Sizing a kayak fishing paddle is a bit different than sizing a paddle for kayak touring or recreational boating.
(photo courtesy of @nativewatercraft)
For kayak fishing, there are three things to keep in mind: your height, the width of your kayak, and your kayak’s seat height. Take a look at the chart below:
Fishing Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide
Kayaks designed for fishing are wide and stable, so you need a longer paddle to avoid hitting your knuckles on the side or having to lean over with each paddle stroke.
Many fishing kayaks also have an adjustable-height seat. So if you plan to do most of your fishing with your seat in the high position, your paddle will need to be even longer.
You can see from the chart above how to gauge your paddle length based on those three factors. If you’re 5-foot eight and your kayak is 32 inches wide, you’ll want a paddle that’s 250 cm long.
If your seat height is adjustable, consider an adjustable-length paddle between 250-260 cm. Or if you know you’ll only paddle it in the high-seat position, then you’ll get a 260 cm paddle.
Fixed Length or Adjustable Length?
If your kayak has a fixed seat—meaning it isn’t adjustable for height—a fixed-length kayak paddle will suit you just fine.
If your kayak has an adjustable-height seat, then seriously consider buying a paddle that has an adjustable-length ferrule. That way the same paddle will meet your needs whether the seat is set low or high.
All Bending Branches’ kayak fishing paddles come in both a fixed snap-button ferrule (fixed length) and the Plus Telescoping ferrule (adjustable length) except our two most affordable paddles, the Angler Scout and the Angler Rise.
One advantage of our Plus ferrule is that it allows for infinite feathering angles. When you’re in high winds, it’s wonderful to have a paddle that feathers easily—it’s far less tiring.
If you’re coming from the recreational and touring kayak world, you may be familiar with high-angle and low-angle kayaking.
High-angle paddles are for aggressive and fast kayakers, or those who carry heavy gear. The blades are wider and shorter. Low-angle paddles are for a more relaxed cadence over many hours on the water. The blades are longer and more narrow.
All Bending Branches’ kayak fishing paddle blades are high-angle—they’re beefy and broad, meant to push a lot of water. That means you’ll be able to paddle your gear-heavy kayak with ease.