When humankind first decided to create a watercraft out of a wood frame covered with seal skins, little did they realize just how popular kayaking would become.
The materials have changed somewhat, and the innovation is improving all the time, but centuries later we’re still using kayaks to hunt.
In this article, we explore the best pedal fishing kayaks in 2021 – a technology that has seriously raised the bar for the sport.
Bursting onto the scene in 1997, kayak pedals have revolutionized how we fish, as well as offering limitless recreational possibilities.
Read on to discover what all the fuss is about.
Once you’ve been in a pedal kayak – you never go back.
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Table of Contents
- The 10 Best Pedal Kayaks for Fishing
- The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak
- Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Native Watercraft Titan Pedal Drive Kayak
- Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Fishing Kayak
- Vibe Shearwater 125 Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Passport Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Fishing Kayak
- Point 65 Sweden Kingfisher Solo Kayak
- Perception Crank 10 Pedal Kayak
- BKC PK13 Angler Solo Fishing Kayak
- How to Choose the Best Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks
- Is a fishing kayak with pedals worth the price?
- Is it better to paddle or pedal while kayak fishing?
- What are the advantages of pedal kayaks for fishing?
- How fast can you go on a pedal kayak?
- What is the cheapest pedal kayak?
- Why are pedal kayaks so expensive?
- Can you put pedals on a kayak?
- Are Hobie pedal kayaks worth the money?
- Is a pedal kayak good exercise?
The 10 Best Pedal Kayaks for Fishing
How to Choose the Best Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks
There are a few things to consider when you’re in the market for a good pedal driven fishing kayak, so let’s take a look at what they might be in the buyer’s guide below.
An FAQ section will follow in case we missed anything.
The Pros and Cons of Pedal Fishing Kayaks
First, let’s discuss the big question – do you need a pedal fishing kayak?
To answer this, we should take a look at the pros and cons of this technology, and you’ll be better suited to make this important decision.
There are numerous advantages to pedal fishing kayaks, with the first being perhaps the most obvious – hands-free fishing.
With most models, you don’t have to use a paddle at all, leaving you free to concentrate on reeling in your next catch.
Furthermore, pedals can take the effort out of moving around. Anyone who has used one will tell you that powering a kayak with your legs is much easier than with your arms.
Pedal drive kayaks are near silent, so you can glide up close to your quarry without risk of spooking the fish.
You can also move faster through the water, with the technology taking the strain, getting you to where you need to be in half the time.
Additionally, pedal kayaks can be a lifesaver in certain situations, enabling you to leave a hazardous area quicker than you would with a paddle. This is especially ideal if you fish in challenging conditions or locations.
And with a good rudder system, they make a great option for tackling choppier waters with stronger undercurrents.
Either way, you should always be wearing a good quality fishing PFD when you’re out on the water. Not only will they save your life, but they also offer some practical tackle storage solutions, too.
It’s not all sweetness and light, as pedal kayaks do have their downsides.
Perhaps the most obvious is their expense. Pedal drive systems can be extremely pricey compared to a simple paddle-powered fishing kayak.
They also add considerable weight to a kayak – which can be problematic when it comes to getting you to and from the water – especially if you already have a lot of gear.
With more moving parts, more things can go wrong with pedal drives – although this is unlikely in premium-quality products.
Pedal drives can take up additional room that you might have otherwise used for storage space, accessory pods, or other practical use.
Finally, unless the fins or rotor system is retractable, pedal kayaks will struggle in shallow waters, as it’s likely they will catch on hazards and obstacles below the surface – which can cause drag and damage.
Now you can weigh up the pros and cons – it’s up to you to decide if a pedal kayak is worth it – but here’s a clue:
Yes, they are.
It’s certainly worth mentioning the types of propulsion system that are available in pedal powered kayaks – but I will enter an honest caveat here.
I’m by no means an expert on this technology. If you’re looking for an in depth engineering guide to kayak pedal systems, I would suggest contacting the manufacturer.
Basically, you have two choices.
Fins or props.
As far as I can tell, fins are only used by the Hobie Mirage drive systems – I will stand corrected if that’s not the case, but every other kayak uses a propeller.
Either way, I would recommend choosing a system that can easily retract, so you can avoid underwater obstacles and navigate shallower waterways.
For a more detailed and informative look on these two systems, take a look at the video below.
Does size matter? When it comes to a kayak – yes it does.
It depends on where you’re going to be using your kayak the most. Kayaks that are around 9-10 feet are more suitable for quiet rivers, lakes, and inlets.
Longer kayaks are ideal for tackling choppier waters, and/or for traveling longer distances.
For a pedal-powered kayak, I would say the sweet spot is about 12 feet.
The shorter a kayak is, the more maneuverable it will be, but it won’t be as fast or track nearly as well as a longer craft.
Still, when it comes to fishing kayaks, you’re not really looking to win any races.
And don’t forget that storage and transport limitations should also be taken into consideration.
You still need somewhere to put your kayak when it’s not in use – and you need to be able to get it to the water in the first place.
The pedal system in a kayak might take up extra space, but so long as you have plenty of storage options elsewhere on board, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Any good fishing kayak worth its salt should have front and rear tank wells for stashing tackle, gear, or one of these awesome fishing coolers for your catch and/or lunch and beer.
