My favourite thing about using a fishing paddle board (or fishing SUP) is that, because you’re standing above and looking directly at the surface, you can see what’s going on underneath you much better.
If you’re fishing in clear lakes or oceans, it makes it a lot easier to target what you’re after, especially if you’re wearing a pair of polarized glasses.
There are a lot of reasons fishing enthusiasts should give paddleboard fishing a shot, and I’ve put together the below guide on what’s out there.
I’ve categorized them based on use and style so that you can find one that makes sense for your budget, lifestyle and needs.
- The Overall Winner: NIXY Monterey Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Angler-Specific Fishing Paddle Board: Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Inflatable FishSUP – Start Up Package
- Best Value: South Bay Board Co. – 11’6 Hippocamp Inflatable SUP
- Best Hybrid/Most Stable: BOTE Deus Aero Inflatable Fishing Kayak & Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Lightweight Fishing SUP Board: Mousa Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- Best Hard Shell SUP: ISLE Cruiser Stand Up Paddle Board & SUP Bundle
- Additional Gear for Fishing From a Paddle Board
The Overall Winner of the Best Fishing Sup: NIXY Monterey Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
This is a sup fishing board that a friend recently lent me and, to date, it’s the best of the inflatable SUPs I’ve used. It’s super sturdy, has great balance, it’s easy to transport and so fast to inflate.
The Nixy Adventurer really is kitted out for fishing with mounting brackets for the Nixy Fishing Rack, fishing rod holders, mounting brackets, a paddle holder, a non-slip traction pad and D-rings for optional Nixy kayak seat if you get tired of standing.
It’s a great fishing setup for sup fishing, and overnight fishing trip, and can comfortably handle multiple people (which many SUPs can’t do).
11′6″ x 32″ x 6″
iSUP high pressure pump, paddle and accessories bundle
- Carbon-paddle doesn’t float. It’s a great paddle, but not ideal for paddle board fishing. Consider tying something buoyant to it, like a piece of foam or a small flotation device.
Best Angler-Specific Fishing Paddle Board: Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Inflatable FishSUP – Start Up Package
The Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 is definitely tailor-made for paddle board fishing–particularly fly fishing–so it’s no wonder it’s a favourite among kayak anglers.
The wide back is specifically designed to use with a SUP motor, which you can take on and off easily, and the swallow-tail design provides excellent stability while standing.
There are other nice little touches that Sea Eagle has included that make this a great fishing paddle board, such as the integrated ruler, an area to store a dry bag, four fishing rod holders, a swivel chair for when you need to sit down and a double-bladed paddle so you can paddle kayak-style while seated.
All in all a fantastic fishing setup.
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
11′6″ x 32″ x 6″
motor mount, 3 removable skegs, paddle, pump, carry bag
- Inaccurate inflation time. Sea Eagle contends it takes 7 minutes to get this inflatable paddle board up and running, but in my experience, it’s more like 15.
- Heavy if you’ve got the seat and a motor on it.
Best Value: South Bay Board Co. – 11’6 Hippocamp Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
I’ve rated this the best of the inflatable paddle board offers because of all the gear that comes included, the fact that it’s dual use (both a stand-up and sit-down paddle board) and how easy it is to transport with its roller bag–you can take this thing anywhere.
While not as wide as the Sea Eagle, it’s still stable enough for sup fishing can handle up to 450lbs.
As I mentioned, the amount of stuff that comes with this great little fishing sup is the clincher for me:
- Kayak seat
- Two Rod holders
- 2 paddles
- Coiled leash
- 9” fin
- Carrying backpack
- Fanny pack
- Repair kit
- Automatic pump
Heavy Duty, Military Grade PVC Frame, Reliable Heat-Welded Seams, Incredibly Stiff Drop-Stitch Technology
138″ x 34” x 6”
Kayak seat, Rod holders, Cooler, 2 paddles, Coiled leash9” fin, Carrying backpack, Fanny pack, Repair kitAutomatic pump
90 days from date of purchase
- Can be harder to roll up and fit in the bag with the gear mounts.
- Have to screw in the middle fin attachment, which might make it easier to lose.
All in all, over two-thirds of owners like fishing SUP enough to award it five stars.
Best Hybrid/Most Stable: BOTE Deus Aero Inflatable Kayak & Stand Up Paddle Board
Bote Boards makes excellent gear, and the Bote Deus Aero Inflatable Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board is a terrific fishing paddle board if you are looking for something with more stability.
It’s the best hybrid or “crossover” for SUP fishing out there because it’s one of very few that actually serves as both kayak and paddle board.
