Proper Kayak Fishing Paddle Care & Storage

5-minute read

Your investment in a good kayak fishing paddle (or three) will last many years when you follow these easy and common-sense care tips.

Bending Branches ambassador Dean Bowling in his fishing kayak with a nice fish

Bending Branches Ambassador Dean Bowling

Kayak paddles have few moving parts, no motors and no batteries—so care is pretty straightforward. There are some things you can do, though, to help keep your paddles in top shape:

Protect the Blades from Scratches and Other Gear

We make our paddle blades as light and tough as we can. But they can get a bit scratched and battered over time, depending on the type of water you fish in and how you treat them.

Bending Branches Ambassador Dean Bowling religiously keeps his kayak fishing paddles in bags designed for this purpose.

“I keep my Angler Pro Carbon in the NRS Paddle Sock,” said Dean. “You can put one paddle at a time in it and it has a divider in the middle to keep the blades and shaft from rubbing together and getting scratched. The Angler Pro Carbon paddle is what I use to do my shows so I want to keep it clean and shiny.”

looking inside the NRS Paddle Sock

Dean keeps his most expensive paddle in this paddle sock

For his “everyday” paddles, Dean likes the NRS Paddle Bag. “You can put two paddles in each bag. There are cinch straps so you can buckle them in and keep them from moving around. There are pockets on each end of the bag for the blades so they don’t get scratched up.”

two kayak fishing paddles in the NRS Paddle Bag

This paddle bag has room for two paddles

Dean keeps his paddles in these bags whenever he’s not using them on the water. This protects them in the back of his truck from dirt and other objects that may be back there. He said, “Anytime I’m transporting a paddle to and from the water I try to keep it in the bag or sock. When I get to the water I take it out and put the bag or sock in my truck. When I get out of the water I put the paddle right back in the bag and I’m done. It’s that simple.”

When it comes to storing his paddles in his garage, Dean keeps them in a bag or sock and places them on a shelf. This prevents damage from heavier objects that might accidentally land on them or from being stepped on.

Keep the Ferrule Clean

The most sensitive “moving” part of our paddles is their ferrule system. We offer two options:

  • Versa-Lok™ Adjustable Ferrule—available on our Angler Classic, Ace, Navigator and Pro models
  • Snap-Button Ferrule—Available on all our kayak fishing paddles

Both ferrules are designed to be maintenance-free. The one thing you can do to keep them working smoothly is wash them frequently so sand, grit and seawater salt never get a chance to lodge inside and interfere with the moving parts.

Anglers love our Versa-Lok™ ferrule with the option of length adjustability and infinite feathering angles. We intentionally designed it with as few moving parts as we could manage. It’s secure, robust and corrosion-resistant plus precision-tightened in our Wisconsin factory.

A good rinse after each use is all the maintenance you’ll need.

When Dean brings his kayak fishing rig to the ocean, he’s careful to wash the salt off everything afterward. A little soapy water with a soft brush over the blades, shaft and ferrule does the trick.

Caring for Your Paddle When Fishing

Some kayak anglers like to keep their paddle across their lap while they fish so they have easy access for quick adjustments on the water. Others prefer to keep their paddles out of their way.

A kayak angler stands to fish with his paddle in its proper place

Having a spot for your paddle on your fishing kayak prevents it from being stepped on or going overboard (photo by Open Road Visuals)

There are a couple of different ways you can store your paddle on your fishing kayak when you’re not using it. Dean’s Bonafide fishing kayak has a “paddle keeper” on the side. “I can put it there with a bungee cord so it’s lashed to the side of the kayak to keep from losing it,” he said.

Another option is to mount a paddle holder on the edge of your kayak, like these from YakAttack.

What About Wood Paddle Blades?

Our Angler Navigator kayak fishing paddle features handcrafted blades made from a combination of red alder, roasted basswood and basswood. Anglers love it for its beauty and for the wood’s natural buoyancy when paddling.

The Navigator is designed to be as tough as any of our other kayak fishing paddles (and all of our wood canoe paddles). The blades have a fiberglass wrap, Rockgard® edge protection and a few coats of marine-grade varnish. But the wood blades may need a little TLC over years of use, especially if any bare wood becomes exposed.

Some light sanding and a few new coats of marine varnish will restore it to its original beauty and toughness. See “How to Repair and Refinish Your Wood Paddle” for all the details.

Wrapping It Up

“I tell everybody to buy their last paddle first,” said Dean. Most new kayak anglers start with a cheap paddle, then gradually move up to a better and better one over time. In the end, they’ve spent as much as they would’ve if they had gotten a high-quality paddle to begin with! Not to mention the years using a clunky, heavy paddle.

“You want a good paddle and Bending Branches makes the best paddles anybody can buy,” added Dean. “But they’re not cheap. When you spend good money on a paddle you want to take care of it. I’m a firm believer in that. So I recommend some way of protecting your paddles so you don’t tear them up.”

Dean Bowling with a nice fish in his kayak

Dean with another nice fish and his well-cared for Angler Pro paddle

That’s great advice!

A big thanks to Dean Bowling for his insights and photos.

What paddling questions can our friendly Customer Service team help you with? Contact us here: 715-755-3405 or [email protected]

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