Fishing kayaks are typically wider and heavier than your average kayak. Finding a paddle that’s not only well suited to moving a heavier boat but is also light enough for all-day paddling during extended fishing trips can be a tall order to fill.

This article will offer you some pointers on what to look for in a paddle and round up some of the best kayak paddles for fishing currently available on the market.

Best kayak paddle for fishing

How to Choose

How to Choose the Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing

When choosing a paddle for fishing, there are three key areas you want to focus on.

  1. Length
  2. Weight
  3. Blade Shape

Some paddles have extra features like built in measurement markings or lure retrieval notches cut into the paddle blade for dealing with snags. These are nice to have but should be considered as secondary to the above criteria.

Paddle Length

The first and arguably most important thing you want to get right when choosing a paddle is the length. If your paddle isn’t sized right, your paddling will be awkward and less efficient.

Equally important is that you run the risk of banging the paddle on the side of the kayak if it’s too short. Most anglers are aware just how well sound travels under water. Knocking your paddle against the side of your kayak is a great way to blow your cover and spook the fish.

Sizing Chart

Sizing your paddle is done based on your height and the width of your kayak. As a rule, wider kayaks and taller paddlers need longer paddles.

While each manufacturer recommends slightly different paddle lengths based on paddler height and boat width, this chart should give you a pretty good idea what size paddle to look for. Keep in mind that paddle length is typically measured in centimeters rather than inches.

Some fishing kayaks have both a low and a high seating position. The chart below assumes a low seating position. If you paddle primarily from a high seat position you may want to add an extra 10 cm to your paddle length.

Kayak WidthUnder 23”24” to 28”29” to 33”34”+
Paddler Height
Under 5’ 5”210 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5’ 5” to 5’ 11”220 cm230 cm240 cm250 cm
6’+220 cm230 cm250 cm260 cm

 

Weight

As a rule of thumb, you want the lightest paddle that fits within your budget. If you’re just testing the waters and not sure how committed you are to kayak fishing, just get a budget paddle and don’t worry too much about weight.

But if you know you’ll be spending a decent amount of time on the water, you’ll save yourself money in the long run – and have more fun – by getting a good paddle up front rather than upgrading down the line.

Benefits of a Lightweight Paddle

  1. Less effort – Shaving a few ounces or a pound off the weight of a paddle may not seem like much, but it definitely adds up when you consider even a short fishing trip involves thousands of paddle strokes. Lightweight paddles require less effort per mile paddled and allow you to extend your time on the water.
  2. Better performance – The composite materials used in lightweight paddles are very rigid, which offer better performance and requires fewer strokes to cover the same distance. Your body will also perform better in general because you’ll be less fatigued.
  3. Enjoyment – Put simply, a good lightweight paddle makes your time on the water more enjoyable. A heavy inefficient paddle can be a major buzz kill.

Materials

The weight of a paddle is primarily determined by the material it’s made of.

Entry-level paddles typically use aluminum/plastic shafts and blades. They’re heavy, don’t perform as well, and aren’t as durable as higher quality paddles. They’ll get the job done and are easy on your wallet, but you’ll probably feel the need to upgrade down the line if you paddle with any regularity.

Intermediate and advanced paddles use a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass, which cut down on weight and improve performance and durability. Carbon fiber is the more desirable of the two but you’ll definitely pay a premium. Fiberglass offers a good compromise between lightweight performance and affordability.

Blade Shape

Paddle blades are generally broken into two categories; low-angle and high-angle blades.

Low-Angle – Long and narrow, low-angle blades are ideal for a more relaxed paddling style. You won’t generate as much power per stroke but they’re great for cruising in flat water. These are a good choice if you tend to cover a lot of ground while fishing or like setting your rods up for trolling.

High-Angle – The short and wide blades used for high-angle paddling generate more power per stroke and will get you moving with fewer strokes. The extra power often comes in handy for fishing kayaks, which tend to be wider and heavier than your average kayak. These work particularly well when paddling from a high seating position or for quick maneuvering while navigating rivers.

