4 Keys to Choosing a Kayak Fishing Paddle

4-minute read [Updated 2022]

Whether you paddle, pedal or motor to your kayak fishing spots, you’ll always want a kayak paddle in your boat. Here are the 4 key factors to consider when choosing your kayak fishing paddle.

man in his fishing kayak, paddling

(photo courtesy of Chad Hoover)

1. Kayak Paddle Length

By far the most important thing to consider is the length of your paddle. Paddle length is based on your height and the kayak’s width. Most kayak anglers find 250cm or 260cm works well for them.

There are a few things that could change that, though.

Consider sizing down 10cm if:

  • You're an athletic, active paddler and have a more vertical stroke (high-angle)
  • You have an open water (ocean) fishing kayak
  • You own a narrower kayak

On the other hand, consider sizing up 10cm if:

  • You're a more relaxed paddler, and have a more horizontal (low-angle) stroke
  • You frequently use the high-seat option in your kayak
  • You overload your kayak with gear

Except for our entry-level Angler Drift, all our kayak fishing paddles are available with two ferrule options: the snap-button and the Versa-Lok.

One of the huge advantages of the Versa-Lok ferrule system is its length adjustability. Rather than a fixed-length paddle, you have the option of a range of 240-255 cm, 250-265 cm or 260-275 cm.

This means you can use the same paddle for different-sized kayaks or when your seat is in both high or low position.

man releasing a fish back into the water in his fishing kayak

(photo by Open Road Visuals)

2. The Paddle’s Weight

Kayak fishing paddles come in a wide range of weight, depending on the materials they’re made with.

We always recommend you buy the lightest paddle you can afford.

There’s a specific ratio between how light a paddle is and its price: the lighter it is, the more expensive. This is because the lightest paddles are made with carbon, which is a more costly material.

The benefits of having a lighter paddle are:

  • You can paddle more hours, more distance and for more consecutive days with less fatigue and soreness
  • A lighter paddle is less cumbersome to handle while you fish than a heavier one.

One of the biggest mistakes new anglers make is going cheap with their paddle. You can ask almost anyone from our ProStaff team: they’ll tell you they made that mistake, too. They ended up spending more to upgrade their paddle several times, when they wish they would’ve bought the right one to begin with…and it usually comes down to their paddle’s weight.

3. Kayak Paddle Blade Profile

Kayak fishing is a much different activity than kayak touring, so we design the blades differently. While touring paddles tend to have blades that are long and slim for effortless movement over many hours, fishing paddles need blades that provide punch and power.

Kayak anglers typically like a large blade profile. Most are paddling loaded-down boats and need a large, beefy blade to give a more powerful stroke. You’re likely to sit higher up on the kayak while fishing, and therefore use a high-angle stroke.

angler pro kayak fishing paddle blade

(photo courtesy of Justin Forrest)

All our kayak fishing paddles have these short, stout blades designed for the demands of anglers. They’re constructed of either fiberglass-reinforced nylon, carbon-reinforced nylon, compression-molded fiberglass or compression-molded carbon.

4. Kayak Paddle Features

The add-on features are what take your kayak fishing game to the next level. What features should you look for? Here’s what we offer:

  • Built-in tape measure on the shaft. This takes the guessing (and exaggerating!) out of the mix. All our kayak fishing paddles, except the entry-level Angler Drift, have a 40-inch tape measure printed on the shaft.
  • Hook retrieval system is a notch in the left blade that comes in very handy if you get snagged—you won’t have to wave good-bye to that $9 lure. We offer this hook retrieval system in our Angler Drift, Classic and Ace paddles.
  • Aggressive blade dihedral helps water flow evenly off your paddle blade, which means less flutter and more efficiency. All our kayak fishing paddles are designed with this aggressive dihedral.
  • Strong, tight ferrule system that connects the two pieces of your paddle together. Even our snap-button ferrule has a snug, no-nonsense fit you can be confident in. Our Versa-Lok that offers an adjustable length is a truly revolutionary system that’s tough, durable and corrosion-free.
  • Buy American made paddles! All Bending Branches’ paddles are made right at our factory in Osceola, Wisconsin.

two men paddling fishing kayaks

Angler Drift in Tidal Blue and Electric Green (photo courtesy of Reggie Chapa)

Be sure to check out our Kayak Fishing Paddle Sizing Guide so you get the paddle that fits you, your boat(s) and your fishing style the best.

Take a look at Bending Branches’ entire selection of Kayak Fishing Paddles here.

Still have questions? Contact our friendly, Wisconsin-based customer service team. They’re happy to help: 715-755-3405 or [email protected]

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