It is very clearly boat-designed, with a clearly defined hull that makes tracking easier than with a traditional paddleboard.
The removable seat turns the paddle board into a day cruiser that is really quite comfortable and comes with a removable foot bar that makes long-distance paddling a lot less strenuous.
There is also a ton of storage space in the Deus Aero for all your fishing accessories, which I think makes this a great expedition vessel
Travel bag, Hand pump, Center fin, Repair kit, Removable foot bar
- Carry bag is a bit small. Takes some elbow grease to get it back in the bag.
All in all, 82 percent of owners love the BOTE Deus Aero enough to give it five stars. I understand why, this is quite a unique product and a great addition to any traveler’s sup fishing gear list.
Best Lightweight Fishing SUP: Mousa Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
While not a dedicated fishing SUP, this is quite a wide board (34”) which provides extra stability when casting or fighting a fish, so it’s worth including on the list.
The entire board only weighs 20 pounds, so it’s something you can easily take with you in the car (or even just as a pack).
I also really like it because it’s one of the few stand up paddle boards that I would say is light enough to travel with.
I actually got the idea for this board after striking up a conversation in an airport who was travelling with a full-size board, and I thought an inflatable fishing board would be a nice alternative to lugging a hardshell board around and paying for the extra checked item.
The adjustable paddle is also a nice touch, despite not being double-sided.
durable double layers of PVC, the interior of board is made of double drop stitch
11′ x 34” x 6”
Paddle, High pressure pump, Cellphone case, Cord, Skegs, Carry case
- No seat. I like stand up paddle boards you can sit down on too.
- Can take up to 15 minutes to inflate with the included pump.
Other that that, 85 percent of owners rate this great, lightweight ISUP five stars.
Best Hard Shell SUP: ISLE Cruiser Stand Up Paddle Board & SUP Bundle
While not a dedicated fishing sup, it’s getting harder to find hard shell paddle boards as inflatable fishing boards have kind of taken over, given how much more stable and high-quality they now are.
If you are looking for a sup fishing paddle board that isn’t inflatable and you don’t need to worry about packing up, then the ISLE Cruiser is a great, very quick, hard shell.
It’s only 4.5 inches thick, so it’s quite a bit thinner than the average fishing SUP, which also means it’s only got a 235lb weight capacity, so it’s really best suited for one adult.
Drop Stitch PVC, gortex vent plug, croc skin padding
10’5″ x 32″ x 4.5″
Hybrid Adjustable Paddle / Removable Center Fin / Coil Leash / Two Superbolts / Fin Key / Sticker Pack
- Top is quite soft. You have to be careful with any fishing gear you bring on this or you will quickly scratch the crap out of the deck pad.
Still, nearly three-quarters of owners loved this board enough to give it 5 stars.
What Went Into My Selection Process for the Best Inflatable Paddle Board List
I’ve been fishing my entire life, and I’ve always been a big fan of kayak fishing (my YouTube is full of kayak fishermen). I have also really liked paddle boards, but my concept of a paddle board was always something like the California Board Company.
When I learned you could effectively fish from a SUP, naturally, I gravitated towards paddleboard fishing. It has been one of the best fishing tips I’ve ever gotten.
I’ve fished from a few different fishing SUPs over the years and the growth of the hobby and the quality of the SUPs out there (especially inflatable) is really impressive.
I know what I like in a SUP fishing paddle board and I think my preferences are probably pretty universal among paddle boarders/paddle boarding anglers, so I’ve incorporated that into my selections.
I also spent many hours watching and reading reviews and demonstrations, as well as talking to my kayak/paddle boarding fisherman friends about what they like.
All in all, I think the above list is a good representation of some of the quality products on the market for different lifestyles, budgets and use cases.
Why SUP Fishing Paddle Boards Are Great Gear
There are a few reasons why fishing SUPs are such cool pieces of outdoor gear.
For one, a SUP board is far less bulky than standard fishing kayaks, as well as lighter. You can easily store an inflatable fishing board in the back of your car, in the closet, or under a bed.
If it’s light enough and comes with a carry pack, you can even travel with it or take it on an overlanding fishing trip or hike-in fishing adventures to your favorite fishing hole.
Most SUP fishing paddle boards are also cheaper than a fishing kayak. A good quality fishing paddle board will cost you around $1000, and they are built to last.
What’s more, some are specifically designed to fit an electric motor on the back, which makes a fishing sup even more versatile.
