A Close Look at Branches’ Most Affordable Kayak Fishing Paddles

5-minute read + 8-minute video

We’re excited about our 2023 upgrades and new product for kayak anglers. Our friend, Dan Arbuckle of Headwaters Kayak, takes viewers through these products in this review of our budget-friendly models.

Bending Branches New Angler Drift

Brand new for 2023, the Angler Drift is our most affordable kayak fishing paddle. It’s still high on features, though, and a great value for the entry-level angler.

The Angler Drift is made with an aluminum shaft like many other economy paddles…but the similarities stop there. The snap-button ferrule is constructed of fiberglass rather than plastic, and leaves no wobble-room at all. Then we add a vinyl wrap for each hand that’s slightly ovalized for better control and more comfort.

The Drift’s blades are made of a fiberglass and nylon blend with plenty of both strength and durability, but also just the right amount of flex. The 102.5 square inches (661 square cm) is the ideal size for horsepower and efficiency with your heavily-loaded kayak. We also include the same hook-retrieval system as we do with our more expensive paddles.

The Angler Drift is available in five different lengths in 10 cm increments, from 240-280 cm. You have two blade color options: high-vis Electric Green or more discreet Tidal Blue. It weighs 38 ounces (1,077 grams). 2023 MSRP is $119.95.

 angler drift kayak paddle blade in the water

Bending Branches Angler Drift, new for 2023 (photo courtesy of Headwaters Kayak)

“If you’re trying to save some money and still get a high-value paddle, this is something I definitely recommend. Although…If I’m going to spend $119, I’ll probably splurge and go for the fiberglass. The fiberglass is going to be a little bit lighter weight, and also doesn’t get cold or warm to the touch [like aluminum does],” concludes Dan.

Bending Branches Angler Classic with Snap-Button Ferrule

The Angler Classic has traditionally been our best-selling kayak fishing paddle, and now we’ve made it even better.

We increased the blade size and re-shaped it slightly for more control and more horsepower. It has a smoother flutter-free forward stroke with a nice stiff feel, and a quieter entry and exit in the water for more stealth as you chase the fish.

Like the Drift, the Classic’s blades are made with a nylon and fiberglass blend for optimal durability, thickness and flex. We include the hook retrieval system so you can more easily capture a snagged lure.

The Classic’s shaft is constructed of 100% fiberglass. This material is known for its durability and strength, but is lighter than standard aluminum and has more flex. This means less fatigue over long hours on the water. It’s slightly ovalized where you’ll place your hands for more comfort and control.

We use the same 3-hole fiberglass snap-button ferrule as we do on the Drift, with its 0º and 60º feathering angle options. We add a 40-inch tape measure on the shaft to help you verify your catches on the spot (FYI, it’s not tournament-legal but gives you a great estimate).

angler classic kayak paddle blade in the water, kayaker 

Branches’ updated Angler Classic (photo courtesy of Headwaters Kayak)

A key advantage of a fiberglass shaft over aluminum is how cold or warm it is in your hands. Aluminum adjusts to the air and water temperatures, and the cold or heat transfers to your hands. Fiberglass, though, isn’t cold to the touch on a cold day, and will even warm up with the heat from your hands.

The Angler Classic Snap-Button is available in fixed lengths from 240-280 cm, in 10 cm increments. The blades come in either Electric Green or Tidal Blue. This paddle weighs 35.5 ounces and its 2023 MSRP is $159.95.

Angler Classic with Versa-Lok™ Ferrule

Our Versa-Lok ferrule system is brand new for our 2023 product line. Dan says, “Thank you, guys, for doing this! We’ve been asking for this for so long—I’m so excited about this.”

It’s the identical paddle to the snap-button model in every way except for this innovative ferrule system.

Our product development team has designed a superior ferrule in Versa-Lok. Its greatest advantage is the adjustable-length feature. You can increase the length by up to 15 cm if your kayak has a height-adjustable seat, you use different-width kayaks or you’ll share the paddle with someone else.

No matter where you adjust it, the ferrule stays tight and remains reliable all day long.

The other feature you’ll love is the ability to feather your paddle to any angle you choose with Versa-Lok. When you face stiff headwinds or need some wrist relief in your paddle strokes, you’ll love the feathering option.

The Angler Classic Versa-Lok is sold in the same colors and lengths as the snap-button version. It also weighs 35.5 ounces and sells for $184.95 (2023 price).

two kayak anglers paddling on a small lake

The Classic and Drift in action (photo courtesy of Reggie Chapa)

Thanks for the review, Dan! See more videos from Headwaters Kayak on their YouTube channel.

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

More for you...