SUP Fishing Tips For New and Casual Fishers

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a versatile platform for various activities like exploring, yoga, racing, surfing, and even fishing. But SUP fishing can be a costly hobby. And while many SUP fishing enthusiasts invest in expensive paddle boards designed specifically for fishing, this article aims to give you valuable tips on how to transform a standard, less expensive SUP into a fishing-friendly vessel. By adding some essential gear and adopting the right paddle boarding techniques, you can enjoy the thrill of fishing while gliding on tranquil waters. Read on to learn how.

Unleashing the Versatility of SUPs

Stand-up paddle boards aren’t limited to just one activity; they’re a gateway to a multitude of thrilling experiences on the water. From serene explorations to adrenaline-pumping races, SUPs cater to various interests and offer endless possibilities for adventure. Let's dive into the many exciting ways you can use SUPs:

  • Explore serene lakes, winding rivers, and breathtaking coastlines that are off-limits to other watercraft.

  • Connect with nature and witness wildlife up close.

  • Take your yoga practice to new heights with SUP yoga

  • Seek the thrill of SUP racing.

  • Experience the excitement of SUP surfing.

  • And of course, convert your paddle board into a SUP fishing vessel. 

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these engaging and diverse activities await you on the versatile SUP boards.

How do you set up a paddle board for fishing?

Considering fishing gear, comfort considerations, and the many accessories available, it’s simple to get started once you understand the basics. Here’s what you’ll need to set up your paddle board for fishing:

Fishing rod holders

Rod holders attach to your paddle board, offering a secure mount for your fishing rods so you can quickly and easily respond when a fish bites. When you're on the lookout for a rod holder, go for ones that have sturdy attachment systems and can be adjusted to different angles. This way, you can customize them to suit your fishing style effortlessly. 

Fishing rod

You’ll also need the most important piece of equipment— a fishing rod. Choose a rod that suits your fishing style and the species you're targeting. Whether you prefer a spinning rod, a baitcasting rod, or a fly rod, make sure it's lightweight and easy to handle on your trusty SUP.

  • The spinning rod: It's versatile, beginner-friendly, and perfect for casting light lures with ease. Think of it as your trusty sidekick for a wide range of fishing situations.

  • The baitcasting rod: This rod offers precision and power, making it a favorite among experienced anglers. It allows for accurate casting and handling heavier baits like a champ. Get ready to show off your angling skills!

  • The fly rod: Elegant and graceful, it's the go-to choice for fly fishing enthusiasts. With its long, flexible design, it allows for delicate presentations and imitates the movement of insects on the water. 

Floating Fishing Line

A floating fishing line is like having a buoyant buddy on your side. It's a line that stays on the water's surface, making it easier to manage and less prone to snags. Floating lines are easy to manage on a SUP, reducing the chances of tangles and snags in the water. They allow you to cast further and retrieve your line effortlessly, especially when a fish bites.

Small Net

A net can come in handy when your fish is at the edge of your board, allowing you to quickly and easily scoop it up without losing balance.

Tackle box

Organize your hooks, lures, and other tackle essentials in a box that's both functional and light to carry onto your SUP. 


An anchor is essential for SUP fishing so you don’t drift away or have to reposition your board while waiting for a fish to bite. 

🩱Maddle’s paddle board anchor is a water resistant, metal anchor that comes with a dry bag and a rope with floater.


Think of these as the training wheels of stand up paddle boards. By attaching stabilizers, which are PVC bladders filled with air and protected by a strong nylon cover, it'll be easier for you to balance on your board while reeling in your catch, so you and your equipment don’t all topple into the water.

Fish finder

Fish finders are nifty gadgets that use sonar technology to locate fish, helping you navigate the waters like a pro angler. It's like having your own underwater detective by your side. 


If you’ll be keeping your fish, you’ll need a cooler to store your catch. Otherwise, store drinks and snacks for your day on the water. Be sure to check the fishing licensing requirements in your area so you know if you’re allowed to keep your fish by law, or if you should set them free after catching. 

Dry bag 

If you’ll be bringing your phone, camera, a sweater, or other items you’d rather not get wet, pop them in a dry bag and bring them along with you.

🩱 Maddle’s 30L Dry Bag is the perfect size to bring along on your fishing adventures.

Kayak Seat and Adjustable Paddle

Comfort is key when spending hours on the water, and that's where a kayak seat and an adjustable paddle come into play. Investing in a kayak seat designed for SUPs provides much-needed support and cushioning, for a more enjoyable and relaxing fishing experience. An adjustable paddle allows you to customize the length to suit your height and paddling preferences, whether you’re sitting or standing. 

