SUP Fishing vs Kayak Fishing

Thinking of going fishing, are you? Well, why not fish from the rather than fishing from the shore? But then there is the dilemma whether to go fishing on a kayak or on a SUP. Some will have you lean towards the kayak, but there is no reason as to why a SUP is any less suited to fishing. In fact, let me in you on a secret, SUP fishing is way more fun!

Why SUP fishing is better than Kayak Fishing:

  1. Much more Versatile: Fishing from a Sup allows you opportunities of endless adjustments. For starters, when you’re standing up on your SUP, you have the vantage point, views, and reach to cast your line in any direction or at any angle you want. You’ll have the advantage of height as you stand to see excellent spots that you might not have noticed before.

You can also switch up your environment with ease. Let’s say you want to spend your morning fishing on the ocean or saltwater bay, and your afternoon fishing on clear freshwater lake. A stand up paddle board can thrive in either environment, whether you’re in flat water or choppy spots.

Of course, there’s also the fact that your paddle board isn’t just versatile for different types of fishing, but for different types of activities in general. If paddle board fishing isn’t your only waterborne hobby, your SUP can provide you with a pathway to other activities you enjoy too. You can try out SUP yoga, SUP touring, all around SUP, or adrenaline-heavy activities like SUP racing and whitewater SUP. If you need regular doses of both a meditative hobby like fishing and high-intensity cardio, a stand up paddle board is the best option for you. 

  1. Advantage over boats: Think of the geographical advantages that the SUP board affords you. your fishing paddle board can get you to fishing destinations in places that are tough to reach by boat, like narrow caverns. SUPs quiet too, with no splashing sounds to spook the fish or distract you from your peaceful escape.

When you fish from paddle boards, you’ll also have the advantage of portability. Fishing kayaks and other boats are a pain to carry, even when they’re designed to be as portable as possible. They’re heavy, and if you don’t have a buddy to help you lift, you’ll need to drag your kayak along the sandy, rocky shore to the water. SUPs usually come with side handles for easy lifting, and can be carried across land with little trouble. And of course, if you fish from an inflatable SUP (also called an iSUP), it will be delightfully lightweight. 

  1. SUP fishing is a great exercise: Fishing is a stationary activity, so any movement you can squeeze in on a fishing trip is well worth it. When you fish on a stand up paddle board, you won’t even need to try hard to ensure you get the physical activity you need. You’ll obviously need to paddle to your fishing spot from the shore, which gets you started on an active foot before your fishing session even begins. SUP is a full body workout. Your core, arms, shoulders, and legs will all love the burn and the energy hit you’ll get from it.

Once you cast your line, you’ll have the advantage of fishing while standing up, which is much better for your body than sitting in a boat as you fish. If you’re tired of standing, you can change your position on a SUP throughout the fishing experience: stand, sit, kneel, crouch, or lie-down. This is a big advantage over kayaks where you are stuck in the seated position the whole time.

  1. Convenience: Sups make your experience so much more laid back and relaxed. Paddle boards are more lightweight than kayaks, and iSUPs are especially light and breezy. iSUPs are inflated just before use, so if you need to drive to your fishing spot, you can pop your iSUP in its accompanying SUP backpack, tuck it into the trunk of your car, and be off. It will take up less space than your fishing rods!

On days when you’re not on the water, you can easily store your iSUP by putting it back into its backpack and tucking it into any free spot in your home. Hard/epoxy paddle boards are larger, but they are still easier to store than fishing kayaks because of their flatter shape and lighter weight. You can display your hard SUP on your wall, place it on a special SUP rack, or tuck it into your garage.

Of course, the ultimate convenience perk of a fishing paddle board is its endless customizability. SUPs have plenty of add-on and storage capabilities to provide space for bungees, coolers, tackle boxes etc.

  1. Vantage Point: SUPs provide a much better vantage point than kayaks do. Casting your line - and deciding where to cast that line - from a standing position gives you a range of vision unlike anything you’ve experienced when fishing from a kayak or from land. When your view is from a higher point (i.e. from standing), you simply see farther and have the range to spot ideal areas to cast your line.

Types of Fishing paddle Boards

There are two main types of fishing SUPs you’ll need to know about: epoxy SUPs and inflatable SUPs. Any type of paddle board can be used for fishing, so it’s about choosing the best option for your fishing grounds. Here are the advantages of both kinds:

Epoxy SUP

  • Very responsive and agile for navigating tight spaces
  • Better tracking, glide, and control
  • Very efficient for longer journeys

Inflatable SUPs

  • Super easy to transport and store
  • Incredibly durable (won't ding or scratch on impact)
  • Very stable for beginners and active movements (like casting a line)

Types of Fishing Kayak.

Two kinds of Kayaks are at your disposal, a sit-on-top kayak or a sit-in kayak. Most beginner paddlers opt for sit-on kayaks, because they are harder to sink and are a lower price commitment. Their stability makes them excellent platforms for fishing, but they are severely lacking in storage, especially when you compare them to the customizable capabilities of paddle boards.

Sit-on-top kayaks do well on calmer waters, so if you like fishing in placid lakes, you’ll enjoy them. They’re also very kid-friendly, so if you’re taking a little one on a fishing trip, these kayaks are well-suited. A sit-in kayak is a more intricate set-up. With a cockpit that reaches your waist, your legs and lower body will be encased within the kayak. Sit-in kayaks are pricier, and while entry level kayakers can certainly use them, they’re especially popular among more advanced kayakers. They’re a good option for anyone who prefers to fish in colder temperatures, as the inside of the cockpit will keep your legs warm. They’re also a bit easier to carry since you can rest the cockpit on your shoulder, though not nearly as easy to carry compared to a fishing paddle board.