Consider what’s going on in the center console area of the kayak, as this is around where the pedal system will be located.
Underseat storage space is also highly advantageous with more clutter on the deck.
And don’t forget about watertight storage hatches that are suitable for keeping your valuables protected, and the larger compartments will be ideal for stashing any extra rain fishing gear you might need to bring along.
Rudder and Steering
It’s all very well being able to go forwards and backwards, but how do you turn left and right?
This is where a good rudder and steering system will come in – which – in a pedal kayak – is usually operated with one hand around the cockpit area.
Look for a rudder that can be retracted, as getting in and out of the water will be much easier, and you won’t scrape or damage it in shallow conditions.
And although there are pedal drive systems with rudders that allow for no-paddle fishing, I would heartily recommend you still take one.
You never know when you might need it, and a paddle provides extra speed, control, and maneuverability.
They’ve been a vital part of kayaking for hundreds of years – so they’re not defunct just yet.
It’s a good idea to wear a pair of good-quality fishing gloves when kayak fishing, as not only will they help with handling fish in slippery conditions, they can also help protect your hands when paddling.
Don’t forget about the fishing-friendly-features that all good fishing kayaks should come with – or be capable of adding.
Just because the kayak comes with a pedal drive, shouldn’t mean it scrimps on rod holders, fish finder scupper holes, mounting rails and accessory tracks, and other useful functions.
The ability to add lights and cameras can be useful, too.
But if you can’t mount a flashlight on your kayak, you could always just use one of these practical fishing headlamps if you’re out in low light conditions.
Yes, I know, I feel your pain.
Pedal fishing kayaks are not cheap, and they’re not set to reduce in price anytime soon. This kind of technology doesn’t just grow on trees, y’know?
Especially if you want a premium-quality system that’s going to last.
Consider if you kayak fish regularly enough to splurge on a pedal kayak.
But if you’re of advancing years, they make a great investment to keep active without overdoing it, and they can be well-worth the extra cost.
There are deals to be had – so check back through the article to find them.
Is a fishing kayak with pedals worth the price?
I would say so, yes. Once you’ve experienced the freedom, power, and control that a pedal kayak gives you – you won’t go back.
Sure, they’re expensive, but give it a try once – and you’ll know why.
Is it better to paddle or pedal while kayak fishing?
They both have their advantages as outlined in the buyer’s guide above – and it might well depend on the conditions.
But for the ultimate in control, speed, and maneuverability, I would say pedal power is the best every single time.
Not to mention the hands-free fishing and relatively little effort you’ll need to exert when using them.
What are the advantages of pedal kayaks for fishing?
In a nutshell – they’re faster, near silent, offer hands-free fishing capabilities, and many provide turn-on-a-dime control.
They’re also just so much more enjoyable than swinging your arms with a paddle. Anyone who’s ever taken a date to a recreational pedal boating lake will know exactly what I mean.
How fast can you go on a pedal kayak?
Depending on the kayak, the pilot, and the conditions, I would say you’re looking at around 8-10 MPH on a pedal drive system.
Or, I should say, around 6-8 knots.
What is the cheapest pedal kayak?
In this review, the cheapest pedal kayak is the Vibe Shearwater, but note that it comes without pedals.
For an all-inclusive pedal kayak, the cheapest here is the Perception Crank.
It’s likely there are pedal kayaks that cost even less – but I seriously doubt they’re going to be as good.
You get what you pay for these days.
Why are pedal kayaks so expensive?
I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s because of the intricate and complex technology and materials used in the drive system itself.
They nearly always come with premium lawn-chair style seating too, which can drive up the price considerably.
At any rate, fishing kayak manufacturers tend to put all their know-how into pedal kayaks, and you’ll regularly find they are their flagship models.
Can you put pedals on a kayak?
Depending on the kayak, I think it might well be possible to do a spot of DIY and add a pedal drive to just about any craft.
That said, if it’s not initially designed to be compatible with one, you might be opening up a whole can of worms unless you’re a do-it-yourself god.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront, look for kayaks that are designed to be compatible with pedal drives – but the drives are sold separately.
You can always add them at a later date if you so choose.
Are Hobie pedal kayaks worth the money?
Hobie kayaks invented the pedal drive technology and are the market leaders in this aspect.
Their kick-up fin system is ingenious, and, as users will tell you, the crème de la crème when it comes to pedal kayak fishing.
But is it worth the money? Far be it from me to decide – let me know what you think in the comments.
Is a pedal kayak good exercise?
Yes – in fact, it’s a great way to stay in shape – especially if you’re not getting any younger.
Not as challenging as paddling alone, pedaling a fishing kayak is like using an incumbent exercise bike in the home.
Only this time, you’re fishing in the great outdoors – so it’s a triple win in my book. Just don’t forget to wear a decent fishing hat if you’re out under those harmful UV rays.
Here’s to a healthy and happy heart for many more years on the water!
Kayak fishing is already an incredibly enjoyable hobby, but when you add pedals the fun just goes off the charts.
I hope this review has helped you choose the best pedal fishing kayak in 2021.
Let me know which model you’ve gone for and why.
Tight lines, and happy pedaling!