Woman in bikini fishing and paddle boarding
Woman in bikini fishing and paddle boarding

Are you an avid angler looking for a new, exciting way to cast your line? Look no further because we have the answer for you: stand-up paddleboarding or SUP fishing! Many fishing enthusiasts wonder if SUP fishing is limited to serene lakes and rivers or if they can venture out into the ocean’s vastness.

In this article, we will explore the possibilities of SUP fishing in both the ocean and inland waters, unlocking a whole new world of angling adventures. Get ready to learn about the joys and challenges of SUP fishing and discover how you can reel in some memorable catches while balancing atop a paddleboard.

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Benefits of SUP Fishing in the Ocean

1. Access to a wide variety of fish species

When it comes to SUP fishing in the ocean, one of the most significant advantages is the opportunity to target a wide variety of fish species. From the ocean’s depths to the shallows near the shore, the ocean is home to a diverse range of fish you wouldn’t find in lakes or rivers. Whether you’re looking to catch tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, striped bass, or halibut, the ocean provides ample opportunities for a thrilling angling experience.

2. Opportunity to catch large game fish

If you’re an angler who seeks the thrill of reeling in large game fish, SUP fishing in the ocean is the way to go. The ocean’s vastness means there is a greater chance of encountering those big, trophy-sized catches. Whether battling a powerful tuna or a fierce striped bass, the ocean offers the excitement and challenge of pursuing these impressive creatures.

3. Spectacular and diverse underwater scenery

The ocean is a mesmerizing world in itself, and when you paddle out on your SUP, you get a front-row seat to its breathtaking underwater scenery. Gliding through the crystal-clear waters, you’ll see a colorful display of coral reefs, vibrant marine life, and stunning rock formations. SUP fishing in the ocean provides a thrilling angling experience and immerses you in the beauty of nature.

4. Challenging and exciting fishing experience

For those who crave excitement and a challenge, SUP fishing in the ocean delivers. The dynamic nature of the ocean presents anglers with constantly changing conditions and unpredictable currents, adding an element of adventure to the fishing experience. Balancing on a SUP board while casting your line requires skill and focus, making every catch rewarding. Each fishing trip becomes a thrilling and unforgettable experience with the ocean as your playground.

Considerations for SUP Fishing in the Ocean

1. Weather and sea conditions

When venturing out for SUP fishing in the ocean, keeping a close eye on the weather and sea conditions is essential. Unlike lakes and rivers, the ocean is much more susceptible to sudden changes in weather, such as high winds and rough waves. Before heading out, check the forecast, and if conditions are unfavorable or unsafe, it’s best to postpone your fishing trip. Safety should always be the top priority.

2. Navigation and safety

Navigating the vast expanse of the ocean can be daunting for SUP anglers. It’s essential to have a solid understanding of navigation techniques, such as using landmarks, compasses, or GPS devices. Also, proper safety equipment, such as a personal flotation device (PFD), a whistle, and a leash, is crucial for your protection. Familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines and always practice caution when exploring the ocean on your SUP.

3. Equipment and gear

Regarding SUP fishing in the ocean, having the right equipment and gear is crucial. Choose a stable, maneuverable SUP board that suits your fishing style and preferences. Look for boards specifically designed for fishing, as they often come with features like additional storage options, rod holders, and even fishfinder mounts. Don’t forget to invest in high-quality fishing gear, including rods, reels, lines, and lures, to increase your chances of success in the open waters.

4. Fishing regulations and restrictions

Before embarking on any fishing adventure, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations and restrictions in your area. Different regions may have specific guidelines regarding catch limits, protected species, and fishing seasons. Stay informed and adhere to these regulations to ensure the sustainability of marine ecosystems and promote responsible angling practices. Being a responsible angler can help preserve the ocean’s diverse fish populations for future generations.

Benefits of SUP Fishing in Lakes and Rivers

1. Calmer and more predictable conditions

One of the significant advantages of SUP fishing in lakes and rivers is the calmer and more predictable conditions compared to the ocean. Inland bodies of water tend to have less turbulent waters, making it easier to balance on your SUP board and maneuver around while casting your line. This stability allows for a relaxing and enjoyable fishing experience, especially for those who prefer a more serene setting.

2. Access to freshwater fish species

Lakes and rivers are teeming with a wide range of freshwater fish species. The variety of species available for targeting is vast, from largemouth bass and trout to pike, catfish, and crappie. This abundance of freshwater fish gives anglers plenty of opportunities to test their skills, try different fishing techniques, and ultimately reel in impressive catches.