It can be easier to catch fish. Fishing SUPs glide across the surface of the water without creating much backwash, so it’s easier to get into fishy areas without scaring them off.
What’s more, when you’re standing and looking directly into the water, you can actually see what’s below you better.
Last, but not least, a stand up paddle board is a great full-body workout. If you want an idea of just how many muscles you train on paddle boards, take a look at this great article from Men’s Journal on it.
The Differences Between Hardshell and Inflatable SUPs
You can use either hard shell or inflatable paddle boards for your fishing adventure, but there are some pros and cons to keep in mind.
Sometimes fishing paddle board reviews don’t emphasize the superior nature of hardshell boards in a lot of scenarios.
An inflatable paddle board is better if you don’t have the storage space for a hard shell or if you want to be able to take your board on a fishing trip or even travel with it by air easier.
But hard shells tend to track better and are faster. Inflatables are always going to come with some give that makes your energy transfer not as efficient. That said, modern inflatables are extremely well made and are used by fishermen all the time.
Main Evaluation Criteria When Buying a SUP for Paddle Board Fishing
While, of course, you don’t need to use a SUP fishing paddle board exclusively for fishing, if you are planning on fishing with a SUP, here are some of the key features and considerations:
- Weight capacity
- Materials and Engineering
- Attachment points for fishing accessories (fishing rod holders, a deck pad, fishing rod, sand spear sheath, d rings, fish finders, tackle rack)
- Motor compatible
- Paddle style
- Paddle holder
Weight capacity basically dictates how many people you are going to be able to fish with. Personally, I think more than one person per paddle board while fishing (especially an inflatable) is too many.
I prefer a stable board, and more people tend not to be conducive to stability.
Anyone who has ever shared paddle boards with inexperienced boarders knows that they can be a bit of a liability (in terms of stability), and if you’re not planning on taking a dip, then one person is usually safer unless both people know what they’re doing.
Different things make for a more stable fishing SUP. Drop-stitch design, for instance, creates more resistance.
The width of a paddle board is also something to factor in if you’re planning on using it for fishing. Width keeps the board stable.
If you’ve ever stood on a narrow board, you know that they can be wobbly, so now imagine standing on one and fighting a fish.
All fishing SUPs that are made with anglers in mind take width into consideration so most SUPs made with the serious angler in mind use a wide board design.
Materials and Engineering
Materials matter a lot for a fishing iSUP, especially the rails (the edge of the SUP). The rails are made by joining the top and bottom sheets of the board with long strips of reinforced PVC to make the board watertight.
There are single PVC-coated fabrics (which are the cheapest), there are dual (much better), and the best paddle boards use dual plus a stiffening layer (much much better).
The stiffening layer is usually a strip of high-tensile strength material that combines rigidity with improved puncture resistance, making for a very solid paddle board.
The Nixy Monterey (the overall winner on my list), for example, has dual-layer PVC, FusionTech laminated, woven drop stitch technology and reinforced carbon side rails.
Other material considerations include PVC quality, heat-welded seams, a full length deck pad (made from neoprene) etc.
While you don’t need attachment points for fishing gear on a paddle board, they are definitely nice to have and make fishing from a paddle board much easier.
Most of the SUP fishing paddle boards out there have dedicated storage space for all your fishing gear, in addition to the simple elastics that most paddle boards have.
Some even had paddle holders and at least two rod holders, depending on the model.
This is nice to have for storing food, gear, and even fish.
Motor compatible refers to whether or not there is a dedicated area on the back of the fishing SUP board for a small electric outboard motor.
The below Sea Eagle is completely kitted out for fishing with electric rod holder attachments for multiple fishing rods, paddle board motor and all.
Even if you don’t opt for a fishing paddle board with a dedicated motor mount area, there are motors and mounts out there that are compatible with a wide range of inflatable paddle boards.
Similarly, you can buy the attachment for a rod holder (or make one yourself) or even create a fishing stand.
Paddle style refers to whether or not a paddle is single-bladed or double bladed (like a kayak). For boards that are hybrid or convertible (into a kayak), like the BOTE Deus Aero Inflatable Kayak & Stand Up Paddle Board, a dual-blade paddle is ideal.
Some SUP fishing paddle boards come with dual blade oars, some don’t. I personally always prefer a dual-bladed oar while paddle boarding because I like having the option to sit down and paddle if I want.
Does your SUP come with a seat? A lot of the new inflatable fishing boards have seat attachments (either included or sold separately) that essentially turn the board into a kayak.
Almost all of the fishing-specific boards come with seats because you don’t always want to be standing while fishing.
