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I fall into the category of folks who got into kayak fishing as an angler first and a paddler second. Not taking the time to select the right paddle is a mistake! Your paddle is nearly always in your hands and one of the most important pieces of equipment in your kayak angling arsenal. Your personal paddling style, width of your boat and budget are important factors to consider when deciding which paddle will propel you to your quarry. If you come from big boat background, think of the paddle as your outboard AND your trolling motor.

What type of water will you primarily fish? Do you frequent flat, slow-moving water and paddle at a relaxed pace? A low-angle paddle (narrower blade and longer shaft) will work best for you. Moving water and a more aggressive stroke calls for a high-angle (wider blade and shorter shaft) paddle. Whichever you choose, be sure to keep your grip on the shaft of the paddle LOOSE. A death-grip on your paddle increases strain on your joints and potential for injury. Since I’m a high-angle paddler and I often stand I want a long shaft paddle, mine is adjustable to 260 centimeters (eight feet five inches)

Fishing kayaks are significantly wider and generally sit higher in the water than touring and recreation types. This combined with a higher seat position means a longer paddle is necessary. Popular lengths range from as my second paddle for a friend or as a backup. Each of my Jackson Kayaks has been customized to have the “casting brace” to hold my paddle while I fish, my rod while I paddle. This minimizes movement and allows me to stand with minimal bending to reach paddle or pole.

Spending the money on the best paddle you can afford will keep you from feeling like you’ve been wielding a crowbar all day. Pricing and materials run the spectrum from plastic blades with aluminum shafts to carbon fiber shafts and blades. My first paddle weighed 32 ounces – my current paddle weighs in at 26 ounces, most of the fish I catch weight more that my Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon! Over the course of the day, that’s a lot of extra pounds I’m not picking up because of the weight reduction, and my arms and shoulders know it! With no sacrifice in the strength category that’s’ a gigantic plus.
Pairing yourself with the perfect paddle will keep you on the water and on the fish. The best fishing paddle is the paddle that best fits you – choose wisely!