Every time I dive into watercraft, it amazes me how far the technology has come in terms of design, materials used, and overall portability. This review is no different, but this time, the point of focus will be on a relatively novel way to get around the larger creeks and rivers of your home waters. I’m talking about stand-up paddleboards, also known as SUPs.
These vessels are used in both salt and freshwater fishing applications and possess many design features that offer distinct advantages over kayaks, pontoon boats, and the classic aluminum Jon boats and float tubes that were a constant, common sight on the Susquehannah in my youth.
Join me as I attempt to explain the unique design benefits that SUPs possess over other watercraft in this review so that you can stay informed and as always, buy with confidence.
In This Review We’ll Cover:
- Best stand up paddle boards for fishing (overall)
- Best stand up paddle board for the money
- What to look for in a stand-up paddle board
- How to fish from a stand-up paddle board
- Inflatable SUP vs. hard shell SUP (non inflatable)
- And much more
Let’s get started!
Best fishing Stand up paddle boards (overall)
We found the top three stand-up paddle boards for fishing. The design, quality, and accessories make these products perfect for anyone wanting to wet their line while on the water.
- Convertible Kayak/SUP Design
- Inflatable and Portable
- Superior Durability and Stability
- Feature Rich and Highly Configurable
- No Cost 2-Year Manufacturers Warranty
The BOTE Deus Aero Inflatable Kayak/SUP is truly the best of both worlds and would have been a worthy addition to a previous review I wrote for Anchor Fly concerning kayaks. The convertible aspect of this boat is smart, innovative, and efficient.
The top chamber and seat can be easily removed (or left at home entirely!) to convert this vessel from a kayak to a paddle boat with ease. The Deus was constructed with BOTE’s proprietary AeroBOTE technology, and that means that this thing can go from its travel bag to a 12’6” kayak in minutes.
Inflating a boat of this size is no small feat for one person, but BOTE has made the process manageable and as streamlined as possible with their included foot pump.
This product packs down to 39 × 18.5 × 11.5 inches and weighs approximately 50 lbs. The 12’6” boat converts to a stand-up paddle board in seconds by removing the top portion, and it is super durable. The boat is made of “military-grade PVC” and will float in a surprisingly small amount of water (5 inches in some circumstances).
Soft-hull boats are notoriously tough, and the Deus is no exception. This interesting hybrid of SUP has an adjustable foot bar when you need to put some power into the paddle, and it sports BOTE’s four-chamber floatation technology for unparalleled stability when standing on it (more than enough stability to fly fish).
The extra features are numerous on this and range from cup-holders to multiple D-Rings that can secure a cooler or whatever else you need to bring along.
Most interesting to me was the self-bailing cockpit that can funnel water outright through the stern. This is an impressive and dependable product that carries a rock-solid two-year manufacturer’s warranty at no extra cost, and it is more than deserving of your consideration if you’re looking for a stand-up paddle board and more.
View on Amazon →
- Exterior: 12’6″ x 40″ x 6″ / Deflated: 45″ x 15″ x 10″ / Board Thickness: 6″
- Ergonomic Swivel Seat
- 45 lbs, 48 lbs With Motor Mount
- 500 lbs/ 2 Person Weight Capacity
- 1000 Denier Drop Stitch/Seam for Superior Durability
- Paddles Included
I’ve reviewed Sea Eagle products before for Anchor Fly, and for good reason. This company consistently provides a high-quality, durable product that you can rely on season after season. Sea Eagle’s FishSUP 126 is a 12’6” inflatable stand-up paddleboard with the fisherman in mind.
The swivel seat allows for ease of casting and paddling sitting down, but this vessel is sturdy. At its widest point, it is 40” across, allowing you to easily stand up to cast streamers or get that drag-free drift that would have been challenging to attempt while seated.
The material used in the construction of the 126 is heavy duty and the seams are quadruple overlapped for consistent use and the occasional encounter with submerged obstacles that could doom a lesser watercraft.
It goes without saying that if you’re engaged in this type of endeavor, you need a paddle board that doesn’t need to be replaced every season. The 126 is that SUP. Portable and manageable even when operated by yourself (and with the paddles included!) Sea Eagle lives up to its reputation well with this stand-up paddle board.
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- 12’ Long 36” Wide SUP
- 29 lbs Deflated, Packs Small
- 290 lbs Weight Capacity
- 2 Rod Holders
- Scotty Fishing Accessory Compatible
- Wide Deck and Bungee Equipped Cargo Area
- Paddles Included
- 1 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty
The Grebe, Elkton Outdoors addition to the SUP category, is a lighter, more technical vessel that comes in at nearly half the price of the other models already reviewed. This is a 12’ long 36” wide SUP that packs down to a lighter and more manageable 29 lbs with a backpack. This lighter weight makes it easier to hike it into places that are harder to access, and I could see myself using this on some of my own local tailwaters with deadly effectiveness.
This was designed for use as a fishing paddle board, and the inclusion of the rod holders will only make fly fishing easier when using it to navigate shallow water. There are two included mounts that make the Grebe compatible with other accessories from the Scotty brand, like a fish finder or a GoPro system.
The wide deck provides ample stability to fly fish, and the Grebe can hold a respectable amount of weight for its smaller size. Reviews of this product are good, and the more reasonable price is one of the major draws here. You’re not sacrificing much in terms of quality, just carrying capacity.
The paddles are included and there’s a one-year manufacturer’s warranty should disaster strike. If you’re experienced with other types of watercraft and want something more that you can’t get from a basic kayak or raft, give the Grebe a once-over.
View on Amazon →
Best Fishing SUP For The Money
Paddle Boards are an expensive investment if you looked at our above recommendations. We wanted to provide another great fishing paddle board option for a portion of the price. This next product will offer everything an angler needs to have a successful day on the water, and won’t break the bank.
