This summer, after prolonged and careful consideration, we bought a pair of inflatable stand up paddle boards from Bote, the 11’ Breeze and the 11’6” Drift. Our first excursion was to the North Shore where we made a round-trip paddle between two beach parks. Along the way I experimented with fishing in a few spots. The conditions were excellent and I quickly hooked several papio. The third was a little bigger and nearly pulled me into the surf zone. I had to do a quick release and catch a tiny wave to avoid getting capsized.
Since then, we have put the boards to good use. We have done some longer paddles, including a very nice one-way journey from Moanalua Bay to Kahala, and I have used the board to fish in several different spots.The Drift board has mounts for an insertable fishing rack with rod holders. The rack is not quite as stable as it looks so I mostly have to fish while sitting, but in calm water I can use it to balance and cast while standing. I have had a couple of close calls but I haven’t landed a bonefish from the board yet. Fishing for trevally is a totally different adventure. Since I am fishing primarily in the surf zone, the waves and chop force me to sit down and fish. The only problem with this is that my rods are too long to fish this way, I am constantly bonking the board or myself trying to maneuver the handle into a workable yet comfortable position. This week I picked up a new rod, shorter but still burly enough to handle bigger lures and, hopefully, bigger fish.The other challenge with fishing for papio is controlling the board. My first experience being pulled by a fairly small fish into the surf zone, and the speed at which the wind can push the board make an anchor almost a necessity. The anchor has its own hazards. If there is any slack in the anchor line then even a very small wave pushing the board can wreak havoc when the line goes tight and the board is flung violently like the end of a whip. Also, the anchor can get stuck in cracks and crevices. Twice I have had to jump in and dive down to the reef to free myself.A couple of weekends back we hooked a nice white ulua using fresh crab as bait. Tara did all the hard work of fighting the fish but I got to pose for the picture!Overall, the boards work very well. They are very stable and surprisingly rigid. The hand-pumps that came with the boards are two-stage, high volume and high pressure. There is definitely some elbow-grease involved in getting them inflated to the right pressure, but in the end it only takes about 7 or 8 minutes.