Reviews

Best Kayak Fishing Paddle Reviews

Bending Branches Angler Pro

Overall Score: (4.5/5)

Bending Branches Angler Pro 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Fishing Paddle

Weight: 30 oz.

Lengths: 220 cm – 260 cm

Shaft Material: Carbon fiber

Blade Material: Fiberglass

Blade Angle: High-Angle

Lightweight:

Durability:

Performance:

Value:

Best for

 from $214.47

Buy on Amazon

(price updated as of 2019-07-20 at 17:14 – Details)

Review

If you’re looking for a battle tested paddle that’s lightweight and offers excellent performance, it’s tough to beat the Angler Pro. It’s won the Angler Paddle of the Year award not once, but a total of five times since 2013.

The shaft is 100% carbon fiber for the best possible performance and weight savings. There’s also a handy built in tape measure that runs along the length of the shaft so you can quickly and conveniently measure your catch.

The paddle blades are made of fiberglass, so they’re still lightweight but also stand up better to sharp impacts better than carbon fiber. Fiberglass blades are generally a better choice if you want to push off obstacles or there’s a chance you’ll be knocking them against the occasional rock.

The high-angle blades are a bit larger than your average paddle blade, so they generate a fair bit of power per stroke and work particularly well for heavier fishing kayaks that are loaded down with gear.

The only real downside to the Angler Pro is it’s price. Its high built quality and lightweight construction means it isn’t cheap.

Carlisle Predator

Overall Score: (4.4/5)

Carlisle Predator Angler Fiberglass Paddle - Straight Shaft

Weight: 39.8 oz.

Lengths: 220 cm – 250 cm

Shaft Material: Fiberglass

Blade Material: Fiberglass reinforced plastic

Blade Angle: High-Angle

Lightweight:

Durability:

Performance:

Value:

Best for: Anglers looking for a solid intermediate paddle with good performance.

 from $81.49

Buy on Amazon

(price updated as of 2019-07-20 at 17:46 – Details)

Review

The Carlisle Predator is essentially Carlisle’s popular Magic Plus paddle modified specifically for kayak anglers. Like the Bending Branches Angler Classic, it’s an intermediate level paddle that offers good performance and value.

The shaft is a durable and fairly lightweight fiberglass. It’s worth noting that the right side of the shaft is ‘ovalized’, so it’s not perfectly round like the rest of the shaft. This is intentional and allows you to feel how the paddle blade is positioned without having to look directly at it. It may take a bit of getting used to but is a nice addition once you get a feel for it.

The blades are high-angled and have a lure retrieval notch to help free your gear from snags. They’re made of fiberglass reinforced polypropylene which, according to Carlisle, is more rigid and performs better than nylon. The downside is that it’s heavier than nylon. All in all, it’s a good intermediate paddle if you’re more concerned with performance than weight.

If you like the look of the Predator but want something a little lighter, you may want to take a look at Carlisle’s Expedition Angler paddle. For just a bit more money you get all-fiberglass blades and it’s almost a half-pound lighter.

Werner Camano

Overall Score: (4.5/5)

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

Weight: 27.5 oz.

Lengths: 220 cm – 260 cm

Shaft Material: Carbon and fiberglass blend

Blade Material: Fiberglass

Blade Angle: Low-Angle

Lightweight:

Durability:

Performance:

Value:

Best for: Anglers that paddle long distances while fishing.

 from $229.00

Buy on Amazon

(price updated as of 2019-07-20 at 17:53 – Details)

Review

Werner is one of the most respected names in kayak paddles and is known for producing quality paddles. The Camano features their most popular blade design and is a mid-sized low-angle blade that’s ideally suited to covering longer distances.

The shaft is a unique blend of carbon and fiberglass that is light and offers great performance but is also more impact resistant than a 100% carbon shaft.