3. Proximity to shore and ease of navigation

Unlike the vastness of the ocean, lakes and rivers often provide the advantage of being closer to shore. This proximity allows easy access to launching and returning to land, eliminating the need for long paddles or worrying about getting lost. Navigating inland waterways is generally more straightforward and less intimidating, making SUP fishing in lakes and rivers a more accessible option for anglers of all skill levels.

Considerations for SUP Fishing in Lakes and Rivers

1. Local fishing regulations

Like any fishing activity, it’s essential to be aware of and abide by the local fishing regulations when SUP fishing in lakes and rivers. Various bodies of water may have specific restrictions regarding fishing methods, catch limits, and open seasons for certain species. Take the time to research and understand the regulations in your area to ensure you’re fishing within the legal limits and promoting sustainable fishing practices.

2. Potential competition with other anglers

Famous lakes and rivers often attract numerous anglers, so competition for the best fishing spots may exist. While this can add a sense of camaraderie and community among fellow anglers, respecting each other’s space and practicing proper etiquette on the water is essential. Be mindful of other anglers, communicate effectively, and avoid overcrowding in popular fishing areas to maintain a positive experience for everyone.

3. Wildlife and environmental impacts

Fishing in lakes and rivers means sharing the aquatic environment with various wildlife species. Respecting nature and minimizing any potential negative impacts caused by SUP fishing is crucial. Avoid littering or leaving behind any trash, be cautious of sensitive habitats, and release any non-targeted or undersized fish with care. By doing so, you contribute to preserving the delicate ecosystems that support the fish and the wildlife that depend on them.

Differences between SUP Fishing in the Ocean and Lakes/Rivers

1. Water conditions and challenges

The primary difference between SUP fishing in the ocean and lakes or rivers lies in the water conditions and associated challenges. While the ocean presents anglers with constantly changing conditions, such as waves, tides, and currents, lakes and rivers tend to have calmer and less unpredictable waters. The varying water conditions add an element of excitement and skill to ocean fishing, while the stability of lakes and rivers makes them more suitable for relaxed and leisurely fishing.

2. Types of fish species and fishing techniques

The fish species available for targeting in the ocean differ significantly from those in lakes and rivers. Ocean fishing offers the chance to catch large game fish like tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, striped bass, and halibut, which require specific fishing techniques and gear. On the other hand, lakes and rivers are home to freshwater species like bass, trout, pike, catfish, and crappie, which necessitate different fishing strategies. Anglers need to consider the preferences and behaviors of the fish they target and adapt their techniques accordingly.

3. Scenic and natural surroundings

The natural surroundings in SUP fishing vary between the ocean and lakes/rivers. Ocean fishing offers a vast and often awe-inspiring backdrop of open waters, stunning sunsets, and breathtaking seascapes. In contrast, lakes and rivers provide a more intimate connection with nature, with proximity to the shorelines, lush vegetation, and tranquil landscapes. Both environments offer unique beauty, allowing anglers to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature while enjoying their fishing experience.

Tips for SUP Fishing in the Ocean

1. Choose a stable and maneuverable SUP board

When deciding on a SUP board for ocean fishing, prioritize stability and maneuverability. Opt for a board with a larger volume, wider width, and greater length to ensure stability, especially in choppy waters. Look for boards specifically designed for fishing, as they often come with added features such as more expansive decks, additional storage compartments, and rod holders to accommodate your fishing gear.

2. Check weather and sea conditions

Before heading out on your SUP fishing adventure in the ocean, always check the weather forecast and sea conditions. Strong winds, rough waves, or stormy weather can pose significant risks to your safety. If unfavorable conditions, consider rescheduling your trip to a more suitable day. Additionally, familiarize yourself with local tide charts to plan fishing times around the most productive movements.

3. Wear appropriate safety gear

Safety should always be a top priority when engaging in any water activity, especially in the ocean. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and ensure it is properly fitted. Additionally, invest in a leash to keep yourself tethered to your SUP board, preventing it from drifting away in case of a fall. A whistle and a waterproof phone case are also valuable items to have in emergencies.

4. Learn to read the ocean for fish

Reading the ocean and understanding the underwater landscape are crucial skills for successful SUP fishing in the ocean. Look for signs of baitfish, seagull activity, or disturbances in the water to identify potential feeding areas for larger game fish. Additionally, learn about different ocean structures, such as reefs, drop-offs, or underwater canyons, where fish are likely to congregate. You increase your chances of locating the best fishing spots by honing your observation skills and knowledge of the ocean’s ecosystem.

5. Use secure and easy-to-reach rod holders

When out on your SUP board in the ocean, it’s essential to have secure and easily accessible rod holders. This allows you to keep your fishing rods upright and within reach, leaving your hands free to paddle or handle the fish when you get a bite. Look for SUP boards with built-in rod holders, or consider attaching rod holders to your board if they are omitted. This convenience ensures a smoother and more efficient fishing experience.

