How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash


A kayak paddle leash is an important piece of equipment for kayak fishermen of any level of skill or experience. It allows you to keep your paddle attached to the kayak, as you might have guessed!

If you know how to use a kayak paddle leash, you won’t end up finding your paddle floating away when you were busy scoring a catch for the day!!! Let’s find out how your kayak paddle leash will likely pay for itself many times over!

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash: Overview

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I have created this post to make sure that it contains all the information that you need to learn the proper way how to use a kayak paddle leash! As there are different types of kayak paddle leashes available on the market, choosing the right one can be a bit of an overwhelming task if you don’t know what to look for, and we’re gonna make sure that you know EXACTLY what to look for!

I have broken this post into several different sections so that the flow of the information remains easy to follow. That way, you’ll be done reading this article sooner, and one step closer to getting out onto the water!

You’ll get to read a separate section on the basics associated with the kayak paddle leash – what it is, what its made of, what it is used for, and so on!

Plus, there is a section on a brief how-to-use checklist for a kayak paddle leash – think of it as a quick “cheat sheet”. Apart from that, I have also included a section focusing on the important features that you must consider before buying the best kayak paddle leash. You’ll be able to separate the “best” paddles leashes from the rest in no time!

To further assist you, I have also provided you with a link to my recommendation as to the best kayak paddle leash. By no means is this the ONLY great paddle leash on the market, but it is one that I have experience with and feel comfortable introducing to the KFC community! Moving forward, in the section titled “My Experience,” I will review this product and will provide you with a list of pros and cons.

Enough chit-chat, let’s get after it!!!

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash – Basics:

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

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Shortcut to the Best Kayak Paddle Leash Review

A kayak paddle leash allows you to attach your paddle to your kayak with ease. Why? To help lessen the risk of losing your paddle when you are reeling in a fish or messing with one of the other countless pieces of kayak fishing gear!

A kayak paddle leash is a useful tool for any kayak fishermen (regardless of skill or experience) because you never know when you lose your paddle in the heat of the moment! An expensive mistake (especially if it was the Best Kayak Paddle (wrapped with the Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape))! There are times when you have to make sudden moves and stop right then and there to catch a fish before it pulls off the line!

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

At this time, you don’t care where your paddle ends up – you just want to reel in your catch so you can have bragging rights with your friend! we totally get it!! But what if you need to change your direction quickly, suddenly you find that you’ve lost your paddle?! You may even tip over as you scramble to grab it (unless you’ve learned how to use kayak outriggers and have purchased one of the 5 best kayak outriggers)!

Watching your kayak paddle float helplessly down current or, worse, sink to the bottom of the water is a VERY depressing site – just ask your truly!!! A kayak paddle leash will not only keep your paddle hooked to your kayak, but it remains easily accessible. Its almost like second set of hands!

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

Many kayak paddle leashes are made of water-resistant materials that are very quick to dry in the air. And it is a good feature because you don’t want your leash to stink, distracting your focus, and possibly even smelling worse than a fish! The leashes are lightweight, and they don’t require much maintenance either – perfect, so you can spend your time on the water and away from the cleaning sink!!

Side Note: Want to catch more fish than your friends? Look into whether a Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder would be a good addition to your collection of kayak fishing gear!

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash?

There is nothing difficult associated with using a kayak paddle leash! Nice, right? Finally a piece of kayak fishing gear that is easy to use! Here are some steps that you need to follow, however, just to make sure you are doing everything properly:

  • Get your kayak paddle leash out from its box.
  • Locate the adjustable loop that you will use to attach with the paddle.
  • There will be a hook that you can use to clip with your D-ring, life jacket, or pad eye.
  • Connect both these ends, and make sure that they are secure.
  • Once you have attached both the ends, make sure to practice your strokes on dry land.
  • You need to check that the leash won’t interfere with your strokes, no matter how you stroke.
  • Therefore, you need to check out all strokes that you use on the water, if possible.
  • Once you are comfortable, it’s time to get out on the water.
  • When you return to land, just wash your leash with plain water with some soap in it.
  • You don’t have to use soapy water each time you use the leash.
  • Let your leash air dry by placing it on a rock or a clothesline.
  • Store it away in a cool, dry place.

Side Note: Looking for more of the best kayak fishing gear? See if you might be interested in the Best Kayak Anchor Trolley!

Kayak Paddle Leash – Important Features


There are different types of paddle leashes that you can find on the market. The most common ones, at least in the kayak fishing world, are as follows:


These leashes come with a stainless steel coil, and the coil is covered either with vinyl or plastic coating. This leash can extend and contract as you use, and maneuver it.

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

It doesn’t snag, and it won’t drag in the water to reduce your speed, either. But it does have a stretching limit due to the metal soil it has in it.


These leashes have a bungee cord with high-quality nylon webbing on them. These leashes tend to scratch out easily, and you won’t face any resistance.

