Best Kayak Paddles for Fishing: Reviews and Buying Guide

You pay a hefty sum for your fishing gear. You bought a top-notch fishing kayak with the greatest features and the most ergonomic design. You thought you were ready to reel in some big catches far from shore—but you overlooked a set a quality paddle to get you there.

More often than not, the suitability of your paddle to your height and kayak can be the difference between a good fishing day and a great fishing day. A paddle that doesn’t fit you well will take a toll on your back.

As the kayak angling industry grows, the market is jam-packed with paddle options, which differ drastically in build quality and durability. That’s why there’s more to choosing the right paddle for you than just finding one that fits your budget and calling it a day.

Let’s explore some of the best kayak paddles for fishing available on the market today. I’ll also present a concise buying guide towards the end to help you get some idea of what you should be looking for in a good pair of paddles.

 

 

Top Pick

If you’re pressed for time, my top pick for this roundup is the Cannon Escape kayak paddle. It is durable, performs exceptionally well, comes in several different lengths, and makes the paddling process effortless.

 

 

The Best Kayak Paddles Reviewed

Cannon Escape Kayak Paddle

This kayak paddle is tough, well-made, and durable enough to last you through years of usage. It’s lightweight and comes in several different lengths.

 

Key Features

  • Reinforced fiberglass and nylon blades
  • Heat-treated aluminum shaft
  • Two-piece paddle
  • Three offset angle configurations

 

What I like about this product

This paddle features a two-piece design with a three-blade configuration. Its light weight, combined with reinforced fiberglass and black nylon offers great stability. The shaft is heat-treated and made from aircraft grade aluminum, which provides an excellent strength to weight ratio. Its oval design for both grips affords it great comfort and better control.

It also features drip rings to prevent water from dripping down the shaft, which keeps your hands dry so you can fish comfortably.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Although this paddle claims to have ovalized grips, the ovalizing is very subtle. It has an average weight but can feel heavier, especially when you paddle for longer distances.

 

 

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Available in multiple lengths
  • Anodized, aircraft grade aluminum
  • Heavy duty drip rings

 

Cons

  • Can feel heavier when paddled for longer distances

 

If you’re looking for a good entry-level paddle on a budget, this makes the cut.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Carlisle Predator Angler

The Predator Angler is a fine work of craftsmanship, and since Carlisle is a brand you can put your faith in, you can trust that you’ll be getting a paddle on the higher end of the market.

 

Key Features

  • Available in 230, 220, 240, and 250 cm variants
  • High-quality fiberglass and reinforced nylon construction
  • A feathering angle of 0 to 60
  • Comes with a hook retrieval notch
  • Weighs 2.4 lbs.

 

What I like about this product

It features a strikingly exotic design which comes in three different color variations – camo, lime camo, and urban camo. The shaft is crafted from fiberglass, which makes it fairly lightweight, so you can cover longer distances without worrying about straining your muscles.

The blades are made from a blend of reinforced fiberglass and polypropylene – a choice which keeps the paddle lightweight but adds to its durability. In plain English, it’s built to take some punishment, and this paddle will be with you for many fishing trips to come.

They also feature an innovative hook retrieval system. This system helps you cast and reel in your fishing line. If you’re new to angling, it can save you a lot of time and trouble. This feature alone makes it one of the best kayak paddles for fishing.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The only gripe I have with this otherwise flawless paddle is its stiff lock button. As I mentioned above, it’s a two-piece model – the paddles can be pieced together with the touch of a button. Unfortunately, that button, in this case, is almost unyielding to fingers, so you’ll likely have to use some sort of tool to press it.

 

Pros

  • Ideal for both newbies and seasoned kayaking anglers
  • Two-piece design for better portability and easy storage
  • Hook retrieval system to help novice anglers
  • Fairly lightweight but sturdy
  • Eye-catching design

 

Cons

  • Pricier
  • Stiff locking button

 

All in all, it’s a great lightweight yet durable design with a neat hook retrieval system. If you can swallow the price tag, this model has plenty of value to offer.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Seattle Sports SeaWhisper

Seattle Sport’s SeaWhisper is easily among the most reasonably priced carbon paddle. It provides considerable value and delivers exceptionally high-quality.

