What Is a Fishing Kayak Paddle? (And 3 Reasons To Own One!)

There are many advantages to using a paddle designed specifically for kayak fishing! My fishing paddle has come in handy more than a few times and has already saved many favorite fishing lures on numerous occasions each! Kayak fishing paddles have unique features that set them apart from the other paddles!

Kayak fishing paddles are made from lightweight materials that allow you to fish all day comfortably. The paddles are notched to retrieve baits and lures, and the shafts have a measuring tape to size your catch. They have serrated edges for pushing and break down into two pieces for easy transport.

Kayak fishing paddles are very much designed to enhance your angling experience while on the water! And to be honest, most of the fishing-specific paddles are not priced too much different from traditional kayak paddles of the same quality!

Interested in taking a look? Check out the Kayak Fishing Paddles under $100 on Amazon!

A paddle designed with fishing in mind is much more beneficial to you as an angler and will make your day exponentially easier. You’ll also enjoy the functionality of your multi-use paddle!

Fisherman walking with Kayak in Water

Three Main Kayak Fishing Paddle Features

Kayak fishing paddles are built for sport fishing at its finest! Once you begin to use a paddle that has been designed and developed for fishing, you’ll never want to be without one!

Handy Hook Retrieval

This is by far the best feature and the one I tend to use more than the others!

I’m not certain how often you get your baits hung up in overhanging branches or on submerged structure, but losing a few crankbaits or spinnerbaits can become expensive! I’ve saved a number of my lures using the notch in the paddle!

With a hook retrieval system in your paddle, you run your fishing line through the slot and then run your paddle down to the bait and can free it from beneath the water. If you cast your lure into an overhanging branch, you use the same procedure except upwards! It works well either way!

If you have a regular kayaking paddle with you, you’ll either have to pull on the line by hand to free the lure or point your fishing rod at the stuck lure and pull back sharply.

When using your hands or fishing rod to free a lure, I’ve had them come flying back at me at high speeds! Be careful if you use these methods, and wear good sunglasses to protect your eyes!

Easily Measure Fish on Your Kayak

Another handy feature of a paddle designed for fishing is the measuring tape you have on the handle! It may be a decal or imprinted directly onto the paddle shaft.

Measuring Tape on Shaft

This feature comes in handy when fishing on waters with a slot or length limit. You can quickly measure your fish and release it safely back to the water with minimal stress to the fish!

It also keeps you from having other measuring devices, like one of the many different bump boards in your kayak. The fewer loose items you have laying in your kayak, the better off you are, right?

For more information on bump boards, check out the article Top 3 Bump Boards Explained: A Must-Have for Measuring Fish

Also, keep in mind if you are a member of or fish in the KBF (Kayak Bass Fishing) Trail Series, you’ll need to have a stand-alone measuring device that meets the KBF Competition Rules Standards.

Serrated Blades for Better Pushing Off Ability

Serrated edge blades are great when you are fishing shallow waters inshore or offshore. When you want to push off from rocky bottoms or even oyster beds, the serrated blade will give you solid contact with the bottom! The serrated edge works great on slick bottoms too!

When using a regular paddle, the blade will often slip or slide when pushing off since the edges are smooth! A serrated blade is a definite advantage when you need to move to deeper water quickly.

What Kayak Fishing Paddles Are Made From

Not all kayak paddles are created or made equal! There are different materials and different uses for differing paddles! When choosing a kayak paddle, I would advise you to choose the lightest weight paddle you can.

The majority of kayak paddles are made from the following materials.


You’ll find the majority of inexpensive kayak paddle shafts are made from aluminum. The heavier aluminum materials mean heavier paddles which means it will take more effort from you on each stroke!

It may not seem like much, but after a long day on the water or paddling back against the wind, these strokes will add up on your body!

With aluminum shafts are durable and highly economical as far as pricing goes. One thing to keep in mind is that they can also become pretty hot or cold to the touch!

Try to keep them out of the sun during the hot summers as they can become quite uncomfortable when hot. And if you fish during the colder weather, be sure to wear appropriate gloves before grabbing your paddle!


Fiberglass is inexpensive to produce and durable, making it a popular material to build paddles from!

Many intermediate paddles are built from fiberglass. They are lighter than aluminum shafts and will last you a long time when taken care of properly.

They also do not become hot to the touch like the aluminum paddles do!


Carbon is the King of Kayak Paddles! The two main benefits of a carbon paddle shaft and blade are:

  • Lightweight
  • Stiffness

With the stiffness of carbon, it won’t flex as much as blades made from plastic and fiberglass. And since it doesn’t “flex,” more of your energy is used to paddle instead of bending the blade. The more the blade bends, the more energy you lose!

Between using less energy while paddling and the light weightedness of the paddle itself, you’ll find yourself not as fatigued after a good long day of fishing!

How To Size a Fishing Kayak Paddle – Quick and Easy

Now I’ve always used a “What feels good to me” approach when making purchases when I’m in a kayak shop or retail store. Plus, I’ve had some time in a kayak which makes a huge difference when purchasing a paddle or anything else for that matter!

If you aren’t able to get a hands-on opportunity and will be making your purchase online, here’s a composite of sizing guidelines for you to use.

Keep in mind the above chart is a guideline to sizing yourself for a paddle. Everyone has a unique body and preference for how something feels in their own hands and operates for them.

I’d suggest using the chart and visiting a good kayak shop or retailer with knowledgeable staff to assist you with your purchase! If not, the chart above and your body’s instincts will tell you if it’s a good fit for you.

Best Kayak Fishing Paddle Under $100

When fishermen vote with their money you simply must sit up and take notice!

The following three kayak paddles are popular and good quality paddles. If you do not own a paddle designed for fishing and are interested in trying one, any of the following three will get you started in the right direction!

Poseidon Angler Fishing Lightweight Kayak Paddle – An aluminum shaft and plastic blade paddle. A very popular and economical fishing kayak paddle for those just beginning their fishing adventures!

Features include hook retrieval notch, tape measure, and an adjustable shaft with indexing, showing you where to place your hands on the paddle.

Best Marine Kayak Fishing Paddle – With a carbon fiber shaft and ABS blades, this paddle is an outstanding overall value. The carbon shaft will be lightweight and a joy to use all day long!

Features include a hook retrieval notch, a 40″ tape measure on the shaft, breaks down into two pieces, and also comes with a 5′ paddle leash.

Bending Branches Angler Scout – Bending Branches builds terrific high-end paddles. The Angler Scout is an entry-level fishing paddle made in the USA. The shaft is an oval-shaped aluminum shaft with a polymer and fiberglass-reinforced blade.

Features include a hook retrieval notch, a three-hole snap-button system to change up the paddle’s angles, and breaks down into two pieces.

Seriously, for under $100 price point one of these three paddles will fit you nicely.

If you want to look at a paddle that also has serrated edges that won’t break the bank, definitely take a look at the Backwater Paddles Assassin Carbon Fiber Paddle! I think you’ll appreciate the extra features!

Have fun and stay safe out there!

Mike Rodman

Mike enjoys fishing all year round, from fly fishing small streams in Wyoming's higher mountains to kayak fishing the lower altitude lakes and reservoirs. Mike also has a passion for ice fishing. When he has spare time, he'll be found at his rod bench building custom fishing rods.

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