Your paddles are an indispensable part of kayak fishing, as the right paddle will get you to your destination with speed and precision. The only problem is that most of the paddles that come with kayaks these days are half-decent quality but not very functional, while some kayaks don’t even come with paddles at all.
The good news is that you can purchase the paddles of your choice separately, which gives you the option to choose paddles that are the right length and shape for your needs.
Before we get into the Buyers Guide and discuss features to consider when shopping for kayak paddles, as well as some suggestions on some of the best options available on the market, here's a list of our recommended fishing kayak paddles.
Ideally, you want a kayak paddle that compliments the height and width of your kayak boat. This means that if you have a wide kayak, then you’ll have to purchase a longer paddle. A longer paddle is also an ideal choice for taller people.
Paddles are made from many different materials, some light and some heavy. The lightweight materials allow for better mobility, and your arms won’t get tired when using them, but they are quite expensive. Paddles that are made from heavier materials are cheaper in comparison, but they might slow you down a bit.
Aluminum is the most popular shaft material there is, although you might need to put on gloves before you handle it because it gets extremely hot or cold depending on the weather temperature.
The most durable shafts are either made from fiberglass or carbon, and both of these materials are very lightweight and efficient as well. So, even though they’re the more expensive option, the price is worth it when you consider the quality and performance value that you get out of them
The blade on your paddle will also determine its overall performance and effectiveness on the water.
For example, blades that are made from plastic or nylon are usually light and highly flexible, but that comes at a price because they quickly deteriorate in quality when exposed to the sun, which is inevitable during the hot summer months.
Also, while your plastic paddle won’t snap in two when it bumps against underwater rocks, this flexibility decreases its overall strength and efficacy over time.
Fiberglass blades offer the best of both worlds in that they’re strong, solid and generally won’t crack no matter what they bump against. Not only that, but they’re lighter than plastic and less demanding on the arms as well.
Lastly, you’ve got carbon-fiber blades, which are usually the most expensive option, but for a good reason. Carbon fiber is known for being an ultra-light but super durable material, so you get reliable energy transfer that makes arm fatigue virtually impossible.
Another important aspect that you have to take into consideration when it comes to paddle blades is their design. Now, most paddle blades have an asymmetrical dihedral shape, which means that they’re short and narrow.
This design features a rib that runs down the center of the blade, thus making it easier for the paddle to get through water and as a result, they’re less taxing on the arms as well. Asymmetrical dihedral shaped blades are also very reliable when it comes to tracking straight, and their smoothness on the water means that you can paddle with them for longer distances without getting tired.
On the other hand, wide-shaped blades will help you move quickly on the water and cover a more significant distance with each stroke. Plus, some wide-shaped paddle blades also come with a J-shaped indentation that comes in handy when you want to retrieve some fishing line or a hook that’s been snared.
For example, if you were to hold up a paddle with an unfeathered shaft, you’d find that the shafts are not aligned with each other but are positioned at an uneven angle, which helps to lessen wind resistance when you’re paddling.
The good news is that most paddle shafts can be manually adjusted and rotated in 15-degrees
Paddles either come with feathered or matched shafts, and although both options make for a very effective paddle, they’re very different from one another in performance.
Shafts either have a straight or bent design. Paddles with a bent shaft typically feature a kinked section which makes handling the shaft much more comfortable when you’re delivering those powerful strokes.
The bent shaft design is also less taxing on your joints and muscles, which is what makes it an ideal choice when doing those long excursions.
However, if you have been using straight shaft paddles and are thinking of switching to the bent shaft design, you’ll feel the difference, and will need some practice to adjust.
These are an ideal option for anyone with small hands, as they’ll be easier to handle. The only other size that’s available is standard diameter which is a bit larger and suitable for paddlers with average to large sized hands.
A four piece model means that you’ll have four pieces to assemble when putting the paddles together. While the four sections might take longer to assemble than a two-piece model, their small size makes them an ideal option to consider if you’re planning on traveling to a remote fishing hole that can only be reached through hiking for long distances.
This 2-piece paddle from Aqua Bound is handmade in the USA from 100% carbon. It’s easy to disassemble and put together thanks to the snap-button ferrule feature, and its medium size makes it a versatile paddle that can be utilized by any type of paddler.
Besides, the dihedral shape of the blades makes for smoother strokes when you’re on the water, and this blade is very lightweight and easy on the arms.
However, what makes this a great paddle is its tough quality construction, as it makes it possible for use in shallow river beds, and you can shove it into boulders without breaking or even chipping the blades.
This ultra-lightweight paddle features multi-laminate fiberglass blades and a T-700 carbon paddle shaft with an inbuilt measurement tape. You can use the latter feature as a measuring system to figure out the size of your catches in centimeters and inches.
The paddle comes in different sizes, from a smaller 220cm to the longer 260cm, and the push-button ferrule feature enables you to rotate and adjust your blade offset.
All in all, this paddle is durable, lightweight and works great on the water. Plus, it’s available in different colors, including Sea Green, Camouflage, and Real Tree Max5, which will help you to blend in when you’re really in the marshes.
Made from fiberglass reinforced nylon, this straight shaft paddle from Werner is built to handle rough terrain. It features injection molded blades which are highly resistant to impact and wear and tear, while the adjustable ferrule is super easy to use and honestly one of the best on the market.
The blades are medium sized and suitable for all types of paddlers, and with its dihedral shape, you can bet that paddling with this will be nicely balanced and smooth.
This paddle is elegantly designed as it is solidly constructed, and it features fiberglass blades and a strong fiberglass shaft.
The shaft is fully adjustable and can be rotated in 5 cm to 20cm increments at a time, which makes it an ideal choice for paddlers with High-Low seat systems in their kayaks.
On the other hand, the dihedral shaped and full-sized blades enable super straight tracking as well as amazing stability and power when paddling.
Plus, it features a built-in measurement system that you can use to measure your catches as well.
According to the manufacturer, this paddle is made for long and demanding excursions, thanks to its lightweight fiberglass shaft which is durable and light as a feather.
This fishing kayak paddle also comes with fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades for maximum durability and lightweight, flutter-free performance. The unique component of this paddle is that it’s really easy on the arms and because of its size, you can cover a longer distance with fewer strokes.
Available in different Camo shades, including Lime Camo, Urban Camo and normal Camo.
This fun and colorful paddle from Werner is more than just good looks. The shaft is made from a durable blend of carbon, while the blades are 100% premium fiberglass with a Smart View window that enables you to see your offset.
You can also adjust the shaft in 15 cm increments using the convenient ferrule.
It’s suitable for left and right-hand control, while the high angle blades deliver smooth and effortlessly powerful strokes.
This kayak paddle is available in bent and straight models and a variety of fun colors like orange, translucent red, gradient citrus, gradient sunset, translucent amber and swellz blue
We hope this article helps you make an informed decision when choosing the best paddle for kayak fishing - specifically for your needs and budget.
With the right paddle, kayak fishing can be an enjoyable experience, and some of the critical characteristics to look out for in a good paddle include durable construction, lightweight design, good blades, and it has to be the right length for your height and the size of your kayak as well.
Now, of all the options that we’ve explored in this article, the Aqua Bond Stingray Carbon 2-Piece Snap-Button Kayak Paddle delivers on all the qualities mentioned above. The best part is that it’s reasonably priced yet very well-made. We’d recommend it for long excursions, and it works great on rough and demanding terrain.