Good SUP fishing paddle boards usually have a paddle holder that reduces the risk of you losing your paddle.
If you aren’t going to be fishing from a board, then a paddle holder isn’t as necessary, but it’s definitely a nice feature to have.
Additional Fishing Gear for SUP fishing and paddle boarding
Sometimes SUP fishing paddle boards come with a bunch of extra gear and accessories that you need to fish–fishing rod holders, a fishing stand, and maybe even a fishing rod.
I’ve found that most of the fishing paddle board reviews I’ve read don’t give you this list of gear, so here it is.
Anchor (or sand spear)
If you find a good fishing spot and want to stay there, then you need a small anchor with you. Just make sure you are observing eco-friendly anchoring practices. This means not anchoring on reef, in seagrass or anywhere it indicates you are not allowed to anchor.
The Xtreme Max 3006.6548 BoatTector Complete Grapnel Anchor Kit is a good anchor option for stand up paddle boards. It comes with a carry bag.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you get a sand spear sheath to protect yourself while motoring/paddling.
Most inflatable stand up paddle boards come with handpumps, which can take up to 15-20 minutes to inflate. An electric pump is far more efficient and definitely something you should think about investing in if you plan on going fishing often.
The Digital Electric Air Pump Compressor – 110W 12 Volt Quick Air Inflator is a relatively inexpensive option that is highly rated and will greatly reduce inflation time.
Paddle Protector Float
Some paddle board paddles float, others not so well. Anything carbon fibre is likely going to start to sink in short order, so it’s always a good idea to have a paddle protector float.
These floats from Paddle Protector are made from high-density buoyant foam, quality and velcro.
A paddle sheath is another convenient piece of gear to have. Most fishing paddle boards don’t come with either of these.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
Don’t need to go into too much detail here, but IMO you need a PFD (life jacket) more when you’re fishing on a paddle board because your chances of falling in are great. This is an especially prudent purchase if you’re doing cold water or winter fishing.
A headlamp is a good piece of fishing gear to have if you are going out early or planning on fishing into the evening. You should have something that allows you to navigate in the dark hands-free and also something to let other crafts on the water know you’re out there.
Olight makes good quality, affordable headlamps that run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The OLIGHT Perun 2 2500 is a good combination of power and price.
If you’re interested in evaluating more lights, I’ve written a guide to the best hiking flashlight with several great options that I’ve owned and tried over the years as a wildlife photographer and nature guide.
This is especially important if you are using an inflatable fishing SUP in any larger bodies of water.
In the event that your paddle sinks and/or your little electric trolling motor dies, there’s a current and you’re quite a ways from shore, what do you do?
You will probably want to try and flag down another boat on the water. A whistle and something like a small survival mirror for signalling is helpful safety gear to have.
Looking After Fishing Paddle Boards
An inflatable fishing SUP is pretty easy to look after and keep in good working order, provided you do a few things after using it.
Cleaning after use
every time you’re done with the board you should wash it off with freshwater to get rid of dirt, gravel, algae etc. You technically don’t have to if you’ve only been out in freshwater (salt water, for sure), but I do anyways.
After you’re done rinsing, use a natural biodegradable PVC cleaner (or just some dish soap). Rinse it again to get rid of soap residue and then dry it completely.
I like to wipe stand up paddle boards down with an old towel and then keep it somewhere dry and out of the sun for around a full 24 hours before packing it away. This avoids it accumulating bacteria and mold.
Storing your board
Once your board is dry, remove the fins and leash and roll it up (don’t roll it too tightly or you could damage the seams). Place it in its storage bag and keep it out of direct sunlight.
You can leave your board inflated (provided it’s out of the sun), but keep in mind that the board will lose air over time so the next time you take it out, check the air levels to see if it needs any inflating.
Important: if you leave stand up paddle boards inflated in hot climates, the air expands, and it could damage the board so make sure you let out a little bit of air before storage to account for this expansion.
In the even you need to repair your board, check out this video from ISLE on how to repair an iSUP.
Why Investing in Good Quality Fishing Paddle Board Makes Sense
A fishing SUP board is a great piece of gear for any fisherman (or woman) looking for something affordable and portable.
You don’t need an expensive boat and trailer in order to go on fishing trips if you’ve got a good quality paddle board.
The technology has progressed leaps and bounds over the years and there are plenty of people out there doing paddle board fishing that testify to the growth and viability of the hobby.
I hope this article has done a good job of breaking downs the ins and outs of the fishing paddle boards out there and why they are such an exciting new development in recreational fishing.