Fishing SUPs (aka fishing paddleboards) have been steadily growing in popularity over the last decade. SUP fishing readily embraces a light gear philosophy – making it one of the best grab and go options out there. A cooler, rod, and some light tackle are all you really need, and can fit, for a great day paddling on the water.
Most sups are fishable; but fishing paddleboards, or rather SUPS built specifically for fishing, have a few key features that add some critical functionality. Our list below, a subset derived from our master sup database, shows the current market for fishing paddleboards. A deep dive on the most expensive and most affordable boards will give you a better idea of what your dollar buys. And finally we’ve put together a few tips to consider to help you find your best next board.
Most Expensive Fishing Paddleboard
Live 2 Fish L4 Expedition
The Live Watersports family features two high-end fishing paddleboards: the L2 and L4. Both feature catamaran style fiberglass hulls with premium gel coating that provides a glossy and durable finish. The L4 Expedition is the larger model and boasts some impressive specs. 14′ long with 8 square feet of deck space and a 700 lb capacity puts the L4 Expedition at the top of the pack for not just fishing paddleboards, but almost all paddleboards. At 34″ wide the L4 can still be easily paddled and is surprisingly fast thanks to the low wetted surface area.
When it comes to angling the L4 doesn’t skimp out; this rig is ready to take on all sizes of fish. Ten different gear tracks adorn the perimeter to provide anchor points for gear, rod holders, and other accessories. The recessed stern shape naturally lends itself to motor placement. With the Live Watersports motor mount you can easily throw on a low thrust trolling motor for longer distance voyages. The stability on this SUP is nearly unparalleled thanks to its twin hull design. If you take a dip fighting a redfish on this board well, that’s on you.
The L4 Expedition weighs in at 65 lbs, which is hefty for a SUP, but isn’t even a tenth of its total capacity. This is an awesome option for serious fishermen looking for exercise. And it’s perfect for those who want to bring along some extra gear, or a companion. This fishing paddleboard can easily support two people without crowding them; which means you’ll have no excuse not to bring your spouse or kid. The L4 Expedition costs $2,699 and is made in the USA in Clearwater, Florida.
Most Affordable Fishing Paddleboard
Kaku Kayaks Kahuna
The Kaku Krew down in Tarpon Springs Florida are known for producing some wildly innovative paddlecraft. Largely geared towards flats and inshore fishing Kaku’s built a respectable lineup of watercraft that often blurs the lines between kayak and paddleboard. The Kaku Kahuna borders hybrid territory and this design offers some great advantages over water.
The Kahuna measures in at 12′ long with a 34″ beam and is built using a rotomolded HDPE process comparable to most kayak makers. Integral skeg fins and board-length chines on the bottom offer stability and superior tracking. Up front a small hatch provides dry storage and hull access, while the stern features a power-pole insert which can also accommodate after market motor mounts. Gear track on each side and an EVA foam mat with some gnarly graphics complete the package.
All of these features add up to an extremely approachable fishing paddleboard at a great price (drops to $650 on sale fairly often). There are some downsides to consider though: this board is heavy; lugging 70lbs a couple hundred feet will have you shopping for a cart in no time. The weight capacity on this is also fairly low at just 300 lbs. Approaching that limit causes the board to sit low in the water which means wet feet. If you’re above 200 lbs you should definitely think twice.
All in all though this is an awesome board for lighter paddlers who want a stable and durable fishing paddleboard. If you ever get tired standing you can add on a Larry Chair to convert the Kahuna into a hybrid kayak/sup. Give the Kahuna some thought if you’re looking to break into paddleboard fishing for less.
Our Pick For The Best Value Fishing Paddleboard
Sea Eagle FishSUP 126
Sea Eagle has a long-standing reputation of delivering premium inflatables at approachable price; and the FS126 is no different. This inflatable fishing paddleboard measures 12’6″ long with a beam of 38″ and sports Sea Eagle’s distinctive hunter green color scheme. The 6″ thick FS126 inflates to 15 PSI thanks to a drop stitched core to provide an extremely rigid ride. Underneath 3 removable skeg fins assist in tracking; while up top a camo EVA foam deck pad provides traction for both paddling and reeling in some whoppers.