🩱This kayak converter kit transforms your paddle board. The seat is made of cushioned neoprene and comes with adjustable straps and bolt snap hooks for easy installation. 

Electric Motor

While paddling is a great way to maneuver your SUP, having the option of an electric motor can be a game-changer. Electric motors designed specifically for SUPs are compact, lightweight, and easily attachable giving you added boost when you need to cover more distance. Instead of fighting against currents, save your energy for reeling in the big catch!

The Basics of SUP Fishing

Getting the basics of SUP fishing is relatively straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Attach Rod Holders

Begin by installing rod holders onto your paddle board. These holders can be easily mounted using straps, screws, or adhesive pads, depending on the type you choose. Make sure they’re securely fastened to prevent any accidents or damage to your gear.

2. Choose a Strategic Position

Determine the ideal placement for your rod holders on the board. Consider factors like balance, accessibility, and your preferred fishing style. Many anglers find it convenient to position the rod holders within easy reach near the front of the board.

3. Secure Your Rods

Once the rod holders are in place, insert your fishing rods into them. Make sure they’re secure and won't slip out while you’re paddling or casting. Double-check that the rods are facing outward to avoid any obstruction while you're on the water paddling and maneuvering your SUP to prime fishing locations.

4. Organize Your Tackle

Use a compact tackle box or fishing bag to store and organize your fishing gear. It's best to keep it lightweight and only carry the essentials for your fishing trip. Pack a variety of lures, hooks, weights, and any other items you may need.

5. Test the Setup

Prior to embarking on your fishing expedition, do a series of test casts from the shore and gauge the performance of your line and equipment. Take a few moments to move around the board, carefully inspecting and verifying that everything is securely fastened and functioning as intended. This proactive approach allows you to identify and fix any potential issues, ensuring a smooth and trouble-free fishing experience while you’re out on open water.

Mastering SUP Fishing: Tips & Tricks

Approach Stealthily

One of the advantages of SUP fishing is that it’s super quiet, allowing you to get closer to the fish without spooking them. Take advantage of this by using your paddle silently and avoiding sudden movements that could alert nearby fish.


To ensure seamless casting, opt for floating fishing line instead of a sinking line when SUP fishing. This specific type of line is easier to manage on a paddle board, minimizing the risk of frustrating tangles and snags in the water. It is also used for surface fishing, where a sinking line is used for deeper angling.

Pro tip: Always keep your rod tip directed towards the nose of the board. By maintaining this stable positioning, you not only maximize your balance but also minimize any potential disturbances that may hinder your angling success.



When it comes to reeling in the big ones, jigging proves to be an incredibly efficient technique. By employing a weighted lure or jig and skillfully maneuvering it in a vertical motion, you entice fish to strike. The inherent stability and maneuverability of a SUP creates the perfect foundation for mastering the art of jigging in your angling adventures.

Go light on gear

When venturing out for a casual fishing trip on a SUP, it's best to pack light. Opt for essential fishing gear, like a compact tackle box, a variety of lures, extra line, pliers, and sunscreen. Keeping your load minimal ensures better maneuverability and a more enjoyable experience.

Stand or kneel

Standing on a SUP allows you a comfortable and natural position for casting and scanning the water. However, if you hook a fish that starts pulling you off balance, it's perfectly fine to drop to your knees for added stability while reeling it in.

Maintaining Stability

To maintain stability while fishing, keep your rod tip pointed towards the nose of the board. This helps distribute the weight and prevents any sudden movements that could lead to instability. If you hook a fish that starts pulling you off balance, drop to your knees for better stability while reeling it in.

Is Paddle Board Fishing Hard?

Not at all! Beginners and seasoned anglers can enjoy SUP fishing. While it may require a slight learning curve to find your equilibrium and adjust to the subtle movements on the board, SUP fishing is  accessible and delightful. Just in case, here are a few tips if you’re unsure:

Choose a durable inflatable SUP

Inflatable SUPs are durable, easily stored, and perfect for any level of fishing. Choosing a durable inflatable SUP can be tricky and the best choices for inflatable SUPs are Maddle boards. Maddle’s double-stitched inflatable paddle boards are an excellent choice for SUP fishing. Our boards are highly durable and less likely to be punctured if your hook accidentally hits the board. The best part? You can deflate your board and pack it into a backpack for easy  transportation and storage.

🩱Shop Maddle paddle boards and kickstart your angling adventures.

Opt for Stability over Style

When fishing from a SUP, opt for a wider paddle board.. This will give you better stability and balance. Boards with widths of 30”-32” are extremely stable while still providing good glide. 

