Kayak Paddles for Fishing (2022)

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Fishing kayaks are no joke. They’re often significantly wider and heavier than other kayak types, which means you’ll need a kayak paddle that’s capable of propelling a heavier load while still being light enough for all-day use. That’s no simple feat.

Many kayakers don’t give too much thought to their paddles, but this is a mistake in my opinion. Paddles are the engine that propels your watercraft, so investing in an efficient, high-quality kayak paddle for fishing makes good sense.

Whether you’re trolling, making you’re way to an isolated fishing spot, or simply out for a leisurely paddle, finding the best kayak paddle for your needs can be a confusing task. I’ll break down what you need to know when selecting a kayak paddle, and hopefully help you pick the best one for your kayak.

Quick Answer: 6 Best Kayak Paddles for Fishing

Why do you need a kayak fishing paddle

1 2022 08 best kayak paddles for fishing why do you need a kayak fishing paddle

While you can get by with a cheapo aluminum and plastic kayak paddle in a pinch, a kayak paddle that’s designed for fishing can be a major game-changer.

Most of these paddles feature cutting edge materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass, cutting down on weight significantly and improving performance in the water. High-end paddles often have adjustable ferrules for changing the paddle length and blade angle on the fly, which allows you to swap between different watercraft easily.

Many also feature small hooks cut out of the blade material for retrieving a snagged hook. Some also have a ruler for measuring your catch printed onto the side of a paddle.

Kayak fishing paddles feature either a ‘low-angle’ or a ‘high-angle’ blade design.  Low angle blades are suited to slow, steady strokes used while trolling or prolonged paddling. High angle blades are better suited for aggressive, powerful strokes needed when hauling a fully loaded kayak or when navigating fast-moving water.

Best Overall: Werner Camano Hooked

Werner camano hooked kayak fishing paddle-ss-250cm-clidri

Werner is well known for making some of the best kayak paddles out there, and this stunning specimen is no exception. The ‘Hooked’ version is based off Werner’s renowned Camano paddle but is made specifically with the kayak angler in mind. It features a low-angle, medium-sized blade that gives you enough power to chase schooling fish all day while maintaining a comfortable paddle stroke.

Weighing just 26 ounces, the carbon fiber and fiberglass paddle significantly cuts down on weight, which results in far more efficient and fatigue-free paddling. The smartview adjustable ferrule system allows you to easily adjust the blade feather (angle) in mere seconds, setting it between 0 and 60 degrees at 15 degree increments. The flush ferrule button is completely smooth, with nothing to snag on your line or tackle – and gives a rock-solid 1-piece feel when locked up.

Werner’s abrasion-resistant fiberglass blades are built like a tank and will last for many years of hard use. Many kayakers report using them without any damage to push off rocks, as a mud anchor, and as a lever for shore entry. If you’re looking for a lightweight, rock-solid kayak paddle that will outperform the competition, then you’ll have a hard time topping this beauty!

Key Features

  • Weight: 26 oz.
  • Lengths: 220 cm – 260 cm
  • Blade Angle: Low-Angle
  • Lightweight, high-durable carbon fiber shaft and fiberglass blades
  • Butter smooth adjustable ferrule system is easy to use and feels rock solid

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Runner Up: Bending Branches Angler Ace II

Bending branches angler ace 2-piece snap-button fishing kayak paddle, black, 230cm

Lightweight, durable, and highly efficient, this 2-piece carbon fiber paddle is one of the best choices when it comes to kayak fishing. Weighing in at just 30 ounces, it’s on the lighter end, making it ideal for all-day paddling. The shaft is made from feather-light carbon fiber, while the powerful high-angle blades are constructed from durable reinforced fiberglass.

The paddle is available in several lengths (230, 240, 250, 260 cm), so you can match the length to your arm length and kayak dimensions. Adjusting the blade angle is accomplished by depressing the 3-hole snap-button ferrule, allowing you to set the feathering angle to either 0° or 60°, for left or right-handed control.

A convenient hook-retrieval notch is cut out of a single blade, allowing you to free up your line and lure should they get snagged underwater. Measuring your catch on the fly is also a breeze, with a tape measure in both inches and centimeters printed onto the side of the paddle shaft.

If you’re looking to step up to a lightweight carbon fiber paddle, then this paddle fits the bill nicely. It provides high-end performance and durability at a reasonable price point.

Key Features

  • Weight: 31 oz.
  • Lengths: 230 cm – 260 cm
  • Blade Angle: High-Angle
  • 100 % carbon fiber shaft and fiberglass reinforced blades
  • 3 hole snap button adjustable ferrule
  • Convenient hook-retrieval cutout and built-in tape measure
  • Made in the U.S.A.

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Best Value: Bending Branches Angler Classic

Bending branches angler classic 2-piece snap-button fishing kayak paddle; (black shaft/orange blade - 260cm)

With the Angler Classic, Bending Branches introduces many of the premium features of its higher-priced paddles, in a package any kayak angler can afford. The 2-piece paddle features rugged fiberglass reinforced blades and a durable fiberglass shaft that can withstand the rough and tumble of being whacked around regularly.  Like other 2-piece paddles, the 2 pieces easily separate for compact travel and storage.

