Fly fishing on a SUP has been a huge goal of mine since I started paddling a few years ago. They seem to go together since it is impossible not to notice a fish or two while cruising around on your paddle board. Catching them is less sport and more of an art form. It takes a lot of patience and experience to understand how their environment affects their behavior which can give you clues on where they will be and what they are looking for.
Fly fishing, for those of you as new to this as I am, is not at all like regular cast fishing. It involves using the weight of the line to build up momentum and drive the fly out further with each swing of the rod. Getting a handle on the proper technique can be pretty confusing in the beginning but with a good teacher and some practice you will get the feel and rhythm of it soon enough. In this regard, it is a lot like learning to paddle correctly when you are breaking down the whole movement into separate parts and executing them in a specific order. It’s really fun to learn and there’s always plenty of room for improvement.
Luckily for me, I have friend, Peter, who has been fly fishing for very long time and has a great passion for the sport. Peter was more than happy to show me the ins and outs of fly fishing including the proper technique for casting, what types flies to use for fresh and salt water and the different weight lines and rods you would use for different fish. We practiced casting out in the parking lot where he showed me how draw and release the line until you get it to the length you need. He went through how to use to the nine o’clock to twelve o’clock forward stroke in a slow, deliberate style that is the most effective and efficient way to cast out. And showed me how to use the same style on the back stroke to pull the fly out behind you before whipping it back out again. It was all introductory stuff but even that seemed a little overwhelming until we actually made it out to lake and started putting the whole operation into practice.
One of the trickiest moves for someone starting out in fly fishing is getting the timing down. You have to remind yourself to stop your back swing at twelve o’clock (by your ear) and wait for a second until you feel the slight tug of the fly line completely drawn out before you start your forward cast again. You can’t wait too long or else the fly will fall into the water behind you and then there is a good chance you may hook yourself in the back as you make your forward stroke. Peter suggests saying “God save the queen” at the moment you stop your back stroke and the immediately begin going forward. This will usually give the line just enough time to draw out before you cast forward again.
There is so much to learn on how to fly fish but you need only get a few basic principles down before you are able to go out and do it. In fact, the very next day Cathy and I went out on our own and I caught two Crappies one right after the other. Granted they are pretty easy fish to catch, but still, at least I was happy and having a ball! Fishing off my SUP was even better than the shore line. You get to pick and choose anywhere you want to go on the lake and move around at will. Plus, you can see for quite a long distance making spotting fish a lot more easy than sitting hunched down in a kayak or other kind of boat.
Bass, Peter told me, love to hang out by the Lilly Pads and hunt. Dropping the right fly in the right way by the edge of a Lilly Pad patch will emulate the sound of a small frog jumping into the water and attract their attention. Peter pulled a few in that night in no time at all! So if you are looking for a real fun and great way to spend some of your summer days this season check out SUP fishing . It is truly an incredible experience.