Balance is definitely not something everyone is born with. Walking is one thing, but standing on an oversized surf board with a single blade paddle is not an easy feat. I decided to make it a bit more technical by adding casting, stripping and landing smallmouth Bass to the equation. I have seen video of anglers fishing from SUPs for redfish in the south and it looked like a great time. One day while soaking up the sun on beautiful Coeur d’Alene lake we decided to grab the SUPs and my 6 wt with some bugs and a sink tip. Having never fished from something like this I was really looking forward to the challenge. We hit the water, I had my wading pack on and put the rod all strung up in between my feet laying down. Getting used to the board rocking under your feet will really make the balancing muscles go into overdrive. Waves can be a bit tricky as well, you always want to turn the board head on to the wake otherwise you’re in for a ride. I had never really fished around Tubbs Hill before, which is amazing to me having grew up here. I guess the pull of the rivers around Northern Idaho were always on my mind.
I highly recommend a waterproof camera, as its very easy to fall off these boards and always have an escape plan if you do (grab the rod!) don’t worry about the paddle it floats. Not only will you keep your camera in good working order you can get shots like this.
What I found to effectively stay in the piece of water is to paddle into the zone and hope to god it’s not blowing wind. Drop the paddle between your feet and grab the rod, start casting to the rocks. Let it sink a good 10 seconds depending on the depth and the sink rate of the tip then slow strips back to you with some pausing to really get it down toward the bottom where the fish are hunting. I have noticed the bigger the bug, weeds out the dinkers. A nice heavy bug as well will help with the action while being stripped too (as you can see large lead dumbbell eyes in its mouth). I had a good amount of decent fish following to the surface and I can say with experience they are waiting for that “dead drop” change in the way the streamer is moving. I like to feel for the bottom with the bug and keep it about 2 feet from bouncing.
When you do hook into a good fish get ready for the real wild ride! Especially with Smallmouth, they have a much more bull headed characteristic to them than Largemouth. This guy pulled me around in a few circles and 10yds from where I hooked him before even showing himself. Remember balance and a lot of line control. I was told it is quite amusing watching a guy land a fish while the chaos ensues of almost falling into the lake off one of the squirreliest crafts I have ever fished on. On that note, if you like a good challenge fish off a Stand Up Paddleboard.
Until next time my friends, Fish On!