The SUP Ahab by BOTE paddle boards
by Captain Scott Goodwin
I recently got to check one item off of my bucket list, but now I can’t wait to go again. Standup paddleboarding is what I’m referring too. I had borrowed some boards from a friend to take my wife and daughters for our first paddleboard experience. We were not sure what to expect, but the whole family did awesome. After only a couple hours of riding with us, my girls took a spin, on their own, and did great. We were all pleasantly surprised at how stable the boards were and like all things in life, with a little practice, we were exploring the mangroves and canals in no time. We can’t wait to get back out there and do it again. Great family bonding and badly needed exercise are a direct result of paddleboarding.
My curiosity was now peaked to take the next step. Fishing from a paddleboard is becoming increasingly popular and I’m obsessed with fishing, so to try one out became the obvious next goal. I got the chance, when I booked a NMZ SUP fishing trip with All Water Adventures. They set me up on a BOTE Ahab which is the biggest and most stable paddleboard in the BOTE paddle board lineup. I had a Paddlefish for a seat, rigged with rod holders and a tackle web for storage of my Plano box filled with the necessary assortment of swimbaits, topwater and jigs. We launched our paddle boards off of the bank and loaded them down with our fishing gear and stroked it across the flats. We paddled for about thirty minutes to get to a sandbar where our guide had caught plenty of redfish and trout before.
I was amazed at how stable the 14 foot BOTE Ahab was, and I paddled from a seated position on what is called a SUP PaddleFish™ (it was awesome), which made it easy to stay balanced. Being able to stand up and scout for fish once we arrived, the combo of switching positions made it very comfortable and the hours flew by. The fishing on this occasion was off, as a weather system had just gone through and the redfish we saw seemed to have lockjaw. What amazed me was how close we could get to the fish and they never spooked. They had no idea that I was there. We had a small anchor we slipped over the side when we wanted to stop and fish and area or watch the nervous waters ahead. The fish would swim right up to you and never spook as they often do when they get that close to a boat.
In many coastal areas, big fish will move up into skinny water that is unreachable, even by the lightest of flats boats, but the paddleboard just skims over in mere inches of water. You can explore places that feel untouched by the normal flow of fishermen and boaters. Also the sheer simplicity is a big draw for me. My background was working as an offshore boat captain, and simple was not in the vocabulary. It is standard procedure to prep for days in advance and clean up for days following an offshore excursion. To plop your board in and go and then just rinse it off when you’re done, guilt free was the strangest, but best feeling. I guess you could chammy your board when you’re done, but that would defeat the purpose.
I can sum up my Ahab experience with three words, stable, simple, freedom to fish. (okay five)
BOTE AHAB Details
Captain Scott Goodwin is planning a review of the SUP PaddleFish™ in his next column exclusively for All Water Adventures, please look for it.