Tips for SUP Fishing in Lakes and Rivers

1. Select a suitable SUP board for freshwater use

Choosing the right SUP board for fishing in lakes and rivers involves considering stability, maneuverability, and portability. Unlike the ocean, you can opt for a smaller, more compact board, making navigating narrower waterways and launching from small shorelines easier. Look for boards with a narrower width and lower volume, as they provide better maneuverability in calmer freshwater conditions.

2. Research local fishing regulations

Before heading out for SUP fishing in lakes and rivers, research and familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations. Different bodies of water may have specific rules regarding catch limits, restricted areas, or unique fishing methods. Always stay informed and ensure you have the necessary permits or licenses for fishing in the area. Respecting these regulations helps maintain the integrity of the fish populations and ensures a sustainable fishing environment for everyone.

3. Scout for productive fishing spots

To increase your chances of a successful fishing trip in lakes and rivers, scouting for productive fishing spots is crucial. Look for areas that provide cover, such as submerged structures, vegetation, or areas with varying depths. These locations often attract fish seeking shelter or feeding opportunities. Additionally, pay attention to currents, eddies, or drop-offs, as these can be hotspots for fish activity. Explore the shoreline and note any signs of fish activity, such as bubbling water or jumping fish.

4. Experiment with different bait and lures

Freshwater fish species prefer bait and lures, so be prepared to experiment with different options. Carry a variety of bait, such as worms, minnows, or artificial lures, to cater to the preferences of different species. Depending on the time of day and water conditions, specific bait or lure colors, sizes, or movements may be more effective than others. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques and adapt your approach to maximize your chances of enticing the fish to bite.

5. Respect wildlife and the environment

As with any outdoor activity, respecting the wildlife and the environment is essential when SUP fishing in lakes and rivers. Be mindful of sensitive habitats and avoid disturbing nesting sites or protected areas. Clean up and leave no trace by properly disposing of trash or fishing gear waste. Remember that you are a guest in their natural home, and treating it with care ensures the preservation of these precious ecosystems for future generations of anglers to enjoy.

Popular Fish Species for SUP Fishing in the Ocean

1. Tuna

Tuna is a highly sought-after game fish for SUP anglers in the ocean. Known for their speed and power, tuna provide an exhilarating fishing experience. Different tuna species offer a different challenge for anglers, from yellowfin and bluefin to albacore and skipjack. Targeting tuna requires specialized gear and techniques, such as trolling, live baiting, or casting with artificial lures. Tuna can be found in various parts of the ocean, with their migration patterns influenced by factors such as water temperature and food availability.

2. Mahi-mahi

Also known as dolphin fish or dorado, mahi-mahi is another popular species for SUP fishing in the ocean. These vibrant and acrobatic fish are known for their bright colors and remarkable fighting abilities. Mahi-mahi can be found near floating debris or weed lines, as they are often attracted to these areas for food and shelter. Anglers can target mahi-mahi using techniques, including trolling, casting with lures, or fly fishing. Landing one of these breathtaking fish from your SUP board will surely provide an unforgettable experience.

3. Snapper

Snappers, such as red or mangrove, are highly regarded targets for SUP anglers in the ocean. Known for their delicious meat and strong fighting abilities, snappers provide an exciting challenge. They can be found near reefs, rocky structures, or wrecks, where they seek shelter and feed on smaller fish. Snapper can be targeted using a variety of baits, such as live shrimp or cut bait, and techniques, including bottom fishing or vertical jigging. Catching a snapper from your SUP board is rewarding and offers the opportunity to bring home a tasty meal.

4. Striped Bass

The striped bass, also known as striper or rockfish, is a popular game fish for SUP anglers along the coastlines. These predatory fish are known for their strength and endurance, providing an exciting battle when hooked. Striped bass can be found in saltwater and brackish environments, such as estuaries or near river mouths. Anglers targeting striped bass can use techniques like casting or trolling with lures, retrieving live bait, or fly fishing. Whether targeting striped bass for sport or the table, SUP fishing offers a unique and thrilling approach.

5. Halibut

Halibut is a prized flatfish species that offers an exciting challenge for SUP anglers in the ocean. Known for their size and the intense fights they put up, halibut can be found in sandy or muddy areas along the ocean floor. Anchoring near areas with structure, such as reefs or drop-offs, can increase your chances of landing a halibut. Anglers often use live bait, such as squid or herring, or lures designed to mimic their preferred prey. Catching a halibut from your SUP board requires strength and persistence, but the reward is a delicious and memorable fishing experience.

