How to Use Kayak Paddles


Do you know how to use kayak paddles? If you do, then you will be able to explore the freedom and beauty of flatwater kayak fishing! It is all about controlling the craft properly and ending up where you want to be (on top of the fish). In this post, you’ll learn about some of the important points associated with kayaking and how to be good at it. Ready to get started?

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How to Use Kayak Paddles – Overview

How to Use Kayak Paddles

In this post, I will provide you with all of the important details that you need to know about how to use a kayak paddle when kayak fishing. I will also provide you with the best kayak paddle that you can use for optimal kayak fishing results. To make sure that the information is easy to sift through, I have broken it down into several different subsections, making everything organized and simple to follow. After all, we want to get you out on the water in a hurry!

I have added one section covering the basics of how to use a kayak paddle, along with a brief “how to use a kayak paddle” checklist that will serve as an easy and quick reference guide. You’ll also get to know the detail behind all of the important features to consider when looking for the best kayak paddle.

Apart from that, I have also included a link to my favorite kayak paddle. I review it briefly and identify several of its pros and cons for your convenience. You can read all these details in the “My Experience” section. Ok, let’s get down to business!

Looking for our opinion on the best all around kayak paddle? You can check it out here! If you are just getting started, however, you need to stick with a kayak paddle for beginners!

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

How to Use Kayak Paddles – Basics

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Shortcut to the Best Kayak Fishing Paddle

A kayak fishing paddle is basically just a tool that allows you to push yourself against the water where you are kayaking. How else did you think you were supposed to get around (unless maybe you have a foot pedal kayak)? The paddle provides you with a form of propulsion to move your fishing kayak in the water. It is an extremely useful tool for the kayak fisherman and you’ll become well acquainted with your paddle over the seasons – trust me.

With the help of this kayak paddle, you can move around in the water with freedom. Forward, backward, side to side, upstream, downstream, into the shallows or out to the deeper waters. It is a simple fact that all kayak fishermen need to be in the right place at the right time to catch their fish. And for this, they need to move around in the water without making too much sound. Thus, the silence of the kayak paddle is a feature of paramount importance.

How to Use Kayak Paddles

With a kayak paddle, one can maneuver with ease. Using a kayak paddle doesn’t involve any rocket science either. No professional instruction or lessons needed. Still, you need to have the correct technique to acquire better results and conserve your effort. Learning how to use a kayak paddle is not too difficult at all, either. Just follow some of the steps that we lay out below!

The only concerning thing is the different models of kayak paddles available on the market. Choosing the right one can be a bit daunting. Remember, you need a KAYAK FISHING paddle. This is going to be different than a rafting or recreational paddle – and don’t get us started on canoe paddles! However, if you know what to look for, you’ll be able to distinguish the high quality kayak fishing paddles from the rest!

In general, we’ve found that it is better to go for lightweight kayak paddles because they allow you to maneuver quickly and smoothly. Carbon-reinforced material is recommended for fishing kayak paddles because such material is strong and light – two of our favorite features. It also doesn’t require much cleaning and maintenance because it won’t corrode like many other metals. Low maintenance? That’s what I’m talking about! More time for the fishing part!!

How to Use Kayak Paddles?

As you can see below, I have broken down the instructions into a step by step guide so you can quickly learn how to use kayak paddles. This list will get you up and running in no time flat! 

  • First of all, unbox your kayak paddles.
  • Now, start identifying different parts in the box.
  • Take out the two paddle pieces and the shaft.
  • Look out for a ferrule inside the box.
  • Connect all three items with ferrule (either screw-in or snap-button).
  • Adjust your grip on the shaft by keeping the center of the shaft right in line of your head.
  • Now by moving, your hands start the paddling strokes.
  • Keep your hands at equidistant from the center when you are holding onto the shaft.
  • Don’t go straight into the water.
  • Try the strokes in the air and get used to its movement.
  • When you feel comfortable, then try the strokes out in the water.
  • Forward-stroke is suitable because it doesn’t take much effort and allows you to propel better in the water.
  • When you’re done kayaking, separate your paddle halves.
  • Rinse the paddle using fresh water after disassembling it.
  • Don’t use bleach or any strong detergent. 
  • You can use warm water and any mild detergent to clean the paddles.
  • Make sure you clean the ferrule and clear out any debris from any of those small areas.
  • Allow your kayak to air dry to prevent any mold development.
  • Now store it away in a cool/dry place (and inside a properly fitting kayak cover (they make waterproof kayak covers as well)).

Best Kayak Paddle – Important Features:


You need to choose the length and size of the paddle according to your comfort body size. Every kayak fishermen is a bit different than the next, so make sure you don’t get persuaded into a “one size fits all” paddle. For an average body frame, the ideal paddle length is roughly 230cm to 240cm in length. Now, this can vary based upon arm lengths and grip strength, but it still holds as a general rule.

To make your grip more comfortable and ergonomic, you need to grab the shaft in a way that doesn’t require much effort from you but will still provide good propulsion. And for this, you need to have the right kind of paddle in length. Too short of length will pull out the force in your stroke, and too long of length will make the paddle a lot heavier (which will tire you out way too quickly).

How to Use Kayak Paddles


A kayak fisherman required an angler-friendly paddle (and NOT a rafting or recreational model). It needs to have a design that doesn’t require you to continuously take care of it and prevent it from dropping into the water. You need to focus on catching fish, your safety, and nothing else. You don’t want any fish to get away while you were messing around with your kayak and paddle. Speaking of safety, please make sure to only on on the water if you are wearing a proper kayak fishing life jacket.


