From the Mag | Stand Up for Your Fish

By Will Taylor

A fisherman paddles a river gorge at sunrise, quietly dipping his paddle in the placid water. Stalking, he follows the circulating current looking for brush dangling over the riverbank or a quiet eddy off the main channel. He casts into a tranquil pool where the water occasionally boils with the movement of fish. And then, what every fisherman lusts for: the strike.

Standup fishing makes sense. SUPs are quiet, versatile, easy to transport and cheap compared to other watercraft, not to mention you can use them anywhere there's water; whether you're a fly fisherman searching for trout or a blue-water spearfisherman hunting tuna.

And while fishing's SUP ascension has seemed to move slowly, more and more companies are producing boards and gear angled at anglers.

Thomas Flemons of Diablo Paddlesports got into the game early, designing the company's first prototype in March 2009 in Texas with college buddy Jay Korbell. Six years later, there are more SUP fisherman than ever.

"We're seeing a lot more people on the water standing to fish," he says. "And that's definitely leading to a surge in the market."

Flemons stalks the Devils, Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers in Texas on his standup and is thinking of new ways to change the game.

"The market's evolving," he says. "We've got a very versatile, very interesting concept hopefully coming out this summer."

Diablo isn't alone in his development. Larger boardmakers such as Bote, Yolo, Imagine, Boardworks and Jackson all offer SUP fishing models that are getting more technical, and more lethal in their designs.

Pau Hana designer Todd Caranto's first board design was his Big EZ, which he customized in 2009 to create the Angler version. The demand for this board has been so high Pau Hana is currently backordered.

"I think it's going to be the future of our sport," Caranto says. "Any (manufacturer) who's going to make a decent profit will need to be involved in fishing."

And that's a good thing, for both the gear makers and the customer.

"It's kind of like the beginning of SUP was where you would only see a couple guys here and there," Caranto says. "Pretty soon we'll be everywhere."

This feature originally ran in our 2015 Gear Guide.