6 Mistakes Anglers Make when Choosing a Kayak Fishing Paddle

5-minute read

Choosing a kayak fishing paddle—especially if you’re a new kayak angler—is an important decision. More important than you might think.

man examining his kayak paddle

Learn from those who’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to repeat them! (photo courtesy of Drew Gregory)

Here are six mistakes almost every kayak angler makes when choosing his or her first kayak fishing paddle. Buying the right paddle to begin with actually saves you money, since you won’t have to upgrade within a year or two.

1. You Assume “One Size Fits All”

One-size-fits-all doesn’t work for most things, including kayak fishing paddles! In order for you to have the most natural paddling posture and cadence you need a paddle that’s the right length for you and also the right length for your kayak.

This can mean a couple different things. Your own height remains constant, of course. Next, look at the width of your fishing kayak. Since these are generally wider than touring kayaks, your paddle will need to be quite long in order to be able to reach the water easily.

If your fishing kayak has a height-adjustable seat—which many do and is a very nice feature—you’ll also need to consider that. You have a couple options:

  • You can buy two paddles—one for low-position seating and one for high-position seating.
  • You can buy a paddle with an adjustable-length ferrule. These give you the ability to lengthen or shorten by several centimeters. A paddle with an adjustable-length ferrule is also handy if you have more than one kayak with different widths.

See our Kayak Fishing Paddle Sizing Guide to size your paddle correctly.

2. You Settle for a Heavy, Clunky Paddle

We know that as a kayak angler, you see your paddle as a piece of gear to get you to your main goal—your fishing spots. Depending on the day, this could mean very little paddling or a whole lot of paddling.

Either way, the experience of paddling a kayak can be very different depending on whether:

  • You’re holding onto a cold piece of aluminum with several extra ounces of swing weight at every stroke
  • You’re holding a carbon or fiberglass shaft that’s molded to the shape of your hand, with feather-light blades you hardly notice with every stroke.

Your paddle certainly won’t determine how successful your fishing is…but certainly will determine how enjoyable your kayaking experience is. Depending on your age and health, it may be a matter of how often you’re able to get out.

 fishing kayak with Bending Branches Angler Pro paddle sitting in shallow water

Our Angler Pro in Glowtek—a super cool, high-viz blade pattern (photo courtesy of Daniel Morris)

3. You Buy a Kayak Touring Paddle Instead of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Remember mistake #1 above? Kayak paddle blades aren’t one-size-fits-all either. This time it has to do with the blade shape and the style of paddling each shape is designed for.

Kayak touring paddles have long, slim blades designed for a relaxed stroke over long hours of paddling. Sure, you can get through the water in your fishing kayak with a touring paddle. But blades designed to pull a lot of water with a kayak loaded with a lot of gear will be more efficient and perform better.

Our kayak fishing paddles have high-angle blades that are wider and shorter than touring paddle blades. They provide more punch with each stroke. In addition, most of our kayak fishing paddles offer a hook retrieval system in one blade, and all of them feature a built-in tape measure on the shaft in both inches and centimeters.

4. You Think Because You Have a Pedal Kayak, a Kayak Paddle Doesn’t Matter

Pedal kayaks are gaining in popularity, it’s true. But avid kayak anglers in pedal kayaks still find plenty of opportunity to use their paddle:

  • In thick vegetation when the pedals would be useless
  • In very shallow water, too shallow for the pedals
  • When you want to be more stealthy and not scare the fish, a paddle is quieter

So, it’s still important to consider the type and quality of a kayak fishing paddle you’ll use—if not constantly, regularly—even with a pedal kayak.

5. You Choose Your Paddle Based on What’s Left Over after Buying the Rest of Your Gear

Rather than basing your paddle budget on what’s left, give your paddle budget as high a priority as you do your kayak budget. As we already covered, even if you use a pedal kayak, a paddle will be in your hands frequently. For those with a non-pedal kayak, your paddle is your motor. You want a decent one.

We always advise anglers to choose the best paddle their budget allows. We’ve never had one regret opting for the better quality paddle! You won’t either.

6. You Don’t Have a Paddle Management System on Your Kayak

After you choose your kayak paddle, don’t neglect setting up a paddle management system on your fishing kayak. You’ll want a secure place to put it while your hands are busy with the rod, net and fish.

Don’t make the mistake of simply laying it across your kayak where it can easily be kicked off into the water while you attempt to land a fish! Even if you lay it on your lap, which is more secure, if you need to stand up in a hurry, there goes your paddle.

fishing kayak with Angler Pro paddle sitting on the grass

A paddle management system means your paddle will always be where it’s supposed to be (photo courtesy of Eron Dodds)

We hope you’ll keep these mistakes in mind as advice on what NOT to do when you choose a kayak fishing paddle!

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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