While it’s not likely to increase the number of fish you catch, the Camano comes in a huge range of color options, including some sharp looking fish scale patterns.

If you’re sold on the Werner name but want something with a high-angle blade, check out the Werner Shuna. It has the same features as the Camano but its blade is a bit better suited to paddling from a high seat position.

Bending Branches Angler Classic

Overall Score: (4.4/5)

BENDING BRANCHES Angler Classic Kayak Paddle, Snap-Button

Weight: 34 oz.

Lengths: 220 cm – 260 cm

Shaft Material: Fiberglass

Blade Material: Fiberglass reinforced plastic

Blade Angle: High-Angle

Lightweight:

Durability:

Performance:

Value:

Best for: Anglers looking for a decent paddle that offers excellent value.

 from $132.95

Buy on Amazon

(price updated as of 2018-11-29 at 19:24 – Details)

Review

The Angler Classic is an intermediate level kayak fishing paddle from Bending Branches and offers a good compromise between performance and price.

The shaft is fiberglass rather than carbon fiber and while it’s not quite as light as carbon, it’s significantly more affordable.

The high-angle blades are fairly large and work well for getting heavier kayaks moving with fewer strokes. It’s worth noting that the blades made of fiberglass reinforced nylon, so they don’t perform as well and aren’t as light as an all-fiberglass blade.

The Angler Classic has a couple bonus features that help it stand out from other intermediate level paddles. The first is the built in tape measure along the shaft that allows you to quickly measure your catch. There’s also a lure retrieval notch cut into the blade that comes in handy for unhooking from snags and saving your favorite lure.

While it’s not going to compete with carbon fiber paddles in terms of performance, the Angler Classic could be a great option if you want a paddle that offers good balance between performance, weight, and price.

 

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle

Overall Score: (3.9/5)

Shoreline Marine Rounded Kayak Paddle, 96 Inches

Weight: Not specified

Lengths: 244 cm

Shaft Material: Aluminum

Blade Material: Plastic

Blade Angle: High-Angle

Lightweight:

Durability:

Performance:

Value:

Best for: Anglers on a budget.

 $29.99

Buy on Amazon

(price updated as of 2019-07-21 at 08:20 – Details)

Review

If you’re on a budget or just getting started and aren’t ready to invest in a high quality paddle, Shoreline’s Marine Kayak Paddle is worth considering. It’s pretty basic but it’ll get you out on the water and catching fish without breaking the bank.

It only comes in one size – 96 inches (244 cm), so is best for wider kayaks and taller paddlers.

Shoreline doesn’t publish the weight, but it’s not likely to be particularly light considering the aluminum shaft and plastic blades. It’s also worth noting that the plastic blades aren’t reinforced with fiberglass, so you’ll want to be a bit more careful while you’re pushing off rocks and other obstacles.

The foam grips are a nice touch and insulate your hands from the aluminum, which can be uncomfortable to hold when it’s very hot or cold out.

Another nice feature that you don’t always find in budget paddles are the curved rather than square blades. This helps the paddle flow smoothly through the water and prevents fluttering, which is inefficient and uncomfortable over longer periods of time.

While it’s not going to outperform higher end paddles, Shoreline’s Marine Kayak Paddle makes for a solid entry level paddle that’ll get the job done.

Wrapping Up

A big part of choosing a kayak fishing paddle depends on your budget and how much you’re will to invest. Having said that, our top pick for best kayak paddle for fishing is the Bending Branches Angler Pro. There’s a reason it’s won the Angler’s Paddle of the Year award almost every year for the past five years running.

It doesn’t compromise with cheaper materials and offers the best in class weight and performance and is tough enough to handle some serious abuse. The blade is also ideally shaped for powerful strokes and moving heavy fishing kayaks through the water.

It isn’t cheap though, so if you want something that’ll give you a bit more bang for your buck, the Carlisle Predator is a great second choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.