The Best Fishing Kayak Paddle: Comprehensive Angler’s Guide

Last Updated on March 25, 2022

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I’ve used several different paddles for kayak fishing, from budget-friendly paddles to the more expensive kayaking paddles. While on the water, I’ve picked up a few things that factor into the best fishing kayak paddle being the best.

I rated the Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap as the best overall because it has several features that will help every kayak angler.

I can also say the same thing about the most versatile paddle, the YakGear Backwater Assassin. It’s designed for kayak fishing and has features that help it stand out from other paddles.

There are several other paddles on our best fishing kayak paddle list, so if these two aren’t what you’re looking for, keep scrolling to find one that’s your perfect match!

Comparison Table – Fishing Kayak Paddle

ImageFeaturesRatingPrice
Best Overall
Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap 2-Piece Kayak Fishing Paddle
Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap 2-Piece Kayak Fishing Paddle
  • Lengths - 230cm, 240cm, 250cm, and 260cm
  • Pieces - Two
  • Material - Carbon Fiber shaft and ABX Carbon-reinforced nylon blades
  • Shaft - Straight
9
AmazonREI
Best Travel Paddle
Aqua-Bound Whiskey Fiberglass 4-Piece Posi-Lok Paddle
Aqua-Bound Whiskey Fiberglass 4-Piece Posi-Lok Paddle
  • Lengths - 200cm, 205cm, 210cm, 215cm, 220cm, 225cm, 230cm, 235cm, and 240cm.
  • Pieces - Four
  • Material - T-700 Carbon and compressed molded fiberglass
  • Shaft - Straight
9
AmazonBackcountry
Best One-Handed Paddle
Backwater Assualt Hand Paddle
Backwater Assualt Hand Paddle
  • Lengths - 23"
  • Pieces - One
  • Material - Polypropylene
  • Shaft - Straight
7
Bass ProCabela's
Most Versatile
YakGear Backwater Assassin Carbon-Fiber Hybrid Kayak Paddle
YakGear Backwater Assassin Carbon-Fiber Hybrid Kayak Paddle
  • Lengths - 230-240cm and 250-260cm
  • Pieces - Two
  • Material - Carbon fiber hybrid shaft and ABS-injected nylon blades
  • Shaft - Straight
8
Bass ProCabela's
Budget-Friendly
Bending Branches Whisper Paddle
Bending Branches Whisper Paddle
  • Lengths - 220cm, 230cm, and 240cm
  • Pieces - Two
  • Material - Aluminum shaft and fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades
  • Shaft - Straight
7
AmazonREI

Kayak Fishing Paddle Reviews

Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap 2-Piece Kayak Fishing Paddle

Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap 2-Piece Kayak Fishing Paddle

BEST FISHING KAYAK PADDLE OVERALL

Specs

  • Lengths – 230cm, 240cm, 250cm, and 260cm
  • Pieces – Two
  • Material – Carbon Fiber shaft and ABX Carbon-reinforced nylon blades
  • Shaft – Straight

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Built-in hook retrieval system
  • Ovalization of the shaft
  • Tape measure on the shaft

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You might need a longer paddle

Why We Chose It

Bending Branches is known for its high-quality paddles. The Angler Ace was designed for kayak fishing, so it has several features that benefit kayak anglers.

The paddle is lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about getting tired from holding the paddle. If you’re like me, now and then you manage to catch a tree fish, the hook retrieval slot will help you get more of your lures back.

An overlooked feature is the ovalization of the shaft. This helps to reduce blisters from a long day of paddling. Blisters on your hands will ruin a good day of kayak fishing every single time. The biggest downside to this paddle is that it’s not designed for tall people in wide kayaks. So if you’re a taller person, you might need a longer paddle.

Another feature that I like is the measuring stick on the handle. It’s in centimeters and inches. You can use it to quickly check if your fish is legal to keep or if you’re curious about how big it is. Most kayak fishing tournaments use length to determine the winner.

However, most require a special measuring board. You might not end up using it if you plan to fish tournaments.

The Bending Branches Angler Ace is an expensive paddle, but it’s well worth the money if you’re a serious kayak angler.

Aqua-Bound Whiskey Fiberglass 4-Piece Posi-Lok Paddle

Aqua-Bound Whiskey Fiberglass 4-Piece Posi-Lok Paddle

BEST FISHING KAYAK PADDLE FOR TRAVELING

Specs

  • Lengths – 200cm, 205cm, 210cm, 215cm, 220cm, 225cm, 230cm, 235cm, and 240cm.
  • Pieces – Four
  • Material – T-700 Carbon and compressed molded fiberglass
  • Shaft – Straight

Pros

  • Packs easy
  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Infinite feather angle

Cons

  • Very Expensive
  • Not designed for kayak fishing
  • It’s a very short paddle.

Why We Chose It

Aqua-Bound manufactures high-quality paddles for watersports. While this isn’t a fishing-specific paddle kayak, anglers will find many of its benefits extremely useful.