Different manufacturers use different combinations of materials for the construction of these fishing kayak paddles. More common materials in this regard are aluminum, fiberglass, or plastic. But they all have their pros and cons. Aluminum is durable, but it is heavy and corrosion-prone (lots of dents and dings). Fiberglass and plastic are light, but they are not very durable (in general, there are exceptions). Therefore, KFC suggests that you need to go for carbon-based paddles because they are both lightweight and durable!

Inbuilt measurement system

Being a kayak fisherman, you need to be very precise with your catch. Sometimes applicable laws actually govern what size of fish you can keep and what you must throw back! Well, did you bring along your tape measure?

How to Use Kayak Paddles

Luckily, you don’t need a measuring stick to be there in your gear when your paddle can serve this purpose abundantly well! Look for a fishing kayak paddle that has a measuring system in inches or centimeters on its shaft. It allows you to measure your catch. See? How convenient is that?!


If you travel for your kayak fishing trips, then you need to have a highly portable paddle. A paddle that you can conveniently assemble and disassemble will prove to be handy when it comes to storage. Look for a paddle that has a ferrule with a snap-button or screw-in mechanism. No special tools required! When you disassemble the paddle, it becomes very easy to store in a small vehicle trunk or under the seat.

How to Use Kayak Paddles

Hook retrieval mechanism

Being a kayak fisherman, especially if you don’t commonly fish tandem style, you will need some extra help, and your paddle can serve the purpose! However, to do so it will need to have a line or hook retrieval mechanism. This type of mechanism will enable you to free any snagged hook, rescue your lure, or even pull in any large fish without a partner! Also, with this design, you won’t have any loose cords in your way!

Buy the Best Kayak Paddle

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We’ve searched far and wide and we think that the Angler Ace by Bending Branches is the top of the line when it comes to kayak fishing! This paddle is made of high-quality carbon, which makes it extremely lightweight yet durable. You can easily maneuver it and move around on the water with ease.

Another excellent feature of this kayak paddle is that it is available in three different lengths, including 220 cm, 230 cm and 250 cm. Remember the importance of aligning your body type with the proper fit (discussed above)? The differing lengths allow you to choose the right size and length according to your height and width!

The Angler Ace also comes with a hook retrieval system that allows you to pull in a larger catch or get rid of the cords on water. It also allows you to free your grubs when they get stuck somewhere. This is extremely convenient and will actually pay for itself over time!

Apart from that, we love that this kayak fishing paddle also has a measuring system right on its shaft. It is available in inches as well as centimeters. It enables you to measure your catch with ease. Finally, the paddle is very easy to assemble and disassemble (no special tools are needed), and you can break it down and store conveniently in your hull, trunk or garage. I have taken mine on backpacking trips – nothing to it!

My Experience with Angler Ace Kayak Paddle

When I bought this kayak paddle from Bending Branches, I anticipated that there wouldn’t be any better kayak paddle on the market – I heard this from a number of trusted sources. And that’s exactly what I concluded after using it. This kayak paddle is a true gem because it comes with everything that you need to make you an efficient and competitive kayak fisherman – regardless of level of skill or experience.

It is durable and lightweight and comes with a measuring system on its shaft. The paddle heads meet the industry quality standards too. It is an angler friendly paddle that has a hook-retrieval mechanism in place too. Freeing your lure and pulling in big catches won’t be a thing for you. Finally, you can disassemble it with ease using the snap-button system, for easy storage and portability.

By the way, if you want to navigate your fishing kayak some way other than by paddle, you could look into getting a fishing kayak with a motor. Just a thought. You could always remove the motor if you wanted!

Some of the pros and cons of this particular kayak fishing paddle are as follows:


  • Its shaft boasts a measuring system on it (inches and centimeters).
  • Made with durable yet lightweight carbon material.
  • A hook-retrieving mechanism is there, and you can pull in big fish and rescue your jigs using it (pays for itself over time).
  • Don’t need to keep it on your kayak with your hand or something else because it won’t sink into the water.
  • With a snap-button system assembling and disassembling is easy, and it makes storage convenient too.
  • 3 different lengths are available including 220 cm, 230 cm, and 250 cm.


  • Not too fine with the offset adjustment (other models of paddle have more adjustability in terms of offset).


You’ve made it to the end! I hope this “how to use kayak paddles” guide by KFC has proved to be very informative for you. I have included all the bits and pieces of information that you could possibly need to use a kayak paddle correctly (and with the least amount of effort).  

I have also provided you with some information on what features to look for when buying a kayak paddle. Hopefully this helps you become a more knowledgeable buyer when looking for your own model. If you want to go with our recommendation, the Angler Ace kayak paddle (linked to above) is, in our opinion, the best money can buy. It has all the features that you need in a kayak fishing paddle!

It has a measuring system on its shaft and comes with a hook retrieving system as well. The construction of this kayak paddle is very light and durable, and it is next to effortless to assemble (and disassemble, for that matter). The paddle will enable you to make your way through the water with the least amount of effort. You can focus on catching your fish instead of babysitting your paddle. Nice, huh?


Did you think this was a helpful article in terms of helping you learn about how to use a kayak paddle? Did you learn anything new? What about any tips or tricks that you might want to share with the other kayak fishing enthusiasts on this thread? We’d love to hear for you – just post below! We read and reply to every comment!

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