January 21, 2020
The progression of fishing for me has been pretty dynamic. I started out fishing creeks and rivers from the banks and wading. Then I purchased a canoe and the adventure of exploring rivers had begun. After owning the canoe for quite some time I eventually got my first kayak, a Jackson Kayak Big Tuna. The Big Tuna really showed me what a designated fishing kayak could do, so I eventually would go on to get several more kayaks, including a Jackson Kayak Liska.
A couple of years ago I ventured into a slightly different form (or more so platform) of fishing. I got a Pau Hana Endurance board to try out stand up paddleboard (SUP) fishing. Overall, fishing from a SUP (particularly the Pau Hana Endurance) has been awesome and well worth it! Paddle board fishing is a unique and skillful experience that many people, including myself find quite enjoyable. It is different from kayak fishing in the sense that SUP fishing is more involved, artful, simple, and exciting.
While the Pau Hana Endurance that I have been fishing from for the past few years is a sleek, fast SUP that can do a lot, Pau Hana makes one SUP in particular that is suited for the hard core fisherman - the Big EZ Angler.
While there are many different methods to obtain a quick overview of a product, I’ve found that a good approach is to take a look at the specifications. Let’s go ahead and do that:
Weight: 36 lbs
As you can see, the Big EZ Angler paddle board is pretty wide and very lightweight. To put how lightweight this SUP is in perspective, let’s compare it to a kayak of similar size. My Jackson Kayak Liska (which is a great kayak) is 84-pounds. This is 48-pounds heavier than the Big EZ Angler…pretty crazy! This weight savings is huge for paddling on the water and also transporting the SUP to and from the water.
The construction of the Big EZ Angler is a composite consisting of an EPS foam core, fiberglass, Ricochet embedded fiberglass, and a 5mm EVA deck pad. The Pau Hana Ricochet technology is pretty neat stuff. I’ve used the Ricochet technology on my Endurance paddle board quite a bit, and it has held up remarkably well to the rough Texas rivers I paddle and fish. I will admit, I was a bit skeptical of the Ricochet technology when I first started to used the Endurance paddle board a couple of years ago, but I have unintentionally hit many rocks with my Endurance board and it has held up very good.
Although the Ricochet technology isn’t quite as durable as a rotomolded kayak, it is extremely durable and is a fraction the weight of rotomolded polyethylene (which is what most high end fishing kayaks are made of). Some companies have experimented with rotomolded paddle boards, but they were too heavy and lofty to paddle efficiently. To me, the Ricochet technology from Pau Hana has a great balance of staying lightweight while still providing adequate protection.
The Big EZ Angler has a 5mm EVA deck pad that provides both traction and comfort for a paddler. I really like the design of the cutout for the EVA deck pad. It reminds me a lot of fish scales and adds a nice artistic touch to the board.
The Big EZ Angler paddle board also features multiple through hole locations so you can use a stake out pole to anchor in relatively shallow water. The Big EZ Angler and Endurance share a common feature of strategically placed Seamounts - 25 of them for the Big EZ Angler.
The Seamounts allow you to attach a multitude of accessories, such as rod holders, cup holders, tie down points, cell phone mounts, GoPros, paddle holders, and many other options.
The last item I’d like to mention about the Big EZ Angler before I get into my personal first impression is the hull design. While the Pau Hana Endurance has a displacement hull design, the Big EZ Angler has a planing hull. The nose of the Big EZ Angler paddel baord rises above the water (thus the planing design) and provides a smooth, stable ride which allows for optimal fishing. I will cover this design a little more in depth under my personal review below.
Winter for a lot of people can mean skiing, snow, freezing temperatures, etc., but Texas is a little different.
It can be 28 in the morning and warm up to 75 in the afternoon. After checking the weather forecasts I found the perfect day to test out my newly acquired Big EZ Angler paddle board.
I decided to make a day trip to the South Concho River in Christoval, Texas. The South Concho River runs relatively clear and cool, with nice trees along the banks, lily pads spread across the water surface, and semi-submerged timber every hundred yards or so.
Typically, it is very rare for me to leave behind my fishing gear, but on this occasion I wanted to simply test out the Big EZ Angler without any fishing at all. I knew if I brought my fishing gear I’d be out on the water for 2x as long and would be much more focused on fishing and not strictly on my initial impressions of the Big EZ Angler. All this said, I loaded up my Pau Hana Big EZ Angler board and Jackson Kayak Liska and left for the South Concho River early in the morning.
