I have been fishing from a kayak for many years now. For more than a decade my boat of choice has been a well-worn sit-in boat from Wilderness Systems. That boat served me well, but recently I took the plunge and invested in sit on top kayak. A purpose built fly fishing kayak the Jackson Kayak Mayfly. I will give a full review on the boat once I finish all of my riggings and get more familiar with it.
As I was transferring essential gear from one boat to the other, one of the first pieces of kit to have a permanent home in my new boat was my hand paddle. A hand paddle is a short one handed paddle used to position the kayak while fishing. As all kayakers are aware, the standard two bladed paddle can become a cumbersome obstacle when fishing. To use it to make a correction in boat position one needs to put down the fishing rod and pick up the paddle. What to do with the paddle when fishing is a separate issue. If you need to have quick access to the paddle, the standard technique is to lay it across lap where it is constantly in the way. If you stow it, then you are wasting time and energy each time you have to retrieve it to make a minor change in boat position while fishing.
The solution to this dilemma is the hand paddle. A hand paddle is essentially a short paddle designed to be used comfortably and efficiently with one hand. This paddle can be used to correct a kayak’s position without ever putting down your fishing rod. They can also be used as a form of propulsion while fishing, allowing you move along a shoreline while casting
In the early days, I used an actual white water hand paddle designed to be worn like a glove. Slipping it on and off was a little inconvenient but far less so than reaching for my full-size paddle. I could keep my paddle stored on the side of the boat and fish unencumbered.
The Backwater Paddle Company
A number of years ago the Backwater Paddle Company. At the time, Backwater manufactured small light weight wooden hand paddles. These one handed paddles were far more efficient than the glove type. They were easier to use and much faster to deploy. I have no affiliation with this company, but I thought I would share some info about a product that has worked well for me.
The first model I purchased had a short, square-shaped blade called the Predator. Next, the company introduced a longer bladed model called the Piranha. This paddle had a few extra features in addition to the hook used for grabbing onto objects. It was longer with a different blade profile and had a serrated section for pushing off objects on shore or in the water. Several years later the company developed their current product the Assault Hand Paddle. The Assault shares the same features of the Piranha but with a few upgrades. The paddle is made of a practically indestructible fiberglass infused polypropylene plastic that is guaranteed against breakage. The paddle weighs 12 ounces and floats in the event you drop it overboard. It has a comfortable neoprene covered handle that gives a comfortable, secure hold in any weather condition. The Assault paddle is the one I am currently using, and I highly recommend the product. If you fish from a kayak or even a canoe, I consider this paddle an essential piece of equipment.
I don't believe the two wooden paddles (the Predator and the Piranha) are in production these days. The assault model seems to be the only paddle being made today. It is available in OD Green and a hi-viz orange.