How To Choose The Right Paddle For YOU For Kayak Fishing

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Want to make kayak fishing EASIER?

Then you need the right paddle.

The right paddle can be the difference between being exhausted when you get to your fishing spot and ready to take a break, or being focused and ready to make that perfectly placed first cast.

It can also be the difference between banging your paddle on the side of your kayak as you’re traveling (scaring off every fish in sight) or having a smooth ride to your destination.

So in this video, you’re going to learn how to pick the perfect paddle for you based on price, size, and design.

Let’s dive in!

How To Choose The Right Paddle For Kayak Fishing [VIDEO]

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How To Choose The Right Paddle Blade

Choosing the right paddle blade comes down to two things:

  • Blade design
  • Blade material

Blade design will determine how much water you displace, which determines not only how fast you can go, but also how tired you’ll get.

Thin blades move less, water, so you’ll go a little slower, but will get less tired.

They’re mostly used for long distance kayaking.

Wider blades, on the other hand, move more water, so you’ll go faster, but you’ll get more tired.

Most fishermen use paddles with medium or wide blades because they’re not continuously paddling.

They might paddle for a mile, stop and fish, paddle for a half mile, and stop and fish again.

Blade material will determine price and also how fast you can go.

You want a blade that is strong because a weak blade will bend in the water and not be very efficient.

Plastic or nylon blades are the cheapest, but they’re also the weakest.

Fiberglass is a step up from nylon blades in both strength and price.

My paddle blade is a fiberglass reinforced nylon, so it’s a little stronger than the regular nylon blades, but not as expensive as fiberglass blades.

And finally, you have carbon fiber blades.

They’re about as strong as fiberglass blades, just lighter (so you’ll get less tired) and more expensive.

How To Choose The Right Paddle Shaft

Choosing the right paddle shaft comes down to two things:

  • Shaft material
  • Shaft length

Shaft material will determine price and weight.

Just like with blades, most shafts are made of (in order from cheapest to most expensive) aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber.

One problem with aluminum is that is absorbs outside temperatures much easier, so it may get very or hot or very cold in extreme temperatures.

This is why you see many kayakers wear gloves when out on the water.

Fiberglass and carbon fiber are more expensive, with carbon fiber being the lightest and most expensive material.

Shaft length is important because it will determine comfort and efficiency.

If your paddle is too short, you’ll be bumping into the side of your kayak.

If it’s too long, you’ll quickly get tired.

Here are two charts that shows how to choose the right length paddle (note: these are measuring total paddle length, not just the shaft):

Credit: Paddling.com
Credit: Paddling.com

Another rule of thumb to use that can help you determine the right length of paddle is to see how tall it is compared to your reach.

You should be able to wrap just your fingers over the top of the blade when you’re standing up and the paddle is standing vertically.

If you can wrap your whole palm over the blade, it’s too short.

If you can’t wrap your fingers over the blade, it’s too long.

New Paddle Features

In addition to the fundamentals about how to choose the right paddle blade and shaft above, here are three things that paddle manufacturers are doing now that you might want to consider when getting a paddle:

Getting a paddle with a ruler on the shaft

I love having a ruler on my paddle shaft so I can always measure my fish, even if I forgot my bump board or ruler.

My ruler is laser engraved, but you could also tape or trace a ruler onto your paddle.

Getting a paddle with a hook keeper on the blade

Some manufacturers are adding hook keepers on top of the blades to help you dislodge your lure if you get it stuck in things like trees.

Getting a paddle with teeth on the blade

Most blades have smooth edges, but some manufacturers are adding serrated teeth on the edges to make it easier to push off things like rocks or dock pilings.

Conclusion

how to catch flounder

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for in a kayak paddle.

Aluminum and plastic are the cheapest materials, fiberglass is middle of the road, and carbon fiber is the strongest and lightest material (so it’s the most energy efficient), but it’s also the most expensive.

Most anglers choose wide or medium-width blades for fast paddling because, although they make you tired faster, you’re usually not paddling for miles and miles at a time.

And be sure to get the right length paddle because it’ll make kayaking a lot easier.

Have any questions about choosing the right paddle for you?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who’s looking for a new paddle, or is unhappy with the one they have, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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