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Choosing the Right Paddle

By Peter Hinck

Expert hints on selecting the right paddle for your fishing kaya or SUP.

Most anglers get into kayak fishing to get on the water and catch fish, not for the experience of paddling. For this reason the kayak paddle may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of kayak fishing.

You and the paddle are the motor. How hard you have to work to get from point A to point B will influence your success and enjoyment as a fisherman—particularly if you're covering a lot of water or paddling into a strong wind or current. So choose a quality paddle and save your arm for fighting fish.

Also sign up for a paddle class at a local kayak shop. What you can learn in an hour could save you many hours of paddling using a poor technique.

Kayak paddles come in a wide range of styles, lengths and weights. At the low end we have paddles that have an aluminum shaft and molded plastic blades. These paddles can be heavy, weighing twice what high-end paddles weigh. As you move up you'll find paddle shafts made from fiberglass and blades made from fiberglass, nylon and polypropylene, to name a few. At the high end we have the carbon shafts and carbon blades.

As you go from low end to high end paddles, you'll notice that as the price goes up, the weight goes down. A $30 paddle could have a weight of nearly 3 pounds while a high-end, $400 carbon paddle will weigh a little over a pound. It may not seem like a lot but after you swing it a few hundred times, you will feel the difference. For the offshore kayak fisherman who must paddle out two miles to get to the fishing grounds, a $400 carbon paddle may be the best investment he could make. Most kayak fishermen can find a good quality paddle in the $100 to $200 range.

Length of the paddle is important and there are a few factors to consider when picking it out. First thing is your height, then the width of your kayak. At left is a chart to help pick a paddle length that should best suit your needs.

Another thing to consider is the new kayaks with the seats that adjust to different heights. Here you'll need to find the seat height that you like to paddle the most and get a paddle that matches the height of the seat, or look for paddles that adjust in length like the Cannon Wave Slider. These paddles have 20 cm of adjustment and give you the length needed to go from low to high seat position. FS

A Few Paddles Available for Kayak Fishing

Accent Paddle Transformer

Kayak paddle or adjustable SUP paddle, converting to push and stakeout pole. Also has ruler on the shaft for measuring your catch.

Transformer – Kayak Paddle

Length: 240cm • Blade: 7.1” X 18” • Weight: 36 oz.

Transformer – Adjustable SUP Paddle

Length: 78 – 86 in • Blade Area: 7.1” X 18”

• Weight: 32 oz. • MRSP $239.00

Aqua-Bound Sting Ray

Versatile blade shape for flat and slow moving water. Fiberglass, ovalized shaft and the company's new, stiffer, lighter abXII blades. Available in 1-, 2- and 4-piece models.

Lengths: 210cm, 220cm, 230cm, 240cm

Blade: 6.25” X 18” • Weight: 34 oz. • MSRP: $99.95 - $119.95

Bending Branches Angler Pro

Designed by kayak anglers, with T-700 Carbon shaft and multi-laminate fiberglass blades. Blades available in sea green or camo. Ferrule angles 0 and 60 degrees, left or right.

Lengths: 220 cm, 230 cm, 240 cm, 250 cm, 260 cm

Blade: 6.8” x 19” • Weight: 30 oz. • MSRP: $299.95

Werner Kalliste Hooked

Company's top-of-the-line, low-angle, straight-shaft fishing paddle. Light, buoyant feel of dihedral, full-carbon blade makes chasing fish, even over the longest days, feel effortless. Smooth back face allows for a quieter catch and effortless exit of the stroke.

Lengths: 230cm, 240cm, 250cm, 260cm

Blade: 6.5” X 20.5” • Weight: 24 oz. • MSRP: $400

Cannon Wave Slider

Fiberglass-reinforced nylon blade with aggressive

dihedral angle for easier pull through the water. Adjustable length for high and low seat positions. Fiberglass shaft, two-piece model.

Lengths: 230 cm – 250 cm or 250cm -270cm

Blade: 7.1” X 18” • Weight: 37 oz. • MSRP $159

Aqua-Bound “Freedom” SUP Paddle

Carbon shaft with 10-degree bend, contoured palm grip and fiberglass-reinforced proprietary resin blade.

Lengths: 70”-80” or 76”-86”

Blade: 8.5” x 16.5” • Weight: 29 oz.

• MSRP: $139.95

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