easily transport the SUP even when it’s already loaded. The grooved traction pad is designed to keep you safe (no slips) as well as soft and cushioned when kneeling or sitting as you fish and relax.
This model is ideal for SUP fishers who require something lightweight and easy to transport and store. It’s great for solo fishing, with the option of packing lots of accessories and tools if you wish. It is sleek enough for easy transporting, but large and stiff enough for adding pets, mates and a cooler of snacks.
Best inflatable sup for fly fishing
Max Weight Capacity
Paddle, leash, pump, fin, backpack, rod mounts
Yes, 2 years
Third up, another inflatable SUP which is great for fly fishing thanks to the lightweight construction. This model is even smaller, lighter, and more slender than the first two models. This is because it has been designed especially for travel, being carried from place to place with ease. It clocks in at 21 pounds, light enough for easy carrying, especially when packed tight into the included backpack, which fits the board, the pump, and the paddle.
Because it is a little more narrow, it's best for SUP users who have a bit more experience than a beginner and can balance and maneuver a smaller board. The Atoll 11-Foot SUP is reinforced with 2 layers of PVC material to ensure a stiff and sturdy construction for superior flotation and stability, and resistance to bumps and scratches.
The bungee cords, D-rings, and handles allow you to secure tools and accessories easily. The board has been tested for a 350 lb weight allowance, enough for a large male fisher and his dog, or two smaller anglers.
Two attached side fins and one removable center fin helps with tracking. The central fin box is compatible with fins from other brands, which can be slipped in without tools. You can use your go-to fin (US standard) for a customized tracking experience.
This is the model for you if you need a super light SUP, packs neatly into a backpack, and comes with a pump and paddle. If you're well within the 300lb weight limit (with that extra 50lbs for pets, kids, and extras) then you should look into the Atoll SUP.
4. South Bay Board Co. Premium
Inflatable or solid/rigid
11’ 6” (length)
Max Weight Capacity
Fin set, leash, pump, repair kit, backpack, cooler, kayak seat
Yes, 1 year
Next on the roundup is the South Bay Board Co. Premium Inflatable SUP. This board offers some pretty amazing accessories such as a backpack, small cooler, kayak seat, leash, pump, fin set, paddle, and fishing rod holder. The fin system includes 2 attached fins and one detachable fin, great for swift tracking to your fishing spot.
The materials and construction are designed for stability and stealthy movement in the water. The weight allowance is generous, up to 400 lbs so you can take a friend, large dog or just you and a fully-stocked cooler box. The included paddle has 4 parts so you can break it down to a smaller unit or customize the length for your needs.
The board has all the necessary features for stashing fishing accessories safely, such as D-rings and bungee cords for keeping tools and extras locked in tight. The soft, textured top deck gives you extra grip when scouting fish and casting.
The South Bay Board Co. SUP is best for you if you want a slimline inflatable SUP which can be loaded up with rods and tools, and stays stable in the water as you travel to your fishing spot. If you need a bunch of accessories and want them all in one hit, this is a great choice. This is a great board for not only fishing but relaxing, exercising, and even a spot of yoga thanks to the soft top deck.
5. Elkton Outdoors Grebe
Plenty of extras
Max Weight Capacity
Paddle, pack, rod holders, leash, snap-in fin, Scotty mounts, bungee cords
Last but not least, the Elkton Outdoors Grebe 12-Foot Fishing Inflatable SUP. This board is designed for two main things: fishing and easy transport/portability. It's super lightweight at 26 pounds but does have a decent length and width for fitting the necessary extras while enjoying great stability.
The total capacity is 290 pounds, so it’s more of a solo board just for you and your full cooler, or perhaps a furry companion too.
Prop your rods into the attached rod holders and sit back on the soft top deck. It doesn't have paddle pockets, but you can slip the paddle under the front and back bungee cords along with other tools and accessories. The paddle itself is adjustable to customize to your height and row style.
You can deflate, roll and pack this board away into the included backpack along with the paddle, fins, and leash. If you want to attach a GPS or camera to the board, you can use the Scotty mounts. The deck has a soft grid pattern for slip-resistance and comfy kneeling or sitting.