 

Key Features

  • Two-piece carbon shaft
  • Available in 210, 220, 230, and 240 cm variants
  • Glass reinforced nylon blades
  • Glows in the dark for enhanced visibility
  • Easy-catch blades which let your retrieve your fishing line

 

What I like about this product

The shaft has carbon construction, which is not just strong but also very lightweight. The other remarkable feature would be its cam-locking ferrule which lets you adjust the offset blade angles or feathering, which in turn affords greater precision and control to the user.

It has a notch blade design – a feature more commonly found in high-end paddles, which lets you cast and retrieve fishing lures with convenience. This makes it a great paddle for fishing. You can also use it to recover lost valuables. It is integrated with a leash loop, so you don’t lose it easily.

When you’re kayaking in low-light, the glow-in-the-dark drip rings and the reflective blades provide much-needed visibility, which often translates into safety.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Some customers have reported dripping issues because of shoddy craftsmanship, but these complaints are the exception, not the rule. Since it’s not suited for open ocean waters, I’d recommend pairing it with a lighter kayak and paddling in more placid and calm waters.

 

Pros

  • High strength to weight ratio
  • Adjustable feathering
  • Eye-catching colors

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t fare well in open seas
  • Can have occasional drip issues

 

If you’re looking for a paddle which let you customize the length and feathering, while also providing a high strength to weight ratio, this model is the answer.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Carlisle Magic Mystic

If you’re a seasoned kayak angler who doesn’t want to spend a small fortune on a paddle to get great performance, the Carlisle Magic Mystic may be an attractive option for you.

 

Key Features

  • Two-piece anodized aluminum shaft
  • Fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene blades
  • Available in 220, 230, and 240 cm versions
  • Dual drip rings

 

What I like about this product

This model is easily the best paddle for under $100. Not only is it inexpensive, but it’s also pretty lightweight and durable. The shaft has a somewhat unconventional design, which is slightly contoured. The idea is to reduce the strain on your arms and hands if your grip is strong.

The blades have a sort of ‘cupped’ shape which bites into the water better. Speaking of blades, they feature bright colors for added safety. They also make it easier to spot your paddle if you happen to drop it. These paddles can take a beating too, so you won’t have to worry about splitting them if you bump them into a rock or a tree branch.

To keep the dripping at the minimum and your hands completely dry, it features dual grip rings. So, you won’t lose the grip of your fishing rod when you switch from kayaking to angling. This paddle has a two-piece design to make storage and portability more convenient.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The asymmetrical design of the shaft can be unappealing to some, but I submit that it’s mostly a matter of personal preference and not an objective drawback.

 

 

Pros

  • Alleviates stress
  • Highly durable
  • Bright colored blades for added safety

 

Cons

  • The curvy design choice might not appeal to everyone

 

Overall, this paddle performs decently. It’s durable, has an ergonomic design built to reduce stress on your muscles, and for a price as low as $50, this model is a steal.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Seasense Xtreme II

If aesthetics matter to you (let’s face it, who doesn’t prefer something that looks good?), the Seasense Xtreme II comes in a range of colors and design options, from sea-green to bright blue—there is a color for just about anyone.

 

Key Features

  • Available in two different sizes
  • Several aesthetically pleasing colors, which double as safety precautions
  • Ridges on the shaft mean more added strength
  • Adjustable drip guards

 

What I like about this product

The shaft uses an aluminum material, which is resistant against saltwater corrosion. You’ll also notice that the shaft comes with a support ridge. This support ridge is meant to provide added strength, giving you one less thing to worry about.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The blades are narrow in size, which means they won’t perform when you’re kayaking in choppy river water. The feather-shaped paddles are made of plastic – which can be tough, but not as tough as fiberglass-reinforced nylon. So, kayak accordingly. The blades are heavier than average too, so don’t expect to cover longer distances without straining your muscles. You can still cast your line somewhat closer to the shore and reel in some good fish, though.

