Paddle Board Fishing for Beginners

Outdoors Allie • May 24, 2023

Paddle board fishing combines two of my favorite outdoor hobbies: fishing and paddle boarding. It enables me to access new areas and is quite the thrill when you hook into a fish. In this article, I’ll go over some of the basics of paddle board fishing and give you a few things to consider before hitting the water this summer.

A few things that you’ll want to look for in a fishing-specific paddle board are its length, width, and hull shape. In general, the wider the paddle board is, the more stable it will be. This is very important for fishing purposes! Extra stability for casting, fighting a fish, and paddling is essential. Hull types also vary. A planing hull is flat and wide which makes it very stable and versatile. A displacement hull has a pointed nose, similar to a kayak. This helps the board to cut through water and improves efficiency while paddling. Hybrid options are available as well. Point being hull shape is something to consider. The weight capacity of your board and the weight of the board itself are also things you’ll want to look at. Generally speaking, the heavier the board, the more stable it's going to be. Something in the 50–70-pound range will work well. That may sound heavy, but the enhanced stability it provides is well worth it for fishing. A beach cart/board trailer is a good addition if you need help maneuvering it when solo fishing. And the last thing to consider is how you will secure gear on your board. Things like tracks and tie-downs will make you much more efficient and organized, so keep an eye out for those while choosing a board.

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Now let’s get into some fishing specifics. I prefer to have rod holders mounted to gear tracks on the side of my board. They are very easy to use and modify for your specific setup. I typically set them a little bit forward, so while I'm paddling I don't accidentally hit my rods. You can also attach a GoPro and many other accessories to the track system. They are essential to the function of my setup.

Next, I have a cooler that doubles as a seat. The cooler option is great because I can sit on it very comfortably. It keeps my knees at a 90-degree angle which provides a little extra leverage, maneuverability, and line of sight. On a short trip, it’s great to use as dry storage, keeping everything inside watertight. But if you’re planning a long day on the water, it’s great to use as its intended function as a cooler. You can also throw smaller fish in there if you plan on keeping your catch. Rod holders, cup holders, and other accessories can be added to the cooler as well. It is secured by tie-down straps attached to metal loops on both sides of the board.

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In the back, I like to keep a small milk crate full of goodies. I typically keep an anchor in there, along with some pliers, gloves, a ruler, and other items I like to keep accessible. In the front, I usually strap down a water-resistant bag full of fishing tackle like extra leaders, hooks, scissors, artificial lures, etc. Some boards come with cargo-style netting to keep things secure on the front, but you can also use a bungee or some type of tether to secure it.

Most fishing-specific paddle boards will have some sort of paddle attachment system to secure your paddle to the board when you need to be hands-free. If not, you’ll find a bungee or tether to come in handy again.

Next, we’ll get into some safety gear that you should keep on board. A low-profile life vest is a must. I prefer the inflatable style that goes around my waist. I also have a whistle attached to my life jacket. A leash that goes around your ankle and attaches to the board is also a great safety precaution if you accidentally tip over. This just ensures that the board won’t float away if you’re in any type of current.

Most standard paddle boards aren't made specifically for fishing and won’t have the features that I’ve discussed. Things such as gear tracks, metal tie-down loops, and cargo nets are just a few, so keep that in mind. Just like anything else, it will take some time to get your system dialed, but the reward and freedom of paddle board fishing are well worth it!

--Outdoors Allie

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