SUP on the flats!

“The challenge that many travelling DIY fly fishers face is the ability to carry along some type of watercraft that would make fishing the flats or deep waters simpler. That challenge is now easier to overcome with the advent of the SUP or Stand Up Paddleboard.

Badfish inflatable SUP

Boardworks Badfish MCIT Inflatable

I have tried many traditional options like the folding Kayak by Folbot and the blowup Sevylor Kayaks. However, we all know that elevation is key and those options actually put you into a lower position and view angle. My choice, this time, is the inflatable Badfish Stand Up Paddleboard from Boardworks SUP out of Encinitas, CA. Great name but after experiencing the fantastic fish ability of this craft, I would change the name to BadASSfisher. This SUP is especially perfect for the travelling fly fisher person. At around 35 pounds it comes in a very easily packable open burrito folding type bag. We all know that when something like this comes from the manufacturer, it fits perfectly in the packaging. However, after a few uses, it is almost impossible to get it back in the original bag. Not in this case (pun intended)!

 

Badfish at work

The Badfish comes with a double hand pump as well but you want to get the additional pressure gauge so you don’t over fill it. Additionally,they also included 3 Scotty Paddle Sports accessory mounts, one at the bow and two on both sides of the stern. I have decided to get the anchor lock, the fly rod holder and, of course, the Scotty drink holder for the occasional frosty Pacifico that might happen to be in the cooler. Cooler you say? Yes, the Badfisher is 39 inches wide and has a pre-mounted D-ring configuration at the bow and the stern to strap down equipment. In my case, I removed the bungee  cord from the front of the two back D-rings and strapped down my Coleman cooler. Can you say poling platform? I can, and it is the perfect setup. Although it might seem unstable, it is not. I used an older Coleman cooler that is a little shorter but I am sure that one of the newer Yeti type coolers would also be perfect and even more stable. It took me only a few minutes to get my sea legs up there and soon I felt very comfortable. The next consideration is a paddle and/or sectional push pole. In my case, I purchased a 3 piece carbon bladed SUP paddle from Boardworks. Luckily, for me, several years ago I purchased two sectional push poles called the Stealth Stick from Cataract Oars. Boy, that was a good decision. The anchor is also important to have as more often than not, the flats can be too hard to jam in your push pole or paddle. If that is the case a small folding 4 prong drop anchor will do the trick and will usually grab enough to either slow you down or stop you entirely so you can make a cast.

 

Badfish with real fish

Now, back to the fact that the Badfish is extremely stable because of the side sponsons, which you blow up separately and makes the SUP even more stable. After you blow up the main center section, attach your cooler and any other accessories, you are good to go. Being very fortunate and living down in Mexico on the Riviera Maya in Akumal, I have some of the best DIY fly fishing around at Boca Paila. My first trial was very good and I could see Bones up to 150 feet away. Although I didn’t see any Permit, I know that I will the next time. My second trial was down in Xcalak and I fished two mangrove lagoons with several chances at Tarpon but the best day was fishing in one of the ocean side bays for Bonefish. Even when the tide went out, the Badfisher quietly cruised over the shallow grass flats allowing me to creep up unannounced and make a cast. The reason for this silent approach is the fact that the Badfisher comes with two small low profile fins on the bottom with the option of including a larger removable fin for deeper water. Obviously you wouldn’t install the larger fin for very shallow conditions and keep it for better tracking in deeper water and windier days.

In conclusion, the Badfisher is a perfect set up for fly fishing traveller, period.”