is the paddle holder half empty or not?

I am most likely in the minority, but I carry a full Bending Branches paddle on my Hobie for any tournament or outing. Over the last two years I traveled to many different waters and quickly learned that I never know what I will encounter, or when I will need it.

For example at The KBF event on Beaver Lake in Arkansas, I couldn’t find fish in the deep clear lake but ended up placing 11th once I found some skinny water; water I couldn’t have navigated without a paddle. Sometimes the paddle was only used to push me off the trees or rocks, others to move to the next deep hole.

On New River in Virginia, the current was extremely swift and I found myself in very shallow spots. As anglers (when struggling), we find ourselves thinking “maybe just over there, they are there”. Well, I found enough fish after paddling the Hobie upstream to better spots (over there!). This effort, and that paddle, made it possible to land 2nd in the KBF tournament. It also kept me straight on the return across those shallow spots.

I do not only use the paddle in shallow water. I use it around trees, after landing fish and taking pics to put me back on course quicker, to retrieve things I drop in the water….to stabilize myself when getting out on banks where footing is less than optimal….to keep the kayak close to friends, something that allows us to share lures on those days we are all struggling….so many time I use that paddle!

When I first picked up my Hobie from Caney Fork Outdoors in Nashville, I looked for a way to mount a full paddle out of the way. I saw some using the rod holders outside the kayak, but that felt less than robust in my always too analytical head…

………as a mfg engineer, I have spent years developing solutions to process issues – tool locations, considering ergonomic factors, how parts will be moved or handled…..sorry, work popped in my head for a second….and we are talking fishing…but….

I wanted it quickly accessible, out of the way and held firmly to the kayak. Sounded simple with all of the roto grips, paddle mounts and gadgets on the market.

And it really was….just not out of the box…

I took the two Hobie mounting plates,

some Propel paddle clips,

four screws – stainless steel, a knife and went to work. It took a couple of tries to find the exact fit for the shaft…so you might need an extra paddle clip or two…I subscribed to the trial and error method – poor planning on my part…..and fit the boat for my Bending Branches paddle.

I mentioned trial and error on the paddle clip because just mounting it to the plate will hold it well ( a roto grip would work ), but it made it awkward to remove quickly. The motion to remove the paddle found me pulling it out from the boat instead of up, so I cut one leg of the paddle clip off. Now I could pick it straight up…but it would no longer hold the shaft snug. Oops.

So I started over….I was fortunate to have found the clips in the clearance aisle at Walmart, so I had spare parts!…and slowly cut one leg in tiny increments until I could pick the paddle off the plate with a motion that felt comfortable while allowing it to fit snug. This will depend on the angle of your plate to miss all of the moving parts (rudder control on the PA), the paddle shaft diameter, your reach; so I cannot give a specific length…sorry. You are going to have to break a few eggs to bake this cake….

……in the end….I have met all of my personal design requirements (quickly accessible, out of the way and held firmly to the kayak) and was lucky that when I upgraded to my trailer that it didn’t interfere with loading…another factor to consider if you have a trailer that has an upper level.

Again, I know I am in the minority….but if you are looking for a way to mount your paddle on the Hobie and have it easily accessible and out of the way…this is one – not the only one for sure…but works for me.

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