A few days ago, I dropped my boat into the water for the 50th time since November. Looking back, there are a few pieces of gear that I wish I’d had along on every trip. One such piece of gear came to me in May when Austin Canoe & Kayak sent the Adventure Technology Exodus Fishstix paddle.
Since then, I’ve powered through high winds, crawled through backwaters, and stalked tailing redfish on the coast. And, in every situation the Fishstix paddle has proven itself a trustworthy companion.
Just the Facts
In the communities of whitewater and touring kayakers Adventure Technology is known for their high-quality paddles. In creating the Fishstix, they took their Elite Exodus paddle and packaged it for kayak anglers and – though perhaps not intentionally – hunters, photographers, birdwatchers and others who’ll benefit from the specs.
- Available Lengths (cm): 210, 220, 230, 240
- Color: Camo
- Weight: 309 g / 32 oz.
- Shaft: Ergo Shaft of Carbon, Aramid, Fiberglass Braid
- Blade: 98 sq.” blade of Fiberglass, Urethane Foam Core
- Other: Synapse Ferrule with SmartSet Technology
The Color of Muddy
When it comes to color there are two camps of outdoorsfolk.
One says, “Get as much bright stuff as you can so everybody sees you.” These folks are usually not trying to procure protein while they’re out in the wilderness and waters. Some of my friends are like this. They’re content to watch the rear ends of fleeing birds, deer, fish and other animals as they zip along.
The other camp says, “Make it camo. You’ll see me when I want you to.” These are my people. We’re in kayaks to fool fish, blend into the background, and slip unseen through nature.
The Fishstix paddle comes in full camo. So, the blades aren’t shining like disco balls as you come down the river or stand and push through the Texas coastal flats, sending redfish in the wrong kind of running of the bulls.
The paddle was delivered to my house in a box. When I picked it up, I was sure some enterprising young fellow had cut it open and stolen my paddle. On the water the next day I was happy that hadn’t been the case.
So how important is weight, really?
Let’s assume you paddle at a moderate clip. That would mean turning over a stroke every second, 60 times a minute, 3,600 times an hour. Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever paddled an hour without pause; but the numbers help paint a picture. Weight is important. For those who paddle only short trips, or who paddle only occasionally, perhaps less so. For those who are on the water regularly, every ounce counts.
The Fishstix paddle weighs as much as a quart of your favorite beverage. And, those 32 ounces are spread out and balanced along a 7-8 foot body. That’s light. And, at the end of a long day, your muscles and joints appreciate it.
High winds are common in Texas, from Corpus Christi Bay to Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.
And, if the fish are biting, kayak anglers are out in it— even if the wind sends them the wrong way every time they cast. I recently fished with a gentleman who took the wind out of play by strapping two trolling motors on his kayak. To the rest of us, a 20 mph headwind means something.
I’ve taken those winds on with several different paddles and the Fishstix gives more power than the others. And, it is also much more quiet. Full disclosure: I’m no engineer or physicist, nor did I involve control groups, laboratories, or wind tunnels. But, this is my read. Some in the paddling community may disagree. Others may say the extra power comes from the Fishstix blade, which is said to be some 15% larger than conventional blades. Those who understand the science behind such matters would explain the importance of weight; flex; materials; and size, shape, hydrodynamic properties of a blade; paddling technique, and so on.
Whatever the contributing factors, my experience is that this paddle is both quiet and powerful – a combination I appreciate in high winds, crossing busy lakes and shipping channels, and when trying to sneak up on fish and wildlife.
The bend in the paddle’s shaft is hard to ignore. And, I was curious how it would feel. But, from the time I picked it up, the paddle just felt right.
Some say the shape allows you to lay the paddle across the boat with less fear of it sliding off. Others say the shape makes it easier to stand and paddle one handed. But, for me, it is my wrists that most appreciate the shape. It puts them in a more natural and far more comfortable position than does a straight shaft.
Come Together. Right Now.
Fishstix offers the Synapse Ferrule with SmartSet Technology, which I’ve discovered translates into English as well-designed joint. In practice it means the paddle goes together quickly, easily, and securely. It comes apart just as simply. And, while you’re on the water, you can easily make micro adjustments to the paddle as needed. See how it works.
Price & Comparison
The Fishstix paddle is available at Austin Canoe & Kayak for $355. The paddle’s performance and attributes put it at the middle of the pack for paddles around $300.
The Bottom Line
I wish I’d had this paddle for all 50 trips. The camo is key for controlling who or what sees you. On the long 10-hour paddling days, my body would have appreciated the paddle’s weight and its shaft design. And, the power would have been much appreciated in the days where the winds were the strongest.
A Word About the Water
Summer is here and the siren heat has called folks enough to fill the waterways.
Many are newcomers. Others are focused more on celebration than safety. No matter your experience level, remember this: Waterfolk are a community who must be able to depend on one another. So, keep an eye out for swimmers and boaters in trouble and help them out. Be safe.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, follow the water.
Shane Townsend | BatCityOutdoors