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Paddleboard Vs Kayak Fishing – Which Is Better?

For many people, fishing is a way of taking a break from the craziness of life. And to get to the best peaceful places, you need a small, quiet vessel. This is why many anglers have been ditching large, noisy boats for kayaks.

But there is another vessel that is giving kayaks a run for their money—stand up paddleboards.

Paddle board fishing vs kayak fishing: which one is better? Why would an angler pick one over the other?

To help you make an informed decision, we are going to look at each one in detail then compare the two.

So read on.

Key Takeaways

  • Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) are giving kayaks a run for their money in fishing – so you’ll need to do some research if you want to discover which is right for you
  • Fishing paddle boards are wider and longer than typical recreational paddle boards and have more storage space for angling gear.
  • Fishing kayaks are wider and longer than typical kayaks and have features that are convenient for angling such as rod holders, extra storage, and gear tracks.
  • Fishing kayaks have more storage space for gear than fishing SUP boards.
  • It comes down to personal preference and your individual needs; SUP fishing and kayak fishing are two sides of the same sport.

What Is a Fishing Paddle Board?

airhead bonefish fishing paddle board Pin

Stand up paddle boarding has several variations. Different paddlers like to do different things on their boards.

SUPs are used for yoga, touring, racing, fishing, among other activities. For each of them, there is a special type of paddleboard.

A fishing paddle board is wider and longer than a typical recreational paddle board. This enhances stability, which is very important, especially when fishing from a standing position. A bigger board also offers more storage space for angling gear.

Paddleboards designed for fishing will have a higher weight capacity too.

Angling requires that you bring more essentials. It’s necessary to have a board that can accommodate them all.

Most fishing paddle boards will come with bungee storage areas, gear mounts, and holders for a smooth experience.

A fishing boards can either be inflatable or solid.

Inflatable paddle boards tend to have greater weight capacities. The iRocker Blackfin XL, for instance, can hold up to 485 pounds while the Bote Rover Aero motorized paddle board has a capacity of 500 pounds. 

They are also lighter and being inflatable makes them easier to store and carry.

You can use them to access some of the most hidden water holes for your adventures.

Solid fishing paddleboards, on the other hand, track straighter and paddle faster compared to the inflatables. They are ideal if you want to cover a bigger distance in a shorter time.

But storing and transporting them is not as easy. You can’t throw your rigid SUP board somewhere in the corner of your room or at the back seat of your car.

Most inflatable paddle boards offer more storage options than the traditional boards. The Blackfin models from iRocker come with about 8 action mounts and 20 or so D-rings. You won’t get this with many solid boards.

What Is a Fishing Kayak?


Fishing kayaks are like any other kayak. But they have features that are convenient for angling. For instance, they are wider and longer to give you a stable platform. You can even fight fish while standing in some angling kayak models.

Most of them allow you to adjust the height of your seat and the backrest angle for comfort. They also come with features like rod holders, extra storage, and gear tracks.

Anglers prefer sit on top kayaks to sit-in kayaks. 

Your movement is a little restricted in a sit-in. This is not a good thing while fishing. Additionally, you can barely stand in most sit-inside fishing yaks. They are not that stable.

How about inflatable fishing kayaks?

They are not bad. Some of them are rigid and stable enough to stand and fish from. They include features like fishing rod holders, just like traditional fishing yaks.

The main benefit of an inflatable angling kayak is storage and transport.

Some people complain about the performance not being impressive compared to rigid kayaks. But blow-up kayaks have come a long way. You can easily find one with outstanding performance.

SUP Fishing Vs Fishing From A Kayak

Now that you know what fishing SUPs and fishing yaks are, how do you choose between the two? 

When buying a kayak or SUP board for angling, there are four areas that every angler considers.

Let’s take a look at how SUPs and kayaks compare in those areas.

1. Transportation


While fishing is super fun, no one looks forward to transporting their kayak or paddle board. Both fishing paddle boards and kayaks are heavier than regular ones because of the extra features.

However, transporting a standup paddle board is way easier than dealing with a fishing kayak. Most fishing paddle boards are under 45 pounds. One angler can lift a board onto the roof of a car with no problem.

Unloading the stand up paddle board and carrying it to the water is also not hard compared to a kayak.

Fishing yaks, on the other hand, are heavy—with some of them weighing as much as 80+ pounds. That is a lot of weight, especially for one person.

For an angler that goes fishing frequently, having a heavy vessel is just too much work. And if you live far from the water, the trouble may not be worth it.

A fishing paddle board is suitable for you if you don’t want to handle a heavy yak. Boards are light and easy to carry around. An inflatable fishing SUP is even more convenient. You can fly with it all over the world.

There are inflatable fishing kayaks. These are lighter than the solid ones and they are not a pain to transport.

2. Fishing Capabilities


As far as fishing capabilities go, both angling kayaks and paddleboards have their pros and cons.

