Top 3 BOTE Inflatable Paddle Boards for Freshwater Anglers | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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As the quest for the perfect fly fishing spot continues, why not venture into deeper waters or untouched rivers with the help of a freshwater paddle board? BOTE paddleboards for freshwater offer the unique experience of combining fly fishing with paddleboarding, taking the adventure to new levels. Freshwater paddle boards aren’t cheap, and getting into a top-quality board is going to start out around $1,500.00, but searching and finding the right BOTE board is worth it.  BOTE Paddle Boards are rated number one for a reason: they are the best. Dive into our top 3 BOTE Freshwater Paddle Boards tailored specifically for fly fishermen, ensuring your gift will be cherished and utilized to its fullest potential.

In all three options, I looked at and tested paddle boards for freshwater that included package contents.  Paddle Board packages allow you to purchase one-time systems for fishing that include key and essential components that are truly designed for the boards and fly fishermen. You can purchase the boards independently of the packaged items, but in the long run, you’ll end up retrofitting the items and in a hodge-podge of a system that just doesn’t work the same. The packages include particular items for the freshwater paddle board, but each package may be slightly different. Either way, they are great accessories for any angler.

If you haven't used the Paddle Board Guide yet try starting there!

Fly Fishing Anglers Look for 3 Core Features 

  1. Line Management: Fly anglers always have their line out of the reel and moving. Each one of these boards has a clean surface and or the ability to run a simple stripping bucket to keep the line clear and snag-free.
  2. Paddle Storage: Quickly moving from paddling to handling a rod is ideal.  Often, you will make 2-3 strokes and need to make a cast. Paddle clips, slots, or ample room for storage is an ideal situation, and each board has this function.
  3. Stability: The last thing you want is to go in the drink when you are seeing or fighting a fish.  Not only is it dangerous, but it will most likely take you out of the hunt.  BOTE prides itself on stability and maneuverability.

Other nice haves are anchor spears, peddle paddles for larger bodies of water, electric pumps, and carts.  These are necessities but several packages come with them and they can be advantages in certain situations. Okay, here we go!

Rackham Aero 12′4″ Verge Camo Inflatable Paddle Board Package

Our premier pick, the Rackham Aero 12′4″ Verge Camo Inflatable Paddle Board Package, stands as an icon in freshwater paddle boarding for fly fishermen. Its versatility ensures smooth casting, regardless of experience. 

Key Features for Fly Fishermen:

- Military-grade PVC construction: This ensures durability against underwater obstacles often found in fishing spots. Don’t worry about sticks, rocks, etc., because they aren’t going to stand a chance if they try to penetrate this freshwater paddle board.
- Compatible with the Apex Peddle Drive system, gives you even more power, speed, and control when moving on various waterways.  The versatility of being able to run with or without the peddle drive really sets you apart from other systems.
- Offers buoyancy, ensuring a stable casting platform that is beyond what you would expect.  Watch video after video of anglers standing on the edge, actually trying to tip the paddle board, and it doesn’t happen.  When you are fighting a fish and being pulled in all sorts of directions, the danger of stability should be the last thing on your mind.
- Lightweight & portable: Essential for fly fishermen who often explore remote fishing spots. Fully loaded in the bag that is accepted in airline travel situations, the weight is 79 Lbs.  My mother’s carry-on can weigh more than that!  Seriously, don’t underestimate the weight it is a combination of getting around on the boat, but even more importantly, it is light enough to move into the car and out to the waterfront without breaking your back.
- Multiple attachment points: Perfect for securing fishing gear and necessities.
- Integrated paddle sheath: Facilitates easy paddling and casting without interference. A key feature in freshwater paddle boarding is storing your paddle so it is easy to access when you are ready to move.  The transition between angling and fishing should be seamless, and this system allows that.

Imagine the delight of casting a fly from the expansive deck of the Rackham Aero “Bug Slinger,” accessing areas traditional boats or wade fishing can't reach. This freshwater paddle board is not just a gift—it's an evolution in fly fishing.
Package Contents:

  1. One (1) Rackham Aero 12′4″ Bug Slinger™ Silver King Inflatable Paddle Board
  2. Includes the following accessories
  3. One (1) 3-Piece Adjustable SUP Paddle
  4. One (1) 10" Removable Aero Center Fin
  5. One (1) Pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers
  6. One (1) Aero Paddle Sheath
  7. One (1) Rackham Aero Paddle Seat
  8. One (1) Aero Sandspear Sheath
  9. One (1) Pedal Port
  10. One (1) Aero Repair Kit
  11. One (1) Hand Pump
  12. One (1) Travel Bag
BOTE HD Aero 11′6″ Classic Cypress Inflatable Freshwater Paddle Board Package

BOTE HD Aero 11′6″ Classic Cypress Inflatable Paddle Board Package

Introducing the BOTE HD Aero Inflatable Paddle Board Package, designed for those relaxed fishing days when the primary goal is to unwind and maybe land a fish or two.