 

Pros

  • Durable, rust-resistant aluminum shaft
  • Ideal for recreational kayaking
  • Attractive design

 

Cons

  • Heavier blades
  • Narrow blades

 

In a nutshell, this paddle’s shaft is fairly durable. The blades, not so much. Despite that shortcoming, it can perform respectfully well in calm lakes and over shorter distances

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Bending Branches Whisper Dream

If you’re looking for a paddle to cover longer distances, without straining or fatiguing your muscles, Bending Branches’ Whisper Dream might just be it.

 

Key Features

  • Ovalized grips
  • Heavy-duty drip guards
  • A fiberglass and nylon construction
  • Two-piece design

 

What I like about this product

If you often lose your grip because your paddle becomes slippery, this model might be the solution. It uses ovalized grips, which are coated to provide you with a more secure grip. The blades are crafted from a combination of fiberglass and injection-molded nylon, which keeps them lightweight, allowing you to paddle for extended periods, minus the fatigue. That means you can fish further away from shore and find spots that you’d have otherwise missed.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Since it’s a two-piece design, it uses a push button to piece together the two components. The quality of this button is iffy and feels very flimsy.

 

Pros

  • Easily stored
  • Portable
  • Dual feathering
  • Available in four different sizes

 

Cons

  • Not very durable
  • The push button doesn’t feel sturdy enough

 

Although its durability might not be this paddle’s selling point, it is still a well-crafted paddle which won’t cause you discomfort, even after prolonged use. If you’re just getting into kayaking, I strongly recommend this model.

 

Overall Rating – 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shoreline Marine

If you’re on a tight budget, the Shoreline Marine is a decent, budget-friendly option.

 

Key Features

  • Aluminum shaft
  • Available in two different sizes
  • Comes in two solid colors
  • Drip guards to keep your hands dry

 

What I like about this product

It is available in two different colors, solid black and blue, both of which look good. It also comes in two different shaft lengths, 72- and 96-inches. The shaft is aluminum which provides a surprisingly secure grip. The drip guards keep your hands nice and dry and prevent the shaft from getting slippery.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The blades are pretty narrow, and they don’t provide much speed or acceleration. Since the paddle is lightweight, it won’t be a good fit for kayaking in choppy waters.

 

 

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Can be stored easily
  • Convenient portability

 

Cons

  • Not the right choice for veteran or professional paddlers

 

This affordable paddle might not outstrip its competitors, but it gets the job done. If you’ll be sticking to fishing in still lakes and placid rivers, this paddle has a lot of value to offer for the price.

 

Overall Rating – 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Kayak Paddle Buying guide

A wide array of factors come into play when you’re deciding on a paddle model. Here’s a breakdown of a few of the most crucial ones.

Paddle size

Before you make your purchase, the paddle size is the first thing you need to pick. Which paddle size is the right one for me? Good question. Here’s the answer: it depends on your height. As a rule of thumb, the taller your torso height, the more paddle length would be appropriate for you.

 

Paddle weight

The weight of the paddle is another important deciding factor. More often than not, paddling with a heavier paddle can mean discomfort, fatigue, and strain on the muscles. If you aren’t using the paddle for serious kayaking, a paddle with a slightly higher weight than average should do the trick. However, if you’ll be covering longer distances, it’s better to stick to a lighter variant.

Construction material is what most influences the weight of a paddle. While aluminum is a more economical option, it weighs considerably more than a fiberglass design. If you don’t wish to cheap out, a fiberglass paddle would be your best bet.

 

 

Blade angle

Every paddle I listed in this roundup can feather, which comes in handy when the wind is blowing while you’re kayaking. Generally, wider blades provide better customizability for feathering.

 

Final thoughts

This roundup of some of the best paddles on the market today should help you shortlist a few promising candidates. When I say, ‘the best,’ that’s not an objectively true title. To you, the best kayak paddle for fishing would be the one which meets your requirements and preferences best.

If I had to recommend just one paddle though, the Cannon Escape would be my first choice. It makes covering longer distances a breeze, and it’s fairly durable. It also provides outstanding precision and control. For these reasons, it’s not difficult to see why this model made the cut.

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