SUP vs Kayak Fishing

SUP vs Kayak Fishing Comparison

When it comes to watersports, fishing may not always be the first thing that comes to mind. What if we told you that it’s more than just sitting in a canoe in the middle of a lake all day like in the movies? Fishing can be done in lots of different ways – ways that are more fun. Today, I’m bringing you my SUP vs kayak fishing comparison.

SUP (stand-up paddle board) and kayak fishing are two great ways to get a dose of adventure while getting your daily catches.

Here, I’ll take a deep dive into the two activities. I’ll explore which watercraft is better for fishing, a SUP or a kayak.

Stand Up Paddle Board vs Kayak Fishing

When comparing the two, there is no concrete answer. It all comes down to factors like what you want to achieve and where you will be fishing.

If you want to catch some fish while getting scenic views on calm water, a stand up paddle board may be more your style.

If you’re venturing off into white water for some serious catches, you may want to consider kayak fishing.

Stand Up Paddle Board vs Kayak Fishing

Here, we have compiled some of the key differences between stand up paddle boarding and kayak fishing to give you an idea:

SUP FishingKayak Fishing
– Makes use of a stand-up paddle board
– Best on calm waters
– Only good for one person at at time
– SUPs are more lightweight and easier to transport
– Makes use of a kayak
– Can be used on both calm and white waters
– More storage options for fish
– Can fit up to two people
– Kayaks are more heavy duty

Benefits and Limitations

At first glance, there is no clear answer as to which mode of fishing is better, which leaves it all to personal preference. Here, we will be taking a closer look at the two to help you better decide which activity is better for you.

Taking a look at the different benefits and limitations of both activities is a good way to start the decision making process. Of course, each has their own set of distinct benefits and limitations.

Benefits and Limitations of SUP Fishing

Fishing with an SUP seems limited because of the space, but it has more benefits than you would think, such as maneuverability, ease of transport, and stealth.

Benefits and Limitations of Stand Up Paddleboard Fishing

It’s also a great option overall if you are looking for an activity to do with your family.

Pros & Cons of Fishing from a Paddle Board

  • Better maneuverabilityList
  • Ease of transport
  • Stealth
  • Exercise
  • Budget-friendly
  • Family-friendly
  • Limited storage
  • Stability may vary
  • Not made for speed

Benefits of SUP Fishing

As mentioned, the benefits of SUP fishing includes maneuverability, ease of transport, and stealth. You can also consider other factors such as budget friendly, family friendly, and a great source of exercise.


Because an SUP is smaller and more lightweight than a boat or kayak, you are able to propel yourself through the water more easily.

You can easily get in and out of tight spaces and even navigate through shallow areas where boats may not be able to go.

Ease of Transport

As SUPs are smaller and more lightweight, they’re easier to transport than kayaks. They are easier to pack up and bring from place to place and are generally lower maintenance.

Stand up Paddle Board Ease of Transport

Paddleboards are flat. This is an advantage in that you can see more of the water, and therefore your targets.

Not to mention they are quieter than boats and allow you to move through the water with little to no noise (that will depend on how you paddle, of course).


As paddleboards are flat and don’t usually have built in seats, you will be able to get a killer core workout from having to stabilize yourself to get from place to place.

But don’t worry – SUPs are built to be stable on water without your help.

Budget Friendly

Compared to other vessels used for fishing, SUPs are generally more budget friendly with a variety of different types of boards to choose from, not to mention they are highly customizable to your liking.

Family Fun

SUP fishing with the family is a great activity to bond over. SUPs are easier to transport than kayaks, so it’s much easier to move more than one of them from A to B.

They’re also usually more budget-friendly.

If you have kids, most SUPs are built to be able to hold the weight – just make sure you have your littles strapped up safely!

Limitations of SUPs when Fishing

Of course, SUPs also have their fair share of limitations. You will want to consider things like its lack of storage space, stability, and speed.

Limitations of SUPs when Fishing
Storage Space

With an SUP, what you see is what you get. While there are attachments you can purchase such as a tackle bucket for your catches, if you have multiple rods you want to take out, you may find that the space is limited.


As well as offering limited space, an SUP cannot be overloaded or there could be a problem with stability. While SUPs are designed for stability, overloading it with too much weight will be a problem.


SUPs are made for cruising along calm waters. If you are looking for a vessel that will take you longer distances in short amounts of time, an SUP may not be the best for you.

Benefits and Limitations of Kayak Fishing

Kayaks are smaller boats made for 1 or 2 people that require a single paddle to get from place to place. If you want to have more than 1 person in a kayak, you need a tandem kayak.

Benefits and Limitations of Kayak Fishing

In comparison to a canoe, these vessels are more lightweight and designed to get quickly from one place to another through various types of waters.

Kayak Fishing Pros & Cons

  • High maneuverability
  • More stability
  • Protection and less exposure to outside elements
  • Storage
  • Limited in speed
  • More technique required
  • Not as comfortable or easy to transport

Benefits of Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is a great alternative to bigger boats such as canoes or skiffs. They offer easier maneuvering, better stability, and the basic functions that a larger boat would have such as storage, all in a smaller vessel.


