By Bill Schultz
I have been giving kayak fishing talks for 10 years and in each one I suggest to those in the audience that they don’t scrimp on their paddle. I tell them to buy the most expensive, lightest paddle they can afford.
A heavy paddle will make a day on the water less fun. The formula is for every ounce heavier your paddle is, it’s like paddling an extra 100 pounds around per hour. Wow! So, if your paddle is 35 ounces and mine’s 26 ounces, you’re working a lot harder than I am.
The Angler Pro Carbon’s Redesign
I’ve been fortunate over the past 10 years to use some very nice, light, oversized blade paddles to push my fishing kayaks. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of paddling the best kayak paddle I’ve ever used, the Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon Versa-Lok.
Several years ago, Bending Branches Oceola, Wisconsin came out with the Angler Pro, now voted top kayak fishing paddle six years in a row. Last year, working with their design pros and several top kayak anglers around the country, they made a great paddle even better.
With the redesign of the Angler Pro, Bending Branches stepped it up a notch higher and introduced the Angler Pro Carbon and Angler Pro Carbon Versa-Lok. The Angler Pro Carbon has the same extremely light carbon shaft as the Angler Pro, but, uses very durable multi-laminate carbon blades dropping the weight to an amazing 25.5 ounces.
The Oversized Blades
All oversized blades are not created equal. Even if the square inches per blade are the same, the shape is critical. A shorter taller blade will push a good deal of water, however, can add unwanted stress to a person’s shoulder. I’ve felt this first-hand with an oversized blade that was too short and tall.
The dimensions of the Angler Pro Carbon are 7.25” by 18”. This gives plenty of blade to push those heavier fishing kayaks, but, without adding extra stress to your shoulder.
Bottom-line, when I’m out chasing smallmouth bass, I don’t even want to think about my paddle. I want it to just seem like it’s part of me. At 25.5 ounces and the amazing feel while paddling, the Angler Pro Carbon simply gets a big “wow” each time I finish on the water.
The Carbon Shaft
Adding to the “wow” factor with the Angler Pro Carbon, Bending Branches designed into its light carbon shaft an ovalized shape for comfort, which I can attest to. Also, for those big smallmouth bass I catch, there’s a 40” ruler on the paddle’s shaft.
The Angler Pro Carbon comes with the snap-button closure that allows for adjustable feathering options. However, my choice is the versatile adjustable Versa-Lok ferrule. This offers infinite feathering options, depending on water and wind conditions, and has a 15 cm range for expanding the length. It comes in a 240-255 cm version (which I use), a 250-265 cm, and a 260-275 cm. This is also a great feature if you have more than one kayak, or are sharing with a friend.
It’s interesting how many people will buy a high-end fishing kayak, and then go cheap on the paddle. Investing in a great paddle that is going to be with you enjoying your time on the water and fishing for years is a very wise investment!
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