Because it separates into four pieces, it can pack easier than paddles that only break into two parts. The carbon construction keeps the paddle lightweight and corrosion-resistant so that you won’t get tired on long paddles, and you’ll always be able to separate the handle pieces easily.

With infinite ferrule adjustments, you will find the most efficient paddle angle for you, whether that’s a high-angle or low-angle blade position. However, all the versatility comes at a high price, and this paddle is short, so if you have a wide kayak, you might find it difficult to paddle effectively.

Kayak anglers who need to conserve space while traveling will find the Aqua-Bound Whiskey Fiberglass 4-Piece Posi-Lok Paddle the most beneficial.

Backwater Assault Hand Paddle

Backwater Assualt Hand Paddle

BEST ONE-HANDED KAYAK FISHING PADDLE

Specs

  • Lengths – 23″
  • Pieces – One
  • Material – Polypropylene
  • Shaft – Straight

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • One-handed design
  • Designed for kayak anglers
  • Hook and serrated edge features
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • It’s made of plastic.
  • Not designed for long-distance paddling
  • Not a necessity

Why We Chose It

The Backwater Assualt is not designed for long-distance paddling. I would consider it a backup paddle that should be used while fishing, not while paddling to a different location.

The lightweight, one-handed design makes fishing and paddling much more manageable. You don’t have to set your pole down to maintain control of your kayak. I’ve paddled one-handed with a regular paddle, and it takes time to master, so I was immediately intrigued when I saw this paddle.

The hook and serrated edge will help you grab onto and push off a rock, brush, or dock. I’ve tried countless times to pull myself closer to a rock or dock with my paddle, and it’s a chore with smooth blade edges. I can see both of these features being very handy.

While the Backwater Assualt Paddle is not necessary, it’s a handy tool for any kayak angler.

YakGear Backwater Assassin Carbon-Fiber Hybrid Kayak Paddle

YakGear Backwater Assassin Carbon-Fiber Hybrid Kayak Paddle

MOST VERSATILE FISHING KAYAK PADDLE

Specs

  • Lengths – 230-240cm and 250-260cm
  • Pieces – Two
  • Material – Carbon fiber hybrid shaft and ABS-injected nylon blades
  • Shaft – Straight

Pros

  • Designed for kayak fishing
  • Hook and serrated teeth edge on both blades
  • High-angle or low-angle
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable length

Cons

  • Only lengthens to 260cm.

Why We Chose It

The YakGear Backwater Assassin was designed with kayak anglers in mind. It is great for paddling, but the unique blade features also help you cautiously maneuver along the bank while you fish.

The hook and serrated teeth help you grab and push off docks, rocks, and brush much easier than a traditional paddle. The hook can also help retrieve a lure stuck in a tree. Despite a portion of each blade being cut out for the hook, you don’t lose much surface area, so you can still get plenty of power for paddling long distances.

This paddle is easy to adjust the length on the fly. So if you feel like it’s too short, you can extend it to the size you need. Be sure to purchase the best paddle length range for you and your kayak.

Unless you’re a kayak angler that requires a 270cm kayak paddle, the YakGear Backwater Assassin Kayak Paddle is the most versatile kayak fishing paddle on the market and one of the best kayak paddles for fishing.

Bending Branches Whisper Paddle

Bending Branches Whisper Paddle

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY KAYAK PADDLE FOR FISHING

Specs

  • Lengths – 220cm, 230cm, and 240cm
  • Pieces – Two
  • Material – Aluminum shaft and fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades
  • Shaft – Straight

Pros

  • Silent blade shape
  • Inexpensive
  • Oval grip area

Cons

  • The grip will get hot sitting in the sun
  • Limited lengths

Why We Chose It

Bending Branches crafted a beginner-friendly paddle with features found on higher-end paddles. The Bending Branches Whisper Paddle isn’t explicitly designed as a kayak fishing paddle, but it will get the job done.

The blade design disturbs the water as little as possible when entering and exiting. This is perfect for fishing because the less you disturb the water, the less likely you will scare the fish and the more likely you will catch them.

The grip is oval-shaped, making holding the paddle more comfortable, and it will be less likely to give you blisters. However, the black 3M Versafit will get hot over the aluminum during the summer, so you will need to dunk it in the water when you leave it sitting in the sun.

Because the Bending Branches Whisper Paddle is inexpensive, it doesn’t come in all the lengths every angler might need, but it’s a great option for learning how to kayak fish or young paddlers.

Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider Before Buying An Angler Kayak Paddle

Factors to Consider Before Buying An Angler Kayak Paddle

Buying a lightweight paddle that is comfortable to hold and is efficient to paddle will give you the greatest success on the water. Buying one of the best kayak paddles for fishing will require you to keep several factors in mind –

  • Your height
  • Kayak seat height
  • Kayak width
  • Shaft type
  • Price
  • And material.

If you determine what factors matter most to you ahead of time, then the decision will be simple.

Your Height

A few things determine the length of the angler paddle you need, the first being your height. The paddle will need to be longer as your height increases. The paddle will be further away from the water in a seated position.

