As your kayak makes its way to inaccessible waters, chances are you may be relying on that generic, cheap paddle for your airborne adventure. However, the truth is that these won’t get you any further since they’re way too far from being durable or efficient.
Kayak paddles shouldn’t be an afterthought in your trip. Even the shortest kayak fishing trip requires thousands of paddle strokes so you can reach your favorite spot for the trophy fish. That’s why you need kayak paddles made especially for the job.
Since fishing kayaks are significantly wider and heavier than regular ones, kayak fishing paddles are crafted to be lightweight, portable, and effective for low-effort water propulsion.
There’s a wide range of kayak paddles on the market, which may confuse you. Yet, with our list, choosing the right one is no longer as challenging as catching bonefish in your favorite lake's shallow flats! In our guide, we’ll introduce you to the 7 best kayak paddles for fishing.
The 7 Best Kayak Paddles for Fishing
1. Bending Branches Angler Classic - Best Overall
Bending Branches is a renowned manufacturer of fishing paddles among kayak anglers. The Angler Classic is considered the standard for all kayak fishers, no matter their level of proficiency.
The shaft here is made up of 100% fiberglass, which is more durable and lightweight than aluminum or plastic. It has an ovalized shape for a comfortable, secure grip. With a built-in tape measure on the shaft, you can assess your catch in both inches or centimeters.
The Angler Classic has a 3-hole snap button for adjustable feathering, meaning it allows for changing the blade angles for a better paddling experience. Whether you’re right or left-handed, you can twist the blades through the shaft’s ferrule to your liking. The 2-piece shaft is easily detachable for easy storage.
It also features two high-angle blades, meaning that blades will propel the water sturdily with every paddle stroke. The blades are made of fiberglass-reinforced nylon, which isn’t as superior as full fiberglass blades.
One of the blades features a hook-retrieval notch, which comes in handy if your line gets caught on a branch, for instance. Using this notch for line retrieval is safer than pulling a stuck line arbitrarily, which runs the risk of damaging your rod.
Weighing 34 oz, the Angler Classic is heavy compared to its peers because of the nylon blades.
- Suitable for all levels
- Fiberglass shaft
- Rounded-to-ovalized grip
- 0-60° adjustable featherıng
- Hook-retrieval system
- Slightly heavy due to nylon blades
The Bending Branches Angler Classic is the all-around kayak paddle for fishing. Still offering premium materials, this kayak paddle is our best overall since it establishes a balance among price, durability, and weight.
2. Bending Branches Angler Ace II - Runner Up
The Angler Ace II, also from Bending Branches, guarantees effortless paddling for your kayak trip.
This kayak paddle comes with a 100% carbon fiber shaft, which is the cream of the crop in paddles. Carbon fiber is the most lightweight and durable material for a shaft. On the shaft, you get a tape measure to size up your catch.
Like the Bending Branches Angler Classic, the 2-piece shaft can be taken apart for compact storage. Additionally, the blades’ feathering angle is adjustable through the metal ferrule in the middle between 0-60°. This shaft features an ovalized shape to secure a sure grip. It’s also a reference to where you should place your dominant hand on the shaft.
The Angler Ace II has two high-angle blades made from carbon-reinforced nylon. Being high-angled, these blades drag more water with every stroke, allowing you to glide faster with less effort.
Like the Angler Classic, one blade features a hook-retrieval notch so you can pull out a stuck fishing line without resorting to your reel. The blades also feature a dihedral construction, giving them a spooned shape for improved water propulsion. This paddle is available in 230, 240, 250, and 260 cm.
We really liked how lightweight the Angler Ace II is. However, the combination of a feather-light carbon shaft and the mediumweight nylon blades creates a sensation of imbalance.
- Carbon fiber shaft
- Ovalized grip
- 40-inch tape measure
- Adjustable feathering
- Dihedral blades
- Unbalanced weight
When you consider the carbon fiber shaft, the Bending Branches Angler Ace II is the right call if you want to buy a kayak paddle for fishing for the best value for money. Despite not ticking all the boxes, you’ll never find a lightweight paddle at this price point.
3. Werner Camano - Best for Advanced Kayak Anglers
Are you a professional kayaker looking for an upgrade? Look no further. From materials to adjustability, the Werner Camano is the optimal paddle for you.