This SUP is slightly more affordable than the rest, but it does have a lower weight allowance and fewer accessories. It will be perfect for you if you need something lightweight which you can carry during hikes, or take on holidays/vacations. If you need essential accessories such as a pump, backpack, fin, and leash, but you also need rod holders, this is the one. If you’re well within the 290-pound weight limit (with room for coolers and extra tools), definitely put this on your shortlist.
Paddle Board vs Kayak Fishing: Which is Better?
Fishing kayaks are heavier, harder to transport, and bulkier to store compared to inflatable SUPs. SUPS give you the option of standing and sitting, as well as offering more surface area for coolers and other accessories. This is good for scoping the waters and finding populated fish areas. Kayaks are better for handling rougher waters (i.e., choppy oceans). SUPs are better for bringing pets or a friend, with more room to move and relax as you fish.
Solid vs Inflatable Fishing SUPs Compared
Solid boards are harder to store and transport, as they need to be transported to the fishing area with a vehicle, on a roof rack. Inflatable boards can be carried on foot, in a backpack, and are more comfortable to get to remote fishing spots.
Inflatable SUPs are generally a little thicker and therefore more stable on the water while you scout, cast and wait. Solid SUPs are more prone to dents and damages, while inflatable SUPs are more hard-wearing.
SUP Fishing Tips
Rigging a Paddle Board for Fishing
Check that your inflatable SUP is inflated to the right level so that it’s stiff enough for the best stability and performance. Make sure you have your PFD, fully-charged phone, paddle, cooler with water, fishing rod and tackle box. Load up your board once you are close to the water entry, using the bungee cords and D-rings to secure each item safely. Be aware of your SUP's maximum weight allowance and rig accordingly.
How to inflate an inflatable SUP
Caring for a Fishing Paddle Board
After each outing, give your board a hose down with the high-pressure setting of your hose to remove any larger pieces of debris, salt, and sand. Use mild soapy water to give a more thorough scrub, and avoid all abrasive chemical cleaners or scrubbers.
Only use cleaning products (aside from gentle dish soap) which are designed and approved for boards. This is a good brand for specialized cleaning and maintenance products for SUPs and surfboards. Thoroughly dry your SUP with a towel before rolling up and storing. Make sure that it’s completely dry and stored in a dry place to avoid mold or mildew finding a home on your board.
Safety Measures When Fishing On a SUP
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stabilize a paddle board for fishing?
You can use a SUP stabilizer such as this one. It slips onto the SUP and adds a floating stabilizer to either side of the SUP, stopping any tipping or extra movement. This is great if you're taking little kids, pets, or want to relax with extra stability.
How much do fishing SUPs typically cost?
It depends on the type of board, the accessories, and the materials. The range is generally from around $600 to $1000 and up. The models on our list are under $1000.
Do fishing paddle boards come with fishing gear?
No, they generally don't come with rods, lines, lures, etc. You have to use your own fishing gear.
What size SUP paddle board is best for fishing?
It depends on your weight, height, and paddling skill level. It also depends on how many fishing accessories you plan on loading up. Wider boards are more comfortable to stabilize, especially for beginners. Longer, wider boards allow for more tools and accessories such as coolers.
What are the best spots to go stand up paddle fishing?
There aren't many restrictions when it comes to SUPs thanks to their small size, quietness, and maneuverability. However, avoid dangerous or choppy waters and stick to calmer areas so you can control your directions and move easily. Do make sure your chosen spot has clear and safe places to launch and SUP and bring it back in when you're done. For beginners, choose smaller, calmer areas such as lake coves and gentle rivers.
Where do you put caught fish when SUP fishing?
A cooler or ice bucket is the best option for storing caught fish. The cooler can double as a seat and drinks bucket too.
Now you can go ahead and make an informed choice when purchasing your fishing SUP! Our favorite is the Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Swivel Seat Fishing Rig Package thanks to the comprehensive accessories and sturdy quality.
Gather all of the information you need first, (i.e., your weight, fishing plans, paddling skill level, what you plan to take, where you plan to go, and how you plan to store your board) so you can find the perfect fit.
Happy SUP fishing!
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