I know there are people here that have been fishing for a lot longer than I have been. Assume you have figured out a few tricks along the way to make you life easier. I would appreciate any tricks you have figured out and/or critique and improve my tricks. A good paddle is worth it weight in gold. I am now paddling with a Mitchel Surreal and a Mitchel shop special. The Sureal has a carbon fiber blade and wood handle. When I am on open water this is what I will have in my hand. The weight difference between my old cheep paddles and these new paddles means I not lifting and moving approximately a ton every day I go out. Trust me on this, the ounces do add up. In addition the blade design on the shop special improved the amount of water I can move with each stroke. The Surreal further increases the amount of water I can move vs. the shop special or cheep no name brand paddle. Go with a good paddle, it is worth the money. Second tip When I pull a fish out of the water, I want to know how big of fish is right away. The quickest, easiest method I have figured out was to buy a pre-marked sticky backed paper ruler for around $5 and stick it to the back of one of my wood paddles. This way I can quickly lay the fish on the paddle and know approximately how long it is.