This kayak paddle is great for long paddling excursions. The shaft here is constructed of carbon fiber, promising a trouble-free paddling experience due to its lightweightness. It has an adjustable ferrule with a lever-lock system, allowing up to 20 cm of length adjustment.
The Werner Camano comes in 2 models with regards to length: 220-240 cm and 240-260 cm. The shaft rocks a 2-piece design so you can split the paddle for easy storage.
The Werner Camano has two low-angle fiberglass blades. Made of carbon fiber and fiberglass, this paddle strikes a balance in weight distribution between the blades and shaft, which is a factor we missed in our runner up, the Bending Branches Angler Ace II.
Being low-angle, the blades won’t drive you further per stroke compared to high-angle ones. However, you’ll exert minimal effort for every stroke, making these blades suitable for paddling for more extended periods.
Like our runner up, the blades here are molded into a dihedral shape, which reduces fluttering as you paddle. Moreover, the design lets the water seep down the gutter in the middle of every blade for better water propulsion.
Unfortunately, this performance beast lacks a tape measure on the shaft. Even the blades don’t feature a hook-retrieval mechanism. Moreover, the Werner Camano carries a high price tag, which is expected from high-quality construction.
- Super lightweight
- Great for long paddling sessions
- Carbon fiber shaft
- 20 cm of adjustable length
- Dihedral fiberglass blades
- No tape measure
- No hook/lure retrieval notch
- Hefty price
You can think of the Werner Camano as the performance master of all kayak paddles. Professional kayakers are ready to sacrifice features like tape measures and notches for premium materials that should provide years of service. All in all, your arms will thank you if you choose to upgrade to this paddle.
4. Shoreline Marine - Budget Pick
The Shoreline Marine is an entry-level kayak paddle for starters or kayakers who don’t paddle as frequently. Hence, you’ll find that it comes at an attractive price point you won’t be able to resist.
Its shaft is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, and although it isn’t a lightweight option, it guarantees long-term durability against water splashes. For the sake of storage, the shaft disassembles into two pieces.
On the shaft, you get 2 foam-padded grips so that you don’t have to touch the aluminum, especially in extremely hot or cold conditions. The connector in the middle of the shaft allows you to twist the blades for a customized feathering angle.
Made from plastic, the blades don’t perform as either fiberglass or carbon ones. However, the blades have a high-angle design, meaning that every stroke generates more power to thrust the water.
At this price point, the blades are dihedral to boost water propulsion further. What caught our attention here is the drip guards. These drip guards attach to the paddle's two ends to prevent the propelled water from running down the shaft and ending up on your lap.
What we didn’t like about the Shoreline Marine is the plastic construction of the blades, which may not stand the test of time if you’re paddling in a rocky lake, for instance. Additionally, the foam grips tend to slip from their ideal positions when held for long periods.
- Durable shaft
- Foam grips
- Customizable feathering
- High-angle design
- Dihedral blades w/ drip guards
- Relatively heavy
- Plastic blades
- Foam grips tend to slide
The Shoreline Marine may not outperform high-end kayak paddles, but it’s the right call for every kayak angler on a tight budget, especially beginners. This kayak paddle guarantees a comfortable grip and painless water propulsion.
5. Pelican Symbiosa Angler - Best Adjustable
With the Pelican Symbiosa Angler, you get a feature-packed kayak paddle with insane savings compared to high-end models! What’s more, you get adjustability like no other.
You may be familiar with straight, rounded shafts in the world of kayak paddles. However, the Symbiosa Angler features an indexed shaft, meaning that it goes from a rounded shape to an ovalized one. Ovalization allows for a firm grip and serves as a reference showing where to place your dominant hand for better control over the paddle.
The shaft is made from fiberglass, which is lightweight and durable compared to aluminum. Along the shaft, you’ll spot the classic tape measure for sizing up your cash. The paddle offers up to 12 cm of length adjustment by using the telescoping ferrule system if you’re rocking a wider kayak.
As for the blades, they’re made of fiberglass-reinforced nylon, which is sturdy compared to bare plastic. These low-angle blades are impressive in long-distance paddling since you can execute more strokes effortlessly.
The blades’ feathering angle can be adjusted through the telescoping ferrule system with a range varying from 0° to 65° as opposed to the typical 0° to 60° adjustment.
Like most kayak paddles, the Symbiosa Angler features a hook-retrieval notch to rescue your lines from unwanted snags. Adding more to its adaptability, this paddle’s ferrule has a built-in safety whistle for emergencies.
