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Choosing a paddle

If your kayak were a car, then the paddle combines the function of steering wheel, brakes, and most importantly engine, so you can see just how important choosing a decent paddle is to your kayak fishing happiness.
On the face of it, there are a confusingly large number of variables to chose when it comes to selecting a paddle, what size blades, which type of shaft material, cranked or straight, how long, the list goes on and on. Also, a lot of the information out there applies more to sea kayaks than sit on tops, so I've tried to thin things down a bit and look at each area one at a time.


Length - the taller you are the longer the paddle you'll want, but as we tend to paddle relatively wide sit on tops in the first place, the blades tend to be longer than for narrower sea kayaks. Most people will settle for a 215cm or 220cm blade, I'd try both an see which you get on with, the actual blade should be completely under water during the power stroke, but only just, if a the top of the blade is out of the water, you probably need a longer paddle.


Size - I like big blades, now again sea kayakers will tend to use a medium size blade, such as a Werner Shuna, because they will be paddling all day. I tend to paddle for a round 60 minutes max to get to a mark, and then fish. Big blades need more effort and wear you out quicker, but I like them because if you do need power, in the surf for example, then it's on tap. The younger and fitter you are, the better you'll be able to handle a big blade for longer periods of time.


Material/Weight - this is a straight trade off, the more you pay, the stiffer the material and the lighter it will be. Overall, Carbon paddles tend to be both strong and light, but they also tend to be more expensive.


Shaft - most people will start off with a straight shaft, but there are advantages to cranked shafts in that they can make it more efficient to paddle, it's worth trying a cranked shaft to see how you get on with it.
 

Recommended book


Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

Purchase online!