Length of your paddle board also is a factor when it comes to stability. Boards that are 10’6” and longer give you more ‘deck space’ and allow for more efficient paddling, getting you to your fishing hole with more energy to fish.

Don’t Forget Safety Gear

Make it a habit to don a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) and securely attach a board leash to yourself, safeguarding you in the event of an unexpected fall. Also, it's worth investing in a waterproof phone case. This protective accessory shields your device from potential water damage, granting you peace of mind while you immerse yourself out on the water.

Respect Others

If you encounter a bustling fishing location, make sure to respect your fellow anglers by acknowledging and honoring their fishing lines and personal boundaries. Be aware of your surroundings and take care to avoid crossing paths with other anglers' lines. This not only fosters a sense of camaraderie but also ensures a pleasant atmosphere for your fellow fishers. 

Hone Your Paddle Boarding Skills First

Practice basic paddle boarding before delving into fishing. Dedicate some time to mastering efficient paddling techniques, honing your balance, and refining your board maneuvering abilities. This preparation will build your confidence once you're on the water.

Choose Calm Waters

Start your paddle board fishing adventures in calm and sheltered waters. This reduces the chance of encountering strong currents or choppy waves, making it easier to maintain stability on the board while focusing on fishing.

Take It Slow

As a casual fisher, it's important to enjoy the process and take things at your own pace. Don't rush or feel pressured to catch a fish right away. Take breaks, soak in the surroundings, and enjoy the tranquility that paddle board fishing offers.

Remember, paddle board fishing isn’t about competing with hardcore enthusiasts but about embracing a unique experience that allows you to connect with nature and enjoy the serenity of the water. So, take your time, savor the moments, and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you while SUP fishing.

Benefits of SUP Fishing

SUP fishing is a unique and immersive fishing experience for beginners and experienced anglers. Whether you're chasing trophy fish or simply enjoying a relaxing day on the water, SUP fishing combines the joys of fishing with the freedom of being on a paddle board. There are several benefits to SUP fishing that other styles can’t compete with including:

Maneuverability and Versatility

One of the biggest advantages of SUP fishing is its unparalleled maneuverability and versatility. Paddle boards are designed to be agile, allowing you to access remote fishing spots that may be inaccessible by larger watercraft. Whether you're exploring hidden coves, navigating shallow waters, or gliding through mangroves, a SUP provides the freedom to fish in places that would otherwise be off-limits.

Stealth and Close Encounters

The quiet nature of a SUP board gives you a significant edge when it comes to getting close to fish without spooking them. As you silently paddle across the water, you become one with your surroundings, seamlessly blending into the environment. The secret to success lies in taking a stealthy approach, increasing your chances of hooking those hard-to-catch fish and creating unforgettable wildlife encounters. So, lower your voice, move quietly, and get ready for thrilling moments in nature's embrace.

Portability and Accessibility

Compared to traditional fishing boats, SUPs offer unparalleled portability and accessibility. Inflatable paddle boards, in particular, are lightweight and easy to transport. They can be deflated and packed into a compact bag, allowing you to explore new fishing spots, travel to distant locations, and access remote waters without the need for a trailer or boat ramp.

Physical and Mental Well-being

SUP fishing isn’t just about the thrill of catching fish; it also provides numerous health benefits. Standing on a paddle board engages your core muscles, improving your balance and stability. Paddling offers a full-body workout, promoting cardiovascular health and strengthening your upper body. Additionally, the peacefulness of being surrounded by nature on a SUP promotes mental well-being, reducing stress and providing a meditative escape from the pressures of daily life.

Unleash the Potential of SUP Fishing

SUP fishing is an awesome opportunity to combine two incredible activities: stand-up paddle boarding and fishing. Armed with the right equipment and techniques, you can effortlessly transform an ordinary, budget-friendly SUP into a fishing haven. Whether you're a novice or a casual angler, paddle board fishing serves as an ideal way to explore uncharted fishing spots, and bask in the serene ambiance of the water. 

Grab your SUP, pack your fishing gear, and embark on thrilling SUP fishing expeditions that are sure to be fond memories for years to come.

Camille Brodeur

Driven by the intersection of lifestyle and fitness, Camille's mission is to inspire others to integrate elements of beauty and aesthetic into their outdoor activities. Her depth of experience in the paddle boarding world allows her to inform and motivate others to get out on the water in the safest and most fun ways possible. Whether it be through her work at Maddle or elsewhere, Camille continuously strives to expand the public consciousness surrounding SUPs.


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