I have learned many things using a Solo Skiff as much as I have and one of the coolest over time is the Solo Skiff paddles better than I thought it would…much so.
I sight fish all the time and years ago was convinced a push pole was the only way to go in the shallows..not so anymore, at least not using a Solo. Although I still use a push pole from time to time, I paddle my solo skiff most of the time I am fishing. Why ?
It is much faster and easier to quickly and quietly put down a stand up paddle than a push pole.
When I elect too use a pole, I always have my stand up paddle with me as well. I keep the push pole on the right side of the Solo Skiff mounted with railblaza paddle mounts, and I keep my paddle on the left mounted as seen in picture below.
I typically use my push pole when I’m in the Florida Keys or anywhere else where I want to cover a very large area that is shallow (a foot deep or less ) otherwise I just paddle. The pole allows you to really hump it and cover a huge amount of water if you are good at poling. What I do is pole the distances, and when I see fish I put the pole away and pick up the paddle and this works very well for me.
Again, I can tell you from much experience- it is much easier to set down your paddle and pick up your fishing rod without making noise,using a stand-up paddle. There is NO comparison. I have tried both many, many times and can assure you the SUP paddle is the better method…that’s why I have adapted my fishing to using it. I want the SUP paddle in my hands when I get anywhere near a fish.
Some people choose to use a double bladed kayak paddle and that’s fine. I no longer use a double blade again because the SUP paddle is easier to manage.
I have tried a variety of paddles in case you’re wondering and it really is just personal preference what type you use. As you will see in a lot of my videos I use an inexpensive telescoping paddle. I will not elaborate hear there are tons of articles on the web about SUP paddle selection.
The most important thing about your paddle is that you are comfortable with it’s length.
You want an SUP paddle about 12” longer than you are tall… BUT on a Solo if you are standing on your seat when you paddle, add about 10-12” more. When you’re standing on top of the hatch the paddle must be long enough to reach down in the water to get a good dig or paddle stroke. If the paddle is too short you will be bending your back too much to be comfortable, so the longer paddles on the market are the ones you want and it’s based on your height. When you go to buy one imagine standing on a small cooler with the paddle in your hands..
Now for the guys that want to sit and use a double bladed paddle while you fish again length is everything ! Just like choosing a stand up paddle you gotta be sure it’s long enough the same goes for a double bladed kayak paddle if it’s too short you will definitely regret the paddle choice you made..if you can sit on a Solo and hold the paddle you can gauge the length you like.
When it comes to fastening your paddle to the yak you can see in lots of pictures on the website where there is a paddle attached on the left rear of my Solo- that is how and where I attach my paddle. I have only had my paddle come off my boat once in very rough water when I pierced through a large wave. Speaking of that- it’s a good idea if you’re traveling a long way too perhaps attach a small safety lanyard to your paddle to make sure it’s still there when you get there although I have traveled a hundred miles in a week and never lost my paddle. I again have only lost my paddle in rough water- once.
I have a lot of people ask me just how easy the Solo paddles. They ask ‘how’ to paddle it as well. I have said numerous time the Solo Skiff paddles better than you think…no-it doesn’t paddle as easy as a paddleboard, but it does very well for what else it brings to the table. The Solo tracks very well without the skeg of a typical SUP and is still easy to turn on a fish.
I truly think anyone can paddle it with a little practice, get quite good at it.
The good thing I talk about very often is because you do not paddle it, except to move and fish, you do not really get tired because you didnt paddle a mile ! Talking about paddling a mile- I actually made an experimental kickdown skeg that attaches to my grab bar in the back. It rotated around the grab bar making it easy to deploy in seconds and it kicked up if I hit shallow water. I will say it definitely helps convert all paddling effort to straight forward thrust because it removes any tenancy the boat has to yaw even with bad paddling technique. The downside to using it was it was so hard to turn the boat it’s ridiculous but believe me it’ll paddle straight like nobody’s business LOL… you absolutely do not need anything like that though it was more just an experiment…however I do use it on occasion when I’m paddling for very long distances (over a half mile) straight just looking four fish while sight-fishing when I’m covering broad wide open areas especially if there’s a little wind but again it makes the boat very hard to turn !!
One thing I do when I’m paddling in deep water – I use a leash so if I fall off the boat I don’t have to worry about the wind blowing it away, or current sweeping me away…safety first !
Its a very minor cost (20 dollars) for peace of mind, and ultimate safety. Combined with your PFD, you can feel safe out there anywhere paddling your Solo.
I will sum it up by saying get out there and paddle it with an SUP paddle ! Practice makes perfect ! Try it, I think you will agree its awesome way to fish…BTW, watch the paddling video on our site. It is a simple short demo but you WILL see, it paddles pretty easy…
Tight lines friends