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

As there is no metal involved, these leashes are very light. However, these leashes don’t retract to the fullest as the coils do. Therefore, you might drag it in the water if you are not careful.


Straight cable leashes have heavy-duty elastic nylon. These leashes come with an adjustable stopper at one end, and you can set the cable according to your required length.

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

These cables are pretty durable, and they are used for various other purposes too. You can use them for temporary dock lines, tying watercraft together, and kayak tie-downs.


The length of a paddle leash is critical. The proper length, for you, will depend upon your overall height as well as the width of your kayak. You also need a different length of your paddle leash if you are a kayak angler and use your leash to secure the rods. You don’t want your leash to snag under any circumstances.

Therefore, it is better to go for a longer leash to prevent this issue. But of course, you will end up dragging your leash in the water if it is too long. It might end up being caught on the debris, branches, or gear underwater. Not good! Find a happy medium, a nice balance!


Kayak paddle leashes can be very versatile. You can tether one end of it to any of your gear, including your paddle, the oars, poles, rods, and even landing nets. For maximum versatility, you need to look for a leash that features a Velcro strap or similar closure.

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

Such a leash becomes very easy to attach to various items with different diameters. Clip-style or carabiner closures are equally good, but you will need a loop that should be already in place where you can clip such a closure.

Side Note: Want to stay on the water for longer, but without becoming uncomfortable? Look into getting the Best Kayak Seat Cushion!

Buy the Best Kayak Paddle Leash:

Buy on Amazon

The kayak paddle leash that we’ve linked to above is, in our opinion, the best kayak paddle leash that money can buy! This leash is 36 inches long, and you can use it for different purposes. It can effectively work as your paddle leash, as well as a leash for anything else you want to attach to!

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

One of the top features of this kayak paddle leash is that it comes with a Velcro strap on one end. It allows you to attach this leash to any item with a different diameter. On the other end, there is a clip closure that you can use to attach to your D-ring or pad eye.

How to Use a Kayak Paddle Leash

The length of this kayak paddle leash is another great feature of it. When unstretched, it is 36 inches long, and it has a bright red color, so your eye doesn’t miss it (it will also help you be more visible on the water, enhancing not only your safety, but the safety of those around you). It has a solid 316 stainless steel cable in it, and it is designed for saltwater (though, of course, it can be used in fresh water kayak fishing as well). Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any rusting or corrosion! Low maintenance!!

My Experience

As I have had a history in kayak fishing, I have found that this particular paddle leash is the best on the market. By no means is it the ONLY top quality model, but its one that has all of the important features I like to find and has held up, quality wise, year in and year out!

It is affordable and delivers you the value for a long time to come. The company has used 316 stainless steel in the construction of this leash. This steel is resistant to corrosion and rust, and you can conveniently use your leash in saltwater as well (for all of your ocean faring kayak fishermen)!

Another thing that I love about this kayak paddle leash is that it has a Velcro strap on its one end. You can use this strap, and attach it to any item with any diameter. Any product that can serve multiple purposes is a winner in my book! Its like two (or more) for the price of one!

On the other hand, there is a clip-closure that is very convenient to use as well. And the bright red color of this leash makes sure that you don’t lose the sight of your leash in the heat of the moment. 


  • Velcro strap on one end.
  • Easy to use clip-closure.
  • Bright red in color (add to your visibility on the water).
  • 316 Stainless Steel construction (good for saltwater).
  • Anti-rust and corrosion.
  • Made for saltwater.
  • It can be used for tethering various items (I have used on my rod/reel).


●      It doesn’t stretch a long way (which can also be a “pro”).


There you have it!!! I hope you have learned how to use a kayak paddle leash after reading this guide. I made sure to include even the smallest of the details into this post. After reading this, you should not have difficulty finding the best kayak paddle leash for your kayak fishing endeavors!! Of course, if you do, just be sure to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help!

Just a little bit of advice in the end! Don’t take your kayak paddle leash out in whitewater (even if you intend to go kayak fishing in the white water). There is a significant danger of entanglement and you need to avoid this risk at all costs!

Also, carry a sharp knife with you in case of an emergency. The knife will allow you to cut the leash and free it from anything that it inadvertently wraps around! Moreover, you need to choose a leash with a bright color. It will enable you to locate your leash with ease, even in low light conditions!


Did you know that kayak paddle leashes were so critical in terms of keeping your kayak paddle safely attached to you and/or your kayak? Had you even heard of a kayak paddle leash before reading this post? I’ll be honest, I was not familiar with such a piece of kayak fishing gear until one of my fishing buddies in Colorado showed me hers on a recent trip!

Let us know if you have any luck using your kayak paddle leash while you are out fishing! Post in the Comments board below and share your story with us! We read and reply to every comment and love interacting with the kayak fishing community!

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