The day started out below 30 and was quite frigid. I was beginning to doubt if it was worth getting out on the water while it was so cold (especially since I do not own the proper cold weather gear for paddleboarding in the winter). I knew the temperature would rise quickly when the sun came out though, so I put on my hoodie, gloves, and gave it a shot.
While it was very cold outside, the day turned out to be very beautiful. The water was pretty clear and the scenery was very nice. The real question wasn’t how nice the scenery was, but more so what the Big EZ Angler paddle board is like.
I have never been someone to test something out once and ultimately come to a conclusion, but I will say I usually can get a good idea of my thoughts within 15 minutes of testing something. Of course, aspects such as durability, versatility, and overall impressions take longer to develop. Unexpected experiences also contribute to how good a product as. As such, this is simply my first outing with the Big EZ Angler and my initial thoughts. So let’s get started.
When I first started paddling the Big EZ Angler I couldn’t help but be astonished with how stable this SUP is! Immediately upon standing up I noticed the stability. At 36-inches wide, this SUP provides ample stability for fishing. While my Pau Hana Endurance (which is 31.5-inches wide) is quite stable, the Big EZ Angler is pretty much effortless for me to stand on and has the upper hand in comparison.
I do need to mention (or make the disclaimer) that I have been using the Endurance for over two years prior to paddling the Big EZ Angler, so I became accustomed to a narrower, less stable SUP (when I mention the Endurance being less stable, I mean in comparison to the Big EZ Angler and not to other SUPs on the market…as the Endurance is quite stable). This means that although the Big EZ Angler is super stable, it still might require a little effort to balance for someone who has never been on a SUP before - but very little effort. The important point to make is the Big EZ Angler is very stable and would be great for new and experienced paddlers alike.
I could go on and on about how stable the Big EZ Angler is. While I didn’t fish any on this outing, I can only imagine how beneficial the stability this SUP provides would be.
The Big EZ Angler is unbelievably stable!
For fisherman, particularly fisherman such as myself who fish rivers, maneuverability is very important. You need to navigate through semi-submerged timber, lily pads, overhanging tree limbs, exposed rocks, rapids and shallow water.
The Big EZ Angler paddle board has great maneuverability due to a few different design aspects.
The first aspect is the length. At 11-feet long, this SUP is by no means small, but in comparison to my Endurance it is 1-foot shorter. This shorter length allows for better maneuverability.
The second aspect is the planing hull design. In general, there are displacement SUPs and planing SUPs.
Displacement paddleboards (such as the Pau Hana Endurance) use the nose of the board to cut through the water. This is great for tracking straight, but not so good for ultimate maneuverability. Planing SUPs have the nose of the board above the water line, allowing for much better maneuverability. The planing design of the Big EZ Angler really allows you to spin around and navigate your way quite easily.
I do want to mention that the type of paddle you have is crucial for maneuverability. I use an Aquabound Malta Carbon…and this is one of the best paddles you can get for a SUP. The Malta Carbon is 100% carbon construction, making for a rigid, lightweight paddle that can propel you through the water with ease. Why is the carbon construction important? The carbon makes the paddle super stiff, and therefore allowing your inputs from paddling to transfer more efficiently and quickly as you move the blade through the water. Carbon is also lightweight and makes the paddle easy to handle. All of these aspects from the carbon and the overall design of the Malta make for a super effective and enjoyable paddling experience.
After paddling the Big EZ Angler for several miles I found the SUP to be extremely stable, maneuverable, and comfortable to be on…but speed and tracking aren’t quite as good.
By no means is this board slow or uncontrollable, but it isn’t quite as fast as the Endurance. This is simply the trade off you have to take with the more stable and maneuverable Big EZ Angler.
Now, I do not want to give the impression that the Big EZ Angler is a lofty SUP that is hard to paddle - because it isn’t. This SUP is actually very easy to paddle and glides across the water with ease…it just isn’t quite as good for speed and long distances as the Endurance is. This is to be expected though, as the Endurance is a longer and narrower board, whereas the Big EZ Angler is shorter and wider.
The stability of this paddle board is the first aspect that contributes to the great comfort. If you are on a non-stable SUP, you will constantly be thinking / worrying about falling off and you really have to work much harder to stand (at least stand with ease). The Big EZ Angler inspires confidence, so you will quickly become accustomed to standing on this board, which allows for a peace of mind that will not be found on other SUPs.