- 11’ SUP, 36”x6” Paddle Board
- 350 lbs Carrying Capacity!
- Rod Holders, Carrying Handles, Side Fins for Better Tracking
- Proprietary Camera Mount Suitable for GoPro
- 14 D-Ring Attachments
- Padded Seat and Leg Leash
Goture is a brand that makes a lot of different fishing products, and this is evident when clicking the above link. Just to get to the reviews you will be assailed with 3M Thinsulate gloves, ice jigs, and more. That being said, this is a worthy effort of a SUP by Goture.
The paddle board is wide on this SUP, and that means more stability whether you’re getting up and off of the padded seat or sitting back down on it. While standing (and fly fishing) this paddle board is rock-solid. This wider paddle board also allows for considerable carrying capacity (350 lbs!).
If I had to sum up this SUP, I would tentatively call it a more economic version of the Sea Eagle reviewed above. The reviews of the Goture SUP are good, despite some manufacturer’s defects found upon closer inspection after shipping.
No worries there, however, because this product has a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty to address that and the customer service is good.
This SUP, like the Sea Eagle, has social media in mind and includes Goture’s brand-specific camera mount for ease of use so you can fish with your GoPro (or the camera that you like). This is a functional and affordable answer to the other SUPs I have reviewed so far.
View on Amazon →
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What to look for in a SUP?
When choosing a SUP for you, consider your terrain. These paddle boards are effective when the water gets low, and all of the models of SUP I’ve reviewed have handles on the front and back to drag it back to water it can float in if you’re scraping the bottom too badly.
However, these watercraft are good at staying afloat in small amounts of water (as long as they’re not overloaded). Weight is also something to consider when looking for a SUP for you. If you know you go light and don’t need a cooler and a full cargo pad, you most likely don’t need a SUP that boasts a super high carrying capacity.
Rod holders make life a lot easier when navigating your SUP in case you need to switch from the fly rod to the paddle in a hurry, and they prevent your rods from sliding off the craft and into the drink.
Two of the SUPs I reviewed have built-in and proprietary camera mounts, so whether you’re a YouTuber or a TikToker, a SUP may be just the watercraft you need to up your content creation to the next level.
These things are sturdy and would be fairly easy to film off of without camera mounts, and their inclusion on some of these products only make getting videos easier.
As far as the construction of the SUP itself, the heaviest and best-reinforced materials are desired. These things are meant to be durable and last, so having the best quality construction material will only ensure this. Heavy denier and reinforced seams will keep water out and air in and are always a plus when choosing a SUP.
Another thing to consider is the weight of your product. If you know you can inflate your SUP and slide it right off the tailgate of your truck and into the water, weight isn’t going to be a major concern, but it will become a concern if you have to drag a popped SUP back after an exploratory float.
Find one that inflates and deflates easily, preferably with a comfortable backpack-type dry bag, with a deflated weight you can shoulder as comfortably as possible.
How to Fish from a Stand Up Paddle Board
SUPs provide a unique way to fly fish on different types of water. Some of the pricier examples I’ve reviewed have some pretty impressive photos of massive redfish netted at the bow, so they can perform well on the flats as well as your larger freshwater creeks.
I can see them performing well on the Susquehannah as well. They’re very sturdy, allowing you to adjust your weight from foot to foot to help you shoot and present far easier than if you were stuck in a kayak.
How I would fish using a SUP would depend on the water, but I can see where pursuing smallmouth would be infinitely easier while using one. Long casts with big streamers or mid-range poppers are the route I would go on the river, but I highly recommend a stripping basket to keep your fly line safe from the boat and vice versa.
A stripping basket, even just a small laundry hamper you can set on your SUP to manage your line while stripping bigger flies will save you a ton of headaches.
If you plan on taking your SUP down larger tailwaters and streams like the kinds that are prevalent in my home state of Pennsylvania, you’ll probably desire a more technical and soft-spoken presentation.
Being able to stand and sit in a seat (whether it swivels or not) is very advantageous when on a “soft” float without much paddling or thrashing. If things do get rough, most of the SUPs I’ve reviewed can handle turbulent water well.
Keeping below the max weight capacity is critical for safety reasons, so break out the bathroom scale and weigh your loadout gear.
Inflatable SUP vs. Hard Shell (non inflatable) SUP
Like with kayaks, the inflatable variety of SUPs is quickly gaining popularity over the hard shells, and for good reason. Inflatable vessels have given, and when they are constructed of quality materials, this give allows them to stand up to submerged obstacles and sharp rocks better than hard shell SUPs.
Inflating and deflating your SUP can be trying and physically demanding, but that’s the price you inevitably pay for the portability they provide. The hard shell SUPs require a roof rack or an empty truck bed, while the inflatables can be stowed in your trunk.
Here again, the inflatables have the advantage over their hardshell counterparts. For me, the choice is easy, and that’s with the inflatable SUPs. I predict that outside of very specific applications, the inflatables will soon replace hard plastic SUPs altogether as the construction material and designs get better with time.
Conclusion/Reeling It In
Stand-up paddle boards have come further in ten years than a lot of other fishing-oriented watercraft.
New polymers, multiple inflatable chambers, and the incredible stability that these products provide make them just as functional and user-friendly as the most advanced kayak.
They can allow us to fish the parts of our home waters that we just can’t from the bank or in our chest waders, and that is a major part of their appeal. Another major part of the appeal of these things is being able to fish those areas that we couldn’t access comfortably, and most importantly, efficiently.
Buying one of these is no small expense, but it pays off to purchase a SUP that you can rely on and feel confident using. I hope this has shed some light on some of the more popular SUPs available. Tight lines to you, and please be safe out there on the water.