One of the cool things about having a blog is every now and then I get the chance to do a product review. A few months back, the crew at Bending Branches asked for feedback on their new 2017 Angler Pro kayak fishing paddle. I purchased my first Bending Branches paddle in 2010 and it’s still in service today. Naturally with that kind of durability, I was excited for the opportunity to give them honest feedback. Especially after learning it's being sold at a lower price point. Yep, they’ve made improvements without raising the price. That never happens!
|The new "Raptor" color.|
Not only was the fishing terrific that week (Read about it here), I also learned how the entire process works from start to finish. Disclaimer, my wife explained it to me later because I was busy talking to Bill from Branches about the fishing. However, I do remember seeing the three sweet color options available and something about “lean manufacturing” and how every Angler Pro is made to order. Meaning when an order is placed, the paddle is made and shipped soon after. There’s no standing inventory to pull from which is important because that new paddle you just purchased is literally a new paddle. It hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for a year waiting to be sold.
The next afternoon, I put the new Angler Pro in my hands for the first time and was instantly impressed. I didn’t have the specs at the time but I did have my earlier version of the same paddle to compare. The prior version is 30 oz and the new version felt lighter. You can see from the picture that the blade has also been redesigned. Full specs are included below.
|The new Angler Pro is slightly shorter|
I’m sure someone vaguely familiar with fluid dynamics can offer a better explanation but all I have is that the blade sliced through the water so easily and silently, I had to do the Aaron Rodgers “Discount Double Check” more than once to be sure it was actually in the water. At least that’s how my kayak angler mind explained the feeling in my hands. The new Angler Pro was a joy to paddle because it felt like I was moving water without the normal resistance or sound that happens when you pull a blunt object through water.
|Mile 7 on the Buffalo National River.|
Fatigue and discomfort are two things that can have a negative impact on your outing. After a month of regular use, I’ve yet to experience any shoulder soreness or develop any blisters. The Angler Pro comes with an oval shaped carbon fiber shaft that offers both, comfort and a solid grip. It has just enough flex to be forgiving on the elbows and wrists but doesn’t sacrifice responsiveness. Rest assured when you need to move water, it will move water.
|Buffalo National River|
|My daughters on one of many trips this summer|
Recently my family paddled 9-miles on the Buffalo National River. My 10-year-old daughter paddled her JK Skipper the entire trip using the new Angler Pro and never complained. The ability to adjust the paddle length, the light weight and the over-all comfort provided her with a great experience. It was a proud moment for me and I think the paddle made a big difference. We’re both looking forward to more paddling adventures together.
Whether you’re paddling several miles between fishing holes or just trying to get your kids more involved in the sport, this paddle should be at the top of your list. The award-winning features that made the Former Angler Pro, YakAngler’s Kayak Fishing Paddle of the year from 2013-2016, have been improved. The quality and performance that I’ve come to expect from Bending Branches is undeniable in the new, 2017 Angler Pro.
2017 Bending Branches Angler Pro
New, lower price points! $299.95 (Snap) $324.95 (Plus)New patterns: Dorado, Radiant, and Raptor
New lower weight: 28.5 oz
New oversized blade shape and profile
Available in lengths from 230-260cm in 10cm increments and in the Plus ferrule, 230-245cm or 240-255cm