While the stability provides comfort in the form of peace of mind, there are other factors that contribute to comfort as well. Being out on the water can be pretty gruesome if you aren’t on a soft platform to stand or kneel. Fortunately, the 5mm EVA deck pad on the Big EZ Angler is more than comfortable.
Standing on the board was quite comfortable and did not hurt my feet at all. Sometimes I will kneel on my SUP (such as when I fish clear water and do not want fish to see me), and I found the deck pad to be very comfortable on my knees.
Similar to a good paddle helping with maneuverability, having a good (and the right type of) PFD can make you more or less comfortable. I have been using MTI Adventurewear Life Jackets for years because of the high quality design, features, and comfort that MTI puts into the products. For SUP fishing, my PFD of choice is the Helios 2.0. This is an inflatable PFD that is very minimalistic, and therefore you don’t even know you are wearing it! If you are looking for a good PFD for you SUP or kayak, take a look at the Helios 2.0…it is pretty amazing.
You might not consider comfort as a factor for choosing a SUP, it is definitely something you need to think about. Pau Hana nailed it with the Big EZ Angler board.
While looks do not affect the performance of a SUP, they do add uniqueness and character. The Big EZ Angler is not lacking in the aesthetics department, as I personally believe this SUP has some very cool design features. From the teak wood on the deck, the way the EVA deck pad is laid out, to the graphics and logos throughout the board…the Big EZ Angler looks awesome!
While I have had a blast on my Pau Hana Endurance and my Jackson Kayak Liska, I will be fishing on the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler for the foreseeable future. I’ve mentioned a few reasons why I would choose this board over the Endurance for fishing, but why would I choose the Big EZ Angler over the Jackson Kayak Liska or any other fishing kayak?
I first want mention that I have fished from Jackson Kayaks for a long time, and I still do. I personally own a Liska and have had it for quite some time. There will most definitely times of which I will choose to fish out of my Liska, but over the past year or two I’ve slowly fished more from a SUP and less from a kayak.
One of the main reasons I will be fishing primarily from the Big EZ Angler for 2020 is weight…yes weight.
Once you get a kayak in the water, the extra weight from the rotomolded construction is not terrible. However, transporting the Liska is much more difficult than transporting the Big EZ Angler or Endurance. I really need someone to help me get my Liska on top of my 4Runner, but I can easily get the Big EZ Angler on my roof rack by myself.
Transportation on a car and getting from your car to the waters edge is more difficult with the Liska. The Big EZ Angler is very easy to get from place to place.
The next reason I prefer the Big EZ Angler over the Liska is “stand-ability”. I stand and fish from my Liska all the time…but the Big EZ Angler paddle board is just better for fisherman that want to stand and fish. The Big EZ Angler is remarkably easy to stand on with confidence. I can’t speak enough about how stable the Big EZ Angler is.
While I don’t currently fly fish much (if at all), I do plan to venture into the world of fly fishing soon. The Big EZ Angler has a sleek deck without anything that could hang up your fly line. The Liska, although pretty sleek, does have several areas that fly line could snag on.
The last reason that I will be fishing primarily from the Big EZ Angler versus a kayak is simply the amount of fun and excitement that fishing from a SUP provides. Don’t get me wrong, fishing from a kayak is awesome! I’ve fished from kayaks for years and a kayak definitely has a time and place, but fishing from a SUP is a much more interesting experience. This of course is a personal preference, but I really enjoy the higher skill level, the need for more athleticism, the involvement, and also the simplicity of a SUP.
I spent about 2-3 hours paddling the Big EZ Angler while I explored the South Concho River. What stood out most to me was the stability. This board is stable! The next most impressive aspect was the maneuverability. If you are wanting to snake through constricted areas, the Big EZ Angler will do a good job. This board was made by Pau Hana to be a fishing machine, and you can easily realize this when you hop on and paddle this SUP.
It will be awesome to take this board to the Devils River or South Llano River and try to land some big bass.
If you are considering a SUP for paddling and or fishing, take a look at the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler - it is a well crafted and designed SUP!
Clint Taylor is the owner and founder of Texas Kayak Fisher and All-Terrain and has been a passionate fisherman since he was a child. Clint spends most of his time outdoors on some of the great rivers and landscapes Texas has to offer and loves to write about his experiences in the hope of inspiring others.
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