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Thread: Advice on buying a new paddle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Default Advice on buying a new paddle

    Silly me. I thought I'd upgraded and installed all the gadgets on my yak. Then I realized while drifting to sleep last night: I can still blow money on a paddle!

    Before I drop the cash, I have a question. I'm 6'3" and in the past my paddle would occasionally hit the rods in their holders while paddling when I'm trolling. Have any of you experienced this? If so, what paddle length has worked for you?

    Extra info: most of my fishing is on the main stem of the mid Chesapeake Bay. I also primarily troll and jig for striped bass.
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  2. #2
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    Jun 2011
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    Here is an excerpt from my book "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" that gives some background on paddle selection:

    "Paddle Selection: If you have a pedal-drive kayak, you should always carry a paddle with you in case of emergency. But it does not need to be an expensive paddle. If you use a paddle-powered kayak, you will use a paddle throughout your trip. Weight does make a difference. The paddle is moved back and forth hundreds of times each trip – a few ounces more of weight contributes to tiredness and soreness by the end of the day. Paddles range in cost from less than $50 to more than $500. The difference in cost relates to the materials (aluminum shafts with plastic blades are inexpensive but heavy; carbon fiber shaft and blades are much lighter and more costly).
    Other features to consider when choosing a paddle are the shaft length and surface area of the blade. Shaft length should be determined by the height of the paddler (distance from shoulder to water), the width of the kayak (wider kayaks need longer shafts), and the primary style of stroke used (vertical stroke uses shorter shaft; horizontal stroke uses longer shaft).

    The blade surface area is a matter of personal preference. Greater surface area provides more thrust per stroke, but requires more effort to pull the paddle. Typically paddles with larger blade area are used by paddlers preferring a vertical stroke pattern, whereas paddles with smaller blade area are used by those with a horizontal stroke pattern. I am very tall in the sitting position. I prefer a large blade area and a long shaft. I could not find a stock paddle that offered that combination in a lightweight carbon fiber material. My local kayak shop worked with me to special order a longer-than-usual shaft (240 cm) to go with a large blade on my new paddle – a custom Werner Ikelos model."

    Earlier this week a post concerning whether to buy low-cost or expensive rods and reels came close to getting cranky and nasty. Clearly there are differences in opinion about whether to spend a lot or a little on anything relating to your kayak. In my 16 years of kayak fishing, I have owned a heavy paddle with aluminum shaft, a moderate weight paddle with a fiberglass shaft, and a very light weight paddle with a graphite shaft. I can tell you that the graphite one does not tire me out as much. Consider the number of times you move your paddle in each trip -- hundreds to thousands. If you are making that motion with several ounces less weight on each stroke, you are doing considerable less work and putting less strain on your muscles and joints. For our younger members, that does not seem like a big deal, but for those of us in our older years, repetitive joint motion leads to soreness and injuries.

    Each of us has an actual budget threshold and possibly a separate willingness-to-spend threshold for each type of gear. I may be willing to spend $350 for a graphite paddle but another angler can justify no more than $150 for a paddle. There is nothing wrong with that. There is almost always a difference between "best" and "best value for the money". Most of us will look for the latter.

    P.S. Most pedal-powered kayak users do not carry an expensive paddle as back-up. They use the paddle to maneuver in shallow water, move through weeds, or in launching and returning. For those purposes an expensive paddle is not needed. I own both a pedal and a paddle kayak -- I bought the carbon paddle for those trips when I paddle. I carry the same carbon paddle on my pedal kayak. I was sure glad I had a lightweight paddle yesterday when the steering cable broke on my pedal kayak. I paddled 2.5 miles into the wind to get back to the launch. If I had a heavier paddle to use, I would have been even more tired.
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Churchton, MD
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    Thanks, John. What about the paddle hitting the trolling rods in the Scotty rod holders? Is getting a shorter paddle going to considerably help with that?
    Trident Ultra 4.3
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Westminster, MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Thanks, John. What about the paddle hitting the trolling rods in the Scotty rod holders? Is getting a shorter paddle going to considerably help with that?
    I take it that your rod holders are in front of you while you paddle? If that is the case you can most likely fix that with rod extenders to just get the rods higher, another thing might be that they aren't far enough forward as far as a mounting point. I would have to see photo. I would not recommend a shorter paddle or you will be hitting your knuckles on the sides of the kayak. My shortest paddle is 225cm but can adjust out to 240cm I have used this paddle on all kayaks. As far as paddles go the more you spend the more weight you save. It's all a matter of budget. Best bang for your buck is fiberglass, with this you save some weight but also there isn't that flex you will get with plastic blades. Without the flex you get more effective paddle strokes and more power. If you have the budget go full carbon, once I did there was really no looking back.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Thanks, John. What about the paddle hitting the trolling rods in the Scotty rod holders? Is getting a shorter paddle going to considerably help with that?
    Before I got my first pedal drive kayak, I used to troll 3 or 4 rods in a paddle kayak. You need to slide the rod holders as far forward as possible. I angle the front rod holders out 45 degrees toward the front. My 11 ft paddle kayak is shown in green. My former 14 ft paddle kayak is shown in orange.

    003.jpg 31.jpg


    With just a little practice, you can modify your paddle stroke to keep from bumping into the rods. Like you, I am quite tall and don't have much trouble making my stroke a bit more toward the vertical.

    I have always used a 240 cm paddle. That works for me.
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  6. #6

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    https://www.amazon.com/Scotty-Gear-H.../dp/B003L4YSAU

    The product description says they will move the rods closer to you, for people the polar opposite of you that are vertically challenged and have the arms of a T-Rex. I'm sure you could turn these around 180 degrees or just adjust them to lean forward vs backwards. They also seem to be able to be set to an angle to raise the height of the rods as well. They seem like the most adjustable option to get the rods in front of you and out of your way. You might even want to start a new thread asking if anyone has experience with these.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
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    The front rod holder setup I showed in the earlier photos works fine for a paddle kayak. But when I first got a pedal kayak, I found that the rod butts bumped into my feet as I pedaled. I bought the Scotty extenders (the middle component shown in Dirty Jake's link). These work very well to move the rod holders and the rod butts away from the pedals. The first two photos show the rod holders in use. The third photo shows my current setup for the front rod holders on my pedal kayak. I attach a standard Scotty base to the gear track using two track slugs. The extender pushes the rod holder out to the side. I also use Scotty slip disks (chartreuse color) in both joints to allow better angle adjustment.

    001.jpg 001.jpg 007_3.jpg
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Churchton, MD
    Posts
    94

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    I think I'll be fine with a long paddle, John. Looking at all of your setups, my Scotty's are FARTHER in front of me than yours. I think just adjusting them to the 45 degree angle you suggested will do the trick.
    Trident Ultra 4.3
    Pompano 120
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    154

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    I'm also in the market for a paddle but I'm planning to buy a pedal yak.

    Any specific fiberglass paddle for recommendation?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Churchton, MD
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    Just bought this one on Amazon for $127. Got the 240cm.

    http://store.carlislepaddles.com/pro...edition_angler
    Trident Ultra 4.3
    Pompano 120
    Garmin Striker 4dv

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