Kayaks are made to be able to get in and out of smaller spaces, as long as you use the right techniques, of course.

They are more lightweight and easier to transport than a canoe or skiff boat would be. Some kayaks even have pedals so that you can propel through the water at faster speeds.


Unlike an SUP, a kayak is made for sitting. With the option to choose between a sit-in or sit-on- top kayak, you will be able to get to where you need to be all while seated.

Plus, sit-in kayaks offer protection for your legs.


Sit-on-top kayaks offer a good amount of storage for your paddle, fishing poles, and any other essentials you may need for going out into deeper waters.

Limitations of Kayak Fishing

Kayaking and kayak fishing are two different activities.

Kayak fishing may be a bit more difficult and it has more limitations. You have to think more about factors such as techniques, range, and comfort.

Limitations of Kayak Fishing

There are different fishing techniques, and there are different kayaking techniques. Combining the two on the first try may be a bit difficult if you are not versed in both activities.


Like SUPs, kayaks are limited in speed as they are not motorized.

Yes, you’ll have the advantage of being seated and won’t have to focus on balancing, so you can focus on the paddling itself. However, you won’t be able to go as fast.

Some fishing kayaks have pedals, but the drawback with this is that it would draw more attention to you in the water. That can make the fish wary and more likely to stay away.


While kayaks come with seats, they may not always be the most comfortable. Some are difficult to get in and out of because of their shells.

Also, it may be even more uncomfortable in tandem kayaks (kayaks built for two people).

SUP vs Kayak Fishing (where and when each is best)

When it comes to choosing between an SUP and a kayak for fishing you have to consider two things: where and when.

Kayaks and SUPs come in different varieties built for different water and weather conditions.

However, some terrains are better suited overall for SUPs and others are best traversed with kayaks.

SUP vs. Kayak Fishing – Where and When

SUP Fishing is Best When

Stand up paddleboards are made for calm waters.

Of course, fishing isn’t always done in just the shallow parts. Some places where SUP fishers like to go include calm lakes, slow-moving rivers, shallow coastal waters, quiet ponds, and even the shoreline.

With SUPs, you still have the option to delve into deeper waters. However, fishing on an SUP requires paying more attention to the weather, weather conditions, and time of day.

Remember, you don’t want to be caught in rough weather conditions on an SUP. You wouldn’t have any kind of cover!

For starters, you will want to avoid midday or the hottest parts of the day – especially when fishing in areas that provide little to no shade from trees or alike.

You should also avoid times of the day when you’re fishing in places with waves, such as when it’s high tide. As I mentioned before, you should limit SUP fishing to calm waters.

Kayak Fishing is Best When

With kayaks, you have more options when it comes to venturing out into moving waters. You can take on anywhere that an SUP can – and then some.

This includes in both slow moving and rapid moving rivers, lakes, river mouths and tidal flats, and even in inland waterways, where there may be more fish.

Kayak fishing can be done throughout various weather conditions considering that the vessel offers more coverage and is built to be able to withstand tougher conditions. Of course, this will vary by the specific kayak design that you have.

While you may want to avoid midday or hotter periods because of the exposure, going through windier and colder conditions is a lot easier to get through with a fishing kayak – especially if it is a sit-in kayak.

My Tips and Considerations (for either type of fishing)

SUP fishing and kayak fishing are both very convenient and can be a lot of fun.

Whether you go with an SUP or kayak, you’ll find it is much easier to transport and lighter weight than a canoe or other type of fishing watercraft.

Which is Better for Fishing SUP or Kayak

Regardless of which you choose, you want to keep a few things in mind to have a safe fishing trip:

Safety Equipment

While SUPs and kayaks may not have the most storage space compared to traditional boats, you have to make sure that you’re prioritizing your safety equipment before deciding which tools to bring aboard.

If you are going into deeper waters be prepared with your life jacket, especially if you are going into areas that are prone to capsizing.

The Life Jacket I Use and Recommend

In most states, wearing a life jacket or PFD is the law when you’re out on the water.

If you’re like me, you want a safe, effective PFD that doesn’t limit your range of movement when paddling. That’s why I highly recommend this one from Onyx. 

It offers great range of motion, can keep me afloat in the water (I’m 6’2″), and it is very comfortable. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

While you may not have room for a full sized emergency kit – a whistle is a good addition to tie onto your life jacket. Calm waters or not, you should always be prepared.

Know Your Locations

Knowing where you are fishing is important. Not only for the type of fish you can expect to come across, but also for when it comes to weather conditions and standard regulations.

Remember – most states require a fishing license. Even if you are on a paddleboard.

Final Thoughts: SUP vs Kayak Fishing

Ultimately, both SUP fishing and kayak fishing are great options for fishers looking for a more lightweight way to fish.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about personal preference. If you are looking for calm scenic views along calm waters and some family fun with the little ones, an SUP is definitely worth looking at.

If you’re looking for a kayaking adventure geared towards some serious catches, then kayak fishing is definitely for you. All in all, SUP and kayak fishing are both great activities that can get you similar results and last you a day of fun!

Thanking about going kayak fishing with a companion? Check out my article on the best tandem fishing kayak.