How To Catch Beach Tarpon From A Paddleboard Like A Pro [VIDEO]

By: Joseph Simonds on March 22, 2017
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how to catch beach tarpon

Ready to learn how to catch beach tarpon?

We’ve had quite a few requests about tarpon fishing tips (as tarpon season will be here soon).

We’ve also been hearing requests for paddleboard fishing tips along with more tips for catching fish on or near the beach.

So we couldn’t think of a better way to hit on all three requests than a post on how to catch the ultimate inshore fish (the Silver King) from a paddleboard while fishing right off the beach.

For this inshore fishing tip, we brought in our friend Joey Antonelli (who also makes some amazing fishing decals with his company H2O Vinyl Designs), an angler who has caught more monster beach fish from his stand-up paddleboard than most anglers catch in a lifetime.

Here’s Joey.

How To Catch Beach Tarpon From A SUP

by Joey Antonelli

So you want to catch a Tarpon from you SUP?

Isaac Asimov said, “The first step in making rabbit stew is catching a rabbit.”

So the first step in catching a beast Tarpon from a paddleboard is getting a paddleboard.

There are tons of different paddleboards, but having the right type of board will make catching and landing a fish (especially a tarpon) much easier.

I highly suggest getting one of the boards designed for fishing.

Note: Bote, LIVE Watersports, and Cayo seem to be making the best paddleboards for fishing.

The board I’m using in the video is the 12’ Rackham made by Bote Boards. This paddle board is stable enough to throw a cast net from, it comes with rod holders (so no strapping down a milk crate with PVC rod holders), and glides through the water with ease.

Related: How To Choose The Best Paddleboard For Fishing [VIDEO] (see it here now)

Once you get a board you’ll need to put some time in just getting use to the whole paddleboarding thing.

You’ll find out it won’t take you long to get comfortable on the board and you’ll no longer have to even think about balancing.

When you have reached that point you can now start focusing on fishing.

Related: Here’s a great post on MUST-KNOW paddleboard fishing tips (click here to see it now)

Beach Tarpon Tactics

how to catch beach tarpon from paddleboard

When slow-trolling for Tarpon the tackle is a very basic set up.

Here is what you need for catching tarpon from your paddleboard:

  • You’re going to want a pretty beefy set-up so you can fit a lot of line on your reel because those first few runs are going to be long ones.
  • The two reels you see featured in the video are a Shimano Saragosa 8000 and an Avet LX 6.0
  • Both reels are paired with rods I built (the spinning rod is 8.5′ and the conventional rod is 7.5′ – both are heavy action)
  • I fish 50lb braid or 40lb mono as my main line
  • You’ll need 5’ of 60lb mono leader
  • 5/0 light wire circle hook
  • Live bait (pogie)

Best Live Bait For Beach Tarpon

Once you have all of your gear ready and you are out on the water, the next step is catching bait.

My recommendation is to get whatever bait is schooling off the beach (as that means the tarpon are feeding on it). Pogies and mullet (especially during the Florida Mullet Run) are excellent bait.

Throwing a cast net can be a little tricky from the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard), but with practice, you will get comfortable throwing a net from your board.

Bait Tips:

  • I like to position myself up current of the bait; that way I can load up the net and once I drift into range I should have an easy throw with the wind at my back.
  • When you’re done with the net I like to just ball it up and place it in the center of the paddleboard just behind where I stand. At this time it is a good idea to tie the end of the cast net rope to your bait bucket.
  • I throw back any extra bait I don’t think I will use. no sense in keeping too much bait in a small bucket as it will suck the oxygen out of the bucket.
  • Slide the hook through the nostrils of the Pogie and cast him out back of the SUP like I do in the video below

how to catch beach tarpon from a paddleboard

  • I usually have my bait about 100’ behind my board.
  • If you’re fishing two rods you’re going to stagger them so that it is less likely you will get tangled. Also, having different rod lengths helps keep you tangle free.
  • Throw a 7’ rod only about 60’ behind you and throw an 8’ rod about 100’ behind you. This will allow you to paddle around and make turns without getting tangled.
  • Once your bait is in the water you’re ready to start paddling.
  • You should be paddling at a relaxed speed. The speed should be just enough to keep the board moving and the bait behind you. If you paddle too fast you’ll kill your bait and just be dragging a spinning, dead Pogie.
  • Look for rolling Tarpon or Tarpon that are crushing bait and just try to stay in that area.
  • The drag on your reel should be set tight enough to set the circle hook, but loose enough so you can easily pull it out of your rod holder when a fish strikes.
  • Wait for your reel to start screaming!
  • Hit record on the camera and get ready for a fight!

WARNING: As soon as you pick up the rod your board is going to start to spin around. Until you are very comfortable fighting a fish you should fight it from a sitting or kneeling position. Doing so will lower your center of gravity making it easier to fight the fish.

Things To Watch Out For

These tarpon are notorious for throwing hooks. Try not to get discouraged, because you are going to lose a lot of fish. As the fish jumps you should point the rod at the fish (bow to the king – look at the video to see examples of what I mean).

If the fish starts pulling you in a direction you don’t want to go or you just want to be able to put some serious pressure on the fish just dump out your bait and while standing or sitting on your cast net rope toss that bucket overboard. Even though it is just a small bucket you will really notice a difference.

Usually, at the beginning of the fight the Tarpon will make long powerful runs, but as the fight continues it should change to more of a short distance tug-o-war with the fish being only a few yards from the board.

The short distance tug-o-war style fight seems to take forever and it’s tempting to try to horse the fish in, but they are just too powerful. Just take your time and you’ll eventually get the fish tired enough to land it.

Just take your time and you’ll eventually get the fish tired enough to land it.

Reviving The Tarpon

how to catch tarpon from a paddleboard

After you unhook the Tarpon be sure to revive it.

It’s really important to limit the amount of time the tarpon is out of the water.

A quick pic is all you need.

I revive the tarpon by holding its head into the current until I feel it gaining its strength back.

You should feel it starting to try to swim and once it does this the fish should be ready to swim on its own.

At this point you’re probably nowhere near where you started, so it’s time to paddle again and repeat the process. Good luck out there and if you have any questions feel free to email me at

Good luck out there and if you have any questions feel free to email me at joey@h2ovinyldesigns.com .

Catching Beach Tarpon From A Paddleboard [VIDEO]

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Conclusion

Catching beach tarpon from a stand-up paddle board is a blast!

As you can see from the video, it’s not all that difficult if you have live bait and can find the tarpon.

Of course, the paddleboard enables you to approach the tarpon with great stealth (compared to a boat).

Any questions?

Anything we missed?

Let us know in the comments.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would enjoy seeing this, please Tag them or Share this with them. Tight Lines.

Related categories:

Related Post: How To Choose The Best Paddleboard For Fishing [VIDEO] (see it here now)

Related Post: Here’s a great post on MUST-KNOW paddleboard fishing tips (click here to see it now)

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Shannon McNally
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Awesome I love fishing for them off the beaches, I’m planing on trying it on the sup, this summer. I’ve caught them on a hobie kayak and flats boat but never from a fishing sup, looks like a blast! Keep up the videos and he makes great stickers if you need them for your boats trucks or businesses! Tight lines Joey