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Proper Technique for Paddling a Fishing Kayak

by Jeff Herman

One of the great things about kayak fishing is that almost anybody can do it. But you need to understand that developing proper paddle technique is very important because not only will it make you more efficient on the water, it will also make you safer on the water.

In particular, poor technique will tire your body much more quickly and leave you less prepared to deal with changing conditions or dangerous situations. Practicing good technique will also equip you to deal with unexpected and challenging water or weather conditions. So in this video we're going to look at a few simple ways to improve your paddling technique and make you more comfortable and safer on the water.

The first thing we're going to look at today is proper sitting position in the kayak. One of the things that separates a very basic fishing kayak from a higher quality fishing kayak is the comfort of the seat. In fact, many fishing kayaks have seats so comfortable they make you want to lounge in them. Of course, there's nothing wrong with lounging in a kayak, but when you're actively paddling you need to sit up straight with your legs comfortably bent and splayed out and your feet supported by the foot pedals. This leg position makes sitting upright easier and reduces the strain on your hamstrings and lower back.

Now that you're sitting properly to paddle, a key concept to understand is that all your strokes should use much more than just the muscles of your arms. You need to use the power of torso rotation, which means engaging your whole upper body for your strokes. To do this, you need to twist at your waist when you take a paddle stroke rather than just pulling with your arms. This means if I'm reaching forward to take a stroke with my left blade I push my left shoulder forward and rotate my upper body to the right. Now, when I plant my blade in the water and pull on it, I'm not just pulling with my arms, I'm pulling with my whole upper body.

So, there you have it. I hope you found this video helpful.

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