If you’re an angler, you know it’s important to select the best kayak paddle for fishing to make your time on the water well-spent. And kayak paddles are no exception to this rule.
Angler kayak paddles are lightweight, durable, and customized with all the bells and whistles that make it easy to fish all day long. Below, we’re going to review the top fishing kayak paddles on the market. We’ll then touch on the best features you should look out for when selecting a paddle. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Fishing Kayak Paddle Reviews
1. Bending Branches Angler Classic Kayak Paddle: Best Pick
- Best long-lasting performance for the price
- Construction: Fiberglass-reinforced Nylon
- Weight: 2 lb. 3 oz.
- Length: 230 cm
Built for fishermen, the Bending Branches paddle is constructed from durable fiberglass and includes a built-in hook retriever. The blades are reinforced from fiberglass and nylon, offering a warm, smooth feeling in your hands. Meanwhile, the shaft is made from non-porous fiberglass that’s built with withstand the pressure of regular paddling for years to come.
A small indentation in the paddle blade helps fishermen to retrieve rescue lures, get the line out of snags like rocks, and pull in huge catches. This low-angle, straight style paddle is super lightweight at just 2 pounds and 3 ounces. Yet just because it’s lightweight, doesn’t mean it skimps on strength and overall durability.
Users appreciate the asymmetrical blade design, which makes it easier to churn through tough water and maneuver to hard-to-reach waterways. The paddle can be custom-ordered depending on your height and the length of your kayak to provide the perfect fit.
- Fiberglass construction offers perfect intersection between price and long-term performance
- Asymmetrical paddle makes it easier to maneuver
- Lightweight yet sturdy construction makes it easy to paddle all day long
- Some kayakers would prefer if the blade-style were less curved
- Newer models of the Bending Branches paddle are only available in larger lengths
- Only available in one seaweed-green shade
2. Backwater Paddles Assassin Carbon Fiber Paddle: Premium Pick
- Best premium-quality, carbon fiber kayak paddle
- Construction: ABS-injected nylon blade, fade-resistant carbon fiber shaft
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Length: 230 – 240 cm & 250 – 260 cm
The high-performance Backwater Paddles Assassin is constructed with an ABS-injected nylon blade and flexible shaft for consistent durability. The blade includes a serrated teeth edge that can be used to launch yourself off of solid surfaces and beach fronts. Additionally, the hook edge indent can be used as a waterfowl decoy or to grab your line, dock, or push off tree limbs. The lightweight black blade is made from fade-resistant plastics with pre-included drip rings.
Depending on your preference, the paddle can adjust from 250 to 260 cm in length. At 38 ounces and 42 ounces, respectively, the paddle is lightweight enough to reduce paddling fatigue throughout the day. The Backwater Assassin is the full-size version of its customer-loved predecessor, the Assault Hand Paddle. Owing to high demand, the manufacturers opted to make the Backwater Assassin, which was immediately met with high praise in the kayaking community.
- Serrated tooth edge can be used for self-launching kayak
- Carbon fiber construction guarantees the most lightweight and durable quality
- Materials are all fade-resistant and made for rigid performance
- Somewhat pricey
- Some complain that, occasionally, shaft length collapses to smallest size accidentally
- Some dislike angler hook for muddy or dense water paddling
3. Pelican Sport Fishing Paddle: Most Budget-Friendly Paddle
- Best paddle for the price
- Construction: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon blade and shaft
- Weight: 3.07 pounds
- Length: 94.5″ to 99″
The Pelican Sport paddle is perhaps the least expensive to highest performance paddle ratio you’ll find on the market. Featuring two-piece, sturdy aluminum construction, the Pelican Sport performs on-par with full fiberglass and carbon fiber blades.
The blade is constructed from partially fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene that’s highly impact-resistant. Moreover, the blade design is feathered to enhance durability for the roughest, longest trips out on the water.
At just 89 inches (226 cm), the paddle is a perfect middle option for those that feel hampered down by overly long products. The blades utilizes push-connect tech with the 0 to 65-degree angle adjustment to adhere to the shaft. Users report that they rarely – if ever – report unintended blade-shaft disconnection out on the lake.
Like the Pelican Symbosia, this paddle uses ovalization, meaning that the shaft transforms from a rounded shape to a slightly ovular shape. This helps kayakers to determine where to best place their hands. All in all, the Sport option is perfect for beginners who want to test out a professional-grade fishing kayak paddle before investing in a more expensive option.
- Budget-friendly paddle is made from durable fiberglass materials
- Offers 0 to 65 degree blade angle adjustment
- Includes hook retrieval, tap measure, safety whistle, and drips rings
- Not as lightweight as comparably sized carbon fiber paddles
- Users have to be careful to purchase from certified manufacturer since many dupes exist on the market
- Some complain that the blade-locking system slips on occasion
4. Carlisle Predator Fiberglass Angler Paddle: Best Composite Material Paddle
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- Best composite material-based kayak paddle
- Construction: Fiber-reinforced nylon blade, fiberglass shaft
- Weight: 39.8 oz.
- Length: 230 cm
Want to kick your fishing prowess up a notch? The Carlisle Predator blade provides a lightweight yet durable solution to your untenable paddling problems.
The blades are constructed from fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene plastics, providing a powerful yet almost effortless stroke. The flexible two-piece fiberglass shaft makes it easier to coordinate your strokes without any loss in durability. The shaft uses composite ferrule that joins the blades together powerfully, providing all-day performance in rugged conditions.
