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Lowcountry SUP Fly Fishing 101

  • 3 min read

Lowcountry SUP Fly Fishing 101

Nothing says “lowcountry fly fishing” quite like watching a skiff pole its way through the short spartina grass in hotpursuit of a tailing redfish. One person on the platform, doing their best to quietly position the skiff; another person onthe bow, flyrod in one hand and a crab fly in the other. Whether it’s the dead of summer or the middle of winter, sceneslike this play out all throughout themarshes of thesoutheast. The lowcountry offerseemingly unlimited creeks andflats to be fished, so long as you have a skiff to get you there.

Now, all of this is fantastic except for one major, and expensive, drawback: skiffs ain’t cheap!!
Between the initial cost of a skiff, storage, constant maintenance and upkeep, gas, launch fees, etc.,the list goes onandthe cost goes up with it. Not to mention, you need to have a fishing buddy who is just as diehard as you, because polingand casting by yourself is not exactly easy.
Yup, so here I am telling you that fly fishing the lowcountry is the best and that you need a skiff to get to the best places, and reminding you about the cost of a skiff, the saying “BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand,” exists for a reason. Great, so now what? If you ask me, there’s a pretty simple solution to all of this: invest in a standup paddle-board or SUP!
Fly fishing from a SUP is probably not a new idea to anyone reading this, but it is an insanely effective tool to get your fly in front of these lowcountry fish. A good quality, inflatable SUP will only run you around $300 and will get you out on the water, catching fish immediately. Unlike a kayak, a SUP gets you standing up and keeps your back cast up out of the grass. An inflatable SUP is extremely lightweight and maneuverable, allowing you to go further then even the skinniest microskiff.
The great thing about fishing the lowcountry is that 9 times out of ten, you want to be in less than two feet of water, because that’s where the fish are. Whether it’s a low tide dead end of a creek in the winter or a mid-summer flood on your favorite spartina flat; chances are you won’t be in water any higher than a couple of feet. This means you can feel safe, steady, and effective which will boost your confidence when you need to make that money cast.
Of course, like anything in fly fishing: upgrades, upgrades, upgrades. When I say “upgrades,” I’m not referring to a $2,000 Bote board, what I’m saying is to turn your SUP into a fishing machine! There are a couple super simple and inexpensive upgrades that I have made to my personal SUP, and they have been absolute game changers when it comes to my effectiveness on a SUP.
My absolute must-have upgrades are:
1. Get yourself a mini push pole/stake-out pole. There’s a reason you don’t see someone paddling around a skiff on a flat.
2. Some type of anchoring system to keep you locked in place. My go-to is an anchor trolley system, which allows me to use my stake-out pole just like a Power Pole. It keeps me securely in place without having to deal with wind and current.
3. A soft Yeti cooler with an attachment system to your SUP because sometimes a beer is a must out there.
4. Lastly, D-ring patches that can be attached permanently to your SUP with PVC cement. Yes, this gets a little complicated, but it allows you to attach things to your board securely.
The freedom a SUP gives you when it comes to accessing the water is key when it comes to finding new spots and going where other people don’t, or can’t go, in their $70k skiff. Spend some time looking at Google Earth to find new access points where you can drop your board in and fish new areas that other people just simply can’t get to. Buying a standup paddle-board allows you to get on the water without the insane barrier to entry that a skiff represents for most people. You just can’t beat the moment it all comes together and you’re catching a 30” tailing red on a flat that skiffs can’t even get onto. Get out there and start slinging some bugs from a paddle-board! Tight Lines!


Photography and Written by Ryan Gallagher of

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