Kayak Fishing Paddles 101

6-minute read

If you’re just joining the kayak angler ranks you may wonder why you need a paddle that’s specific to kayak fishing. Why can’t you just use any kayak paddle?

kayak angler pulls in a nice fish

(Photo courtesy of Drew Gregory)

The short answer is—you can! But our paddles designed for fishing have a couple of extra features you’ll be glad to have: a tape measure on the shaft and [some of our models have] a hook retrieval system.

We’ll talk a little more about those in a minute. First, though, there are two very important things you’ll want to keep in mind to help you choose a paddle for kayak fishing:

  • A paddle’s length
  • A paddle’s materials

The Length of Your Kayak Fishing Paddle

While it’s certainly possible to fish from any kayak and use any type of kayak paddle, most anglers learn that it’s easiest, most comfortable and most efficient to use a kayak that’s designed for fishing.

Fishing kayaks are wider and more stable than typical recreational kayaks. For that reason, your paddle will need to be longer to accommodate that extra width. A paddle that’s used with a sit-inside recreational kayak may not be long enough to use with one of these wider boats.

Another important factor in determining the right paddle length is your height. Taller people will need a longer paddle while shorter people need a shorter paddle.

To find the ideal length for you—keeping both the width of your kayak and your height in mind—refer to our Kayak Fishing Paddle Sizing Guide.

Most new kayakers (including new kayak anglers) never think about how long a paddle is before they buy it. But trust us, it makes a big difference to have one that’s sized properly for you and your boat!

kayak angler uses Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon paddle

Angler Pro Carbon kayak fishing paddle (photo courtesy of Eron Dodds)

The Material(s) Your Paddle is Made With

Kayak fishing paddles are made from a variety of materials. The rule of thumb we always suggest is to buy the lightest paddle you can afford.

The most affordable paddles are made from heavier materials like aluminum, plastic and nylon. As the paddles get lighter, the materials used get more expensive—materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber. And so the price of the paddle goes up.

How much you spend on your paddle is up to you.

If you plan to be a recreational angler—going out a handful of times a year for an hour or two at a time—an aluminum or fiberglass shaft with nylon blades will be just fine. They’re heavy, up to two pounds and more, but our recreational fishing paddles are designed with the same care as our elite paddles.

If it’s a choice between a heavier paddle and not kayak fishing at all, definitely go with a heavier paddle.

If any of these scenarios fit you, though, consider a lighter, higher-end paddle:

  • You have the budget for one
  • You see yourself fishing regularly
  • You plan to fish for several hours at a time or will paddle longer distances to get to your fishing spots
  • You have shoulder or wrist issues that could be exacerbated by the use of a heavier paddle

We’ve never had a customer regret starting with a lightweight fiberglass or carbon fishing paddle!

kayak angler pulls up a fish

 This kayak angler is using our Angler Pro paddle (photo courtesy of Chris Funk)

The Extras You Get with a Bending Branches Kayak Fishing Paddle

As promised, let’s talk a bit about a couple of extras you get when you buy a Bending Branches kayak fishing paddle.

Hook Retrieval System

Have you ever had a snag? What a pain! But with our hook retrieval system built into the left paddle blade, it’s less of a pain. You’ll be able to rescue your precious lure! Our kayak fishing paddles that have nylon/polymer blades have this hook retrieval system.

[We can’t put this system in our fiberglass or carbon fiber blades, though, because of the way we craft them.]

Tape Measure

All our kayak fishing paddles have a tape measure built right on the shaft. This way you can prove you caught the big one without having to bring another item in the kayak with you.

[These aren’t valid for tournament measuring, FYI. But you’re probably not at that point yet!]

Beefy, High-Performing Blades

All our kayak fishing paddles are designed with what’s called “high-angle” blades. They’re short and wide, and pull a ton of water with each stroke. This blade design is especially efficient for heavier kayakers and kayaks loaded with fishing gear.

man fishes from a kayak

 Our Angler Drift is a superb entry-level kayak fishing paddle (photo courtesy of Reggie Chapa)

The Angler Family of Kayak Fishing Paddles

Bending Branches was at the forefront of kayak fishing paddle development in the early days when this sport started to take off. And we continue to get input from kayak anglers all over North America (and even Europe now) to continually make them better.

Here’s a brief look at our line of kayak fishing paddles starting with our highest-end, lightest paddles:

Angler Pro and Angler Pro Carbon

Our Angler Pro is our most decorated kayak fishing paddle, having won Kayak Fishing Paddle of the Year several times since its introduction in 2013.

The Pro comes in all-carbon or fiberglass blade options. If you want the lightest paddle available or love the look of sleek black, the Angler Pro Carbon is for you. It weighs just 25.5 ounces.

If a brightly colored paddle is more your style, you’ll love the selection and ultra-cool fiberglass blade options. They’re just slightly heavier at 29 ounces and about a hundred bucks cheaper than the all-carbon model.

Both models are available with either the more budget-friendly Snap-Button ferrule or our revolutionary Versa-Lok™ ferrule that offers adjustable lengths and infinite feathering angles. They both have an all-carbon shaft.

man in shadows in a fishing kayak with Bending Branches Angler Navigator paddle

Our Angler Navigator provides an easy, buoyant swing (photo courtesy of Robert Brown)

Angler Navigator

The Navigator has been a trusted kayak paddle for years—and now we’ve adapted it to add to the Angler family, too.

Our only kayak fishing paddle with wooden blades, the Angler Navigator is just as beautiful as it is functional. A combination of alder, basswood and roasted basswood gives the blades its distinctive look. And our patented Rockgard® edge protection means you don’t have to baby it.

The Navigator has a carbon shaft and is available with a either Snap-Button or Versa-Lok™ ferrule. Its price point is similar to the Angler Pro (with fiberglass blades).

Angler Ace

The Angler Ace is the most affordable carbon fishing paddle in its weight class, which is just 30.5 ounces. It has a 100% carbon shaft with carbon-reinforced nylon blades.

It comes in sleek black and is available with either the Snap-Button or Versa-Lok™ ferrule system. It’s priced at about $100 less than the Navigator and Angler Pro.

Angler Classic

As we get into our more budget-friendly kayak fishing paddles, don’t think you’ll sacrifice quality or the bells and whistles the high-end paddles give you!

The Angler Classic is our best-selling kayak fishing paddle, and for good reason. It combines a functional and durable fiberglass shaft with fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades, available in two color options. And it’s easy on your wallet!

The Classic weighs 35.5 ounces and is available with either the Snap-Button or Versa-Lok™ ferrule system.

Angler Drift

The Angler Drift might be our least expensive kayak fishing paddle, but it still offers plenty of performance and comfort. It has a wrapped aluminum shaft with fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades.

It weighs 38 ounces and is available with our Snap-Button ferrule.

See our entire line of kayak fishing paddles with up-to-date prices here.

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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