Weighing in at 34 ounces, it’s only slightly heavier than similar carbon fiber paddles, offering an excellent blend of weight, durability, and value. The same adjustable 3-hole snap-button ferrule as the Angler Ace above is used for changing the feathering angle. Three settings allow you to set the angle to 0° or 60°, for either left or right-handed control.

A hook retrieval notch allows you to easily salvage tangled fishing line, ensuring you won’t lose your lures to a snag. Measurements printed on the paddle shaft allow you quickly check if your catch is within legal limits. Bending Branches offers the paddle in a variety of lengths (from 220 to 280 cm) and in both orange and sage green colors.

Key Features

  • Weight: 34 oz.
  • Lengths: 220 cm – 280 cm
  • Blade Angle: High-Angle
  • Well-made, premium quality paddle at an affordable price point
  • Fiberglass shaft and fiberglass reinforced blades
  • 3 hole snap-button ferrule for adjusting feathering angle
  • Hook retrieval notch and tape measure built-in

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Adjustable Length Paddle: Pelican Boats Symbiosa Kayak Paddle

Pelican poseidon angler fishing lightweight kayak paddle - built-in retrieval hooks - fiberglass reinforced (grey, 94. 5 in) in

If you’re looking for a versatile paddle with a length that can be easily adjusted, then this handy paddle makes an excellent choice. It’s a great choice for anyone with multiple kayaks, or when you want one paddle that can fit all your friends and family. The paddle’s length can be adjusted anywhere between 94.5 and 99 inches in seconds with the telescoping ferrule system.

The shaft is made from durable and relatively lightweight fiberglass, while the fiberglass reinforced nylon blades provide excellent durability. A low-angle blade design allows you to paddle for long periods without overexertion, which is ideal for trolling. The adjustable ferrule can be adjusted between 0° and 65° to set the feathering angle to your preference.

Another useful feature is the ovalized shaft shape which changes from round to slightly oval near the ends. This serves as a quick reference as to where you should place your right hand.

Like most other kayak paddles intended for fishing use, a small line retrieval notch is cut into one of the paddled and a tape measure is imprinted along the shaft. Additionally, a small safety whistle is integrated into the ferrule, which can come in handy in a pinch.

Key Features

  • Weight: 48 oz.
  • Lengths: Adjustable between 94.5” and 99”
  • Blade Angle: Low-Angle
  • Well-made and highly versatile adjustable length paddle
  • Adjustable length is great for people with multiple kayaks
  • Fiberglass shaft and fiberglass reinforced nylon blades
  • Hook retrieval notch and tape measure built-in

Budget Pick: Crooked Creek Tournament Angler

Crooked creek 7-foot fishing kayak paddle, camo - features a lightweight construction and asymmetrical blades - versatile and comfortable (50485)

If you’re looking for a capable, well-made paddle without breaking the bank, then the Tournament Angler paddle from Crooked Creek makes an excellent choice. Its poly-fiber composite dihedral blade and sturdy fiberglass shaft provide high-end performance at an affordable price point. The two-piece shaft quickly comes apart for easy transport and storage, and the 3 position push-button ferrule allows you to adjust the feather angle.

Available in 7, 8, and 9 foot (214, 244, 274 cm) lengths, the paddle features reinforced blade tips for push off as well as convenient dock hook cutouts to pull your kayak to the water’s edge. These cutouts also double as weedless line/lure retrieval slots for extracting stuck lures from weeds, logs, and debris. The curved blades are smaller than many other paddles but have the advantage of added stealth when you need to approach fish without spooking them.

Weighing in between 54 and 58 ounces, it’s on the heavier side when compared with other fiberglass paddles, but it still weighs less than most aluminum and plastic models. The shaft also features a laser engraved measurement scale on the side of it for measuring your catch.

Key Features

  • Weight: 54 – 58 oz.
  • Lengths: 7, 8 and 9 feet
  • Blade Angle: Low-Angle
  • Durable composite poly-fiber blade and fiberglass shaft
  • Dock hook cutouts double as line/lure retrievers
  • Three-button adjustable feather settings

Hand Paddle: Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle

Backwater paddles assault hand paddle - orange

While it’s clearly not a traditional two-handed kayak paddle, this hand paddle from the kayaking pros at Backwater Paddles can be extremely useful for kayak fishermen. The compact design allows you to propel your craft and change direction without putting down your fishing rod. This is ideal for windy conditions when you need to keep your kayak from drifting in the wrong direction.

The paddle tip features a sturdy serrated edge, which is great for pushing off rocks, rocky surfaces, and other slippery surfaces. A small wrist lanyard helps you to keep the paddle from drifting off should you drop it, and the foam handle floats just in case. A small cutout in the blade allows you to quickly grab onto your line or a nearby dock.

If you’re an avid kayak angler, getting one of these hand paddles to use as a backup makes good sense. It allows you to protect your primary paddle from damage during push off, especially in shallow rocky waters. Backwater paddles also make a full-sized version of the same paddle, which is popular with all kinds of kayak anglers.