Key Features for Fly Fishermen:

- Stable and easy-to-use design: Ensures a comfortable fishing experience. Again, stability is a top concern, and the Aero model is a bit narrower, but the stability is there.  This model is for advanced paddlers that want to be a bit less stable but still stable enough.
- Comfortable deck pad: Allows for prolonged fishing sessions without discomfort. The deck comes with a built-in padding that does a few things.  Comforts your feet but also dissipates heat and allows you to run barefoot so lines aren’t hanging up and fishing remains the focus.
- Ideal for tranquil fishing spots: Best suited for still lakes or gentle river flows. It’s a full-on freshwater paddle board experience, and if you want lots of stealth, then this is a great model. Its lightweight and small design means you can go anywhere just about unnoticed.
- Weight and Agility - The fully loaded bag weight is 40 Lbs.  Low weight and a narrower haul allow for more agility. You can spin this board on a dime and sneak in under and through the smallest nooks to get where the often unapproached fish are. 
- Visibility - Full Verge Camo allows for stealth approaches and close encounters.

Gift the HD Aero 11′6″ to a fly fisherman who appreciates the stealthy aspects of the sport to obtain the thrill of those hidden gem spots.

Package Contents:

  1. One (1) HD Aero 11′6″ Inflatable Paddle Board
  2. Includes the following accessories
  3. One (1) 3-Piece Adjustable SUP Paddle
  4. One (1) 10″ Removable Aero Center Fin
  5. One (1) Pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers
  6. One (1) Removable Aero Paddle Sheath
  7. One (1) Aero Repair Kit
  8. One (1) Hand Pump
  9. One (1) Travel Bag
  10. One (1) BOTE Inflatable Belt PFD
  11. One (1) Tackle Rac Seafoam
  12. One (1) Coiled Leash
HD Aero 11′6″ Classic Cypress Inflatable Paddle Board Package

Flood Aero 11′ Full Trax Ochre Inflatable Paddle Board Package

For the ambitious fly fisherman, we present the Flood Aero 11′ Full Trax Ochre Inflatable Paddle Board Package. This board is the embodiment of adventure, designed for those lengthy fishing expeditions. Keeping things down to necessities only and limiting size is the name of the game. The Fload Aero comes with AeroULTRA inflatable technology, there isn't another SUP that packs in as many features and offers at a price point as appealing to this freshwater paddle board

Key Features for Fly Fishermen:

- Multiple attachment points: Perfect for securing fishing gear and necessities.
- Stability: Ideal for fishing in various water conditions but small enough to maneuver in tight areas.
- Weight and Agility - The fully loaded bag weight is 42 Lbs.  Low weight and a narrower haul allow for more agility. You can spin this board on a dime and sneak in under and through the smallest nooks to get where the often unapproached fish are. 

Package Contents:

  1. One (1) Flood Aero 11′ Inflatable Paddle Board 
  2. One (1) 3-Piece Adjustable SUP Paddle
  3. One (1) 10″ Removable Aero Center Fin
  4. One (1) Pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers
  5. One (1) Aero Repair Kit
  6. One (1) Hand Pump
  7. One (1) Travel Bag
  8. One (1) BOTE Inflatable Belt PFD
  9. One (1) Tackle Rac Steel Blue
  10. One (1) Coiled Leash
Flood Aero 11′ Full Trax Ochre Inflatable Paddle Board Package

 

The BOTE Flood Aero promises intense fishing sessions, be it in secluded lakes or challenging river terrains. It's an ideal package for starting out and going light.

If the perfect gift for a fly fisherman is what you're after, these BOTE paddle boards for freshwater offer unmatched experiences. From the versatile Flood Aero to the adventurous Rackham Aero, these boards redefine fishing adventures. Bring them the gift of broader horizons and untouched fishing spots with BOTE paddle boards for freshwater. Their fishing tales will be a testament to your impeccable gifting choice.

Bonus: Consider a Microskiff.  The Rover Aero 12′6″ Verge Camo Inflatable Micro Skiff Essentials Package is more than a paddle board it’s an actual boat.  Well a combination of a skiff-style boat and paddleboard. If you have long distances to go and don’t want to always be paddling, this super stable boat is ideal for you.  It’s easy to transport, has a ton of features, and can get you to a place you normally wouldn’t be able to reach.
Rover Aero 12′6″ Verge Camo Inflatable Micro Skiff Essentials Package second

Okay, you are making the dive and picking up a BOTE Freshwater Paddle Board. Honestly, excellent choice and, in fact, better than I made.  I used an inexpensive board for a bit, and I wish I had my money back. That being said, I do recommend looking at a few accessories to make life easier.  Here are the BOTE Accessories I recommend.

  1. A Life Jacket: Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are a necessity and required by many states. There are angler-specific items available for you by BOTE but I love the low profile Inflatable Belt PFD that minimizes bulk.
  2. Transportation Wheels: BOTE offers a set of wheels to attach to your board that helps you get from your car to the water.  Why is this important?  Well, if you can assemble it by the car, transportation to the water becomes key. Think of it as an ultra-mini-trailer for your paddle board
  3. Electric Pump: A high-quality electric pump that can be used at the car will save you a ton of time and effort that can be spent on the water. They are often good for inflation and have a suck feature for deflation. 

 If you haven't used the Paddle Board Guide yet try starting there!

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 Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
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