Guide to Selecting the Perfect Inflatable Paddle Board for Fly Fishing Anglers | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

in Fly Fishing Insider Podcast Blog

When diving into the world of paddle boarding for fly fishing, it's essential to prioritize both convenience and functionality with an inflatable paddle board guide. To ensure that anglers get the best experience out there on the waters, here's a  breakdown of the essential features and benefits for those selecting the perfect inflatable paddle board for fly fishing:

Line Management:

For fly anglers, a clean board surface is pivotal to prevent line tangles. The surface should be free from obstructions or offer a simple stripping bucket or room for it, to keep the line clear and snag-free.

The Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Fly anglers are continuously casting and reeling with line exposed and laying on the deck of the paddle board, so efficient line management can drastically improve the fishing experience by reducing tangle issues and allowing for quicker casts. The last thing you want is a snag before, during, or after a catch.

Paddle Storage:

Seamless and rapid transitioning from paddling to fishing is a necessity. The board should feature paddle clips, and slots, or have ample storage space. You need to ensure that your paddle doesn’t hit the water and scare a target or get dropped, so you are now up the river without a paddle. Additionally, it keeps the paddle out of the way so line management again is not inhibited.

The Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Fly anglers need to shift quickly between paddling and casting, often requiring two hands. Efficient paddle storage ensures the paddle doesn’t interfere with the fishing process, which isn’t as vital for conventional anglers who can target with one hand and don’t have lines exposed on the deck.

Stability:

Stable boards, like those from BOTE, prioritize keeping the angler upright during all phases of fishing – from spotting to battling a catch.

The Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Fly anglers, especially those new to paddle boards, will appreciate the extra stability when casting and reeling in a catch, whereas conventional anglers might already be more accustomed to balancing on unstable surfaces like small boats.

Portability:

One of the primary advantages of inflatable paddle boards is their portability. They can be deflated, rolled up, and packed into a backpack or carry bag, making them ideal for remote fishing spots or for those with limited storage space. They can also be transported from the vehicle to the fishing source via wheeled carts that make things far easier in common scenarios.

The Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Fly anglers often seek out untouched, serene environments for fishing. The ability to easily transport an inflatable board means they can venture to less accessible locations compared to conventional anglers using bulkier gear or boats.

Durability:

High-quality inflatable paddle boards are made with robust materials that can withstand encounters with underwater obstacles like rocks, logs, or corals. This durability ensures a longer lifespan of the board and less worry while navigating different terrains.

The Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Both angling styles encounter durability issues, and there is no real advantage over the other here.

Elevated Viewpoint:

Standing on a paddle board offers an elevated viewpoint, allowing anglers to spot fish and underwater structures more easily compared to being at water level in a kayak or small boat.

Advantage for Fly Anglers vs. Conventional Anglers: Spotting fish is crucial for fly anglers, as it allows for targeted casting. An elevated viewpoint offers them a strategic advantage by providing clearer visibility of fish movements and habitats. In contrast, conventional anglers might rely more on equipment like fish finders or local knowledge. Additionally, casting a fly rod from a non-elevated platform is far harder than a conventional spin or bait caster can from a lower or seated position.

Use the features and benefits above from the paddle board guide to narrow down your selection criteria. Each board is different, however, know I hope you understand the nuances needed for fly anglers by utilizing the paddle board guide for fly fishing anglers. 

Extra Bonus Features to Look for and Why

Although the paddle board guide above mentions a bunch of features and benefits for fly anglers, you can almost go on forever.  Here are extra features and accessories that can be recommended or should certainly be thought of.  This should round out the paddle board guide so you can get all the doo-dads available for fly fishing anglers and make the adventures that much more enjoyable. 

Anchor Spears: For maintaining a stationary position. Like dropping an anchor but can be used as a push-pull, too. 

Peddle Paddles: Ideal for traversing larger bodies of water without exerting too much energy.

Electric Pumps: For quick and hassle-free inflation of the paddle board. Don’t kill yourself with a standard pump before you even start.

Wheeled Carts: Facilitate easy transportation of the board to and from the water.
Storage: Waterproof or submersible bags come in handy for storing anything and everything needed to stay dry.
Coolers: Coolers are critical for staying fed and hydrated. Conventional anglers may even use them as bait storage options.
Magnetic Holders: Magnetic holders can be used to stabilize drinks, fly boxes, etc., and make things extra convenient. 

Carrying Slings: Not everybody needs a cart, or the terrain is too tough, so a sling can come in handy.

Rod Holders: Having more than one rod is often preferred, but more importantly, you are offered the ability to go hands-free while paddling. Having quick and easy access to your rod is part of that transition thing I was talking about earlier.

Board Socks: Protecting your board with a board sock sounds silly, but UV and other exposures will eat it up, so a simple investment can save you in the long run. 

Car Rack Pads: A lot of times, I will rack my board on the car at home and travel with it inflated and ready to go.  This is super common with areas that are close to home. 

Extra Fins: Everyone breaks a fin.  Breaking one might not ruin your day, but having an extra helps you stay in control while paddling.  Otherwise, the wind and current can push you around all day, taking away from the freedom of a stable paddleboard.

A Wise Investment:

Opting for package deals can be advantageous for those seeking a harmonized system. Although buying independent items might seem cost-effective initially, retrofitting them might result in an incompatible setup. Packages designed specifically for the board and the needs of fly anglers ensure that all components work seamlessly together, enhancing the overall fishing experience.
On the other hand, someone who is a tinkerer and likes the specifics and individuality of each part may want to hand-select.  There are cautions with this, but those who are dialed in and want to spend the extra time can make amazing adjustments this way. 

Good luck selecting a paddle board!  The paddle board guide is a great step in the right direction for making your selection.  If you want to learn more about saltwater for freshwater paddle boards, I reviewed and recommended my favorite models from what I believe is the top brand, BOTE Paddle Boards.

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 Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
Fly Fishing Insider Podcast Official Website
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