One of the hallmarks of an awesome fishing paddleboard is its versatility; and the FS126 delivers in spades. This fishing SUP can be rigged with just a pole and paddle. Or you can add a swivel seat, trolling motor, and rod holders for more adventurous outings. 14 D rings running along the port and starboard edges offer tie down points for paddle and rod leashes. And bungee up front is handy for stowing tackle boxes or a dry bag. We’re also big fans of the built in measuring stick and the paddle pocket up front.
There are a few different trim levels for the FS126, but all of them come with a backpack (for storage), pump, repair kit, paddle, and soft bow box. The base package runs at $899 and Sea Eagle regularly runs free shipping promotions. At this price the Fishing SUP 126 is an incredible deal; you won’t find a lot of comparable packages anywhere near the same level of quality. Higher trim packages add in accessories like seats and motor mounts, which you can purchase separately, but are more attractively priced with the board. If you’re itching to get into SUP angling, and on a budget, then definitely consider running the Sea Eagle.
Smooth, Silent, and Stylish: The Dragonfly
The Dragonfly 13’6″ is not your typical fishing paddleboard. This paddleboard was designed from the ground up to be smooth, quiet, and dry. The sharp entry bow breaks and flat side boards enable the 13’6″ to silently coast through the water; no board-slap to spook the fish. The raised lip around the cockpit, along with a slight rocker and backward tilt, provide splash over a clear path back to the sea. Paddling the Dragonfly 13’6″ starts dry and ends dry in all but the roughest waters.
Built using composite fabric and resin Dragonfly’s SUPs are durable but light. At just 45 lbs the 13’6″ model can support up to 420 lbs which is more than enough for sturdy passengers and big payloads. The hollow core provides plenty of buoyancy as well as convenient workspace for running wires if you decide to motorize.
These boards are prized and sought after because of their reputation as some of the best made fishing paddleboards out there. Dragonfly’s are available around the world, but if you’re on the east coast it’s worth a trip down to Vero Beach to check them out. If you’re gearing for a board your friends will be jealous of then you’d be hard pressed to find one smoother than Dragonfly.
What to Look For in A Fishing Paddleboard
First and foremost to paddleboard fishing is a stable platform for throwing a line out. Stability in paddleboards can be accomplished a few different ways; chines, catamarans, or most commonly – width. Extra wide boards offer greater surface area to balance a load and resist against shifting forces. All around and even yoga type SUPS typically offer better stability and are good choices if you’re in a pinch. Wide boards simply aren’t as fast; but that’s OK – you’re fishing.
Most SUP anglers prefer quiet boards for the simple reason that noise spooks fish. And when you’re sightcasting and a fish goes, it’s gone. Board rocker and bow shape have a profound effect on the noise level of a board. Flared up bows are great for coasting over waves and keeping balance. But they also have a tendency to accentuate the dreaded Hull-Slap. In mild to moderate winds small waves will slap against the underside of your board producing vibrations which will send your prey swimming. Boards with steep entry bows and v shaped hulls will help reduce or outright eliminate hull slap.
Room To Grow
As you develop as a paddleboard fisherman you’ll want to adapt your setup. A board that provides a flexible platform to accommodate different setups is critical for long term satisfaction. The inclusion of gear track, D-rings, bungee, and scotty mounts on a board gives you the ease to switch up your config easily. While modifying a SUP is possible it’s also a bit more delicate than with a kayak; water that seeps into your foam core isn’t getting out easily. Boards with baked in accessory points are easier to adapt and grow with.
Overview on Fishing Paddleboards
We expect that Fishing SUP’s will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people begin to embrace a lighter and faster fishing philosophy. And with that the limited number of dedicated fishing paddleboard models should blossom with more innovative and exciting designs. We’re personally holding out for a SUP with integrated motor well – a board that incorporates a Bixpy and integrated electronics would be pretty schwifty. Let us know your favorite paddleboard fishing rig and tight lines!