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BOTE vs BLACKFIN — Fishing Edition

BOTE vs BLACKFIN — Fishing Edition

People have been fishing on the water for as long as we’ve had people, but it wasn’t until just recently that we’ve been fishing on inflatable paddleboards. Far from being just the simple smooth boards that are common for general use, fishing paddleboards generally have the option to add a variety of attachments as well as.

Bote has made a name for itself as being a company that makes excellent SUPs that serve that let you make the most of your time on the water. With a wide variety of attachments for fishing and other activities, they are certainly one of the go-to brands out there for SUP fishing.

But a new contender has come out in the past year…well, not new, but with upgrades that can give Bote a run for their money. The appropriately named Blackfin brand may not ring bells to some, though it’s just the premium boards made by iRocker, one of the top names in the iSUP industry. It’s like the relationship between Lexus and Toyota. With the new 2020 lineup, they’ve really gone all out to reach out to the SUP fishing market that’s been slowly but steadily growing over the years.

Today we’re not going to review the boards themselves since we’ve already done that in great detail on this site, but rather which SUP is best if you’re going out on the water fishing. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll only be reviewing the 2 boards from each brand that are the best representations for this comparison.

Bote Flood Aero vs Blackfin X

Flood Aero:

Type: All-Around

Accessories: Backpack, 3-piece paddle, hand pump, repair kit, 2 Rac receivers

What we like: We’ll get into this part a bit later, but the accessories for this board are on point. As a paddleboard itself it’s perfectly balanced and rides beautifully. The Rac receivers that come standard give the attachments a stability that allows you to really get take on some strong fish.

Things We Don’t Like: Considering everything, the weight capacity is disappointing. This isn’t a lightweight board by any means so why it only takes pounds 275 pounds is a bit of mystery. When you think about the gear, bait and even snacks you might want to bring along with you, that 275 pounds can get taken up pretty quickly. The deck pad has a great anti-slip surface but isn’t all that padded.

Blackfin X

Type: All-Around

Accessories: Dual-chamber handpump, travel backpack, 10’ ankle leash, 8 action mounts

What We Like: One of the biggest differences you’ll see here is with the comfort of the deck pad. It might not be as anti-slip as the Bote board, if you’re going to be sitting or standing on this board for hour after hour, you’re going to want something comfortable since you can’t just get up and walk around. Add to that the fact this is 35” wide and you factor in that super stability to the comfort mix. Also, the weight capacity is almost double the Bote board for a smaller board of the same weight.

What We Don’t Like: The attachment points for the accessories don’t seem as sturdy as they do with the Bote board. While they come with 4 times as many out of the box, the they don’t give us as much confidence when using heavier gear.

BOARDDIMENSIONSWEIGHTWEIGHT CAPACITYPRICE
Flood Aero
11’ X 32” X 6”28 lbs275 lbsCheck Price
Blackfin X
10’6 X 35” X 6”27 lbs450 lbsCheck Price

Final Score: In this round, we’ll have to give it to the Blackfin. While an overall better iSUP, the reason it wins out is because of the weight capacity and comfort — 2 major factors when looking at an iSUP for fishing. After all, 90% of fishing is loading up your gear and sitting around waiting for a bite.

Bote Traveller Aero vs Blackfin Model V

Traveller Aero

Type: Touring

Accessories: Backpack, 3-piece paddle, hand pump, repair kit, 2 Rac receivers, paddle sheath

What We Like: If you’re on the water for a while and have large distances to cover, you want a board that’s going to have the least amount of drag possible. This means that not only do you get to your destination quicker but less tired since each paddle stroke means more. This board does that, as it’s very sleek and fast yet the shape of the tail gives you added stability.

What We Don’t Like: As a touring board, it’s wonderful. But as a fishing iSUP, we’re not too convinced of its merits. Again, the low weight capacity can quickly become an issue as can comfort, as the board is very thin. Also, since it’s so long we would assume this is better for open water than the rivers and smaller bodies, but the low weight capacity limits what kinds of fish you can go after in those waters.

Blackfin Model V

Type: Touring

Accessories: Dual-chamber handpump, travel backpack, 10’ ankle leash, 8 action mounts

What We Like: Similar to the Bote model, this is a thin board that moves very well in the water. The difference here is that since it’s wider, it’s more comfortable both while standing and while seated. In addition, the 485 pounds give you a lot of options, either to bring along a ton of gear or other people on your fishing trip. And what’s fishing without a fishing buddy?

