Funny how the act of writing will teach us about the things we are writing about. For instance, I started this blog a half dozen times; each time I scrapped it and started over. Why, you ask? Because by the time I was a few hundred words deep, I realized each time that my content was not specific, instead ending up sounding like a fishing piece I’d write about any floating vessel I might fish from, not just an inflatable stand-up paddleboard.
And therein lies the beauty of the iSUP; it allows us basically the same fishing access as a kayak or fishing boat, but with vastly improved portability and a tiny fraction of the cost.
I tried to write about specific tackle we need specifically to fish from an iSUP…but there is none. I try to write about different lures or tools or presentations even…but there are none. By the time I’d tried to define iSUP-specific fishing gear several times, I arrived at the realization that the only difference in my tackle between trips on the Airhead 1138 Bonefish paddleboard and my $80,000 bass boat is the shear volume of it that I carry along.
Another way of saying it is if you are equipped to fish in any way, shape or form, you are also equipped to fish from an iSUP; you are already equipped to catch the wave and you didn’t even know it! You can thank me later…
Ok, so yea, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your tackle for an iSUP outing, and they all revolve around versatility. A large part of the charm of fishing from a paddleboard is the simplicity so don’t mess it up by taking too much stuff on the board. Instead, take a rod or two, maybe three if you’re insecure like me, that allow you the widest range of presentations. My Bonefish has racks to hold rods when not in use and if your board does not, consider carrying only a single rod…or getting a better paddleboard! In the bass boat, I rig rods for specialized presentations but on the paddleboard, I rig for versatility to keep the volume in check. In reality, a couple of spinning rods appropriate for the species you will pursue will suffice. One thing to keep in mind is that the paddleboard may force you to cast from funky angles or positions so take the tackle you are most comfortable casting.
Along the same lines, pare down your tackle box. I download lures into a single plastic box or two, focussing again on the most universal lures. I keep colors simple (light, medium, dark), and size centered around consistency. I always, always have a high quality pair of pliers on hand when fishing anywhere and I leash them to my shorts on the paddleboard. Same thing with your shades; wear a retainer or risk losing them.
Fishing or otherwise, a board leash is a must-have and of course a PFD is required by law; I wear an inflatable belt pack style while fishing because it’s comfy and out of the way. I also use a waterproof, floating phone case so I have communication should I need it…but mostly for those all-important grip-n-grins! And the last thing you’ll for sure want to have when paddleboard fishing is an anchor. Paddleboards are very efficient on water which is a nice way of saying they drift around easily, thereby making an anchor handy for hands-free fishing. I use a 5# kayak style and loosely rope it to the center board most often, allowing easy anchor deployment/adjustment/stowage.
Fishing from an iSUP does not require specialized gear or tackle, so what does it require? It requires a desire to simply get off the bank and on the water, a little exercise to get around, and perhaps some consideration of what exactly you carry along…which should not be much. The old K.I.S.S. acronym is right at home in this context!