With a kayak, you usually fish while sitting down. Some will allow you to stand but angling is mainly done from a sitting position. This is more comfortable since you can adjust the seat height and also lean back. When you are tired, you can stand and stretch your legs.

Nowadays, kayak seats are super comfortable and you can stay on the water all day long.

Stand up paddle board fishing is done while standing. The main benefit here is that you have a wider view and a better vantage point. You can see farther and better. On top of that, a fishing paddle board deck is quite stable. You will be able to move around and turn 360 degrees. Your casting angle will also be more accurate. This greatly improves your chances of catching something.

But, as you can imagine, you will get tired of standing at some point. You can attach a kayak seat to your board but it won’t be very comfortable. Alternatively, you can sit on your ice chest.

The best thing about fishing from a SUP or kayak is how small and maneuverable they are. But paddleboards are lighter and more maneuverable than yaks. They are more suited for navigating tight spaces.

Paddlers who love to fish for hours would be better off with a kayak because of comfort. But if you prefer a wide-angle view from a better vantage point and a more maneuverable vessel, you will enjoy paddle board fishing.

3. Gear Storage


What kind of fisherman are you? Do you like to carry all your gear on your fishing trips or do you believe that less is more?

Fishing kayaks have more storage space for gear than fishing SUP boards.

A typical sit on top kayak for angling comes with one or two storage wells, a dry hatch, and gear mounts. Others will include things like bottle holders and paddle parks. Sit-in kayaks have bigger dry hatches and bungee storage areas. This is in addition to other storage features like rod holders.

Besides, kayaks have room under the seat or somewhere in the cockpit where you can throw a small bag or a tackle box.

Fishing paddle boards only have bungee storage areas. They are usually two, one at the front and another one at the back. You can strap a cooler at the back area and a bag with other essentials at the front.

If the stand up paddle board is designed for angling, it will most probably have fishing rod holders and gear mounts. But that’s it.

ALSO READ: Can you mount a fish finder on a paddle board?

So, who should opt for a fishing kayak?

The angler who likes to show off all their new gear may want to get a kayak instead of a paddle board. If you have some cool stuff that you’d like all your fishing buddies to see, buy a fishing kayak.

The same applies to fishermen who spend a lot of time in the water. There’s enough space in a fishing kayak to bring everything you need to last a whole day.

A fishing paddle board is ideal for the angler who prefers to bring just what they require—nothing more. SUP boards are also good for short trips where you don’t have to carry too much stuff.

Also check out our article about the 20 best SUP fishing accessories.

4. Cost


Fishing kayaks’ prices range from $500 to $2000. There are cheaper ones under $500, mostly inflatables. Pedal fishing kayaks cost more, some almost $3000.

Fishing paddle boards cost anywhere from $400 to about $1500. Some may cost more and others much less.

Generally speaking, fishing SUP boards are cheaper than fishing yaks. However, it depends on the specific model.

If you prefer kayaks, you can find quality ones at affordable prices. They may not have all the bells and whistles but they will work just fine.

Fly Fishing or Spincasting?

Fly fishing is the use of an artificial fly as a lure. Instead of a traditional fishing pole, this method uses a fly rod, reel, and a weighted line.

Spincasting is usually recommended for beginners or children. The reel has a button that you press to unwind the line. The method is smooth and simple.

Fly fishing 


Fly Fishing from a Kayak

Fly rods are long and you have to make a back and forward cast. This range of motion is difficult to attain while in a kayak, and especially the back cast. You are closer to the water while sitting down.  

To efficiently use this technique, you will require a stand up fishing kayak. It is a more stable boat (some will have a standing platform). Alternatively, find a way to properly do it while seated and manage your fishing line.

Fly Fishing from a Paddle Board

We have established that fly fishing works best while standing because you won’t be close to the water.

You will be able to make a clean back cast. This makes a stand up paddle board perfect for fly fishing. The platform is also much more stable and you are less likely to end up in the water.

ALSO READ: How to Fly Fish From a SUP

Spincasting from a Kayak

Spincasting is less complicated than fly fishing. You don’t need to worry about being close to the water.

This technique works well with kayaks and you can even use it in hard-to-reach honey holes.

Spincasting from a Paddle Board

Unlike fly fishing, spincasting is a flexible technique. It can be used in pretty much any position. This means that you will find it efficient on a SUP as well. You can stand or sit on your cooler. Either way, you will find it simple and enjoyable.

Bottom line: if you will be fly fishing, you may want to opt for a paddle board. But if you have your heart set on a kayak fishing, get one that allows you to stand and cast.

For spincasting, you will be fine with either a fishing kayak or a fishing SUP.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Easy Tips For How To Rig Your Paddle Board For Fishing.

So, paddleboard vs kayak fishing: which one is for you?

This will depend on what is important to you and your preferred method of fishing. For the minimalist angler who wants an agile vessel that is easy to transport, a fishing paddle board is ideal. The kayak is suitable for the fisherman who likes to carry a lot of gear and one who spends many hours on the water.

Do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to engage us below.

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