As fishing from canoes becomes more popular across the United States, many anglers are stumped on how to pick the proper canoe paddle.
Picking the proper paddle is easy, and it will greatly increase the enjoyment of a long canoe excursion. Choosing a paddle that is too short can lead to quick fatigue of the back muscles. The shorter length also forces you to stretch in one direction towards the water.
Trust me, this position can quickly turn an enjoyable fishing trip into a nightmare. A paddle that is too long causes your strokes to be weak and ineffective. A paddle that is just right provides comfort and efficiency. This makes fishing and canoeing a blessing, not a curse.
Every paddle has a purpose.
Lake water paddles are designed to be used for travel that requires thousands of paddle strokes. These paddles typically have long, narrow blades for smooth, strong strokes in lake water.
Traditionally, these paddles are made from wood. Wood paddles have a good feel and are aesthetically pleasing. Wood paddles do require some care though.
If there are dents or scratches on your paddle you will need to sand down and revarnish the paddle. This keeps the paddle from splitting and rotting. Most people fishing from canoes are in still water and use lake water paddles for travel.
To pick a paddle that will be the proper length for you, use what I call the “mustache method.”
If you find yourself in a store that sells paddles, simply walk, up grab a paddle and let it stand on the floor. The handle of the paddle should hit you in-between the chin and your nose. Using the mustache method, the handle lands in this area and coincidentally make you look like you’re wearing a goofy mustache.
To determine the proper length of a paddle from home, squat down with your bottom about six inches off the floor. Using a tape measure, measure from the floor to your nose. Take this length and add 20 inches. This will give you a rough estimate of what the length of a proper paddle should be.
Once you have chosen the perfect paddle, get out on the water. Take that paddle and put it to good use. You’ll be glad that you picked the correct paddle. Hopefully, it got you there and back comfortably.