Sup Fishing Setup
1. The Right Board
In our opinion, selecting the proper board will be the most important decision an angler can make when entering the world of SUP fishing. Most paddleboards are designed and shaped with a specific purpose or use in mind.
We’ve found only a select few truly stand apart and are designed with “fishablilty” in mind.
At the forefront of fishing paddleboards lies Bote Boards. Their Bote HD, Rackham, and Ahab models are the three most angler-friendly boards on the market. These models feature Bote’s hybrid displacement hulls that slice effortlessly through choppy conditions making for a smooth, stealthy ride. Bote’s patented Tackle Rac system provides the angler with two rod holders as well as a rack that keeps gear high up off the water, reducing salt exposure. The Rackham was designed with an elevated bow to keep the angler and gear dry. The elevated bow also allows for a greater maximum weight capacity of 400lbs. The Rackham comes with a built in paddle keeper/sheath which makes for worry free casting knowing your paddle isn’t going anywhere. We’ve found that 12ft is the most ideal length for beach launches and battling near shore species like tarpon, snook, and cobia. A 12ft board is long enough to track nicely, wide enough to create a stable platform to throw a castnet from, yet still short enough to easily maneuver through the sometimes hazardous surf zone.
2. Five-Gallon Bucket
Besides the board itself, the five-gallon bucket is the most crucial item for SUP fishing. I never leave land without one. The most obvious use for the five-gallon bucket is to hold livies, but the bucket can be used for so much more. During the initial launch through the surf, the five-gallon bucket holds my 8-foot pogie net. Once I clear the surf zone the bucket becomes my livewell. I throw around a half dozen live pogies or mullet in the bucket and leave the pogie net attached to the Tackle Rac. As soon as I hook up to a large fish (especially a tarpon) I tie the five gallon bucket to the rope of my castnet and throw it overboard. The bucket now acts as a drift anchor and applies extra drag to the fish.
This eliminates the ability for a big fish to drag me miles from the original spot the fish was hooked.
If the goal is to land monster tarpon (120-180-pounds) I recommend two five-gallon buckets for more stopping power. On windy days, I use one bucket exclusively as a drift anchor to help slow down my drift and keep me positioned in the feeding zone for a longer period of time.
3. 5-8-foot Castnet
A castnet is essential to my SUP fishing success. Nothing is worse than running out of bait during a hot bite. If I can catch and keep fresh livies every trip, my odds for a success go through the roof. When choosing what castnet to bring I consider things like the depth of water the bait will be in, is the bait easily spooked, how much room is there to throw a net, how efficient/comfortable am I with this castnet? When fishing offshore I usually take a 6-8ft net depending on the wind. When targeting bait inshore I will bring a 5-6ft net due to the fact that space can be tight in mangrove lined canals and bait tends to spook easy, so a long-range throw is necessary.
When in doubt, take a smaller net which will be easier to open and less fatiguing to throw.
I mark the leash of my castnets every five feet. This allows me to use the castnet to roughly estimate the depth of the water. The leash of the castnet also doubles as a rope to help tie things down when it comes time to navigate back in through the surf. I would suggest using a lower quality “Walmart Special” net over a custom net offshore because opportunistic sharks will tear the net apart for an easy meal.
Programmed in every angler’s DNA is the ability to tell an over exaggerated fishing story. GoPro’s line of action cameras now gives us the ability to capture every second of that exaggerated fish story in incredible 4K HD video.
Now every fish tale can be validated with video proof.
The GoPro Hero 4 Black is waterproof to 131-feet and incredibly durable. GoPro cameras can be used for both video and photos. They can be attached to a variety of mounts to capture the memories from a range of unique angles. The ultra wide-angle lens is ideal for self-filming. Check out our Tarpon Insanity videos on BD Outdoors. These short videos were filmed exclusively with GoPros.
5. Quality Polarized Sunglasses
One of the best advantages of SUP fishing as opposed to kayak fishing is the increased field of vision. From a standing position an angler cannot only see further but also see into the water much better than a seated kayaker.
To further capitalize on this advantage, it is important to wear a quality pair of polarized sunglasses.
We prefer RCI’s, Smith’s Chroma Pops, or Costa 580‘s. All of these lenses will filter out glare and the wrong color light and allow you to see a sharper, clearer image. A huge amount of technology goes into the lenses of these sunglasses. They will flat out help you catch more fish.