SUP Angling: Catching And Releasing Safely

As an experienced SUP angler, you know that fishing from an SUP offers many unique benefits: efficient portability, low maintenance, and unmatched mobility. Even the most seasoned SUP angler, however, can learn a few new fishing tricks. Here are a few SUP fishing tips to help you safely catch and release more fish:


Staying in Place: one of the inherent challenges of fishing from the deck of an SUP is that even the gentlest current or the slightest breeze can cause your craft to drift. This is particularly problematic when you're targeting a hot fishing spot. The easiest way to remedy this situation is to pack a light anchor. To make your anchor more effective, you will want to toss it in the shallowest water around you. Cutting the distance between your anchor and your SUP will create less rope slack, which allow your anchor to keep you closer to the particular spot you're targeting.

Setting the Hook: another challenge of fishing from the deck of an SUP is proper hook setting. Because an SUP allows you to fish from a unique angle (literally at water level), many anglers, even experienced SUP fishermen, improperly set the hook when a fish strikes. Unlike setting the hook as you would from the deck of a boat, yanking the rod tip over your head, you will want to use a horizontal hook set. Using a horizontal hook set utilizes your SUP's unique angling vantage point. You should determine which side of your SUP to set the hook on, depending on what side of the bow you cast. If you cast to the right of your bow, you will want your rod tip to be parallel to the water on the right side your craft.

Trolling in the Shallows: because an SUP has such a shallow draft, you can take it places other water crafts simply can't go. To take full advantage of your SUP's shallow draft, you should consider trolling shallow running crank baits or other floating lures near shallow locations. To make sure that fish aren't spooked by the passing of your SUP, and to prevent your lure from getting hung-up in the bottom, you'll want to let out at least 25 yards of line behind you. You should also loosen your drag to help alert you when a fish strikes.


Debarb before Casting: one of the biggest challenges of fishing from an SUP is to release the fish you're able to catch. Not only do you need to stay upright on your craft but you also need to keep track of your gear and secure a squirming fish. To make this process easier, you should strongly consider debarbing your hooks before you cast. Debarbing your hooks will make it easier for you to extract a hook from the mouth of a squirming fish you want release, but it will also make it much less likely that you'll hook yourself in the process. The most efficient debarbing method is to hook pinch the barb down with a set of sturdy needle-nose pliers.

Oversize your Net: as you know, real estate is scarce on the deck of an SUP. To save space, many experienced SUP anglers skimp on the net they bring on their trip. Although packing a smaller net will save you some SUP real estate, you're making the task of releasing fish you catch needlessly difficult. Toting a bigger net makes it far easier to corral the fish you catch into your net. Netting fish is often the most likely situation that causes SUP anglers to lose their balance, which can cause you to capsize or fall off your craft.  You can reduce the space a bigger net takes up by having the net poised over rear of your SUP.

If you need help finding the right equipment and accessories for your sup board, look for a local sports accessories retailer, like Nocqua