The Best Paddle Board Fishing Accessories
Summer is in full swing again, and that means it’s the perfect time to unwind on the water with a stand up paddle board under your feet and a fishing rod in your hand. Whether you’re looking to hook a rainbow trout to catch and release or take some sockeye salmon home to the family for dinner, your paddle board is one of the best places on or near the water for a fishing adventure, assuming you've got your paddle board fishing accessories squared away.
The best SUPs for fishing are essentially mobile docks that are perfect for angling. If you already have an epoxy or a durable inflatable SUP, all you need is the right rod, reel, and fishing accessories to turn a lackluster Saturday into a rejuvenating day on the water you’ll never forget. From extra lines and hooks to bobbers and a proper cooler, we’ll help you assemble all the paddle board fishing accessories you’ll want within an easy arm’s reach while you’re searching for the catch of the day on your paddle board fishing excursion.
Bobbers and floaters are visual indicators that tell you when you’re getting bites from fish. If the bobber starts to jostle or move underwater, it’s time to get ready to reel in your catch. Most people are familiar with the classic red and white snap-on spheres, but modern bobbers offer high-tech options like active sonar that works with iOS and Android devices to give you details of the water under your board. If you’re looking to maximize your limited time on the water, getting a good idea of where the fish are swimming is always helpful.
A durable hard cooler is your best friend on the water. Not only is it an essential fishing accessory for holding ice to keep your catch fresh, but it also doubles as a seat to help you relax and unwind while you’re waiting for you next bite. When looking for a cooler to add to your stand up paddle board fishing accessories, you’ll want to hone in on something that’s wide enough to be stable on your board for comfortable sitting, durable enough to hold your weight for hours at a time. It should also be properly insulated to keep your ice from melting while you wait to hook your next catch. Things like marine-grade handles and textured grips can be great value adds when searching for a cooler you intend to use on the water.
Keeping your tackle box stocked with a variety of hooks will keep you prepared for nearly any type of fish you’re likely to encounter on the water. Even if you learned to fish with Circle Hooks, J-Hooks, or even Ringed Circle Hooks, you’ll really want to consider the type of fish under your paddle board and whether you intend to catch and release. If you’re fishing for the recreational aspect, you’ll want to bring an assortment of Circle Hooks. These hooks have grown in popularity over the last couple of decades thanks in part to tournament fishing and conservation groups promoting catch and release. These hooks have a higher percentage of finding the corner of a fish’s mouth as opposed to a spot deeper in their body. But if you’re fishing for dinner or a trophy, the J-Hook is typically your best bet on the water.
If you have any experience fishing on a paddle board, you know that getting your line tangled or caught on rocks, driftwood, or even another angler’s line is a fairly common inconvenience. Even if you’re lucky or skilled enough to keep your line out of harm’s way, you’re still going to want to carry an assortment of fishing lines depending on the type of fish that are biting. If you’re fishing in open, crystal clear water you’ll want to use a line that’s thin and clear, so you won’t alter the fish to your presence. If you’re fishing in rougher conditions, you’ll want to use a line that’s a little more durable and able to stand up to any debris you may encounter so you don’t lose a fish you’ve hooked.
Unless you know your local fishing spot like the back of your hand, chances are you’re going to need some help finding the best spots to drop your line. And if you’re not an angler with years of local experience, the best help you’re going to be able to find comes in the form of a portable fish finder. These high-tech devices use sonic waves to map the water below. They identify fish and display the information for you on an easy-to-read screen. If you’re fishing on a paddle board, chances are you don’t need to break the bank on a top-of-the-line fish finder designed for deep sea fishing. Look for a portable fish finder with a battery life suited to your desired time on the water and a display that’s easy for you to read.
Fishing Rod Holders
One of the most relaxing fishing accessories you can buy is a fishing rod holder. And thankfully, many of today’s SUP-fishing boards feature Scotty Mounts that are perfect for mounting a fishing rod holder or an entire SUP fishing kit. These holders are a great way to keep your rod secure when you’re paddling to your favorite fishing spot, but they really shine when your line is in the water and you’re waiting for a bite. Most offer a universal cradle that will fit any standard rod. Pay special attention for a fishing rod holder that features a durable, front-locking ring to keep your rod from jumping into the water when your catch of the day bites.
A line cutter or nipper is a handy fishing accessory to add to your paddle board loadout. These tools make cutting mono lines, fluoro lines, and tippets easy. And if you’re fly fishing from your SUP, it can be really difficult to fish without one -- since you’re relegated to cutting the line with your teeth repeatedly. When searching for the right nipper to add to your paddle board fishing accessories, things like anodized aluminum construction will help with corrosion resistance. Other features like safety mechanisms to lock your blade or an attached carabiner for easy access are always nice to have.
Few items in the tackle box get an angler more excited than a lure. The right lure can make you better at SUP fishing as it attracts every fish that sees it. And whether that’s more luck or science, choosing the best lure for the job will undoubtedly put more fish on your line at the end of the day. While there’s no hard-fast rule for selecting the perfect lure, there are a few guidelines that will help you catch more fish.
Select a lure that mimics the dominant prey species in the water. You'll also want to match the color of the lure to the color of the water and make sure your lure is ready to dive to the appropriate depth for what you’re after. If you’re fishing in clear waters, don’t choose a lure that rattles as it may scare your catch away. If you’re fishing in murky water, a lure with vibrations could attract fish well before they’re in visual range.
Needle Nose Pliers
A solid pair of needle nose pliers is one of the most versatile fishing accessories you can carry in your kit. They’re your essential tool for taking the hooks out of fish you’ve reeled in, cutting a line, blending wires, and several other terminal tackle uses. While you can always grab a pair from your garage or in-home tool kit, if you’re going to spend any time paddle board fishing on the ocean then you’d be better off with a pair of pliers built to withstand corrosive saltwater environments. If you use your pliers in the ocean, be sure to rinse them with fresh water and dry them off to avoid corrosion.
If you’re taking the classic approach to fishing with a simple live worm and hook, you’re going to need a way to get your bait down to where the fish are searching for food. Using a weight or “sinker” is the simple solution. Most sinkers feature lead, but if you have environmental concerns you can always purchase lead alternatives made from metals like brass, tungsten, and steel.
Small First Aid Kit
While paddle board fishing is not inherently dangerous, it’s still a good idea to consider the worst-case scenario any time you’re planning an outdoor activity. First and foremost, your paddle board fishing first aid kit should have a waterproof case and small enough to store on your paddle board easily. There’s a long list of marine-specific kits well-suited for paddle boarding, but you can also build your own first aid kit with a few essentials. If you’re building your own, start with a waterproof storage bag and include items like bandages, dressings, latex gloves, burn gel, safety pins, scissors, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. You’ll probably never need to open your first aid kit, but you’ll be glad you have it if you or anyone near you gets stuck with a fishing hook.
Any time you’re taking your paddle board on the water, whether that’s for fishing, SUP yoga, Pilates, or just paddling around near the shoreline, you’ll want to take measures to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It's important to note that not all sunscreens are great for the ocean's health. Ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate are contribute to coral reef bleaching. In fact, Hawaii has enacted a state-wide ban on chemically based sunscreens. However, the so-called “reef-safe” sunscreens with main active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide offer UVA and UVB protection without harming the ocean’s lifeblood. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to zinc as an ingredient. The downside to zinc is that it takes a bit more effort to rub it in, but the upside is that you can be sure you’ve covered your exposed skin completely.