Far From Its Surfer Origins, The SUP Is Making A Mark On Modern Angling
If the early designers of stand-up paddle boards saw what those surfboard adaptions are currently being used for in the angling world, I imagine they would have to laugh. The use of SUPs is thought to have largely been popularized in the surf culture of Hawaii but remarkably has origins dating far back into human history.
The relative ease of handling and maneuvering the broad designs of the contemporary SUP marks a significant evolution from its early surf-driven models, and these broad-footed boards are rapidly attracting angling interest in coastal bays and marshes throughout the US and beyond.
It doesn’t take much effort to find some incredible videos and images of remote places and exotic species being pursued via a paddle board. The super shallow accessibility and light design of modern SUPs make them a great alternative to even a kayak. So, if you are looking for a completely different experience this winter, consider the SUP’s uncomplicated and somewhat raw approach to the shallowest of saltwater flats.
Use Stealth To Your Advantage
One of the great advantages of fishing from a SUP is that it allows you to access incredibly remote and shallow areas. If you run out of water to paddle and the bottom is even moderately accommodative, you can cross unnavigable patches by simply carrying or scooting your board along. Use this all-terrain, no-wheel access to your favor particularly during crowded weekend fishing days. Explore new terrain and keep your eyes open for opportunities. You might find a spot or discreet pattern that is literally unexplored.
By the nature of a SUP, you simply do not have much room for gear, so fight your inner-hoarder and limit yourself to not much more than you would take on a traditional wade. Think in terms of a rod and reel combo and waterproof backpack with your basic baits, pliers, back-up reel, drink bottle, etc. There is a growing catalog of potential add-ones and attachments to modern SUPs that look great in a showroom or photo spread but can undo all of the simplicity and flexibility of your board if you are truly trying to get shallow and remote with ease.
Safety First And Always
I remember when the first shallow-water scooter boats came out and inexperienced flats fishermen quickly learned that the shallower you can get, sometimes just leads to more trouble getting back. The same holds true with a SUP. Always have a least a rough game plan for getting out and safely getting back. Share your plans with a friend and make sure you have a reliable cell phone in a waterproof storage. Wear all required USCG floatation for a SUP and most importantly, know your limits. Like any outdoor trip, getting out is the easy part, getting back is the critical part. Make sure your eyes and desire for an elite shallow water angling experience do not outstretch your physical limits.