Updated: Nov 18
We are officially in the Fall season. What this means for inshore anglers is simply the change in weather patterns. Water and air temperatures slowly begin to drop as everything cools off and fish species begin to move backcountry. These backcountry areas like canals, docks, mangroves and grass flats consist of areas with deeper and darker water that holds the heat better. Many fish species such as Tarpon, Snook, Reds, Trout and flounder congregate to these areas and stage up through the winter time. Live bait is still plentiful during the Fall and you can find it in all the community areas unless the weather drastically changes. This includes pilchards, threadfin, pinfish, mullet, and shrimp. Although, this time of the year is great for most artificial lures and soft plastics. With the weather not being so hot like the Summer time the cooler Fall weather can make a lot of fish species less lethargic and more active. However, if the weather gets too cold you might find some days to be difficult to locate and catch fish on both artificial and livebait.
The Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to really target and put emphasis on the backcountry. With that said this is when a ready to fish paddle board can come in handy. During these next few months we will start to see those huge negative tides leaving certain locations dried up. Due to this an angler could have a huge advantage to be able to get to certain spots and areas that boats cannot. Even a small flats boat could struggle navigating to areas on a low tide but I know with a paddle board I am able to get to any spot I want on any tide. This is important because a lot of these inshore species can be tide dependent. Being able to use a paddle board to get to areas that have a low water level while waiting for the tide to change could be really effective. These super low tides also make it very easy to target inshore species. I say this because fish are smart enough to not get themselves trapped on a dried up flat. So for an angler this means these fish have moved to a spot or area that is deeper and holds more water. Normally these fish won't move far so if you can locate areas with potholes, troughs, and any sort of water level variation along the flats then you'll find the fish! For me the best way to find areas like this is using google maps. Google maps is very good at showing the different water depths along mangrove shorelines, grass flats and channels and is very accurate. Honestly, I have found most of my favorite inshore spots using this tool and I highly recommend it as an inshore angler.
Two other factors that make paddle board fishing very effective this time of the year are being able to stand up and fish and being able to approach spots very quietly. These both go hand in hand with one another and being able to fish the same way as being on a skiff but on a board has really expanded my angling experience and inshore knowledge. However, There is always the argument about “well isn't it easy to fall off or tip your board”? My answer would be no, especially with the types of boards being built nowadays. The two main brands and most popular are BOTE Boards and Live Watersports. These boards have changed the fishing game and I find it very easy to stand up, paddle and catch huge fish off of. Being able to stand and fish makes casting very easy whether you are power fishing the flats or skipping under the mangroves. But the main reason would have to be the visual part and seeing areas and fish from an over view. Standing up on my board allows me to most of the time see fish before they see me. I am able to effectively sight cast and make very accurate cast and presentations to fish. This is when the stealthy part comes into play and I can get very close to fish whether they're in schools or are just individually spaced along the flats. Because of this I can take my time to make the right presentation and I know I will have better chances to produce fish. Since I fish the backcountry very heavily during the fall and I am most of the time on my board I know I'm going to be in areas where there won't be a huge crowd. I can approach these areas very confidently that I won't spook anything because I won't have a motor or even trolling motor running. The stealthiness aspect from my board also allows me to catch multiple fish from my spots and areas without spooking up anything else. These factors have allowed me to produce countless amounts of fish during the fall season and my understanding of the inshore fishery has increased greatly.
Overall, paddle board fishing is a fun and adrenaline filled way to fish inshore species during the fall season. Anyone with any type of fishing experience could have a productive day on the water. The experience itself and being able to paddle and explore super skinny water in the backcountry is awesome enough. For me the pros overcome the cons when fishing off a paddle board. Most boards depending on the size are easy to manage, travel with and fish off of. I am always confident when targeting tarpon, snook, reds, trout and flounder in the backcountry because of these advantages a paddle board can give an angler. Along with these pros, most boards are 12-14ft and thats what gives them the stability out on the water. They're are also many different ways an angler can set up their paddle board for fishing. So as always it is important to do your reading and studying to be able to pick the right set up for how you want to fish the inshore! If you have any questions or if I forgot to mention something please leave a comment or send Twin Tails an email, thanks!
- 12 foot BOTE Board (Flood version)
- I have the grab bar with two rod holders on it. This is very helpful when I'm trying to move around on my board and to travel with multiple rod setups.
- I have a regular anchor that I can tie off to my grab bar for deeper depths. I also have an 8 foot push pole that I can use to not only move myself but use as an anchor as well.
-A yeti cooler can come in handy because you can sit on it if you get tired but it is also a great dry storage compartment.
- A lot of people get those cool carbon fiber paddles but I just have a basic adjustable paddle that works awesome.