What We Don’t Like: If speed is your big concern here, just those extra 2 inches can slow you down a bit compared to the Bote board. Also (and we suppose this is an issue with both boards), the long profile of this board means that you can’t get around as easily in shallower waters that require more turning and maneuvering.

BOARDDIMENSIONSWEIGHTWEIGHT CAPACITYPRICE
Traveller Aero
12’6 X 30” X 6”30 lbs275 lbsCheck Price
Blackfin Model V
12’6 X 32” X 6”30 lbs485 lbsCheck Price

Final Score: Again, we’re going to have to go with the Blackfin on this one. Although the Bote board is noticeably faster and would be better for racing, when it comes to fishing, you have to be comfortable on the board if you’re going to be out on the water for hours at a time. It’s true that both offer the option to have buckets for seats, but first off that’s an additional expense and it doesn’t say much about the board itself. Truthfully, we probably wouldn’t choose either one of these boards just for SUP fishing, though if we did, the Blackfin Model V would be out choice.

Bote Rackham Aero vs Blackfin Model XL

Rackham Aero

Type: All-Around

Accessories: Backpack, 3-piece paddle, hand pump, repair kit, 2 Rac receivers, paddle sheath, sandspear sheath

What We Like: Now we’re at the clash of the titans. This board here is the definition of a fishing SUP, almost to the point where we hesitate to call it that. There are attachment points galore plus the ability to use one that are specific to this board, such as the sandspear as a way to anchor in shallow waters. With a weight capacity almost double that of the other Bote boards, it can hold the kind of weight that all fishing SUPs should be able to hold.

What We Don’t Like: While we haven’t talked about this with the other boards, Bote boards aren’t cheap and this Rackham Aero is the most expensive. Add to that that you need to purchase the accessories above and beyond the price of the board itself, bringing you well over $2000 all decked out. Even though this board is pretty good on its own, those accessories are what make this board what it is.

Blackfin Model XL


Type: Touring

Accessories: Dual-chamber handpump, travel backpack, 10’ ankle leash, 8 action mounts

What We Like: For its weight and dimensions, this board is strong and is very maneuverable. Having the ability to hold almost 500 pounds of weight is exactly the kind of feature we would want to see in a board like this.

What We Don’t Like: While this isn’t a lot wrong with this board, it would be nicer if it were a bit larger and carried even more weight. Other than that, we can’t really complain.

BOARDDIMENSIONSWEIGHTWEIGHT CAPACITYPRICE
Rackham Aero
12’4 X 38” X 7”45 lbs400 lbsCheck Price
Blackfin Model XL
11’6 X 34” X 6”29 lbs485 lbsCheck Price

Final Score: To be perfectly honest, the Blackfin would have had to have been a much stronger contender here. We’re not saying that it’s a bad iSUP, but the Bote Rackham Aero checks just about all the boxes. It’s tough, stable and able to be outfitted with attachments that would make most small fishing boats jealous all with the convenience of being an inflatable paddleboard.

Bottom Line:

Before we give our final comments, remember what we’re doing here — looking for the best fishing iSUP, not the best iSUP between the two brands. Given how the competition went, you might be surprised by our conclusion.

As far as which is best, we have to split this one, but not how you might think. If you’re going to buy one of these boards we mentioned today and use it with nothing other than what comes out of the box, Blackfin is the clear winner. In general, they’re better built, have more weight capacity, and are much more comfortable than their competitors.

However, if we had the cash to buy the board and all the accessories, then Bote would give Blackfin a run for its’ money. Bote is by far one of the most expensive iSUPs on the market, but they’ve been making fishing iSUPs before anyone knew what those were, and today they are putting up a compelling case for first place.

But, as this section is titled, “The Bottom Line,” Blackfin has made an incredible effort this year. Their changes and additions to this board to accommodate the fishermen out there, plus the lower price, give them a significant edge.

All that being said, iRocker (Blackfin’s manufacturer) outdid themselves, and Bote is still one of the leaders in this field, but product to product and dollar for dollar the first place ribbon goes to Blackfin.