An integrated hook catcher indent on the sides of the blade helps you recover stubbornly caught lures. At 230 cm, the paddle is long enough for high and wide sit-on-top fishing kayaks. Moreover, the added length helps keep noise and splash levels low for a dry day out on the lake.
The blades and shaft come in two different camo colors, making it easy to color-coordinate your kayak with your paddle.
- Made from durable blend of fiberglass and fiber-reinforced nylon for enhanced durability
- Provides rigid performance on rough water routes
- Includes integrated hook retrieval, drip rings, and composite ferrule connection points
- Advertised as made in the USA but stamped with a “Made in China” insignia
- Some wish the angler notch was not integrated into the paddle blade
- Not as lightweight as a carbon fiber paddle
5. Pelican Boats: Symbosia Angler Fishing Kayak Paddle
- Best middle option kayak paddle for durability, weight, and performance
- Construction: Impact-resistant fiberglass-reinforced nylon blade and shaft
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Length: 94.5″ to 99″
At half the price of its major competitors, the Pelican Boats angler paddle is feature-rich for any budget-conscious buyer. With the capability to adjust between 94.5 to 99 inches, the paddle is very suitable for both wide and slim kayaks. Just because the Pelican Boats paddle is cheaper than other products, doesn’t mean that it skimps out on quality. The paddle is made from impact-resistant and fiber-reinforced nylon for enhanced durability and flexibility.
A set of adjustable drip rings help keep your hands dry for enhanced grip, allowing you to stroke more precisely through the water. At just 3 pounds, the 0 to 65-degree adjustable blade provides fairly lightweight performance.
The blade is rounded yet dips into a slightly oval shape, known as indexing, which serves as an easy reference for where you should place your hands. The blade shape is ideal for providing maximum power and return on investment per stroke. As a middle of the road paddle, the Pelican Boats paddle offers significantly better performance that’s comparable to the more expensive carbon fiber blades.
- Oval-tapered blade makes proper hand positioning easier
- Adjustable drip rings keep your hands dry
- Offers adjustable length for different riders
- Buyer needs to be careful to purchase from a verified manufacturer of Pelican products
- Some report that the length is not easily adjustable
How to Choose the Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing
We’ve compiled a short-list of some of the most important specifications you need to pay attention to. Your individual preferences will play a large role in determining what paddle is right for you.
Arguably the most important feature of a kayaking paddle is its length. Too long? You’re hoisting a lot of excess weight that’ll get you fatigued faster. Too short? You may find your paddle banging the edges of your kayak.
The proper paddle length is a function of your height and the width of your kayak. Generally, if your kayak is under 23″, you’ll need a paddle between 210 and 220 cm.
If you’re over 5’5″ and your kayak is 24″ to 28″, a 230 – 240 cm would be best suited for you. And, if you’re over 6″ with a very wide kayak, you may need a 260 cm paddle.
We suggest referencing an online sizing guide that’ll let you figure out the best paddle size.
|Kayak Width||Under 23″||24″ to 28″||29″-33″||34″+|
|Paddler Height||Recommended Length of Paddle|
|Under 5’5″||210 cm||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|5’5″ – 5’11”||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm||250 cm|
|6’+||220 cm||230 cm||250 cm||260 cm|
The Bending Branches Sizing Chart*
Though it’s often ignored, blade shape should be one of the primary factors you consider when purchasing a paddle. There are two primary shapes: high angle and low angle.
The angle refers to how your paddle enters the water. High-angle paddling is more vertical, which is recommended for narrower kayaks that require speed.
By contrast, low-angle paddling is comparatively more horizontal, setting the blade at a 20 to 30-degree angle to the waterline. Generally, anglers prefer low-angle paddling since it’s best for relaxed conditions and a wider kayak.
Low-angle blades are more narrow and longer, allowing fishermen to pull the blade through the water easier. As you can likely guess, this means less fatigue in the long run.
What It’s Made Of
Paddle blade materials can be made from tons of distinct composite plastics, fibers, and even natural wood. Each material offers a different set of advantages.
On the cheaper end, plastic nylon blades offer durability at a low price point. These blades are most often used by recreational paddlers; however, they degrade when left in the sun and may crack over time.
Fiberglass blades are an excellent mid-price option that is highly performant and durable. While the blade may chip, it’ll never crack like a nylon blade. Fiberglass paddles are also rigid, meaning that they offer consistently high efficiency per stroke.
Want the best performance possible? A carbon fiber blade is absolutely the way to go. They are extremely stiff, exceptionally strong, and the most lightweight option out there.
Shafts can be made from many of the same materials that paddles are, but most manufacturers use distinct materials from the blades.
In the wild, it’s rare that you’ll find a composite plastic shaft. Inexpensive shafts are most often made from aluminum, which is very durable yet may get very cold or hot.
On the more expensive end, carbon and fiberglass shafts help keep the weight of the paddle low.
Your budget will be the biggest determinant of the quality and performance of your paddle. Thankfully, there are tons of low-price yet high-performance alternatives out there.
The least expensive paddles will be made from nylon and composite plastics, offering durable long-term performance. However, these paddles have a tendency to crack over time and bend when force is applied.
Mid-range paddles are more lightweight and typically made from fiberglass-reinforced materials.
The most expensive paddles are made fully from carbon-fiber materials. These paddles also include tons of features like hook retrieval nooks, drip rings, safety whistles, and more.
Ultimately, it’s hard to go wrong with our top pick – the Backwater Paddles Assassin carbon fiber paddle. Developed by a trusted brand, this paddle is feature-rich for professional-grade, long term performance.