Although the Symbiosa Angler offers a wide range of versatility, the shaft isn’t separable due to the telescoping ferrule, which is an absolute deal-breaker for many kayak anglers. Moreover, this would’ve been so versatile if the blades were dihedral.
- Indexed shaft
- Fiberglass shaft
- Telescoping ferrule w/ length adjustment
- Tape measure
- Wide feathering angle
- Hook-retrieval notch
- Built-in whistle
- Inseparable shaft
- No dihedral blade design
With a highly adjustable telescoping ferrule system, durable shaft, and many possibilities for feathering, the Pelican Symbiosa Angler is destined to make every aspect of your kayak fishing prominent. If not for the inseparable shaft, this one would’ve been our best overall!
6. Carlisle Magic Plus - Best for Intermediate Kayak Anglers
The Carlisle Magic Plus is crafted with the mid-level touring kayak anglers in mind. Whether the waves or the weather are unkind to you, this kayak paddle will conquer them, no doubt.
One look at the Magic Plus, and you’ll see that the fiberglass shaft tempts you into grabbing it because of its lightweightness and convenience.
No matter the weather conditions, the shaft will feel cool to touch in hot weather and warm in cold environments. Combined with a textured grip, this shaft is both durable and comfortable. Moreover, the paddle can easily break down into two pieces, thanks to the ferrule.
Additionally, it features two drip rings at both sides to keep you protected from accidental water splashes. It also has a push-button for adjusting the feathering angle anywhere between 0° and 60°. Like the Symbiosa Angler, the Magic Plus has an indexed shaft that resolves to an ovalized shape for a tight grip.
Now, let’s talk about the blades. The Magic Plus has sturdy blades made of fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene. Yes, polypropylene is heavier than fiberglass and carbon, but the fiberglass coating on the blades here is so durable that it withstands abrasion with excellence.
These blades propel water powerfully as well, thanks to their dihedral shape and high-angle strokes. The Magic Plus is available in 4 colorful styles for visibility, and in a variety of lengths: 220, 230, 240, and 250 cm.
For a recreational kayak paddle, we wished for a hook-retrieval notch and a tape measure. Another drawback to the Magic Plus is the unbalanced weight distribution between the lightweight fiberglass shaft and the weighty polypropylene blades.
- Separable fiberglass shaft
- Textured grip
- Drip rings
- Intuitive push-button for feather adjustments
- Durable blades
- Available in many colors and lengths
- No hook-retrieval notch
- No tape measure
- Heavy blades
The Carlisle Magic Plus is a go-to for every intermediate kayak angler wishing for sustainable performance in the long run. Although this kayak paddle isn’t loaded with features, it promises durability and convenience.
7. Backwater Assault - Best Hand Paddle
Have you ever felt the urge to paddle your kayak just a few inches so you can secure your catch? The Backwater Assault is a nifty hand paddle that will make this seem like a breeze.
Unlike the traditional 2-piece kayak paddles on our list, the Backwater Assault is made exclusively for one chore: propelling water while not compromising your grip on the fishing rod.
This is a technique that kayak anglers often put into practice to approach their catch without spooking it away. It’s also useful for preventing your kayak from being drawn to the wrong direction mid-journey.
The blade is made of polypropylene, and the tip features a sawlike edge, which is designed to endure rocks and rough surfaces. The Backwater Assault has a comfortable foam-padded handle, which floats in case you drop it accidentally.
All in all, this hand paddle is very lightweight and easy to store. However, it’s worth noting that Backwater Assault shouldn’t replace two-handed paddles. Instead, it’s a sturdy hand paddle that comes in handy when you need a minimal stroke to push your vessel, a task that two-handed paddles can’t execute due to their powerful strokes.
On the downside, the foam padding on the handle tends to rip off after heavy use. It’s not likely that the handle will withstand the abuse.
- Easy to store
- Useful for minimal paddling
- Sturdy serrated edge
- Floating handle
- Comfortable grip
- Foam padding wears out with time
You can think of the Backwater Assault as the swiss army knife of the kayak paddles for fishing. Although many kayakers won’t resort to this hand paddle, it’s still a worthy addition to your fishing equipment.