Popular Fish Species for SUP Fishing in Lakes and Rivers

1. Bass

Bass, including largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, are highly pursued freshwater fish species, making them popular targets for SUP fishing in lakes and rivers. Known for their aggressive strikes and powerful fights, bass provides an exciting angling experience. Different baits and techniques can be effective in enticing these predatory fish, from topwater lures to plastic worms and crankbaits. Bass can be found near structures like submerged rocks, fallen trees, or weed beds, where they seek shelter and ambush their prey.

2. Trout

Trout, such as rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout, are highly prized freshwater fish species for SUP anglers in lakes and rivers. Renowned for their beauty and the challenge they present, trout are a delight to catch. These fish thrive in clear, cold, and well-oxygenated waters, often in mountain streams, lakes, or rivers. Anglers can target trout using various techniques, such as fly fishing, spin casting, or bait fishing with worms or small lures. SUP fishing allows anglers to reach deeper parts of lakes and rivers where trout tend to congregate.

3. Pike

Pike, also known as northern pike, are apex predators in freshwater environments and a favorite target for SUP anglers. These aggressive fish are renowned for their sharp teeth and explosive strikes, adding a thrilling element to any fishing trip. Pike are most commonly found in weedy or vegetated areas of lakes and slow-moving rivers, where they lie in wait to ambush their prey. Successful pike fishing often uses large lures or baitfish imitations, such as spoons, crankbaits, or jerk baits, to trigger their aggressive nature.

4. Catfish

Catfish are highly sought-after freshwater species for SUP anglers fishing in lakes and rivers. Known for their bottom-feeding habits and strong fighting abilities, catfish provide an exciting challenge. Different species of catfish, such as channel catfish, flathead catfish, or blue catfish, have their preferences for habitat and feeding habits. Anglers target catfish using different baits, such as stink baits, cut bait, or live bait, and techniques like bottom fishing or drift fishing. SUP fishing allows anglers to explore quieter waters and reach the prime catfish spots often inaccessible from the shore.

5. Crappie

Crappie is a popular panfish species highly regarded in freshwater fishing. Known for their delicious meat and abundance, crappie provides an enjoyable angling experience. These fish gather in schools near submerged structures, such as fallen trees, brush piles, or underwater ledges. Anglers targeting crappie often use live minnows, jigs with soft plastic bodies, or small crankbaits to attract their attention. SUP fishing allows anglers to reach areas closer to shore where crappie are often found, increasing the chances of a successful catch.


SUP fishing provides a unique and thrilling way to enjoy the natural beauty of the ocean and freshwater bodies. Whether you venture into the ocean or explore the serene lakes and rivers, each environment offers benefits and considerations.

The ocean provides access to various fish species, the opportunity to catch large game fish, breathtaking underwater scenery, and an exhilarating fishing experience. On the other hand, lakes and rivers offer calmer conditions, access to freshwater fish species, and proximity to shore for easy navigation.

However, regardless of your chosen environment, it’s crucial to consider factors such as weather and sea conditions, navigation and safety, equipment and gear, and fishing regulations. By following these considerations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable SUP fishing experience while being a responsible angler who respects the environment and wildlife.

Remember, the ocean and freshwater ecosystems are fragile and must be protected for future generations. Whether you’re SUP fishing in the ocean or exploring lakes and rivers, embrace the beauty of nature, practice catch-and-release when appropriate, and leave no trace behind. By doing so, you can continue to appreciate the wonders of SUP fishing while preserving these precious environments for years to come.

Diana Hanson
Hi there! I'm Diana Hanson, a SUP enthusiast and paddler with over ten years of experience. I have a deep love for exploring new places and trying out new things on my SUP board. Whether it's gliding across a peaceful lake, navigating a fast-moving river, or riding the exhilarating waves of the ocean, I'm always up for an adventure. As the author of the website SupNoob.com, I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with others. My goal is to help beginners learn the skills needed to paddle safely and confidently. I understand the challenges that novices face when starting out, and I'm dedicated to providing them with valuable tips and advice. But my passion doesn't stop there. I also strive to assist experienced paddlers in taking their skills to the next level. Through SupNoob.com, I constantly update the site with the latest SUP gear reviews, insider tips, and expert advice. My aim is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their skill level, can get the most out of their paddling experience. I take great pride in my work, and I have been fortunate to receive recognition in the form of prizes and rewards for my contributions to the SUP community. It's an honor to be able to share my passion for this incredible sport with others, and I hope that through SupNoob.com, I can inspire and empower fellow SUP enthusiasts to embark on their own unforgettable journeys. Join me on SupNoob.com, and let's dive into the exciting world of SUP together!