My first attempt at fly fishing from a standup paddleboard was essentially a mitigated disaster while trying to deal with wind, too much clutter on the boat deck, and fish that were easily spooked. I have since learned to actually catch fish from the inflatable SUP but recently spent a lot of effort trying to streamline everything to become more stealthy for sight fishing. I’m pretty happy with the results, which I have documented in this post.
I use a 5-gallon bucket as both a stripping bucket and rod holder.
After simply cutting some notches in the top of the bucket, the rod fits in quite nicely.
This setup also allows me to have some line already pulled out and sitting in the bottom of the bucket. All I have to do is gently grab the rod and start casting line out to whatever distance is needed.
In the back of the paddleboard I have mounted two Railblaza Rod Holder II products to a milk crate.
The v2 Railblaza Rod Holder works great for fly rods and has a quick slide at the top for easily locking your rod in place or getting it out whenever needed.
Various sizes of fly rods fit into the Railblaza Rod Holder II, including my 8-weight with fighting butt and 5-weight.
A YakGear Accessory Pouch mounted on the milk crate provides space for storing small items like rope and caribeaners.
Inside the milk crate is where I store my anchor, which can be quietly slipped into the water and then attached to my board at one of the d-rings.
In shallow and calm waters, I avoid the anchor and use the YakAttack ParkNPole instead. I simply slide it into a bungee loop that is attached to two of the SUP’s d-rings to hold me in place. If I want to move the board, I can use the push pole instead of the paddle.
Here is a close-up of the ParkNPole going through the bungee cord stretched between two d-rings.
I chose the HawkEye 1C fish finder since it is waterproof and runs on AAA batteries instead of requiring a large 12-volt battery accessory. I have screwed a d-ring into the bottom and attached that to a lanyard for convenient viewing when hanging from my neck.
My Isle Sportsman inflatable SUP came with Scotty plates attached to the deck. I converted one of these to a track style setup using the Scotty 439 Adapter which then allows me to quickly attach/detach my fish finder’s transducer with the Scotty 141 track-mount transducer arm. The Scotty setup also includes a post mount on top, so I’ve added a Scotty 131 cup holder there.
Instead of setting the paddle on my boat’s deck and creating a mess for my fly line to get caught in, I simply slide the paddle into a pair of YakAttack Roto Grip Paddle Holders that are mounted to Scotty 440 Low Profile Tracks screwed into the side of my Canyon Cooler Scout 22. For seating comfort, I cut a section of Big Agnes Third Degree closed-cell foam and attached it to the cooler lid with double-sided tape.
I can face the paddle handle to the rear of the SUP so that only the blade is forward of my cooler. I stand right next to this when casting, so the boat deck is still clear in front of me.
Whenever I want to keep my paddle even closer to me, I simply hang it from a rope loop tied to my belt loop and rest the blade on the front of the board. This offers even quicker access than attaching it to the rotogrip holder.
Here is a pullback photo showing the stripping bucket, which I usually pull closer to where I’m sitting or paddling, and everything else located behind my paddling/casting position.
The other side shows my push pole anchoring me in place.