What to Look for When Buying a Kayak Paddle for Fishing
After an overview of the 7 best kayak paddles for fishing, you may be curious about what suits your kayaking style. You shouldn’t take what every kayak paddle offers with a grain of salt. Instead, you need to understand how every spec relates to your needs.
Since deciding on the best choice may seem daunting, we’ll guide you through several factors worth considering to prevent a reckless purchase.
The material that a kayak paddle is crafted from is the most prominent factor to look for, primarily because of how it relates to the overall weight of the kayak paddle, determining how convenient the paddle is.
For starters, the overwhelming majority of kayak paddles utilize aluminum for shafts or polypropylene for both shafts or blades. Though durable, aluminum and polypropylene (which is another word for plastic) are indicators of a weighty paddle. The heavier the paddle is, the harder it is to execute every stroke.
That's why high-quality paddles use fiberglass or carbon fiber for shafts or blades. For instance, fiberglass is a top-notch material for shafts since it adapts to the weather conditions, besides its durability and lightweightness.
You’ll find carbon-fiber shafts or blades in high-end kayak paddles. Carbon fiber is so lightweight, and it guarantees the best durability and maneuverability.
It's worth mentioning that there are kayak paddles with fiberglass or carbon-coated polypropylene. Although this coating adds to the polypropylene’s durability, it still doesn't save it from being heavy.
Kayak paddles aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of gear. Quite the contrary, if you choose the wrong size, you’re more likely to be met with problems. Some of these include banging your kayak’s hull, spooking the fish away, and inefficient paddle strokes.
The consensus here is that wider kayaks and taller anglers require longer kayak paddles. Another thing to remember is that a kayak paddle’s length is measured by centimeters instead of inches.
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule to how long your kayak paddle should be, manufacturers always provide a sizing chart. Take a peek at it, but bear in mind that these are the measurements for low-seat positions. For high-seat positions, add an extra 10 cm.
It’s worth seeing what your kayak’s environment-friendly engine brings to the table. There are blades featuring hook-retrieval notches so you can pull back a stuck line.
Moreover, some blades come in a dihedral shape. Dihedral blades have a raised edge in the middle of the plate, which splits the water evenly between the two sections of the blade so you can paddle more seamlessly.
In general, blades fall into two main categories: high-angle and low-angle blade.
High-angle blades feature a short, wide construction. Generally speaking, these types of blades propel more water, which increases the chances of driving your vessel further with fewer strokes. They’re better suited for sit-on-top kayaks.
Since fishing kayaks are heavier and wider than generic kayaks, high-angle blades are considered the standard for most kayak paddles.
As opposed to high-angle blades, low-angle blades are long and narrow. They propel less water, thus generating less power per stroke. However, it doesn’t need the same effort high-angle blades require.
If you tend to cover more ground in your kayaking trip, then low-angle blades are the optimal choice for you. As the “low-angle” part suggests, they’ll allow for a nearly effortless paddling experience from a low-seat position, like in sit-in kayaks.
After determining the shaft’s material, there are some tips you should know about shafts.
Mostly, kayak paddles feature shafts with imprinted tape measure for assessing your trophy fish and drip rings to keep you dry by preventing the propelled water from accidentally running down the shaft.
Regarding convenience, shafts often have a straight, rounded shape for a secure grip. However, in indexed shafts, the rounded shape turns into an ovalized one as you approach both ends. Generally, indexed shafts are more comfortable to handle since they tell you precisely where you should place your hands.
The shaft’s quality corresponds to how adjustable the kayak paddle is. In the middle of a shaft lies a ferrule system, which can be in the form of a spring button or a lever.
Either way, ferrule systems are like joints that keep the paddle in one piece. They allow for adjusting both the length and the feathering angle of the paddle. Feathering is basically positioning your blades at offset angles to minimize the wind resistance for more effective paddling.
If you’re opting for an aluminum shaft, make sure it has sufficient padding because aluminum can become too cool or too hot to touch in extreme conditions.
Never stop paddling, kayak anglers! It turns out there’s more to kayak paddles than the generic ones that come along with our kayaks the first time we bought it.
After taking a walk through the 7 best kayak paddles for fishing, we hope we’ve helped you narrow down the choices with some solid information on paddles.
I’d relentlessly recommend the Angler Classic from Bending Branches. Despite not having the best weight for a kayak paddle, this one is our best overall for one reason: balance. However, our runner up, the Angler Ace II still stands out, thanks to its feathery carbon-fiber shaft.