Key Features

  • Weight: 54 – 58 oz
  • Lengths: 7, 8 and 9 feet
  • Blade Angle: Low-Angle
  • Durable composite poly-fiber blade and fiberglass shaft
  • Dock hook cutouts double as line/lure retrievers
  • Three-button adjustable feather settings

How to pick the right kayak fishing paddle

2 2022 08 best kayak paddles for fishing how to pick the right kayak fishing paddle

Kayak fishing paddles come in various dimensions, materials, designs, and price points. Picking the best fishing paddle for your particular kayak can be a baffling task, so let’s break down the import features to consider when picking out a kayak paddle.

Paddle Length

Kayak paddle length is one of the most important considerations when picking a good paddle. If your paddle is the wrong length, your paddling will be awkward and inefficient. Worse still, if a paddle is too short, it will bang on the side of the kayak as you paddle, disrupting your stroke and spooking any fish nearby.

The ideal paddle length for you will depend on your kayak’s width, your height, as well as your seating position. Taller paddlers, wider kayaks, and high seating positions all necessitate longer paddles than shorter kayaks, narrower kayaks, and low seating positions.

Every brand has its own specific sizing instructions, as small variations can occur between manufacturers. With that said, the following chart (with your height and kayak width) will give you a pretty good idea of what paddle length you’ll need.

Sizing Chart (Add 10 cm for high seat position)

Kayak WidthUnder 23″24″ to 28″29″ to 33″34″+
Under 5′ 5″21o cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5’5″ to 5’11”220 cm230 cm240 cm250cm
6’+220 cm230 cm250 cm260 cm


A paddle’s overall weight is another key performance factor. When it comes to weight, you’ll generally get what you pay for.

The lightest paddles will feature cutting-edge materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass, cutting down on weight significantly while boosting overall performance. Cheaper paddles utilize heavier materials like aluminum and plastic – making them heavier and bulkier than their high-performance counterparts.

While you might not think shaving a few ounces off your paddle’s weight will make much difference, considering you’ll be paddling thousands of strokes per outing, even a small weight reduction can have a large impact. This will enable you to paddle longer and farther with less fatigue and increase the distance you can cover per mile.

Blade Materials

Paddle blades are made from a variety of different materials, from cheap polyethylene plastic to durable and feather-light carbon fiber.

Plastic and Nylon blades are cheap, offer a good level of durability, but are significantly heavier than more expensive materials. Plastic blades are often paired with aluminum shafts, resulting in functional albeit heavy kayak paddles.

Fiberglass blades are light, highly durable, and fall in the middle of the pack in terms of price. They’re the most common type used in kayak paddles for fishing due to their excellent combination of weight, durability, and cost.

Carbon Fiber blades are the top of the line material used by tournament anglers and other pros. They’re extremely light, generate a ton of power, but cost more than other blade materials.

Blade Shape

Blade shape has a major impact on a paddle’s behavior in the water and will determine the type of paddling its best suited for. Blades are generally broken down into either High-Angle or Low-Angle categories.

High-Angle blades are wider and have more surface area, generating more power per stroke. They’re suited to fast bursts of speed, and for propelling heavier fishing kayaks, or kayaks in moving water. The ‘high angle’ refers to the position of the paddler’s control arm during the paddle stroke.  These paddles are ideal for kayaks with a high seating position.

Low-Angle blades are long and narrow and are suited to a more relaxed paddling pace. They generate less power per stroke but can be paddled for longer periods of time without tiring yourself out. The paddling position is lower down than with a high angle paddle.

Check out this video for an in-depth look at high vs. low kayak paddles:

Shaft Materials

Kayak shaft materials also vary significantly, from cheap and heavy aluminum to feather-light carbon fiber.

Aluminum is cheap, fairly durable, but weighs significantly more than other shaft materials. You’ll often find aluminum shafts in cheap entry-level paddles or paddles that come bundled with a kayak. These paddles also work well as emergency backups.

Fiberglass is fairly light, extremely durable, and falls in the middle of the pack in terms of price. Many kayak paddles designed specifically for fishing utilize a fiberglass shaft.

Carbon Fiber shafts are feather-light, durable, but cost significantly more than other types. Nearly all high-end paddles will utilize a carbon fiber shaft, as it offers a significant weight reduction from fiberglass and aluminum. If you’re looking for a high-performance paddle, going with carbon fiber will cost you more upfront, but you’ll generally notice a major performance bump over other types.


Most 2-piece kayak fishing paddles feature an adjustable ferrule, which is a twistable shaft with different settings that allows you to change the blade offset angle (known as feathering). Depending on the exact model, the offset angle can be set between 0° and 65°, with varying increments in between. Changing the feathering angle allows you to paddle in windy conditions efficiently without catching much wind resistance.

Some kayak paddles also feature an adjustable length – allowing you to quickly extend or retract the shaft to adjust the length. This can be particularly useful for the kayaker with multiple kayaks, or if you want a paddle that you can easily swap between different friends and family members.

Once you’ve got your paddle, make sure to check out my breakdown of kayak paddle leashes to make sure you don’t lose it in the drink!

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