Having a paddle with the correct length will keep you from bending too far and help you get a powerful stroke to paddle more efficiently.

Seat Height

Just as your height matters, so does the seat height of your kayak. If you have a sit-in kayak, your paddle won’t need to be as long as someone with a sit-on-top because they will naturally be further from the water.

Kayak Width

The last factor that directly influences paddle length is the width of your kayak. Wider kayaks require a longer paddle. A fishing kayak is typically wider than a recreational kayak, so it often needs a longer than average paddle.

Shaft Type

There are a few different shaft types. Straight vs. bent and adjustable vs. fixed are the ones we will focus on in this article.

Shaft Type of kayak fishing paddle

A straight paddle shaft is the most commonly used and requires very little explanation. A bent shaft is often found on high-end paddles and allows paddlers a more comfortable hand position as they paddle.

A fixed shaft doesn’t have an adjustable ferrule, so you’re stuck with the length and angle of the blade, whereas an adjustable shaft can be customized to fit your paddling style. Of course, adjustable shafts come on high-end paddles with a higher price tag.

Price

If you’re on a tight budget, as most of us are, you will likely have to sacrifice some features to keep within your budget. However, most kayak angler paddles are reasonably priced and are within the same price range.

A good fishing paddle will cost you around $150+. The best paddles will cost $400 or more. A cheap paddle is better than no paddle! I’d rather be kayak fishing with a cheap paddle than not kayak fishing.

Material

The price of a paddle is often determined by the material from which it’s made. Paddles with plastic blades will be less expensive than fiberglass blades or a carbon blend blade material. An all carbon fiber paddle is more durable, lightweight, and more costly than a paddle with a fiberglass shaft.

Aluminum and wood are also used to construct paddles. However, they are the heaviest materials used to make a kayak fishing paddle and are relatively uncommon.

You’ll Also Need

Now that you have your paddle ordered, you’ll need a few other items to make your kayak fishing experience as enjoyable as possible. A few of the following things are must-haves. You shouldn’t leave the shore without them. Others are simply nice to have and make kayak fishing a little easier.

Fishing Kayak

fishing kayak

If you’re searching for a kayak fishing paddle, you’ve likely already purchased a fishing kayak. If not, you should check out my best fishing kayaks under $1000 article to understand what qualities a good fishing kayak typically has.

We also have an article for the best fishing kayaks on the market worth looking into! Remember, a fishing kayak should be more stable than a recreational kayak, but any kayak can be used to fish.

Kayak Fishing PFD

The essential piece of kayak fishing equipment you can purchase is a lifejacket. I rated the NRS Chinook as the best kayak fishing PFD, but any lifejacket is better than no lifejacket. You never know when an accident will happen, that’s why it’s best to keep your PFD on at all times.

Don’t be one of the awful drowning statistics because you refuse to wear a lifevest. I know it’s hot and awkward sometimes, but that’s better than not coming home to your family.

Kayak Fishing Rod

kayak fishing rod

If you’re going to fish, you’ll need a fishing pole! Any pole will work, but some are designed for kayak fishing. The best kayak fishing rods have slightly shorter handles that are less prone to snag in the limited space of a kayak.

Kayak Fishing Tackle Box

A kayak tackle box is another tool you will need while fishing. They help you stay organized, so you don’t lose your favorite lure! When buying a new kayak-specific tackle box, it needs to be compact but large enough to hold your tackle for a day.

Thinking about your kayak tackle management will help you purchase the best kayak tackle box for your situation.

For more tips, check out my beginners’ kayak fishing tips, where I give away my best advice.

Kayak Fish Finder

A kayak fish finder will help you understand what lies below the waters’ surface and other valuable information, but it won’t guarantee that you catch more fish. The best kayak fish finder is a great bonus, but it’s not a necessity.

I recommend learning to fish without one. That way, you know to think like a fish instead of depending on the electronics. Then you can learn to read your fish finder to catch more fish.

Kayak Trolling Motor

kayak trolling motor

Once you’ve used your paddle on a windy day or tried paddling against a strong current, you’ll understand the benefit that a kayak trolling motor brings to the table. This is another tool you don’t have to have, but it’s nice to have in certain situations.

Some kayaks need a special bracket to mount the trolling motor to the kayak, while others are simple to install a trolling motor.

Kayak Trolling Motor Battery

If you have a fish finder and a trolling motor, you need a power source. I have found the best kayak trolling motor battery is a Lithium-Ion battery. Lithium-Ion batteries are more powerful, efficient, and weigh less than Lead-Acid batteries. However, they are much more expensive.

One More Cast

Not all paddles are created equal, as we have discovered. The best paddle for your situation might not be the best paddle for my situation. However, I’m confident that the Bending Branches Angler Ace Snap 2-Piece Kayak Fishing Paddle is one of the best today. I know you won’t be disappointed.

The Bend Branches Angler Ace is expensive, so the Bending Branches Whisper Paddle won’t bust your budget if your budget doesn’t allow for it.

Any paddle can be used to kayak fish, but the best fishing kayak paddle is designed for kayak fishing.

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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