New craze: Stand-up paddleboarding is quickly gaining popularity in the bay area. A crossover between kayaking and surfing, these oversized boards are a fun vehicle for fishing. Their quiet propulsion is perfect for sneaking up on fish and the advantage of standing provides a better visual angle for sight-casting.
Recent trip: Extremely calm conditions allowed us to load the paddleboards into the boat and motor out to the mouth of the bay. We dropped anchor in an area that produced good Spanish mackerel action on previous outings and began chumming. When the mackerel showed up, we took to our boards and armed ourselves with a paddle and a fly rod. Casting chartreuse-and-white Clouser minnow patterns attached to a short wire bite tippet allowed us to connect with the mackerel.
Safety tip: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has made it clear that when a paddleboard is actively being used to surf or within swim areas along the beach, a personal flotation device is not required. When a paddleboard is being used to flat-water paddle or fish, however, a PFD is required just as it is with a kayak. The compact inflatable PFDs that are worn around the waist fit these requirements and are ideal as they don't hinder your ability to paddle.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727)510-1009.