Pros and Cons for Kayak Fishing:

Kayak Fishing Pros

  • Choice of you can relaxing your lower body by sitting.
  • Kayaks move quickly, and can get you to your fishing spot fast
  • Some fishing kayaks offer a decent amount of storage

Kayak Fishing Cons

  • You won’t have a robust vantage point or range of motion when casting your line
  • It’s harder to maneuver into hard-to-reach fishing spots that paddle boards can access
  • Kayaks are bigger, heavier, and harder to store between fishing trips
  • You won’t get a very robust workout when sitting in your fishing kayak
  • Kayaks are cumbersome, difficult to carry, and a hassle to transport
  • Fishing kayaks are at risk of flipping over or getting waterlogged, and when they do, they are much more difficult to get back onto than a fishing paddle board

SUP Fishing vs Kayak Fishing

Here's a quick rundown on the reasons why SUP fishing is better than kayak fishing:

  • Versatility - you can sit, stand, kneel, or even lie down on your SUP while casting, trolling, or even fly fishing
  • Vantage point - get 360 degree vision on your fishing grounds
  • Maneuverability - SUPs are extremely agile in tight spaces, which helps when you want to get through the weeds and logs to your favourite spot
  • Storage - pack your cooler, tackle box, and all the spare gear you need for your trip
  • Fitness - get a full body workout during your fishing adventure

Fishing Versatility: A fishing kayak can help you reach more exciting destinations on the water than you would from land, but that’s about where its versatility ends. A fishing paddle board can offer similar perks, but also provides a much wider range of motion for casting your line, and even the direction you face while fishing. You can pivot 360 degrees in an instant just on your feet, whereas in a fishing kayak you’d have to maneuver your boat to face a different direction. SUPs also provide the option to enjoy both spin fishing and fly fishing because of the ability to bring extra gear and change your position on the paddle board instantly.

Vantage Point: There’s no question that your vantage point for fishing is infinitely better on a paddle board. Would you rather have a view from a low seated position and only see what’s in front of you, or prefer to be standing for a wide-reaching view?

Maneuverability: Neither watercraft is particularly hard to maneuver, but SUPs are a bit easier to manage. They’re more lightweight (especially iSUPs) and are incredibly agile, so they’re a better companion when you want to shift positions on the fly or fish from a narrow space.

Space for Gear: Fishing gear is definitely the most important accessory while fishing and sit-in kayaks have a decent amount of built-in storage capability, and sit-on-top kayaks have very little. But one thing all fishing kayaks lack is the ability to drastically adjust on-board storage options in the blink of an eye. On a fishing SUP, you can use bungees, Scotty (fishing rod) mounts, and other attachments to set up storage for tackle boxes, dry bags, coolers, and anything else you might need. Because it’s customizable, you can have as much or as little storage as you want. If you want to move around more freely on the board while fishing, all you need to do is detach the bungees and clear the board for extra empty space.

Storage on land: Let’s be honest, kayaks are difficult to store and take up more space than anticipated no matter where you put them and it just taking it atop a car to the place where you plan on fishing is just so cumbersome.

Paddle boards, on the other hand, adapt well to storage. Whether you’re working with a hard SUP or an inflatable SUP, you’ll have an easier time finding a place to keep them in your home. If you have an iSUP, you can easily deflate it and tuck it into a SUP backpack for easy transport by car or even airplane. Hard SUPs, while not deflatable, have a narrower than kayaks, so much more convenient to place in a corner of your living room or garage.

Fitness: You can certainly burn calories on a kayak, but nothing beats the full body boost of paddling on a SUP. When fishing, your main workout for the day will be your paddle out to the fishing spot and back again. If you fish from a kayak, you’ll work your arms and shoulders on this journey. If you fish from a paddle board, you’ll work your arms, shoulders, legs, core, and all kinds of muscles you never knew you had. It’s an extra fitness boost with one simple switch to your routine.

Which is more fun?

Suffice it to say that while kayak fishing, you can have a good time, but while SUP fishing, you can have a rip-roaring adventure of wide-cast lines, full body strength training and cardio, and nearly unlimited access to the best angles and widest variety of hard-to-reach fishing spots.

Types of SUP Fishing Accessories

Here are some of the accessories that can help you get your SUP into top fishing shape.

  • Paddle Board Anchor: to keep your SUP secured in place so you can focus on fishing
  • SUP Leash: so your SUP won’t go rogue and float away if you fall off your board
  • PFD: a personal flotation device helps keep you safe, and is required by the coast guard on many bodies of water
  • Fishing Gear & Accessories: bring your tackle box, fishing rod, and other gear out on the water with you
  • Scotty Mounts / Fishing Rod Holders: equip your paddle board with mounts and rod holders that can hold your fishing pole on board
  • Cooler Deck Bag: this bag can keep your drinks and snacks cold for you while you fish
  • Dry Bag: to keep your phone, camera, extra clothes, and most treasured gear safe
  • Paddle Board Kayak Seat: so you can always take a break and have a seat when needed (and so you can enjoy the comfort level of a kayak with the perks of a SUP!
Written by William Lester