Stephanie Wakefield learning standup paddle board fishing with Bri Andrassy, July 2018. SUP fishing, which Bri invented by trial and error, is an increasingly popular method amongst anglers in South Florida: it allows many to procure their own food using an affordable, portable mode of transportation able to get into difficult to reach mangrove nooks. Standup paddleboarding is also a common mode of transportation during the region's increasingly frequent floods. Many see SUP fishing as a potentially useful tool for ordinary Miamians in the city's climate change future.
Bri's tips for getting started SUP fishing:
- Have a Cooler and Gearbox – These are two critical gear components needed for SUP fishing. The cooler gives you a place to store drinks, food and fish. It also gives you a place to sit when you’re tired and to stand to get higher up to see farther. The gearbox allows you to keep all your tackle and other gear dry in one easy-to-access space. Tip: Engel makes some awesome coolers. Many of them have rod holders and livewell-designated spaces right on the cooler.
- Start Out Fishing Structure – One of the most frustrating things about SUP fishing is trying to keep yourself in the optimal position to catch fish. This can be extremely challenging on the flats while trying to manage the position of your SUP, the paddle and fish all at once. Bri suggests introducing yourself to SUP fishing by fishing structure like docks and oyster beds. This way you don’t have to worry about constantly shifting your board’s position like you would if you were sight fishing on the flats.
- Bring an Anchor – Equally important as your other gear, an anchor is a must when SUP fishing. Having an anchor allows you stop quickly and quietly on the water and get casts at the necessary spots you’re trying to hit. You will most likely spend more time paddling and positioning your standup paddleboard than fishing if you do not have some sort of anchor.
- Artificials are Easier than Live Bait – Transporting live bait on your SUP can be difficult. Buckets full of water and bait are heavy, tip over easily and cause all kind of mayhem on the board. Artificial lures are much easier to transport and manage while on the water. They do not require as much maintenance either. Tip: Bring a small cast net with you on the board and try to catch bait close to your fishing spot if possible.
- A Good Board is Key – Having a board big enough to support your weight and made for fishing is imperative for SUP fishing. Additionally, other kinds of SUP boards such as surf-style SUPs will be much harder to fish from. These boards are not as stable and are designed to be turned much easier than a fish-style SUP.