The Power of Pedals – The 10 Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks in 2022

When humans first decided to create a watercraft out of a wood frame covered with seal skins, little did they realize 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 2022 – a technology that has seriously raised the bar for the sport.

Read on to discover what all the fuss is about, as once you’ve been in a pedal kayak – you never go back.

The Best Pedal Kayaks for Fishing – The Shortlist

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, my top three picks for the pedal drive fishing kayak podium are as follows:

It would take a lot to knock the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler off the top spot, but the Old Town Sportsman range is hot on its heels, and I’ve gone for the new Jackson Knarr for the bronze.

Please note that all the pedal drive fishing kayaks in this review actually come with the pedal drive included, so the price you see is for the whole package.

Unlike some other review websites, I’ve not simply flooded the article with pedal drive compatible kayak – with the drive pedal system sold separately.

Because that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

The 10 Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks 2022

The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak

The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

It’s only fair we start at the top of the food chain when it comes to pedal kayaks, because revered Californian company Hobie invented them.

Some 24 years later, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 is the cream of the crop, a premium-quality professional craft that just about blows everything else out of the water.

With the very latest Mirage 360 drive tech and ST Turbo kick-up fins, you have powerful, near silent propulsion that retracts when you’re in shallow water, and drops when there are no obstacles underneath your boat.

And that’s only the beginning, as this craft is packed with features that would make most kayak anglers go weak at the knees, including a pivoting tackle management system in the center hatch that is extremely practical for any fishing style.

Pros

  • Market-leading technology.
  • Premium seating and lumbar support.
  • Retractable transducer shield.
  • Flush mount rod holders.
  • Flexible fins.
  • Accessory track rails.
  • Pivoting tackle management system.
  • Loads of storage options.

Cons

  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

When it comes to kayaks with pedals, you can thank Hobie for the technology in the first place, and they make some of the best fishing kayaks, period.

This kind of gear doesn’t come cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for. Light years ahead of everything else, this is easily the best fishing kayak with pedals on the market. You don’t even need a paddle (although it’s still highly recommended).

Old Town Sportsman 106 Pedal Fishing Kayak

As much as Hobie is the market leader in the best pedal drive fishing technology, Old Town is by no means far behind, as demonstrated by this beautiful creation here.

The Sportsman 106 is an outstanding fishing kayak, with a super-stable pontoon-style hull that glides silently through the water.

The premium-quality seating offers an excellent field-of-view, with comfortable lumbar support for all-day fishing. Loaded with fishing features, it offers customizable accessory racks, custom tackle box, multiple rod holders, and universal transducer mounting system.

And the pedal drive itself has a convenient docking system to make launches easy.

Pros

  • Premium quality construction.
  • Cushioned floor pads for standing.
  • Large stern tank well with bungee.
  • Bow storage hatch.
  • Choice of cool colors.
  • Flush mount rod holders.
  • Shuttle-track adjustable seating.

Cons

  • Let me know if you find any.

Takeaway

The oldest canoe and kayak manufacturer in the world continues to produce some amazing boats, and the Sportsman is no exception. Take a look at another version of this model in this review of the best stand-up fishing kayaks – especially if you love those standing casts.

Jackson Kayak Knarr FD Fishing Kayak

Jackson Kayak Knarr FD Fishing Kayak

One of the newest pedal drive fishing kayaks on the market, Jackson’s Knarr FD is making a splash in a big way.

The product of years of innovation, plus input from offshore, inshore, and tournament kayak anglers, the Knarr is going to tick a lot of boxes in the community.

Designed for big water fishing – but capable of going just about anywhere – the Knarr offers outstanding performance, speed, and stability.

Packed with features – including six rod holders in the gunwales – it boasts the refined Flex Drive Mark IV pedal drive system, which only adds to an already impressive sit-on-top fishing machine.

Keep an eye on this one, folks – this is one of the best fishing kayaks out there, and one for serious anglers only.

Pros

  • The latest technology.
  • Horizontal rod storage.
  • Tall gunwales for splash protection.
  • Rod tip protection.
  • Over 12 feet of advanced gear tracks.
  • EZ Hi-Lo seating system.
  • Trolling motor compatible.
  • Transducer scupper.
  • Tough, durable construction.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Difficult to get hold of.

Takeaway

Wow, this is an impressive piece of kit from Jackson right here, and one that could well topple Hobie’s domination as the best pedal kayak for angling on the market.

There isn’t enough room in this review to go through all the features of the Knarr, and I highly recommend watching the promotional video to properly get up to speed. This could be a game-changer.

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Fishing Kayak

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Fishing Kayak

Backed by decades-worth of kayak know-how, Native Watercraft is another company manufacturing some of the best fishing kayaks today, by understanding exactly what the kayak angler needs.

The Slayer 12.5 is one of their flagship models, a feature-rich, super-stable fishing kayak with forward and reverse pedal drive technology.

Offering the ability to do standing casts, its wide hull is ideal for lazy rivers and calm lakes, with a rockered bow to help get you over choppy waves.

With plenty of integrated fishing rod holders and storage options for all your gear, the Slayer has built-in groove tracks offering plenty of scope for aftermarket accessories, and the elevated seating has been designed for easy transitions between standing and sitting.

Pros

  • Relatively lightweight and portable.
  • Anchor and trolling motor compatible.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Performance hull design.
  • Underseat storage tray.
  • Horizontal rod storage.
  • Flush mount rod holders.
  • Environmentally conscious company.

Cons

  • Pedal drive doesn’t retract.
  • Pricey.

Takeaway

A solid pedal kayak option that offers an array of practical features, the Slayer is a beast of a fishing machine to tempt the keen kayak angler.

But if you’re looking for something even more compact and lightweight, perhaps you should try one of these premium inflatable fishing kayaks, instead?

Bonafide P127 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Bonafide P127 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Famed for their sleek yet stable paddle kayaks, Bonafide have added pedal power to their locker with the best-selling P127.

Featuring a catamaran-style hull design, it’s capable of being a tri-powered kayak that is suitable for pedals, paddles, or power (and you should check out this review of the best kayak trolling motors if you’d like to add one to your setup).

YakAttack aluminum gear tracks allow you to create any accessory configuration you need, while the Boss Strap rod management system ensures your fishing rods stay protected and organized.

And with storage options galore, you’ll never run out of space for all your fishing equipment in this versatile and high-performance fishing kayak from Bonafide.

Pros

  • Great marriage of stability and performance.
  • Adjustable hi-rise seating.
  • Drypod transducer scupper.
  • Low profile deck fittings and hardware.
  • EVA traction pads on deck.
  • Sliding underseat storage.
  • Premium gear tracks.
  • Adjustable foot braces.
  • Choice of great colors.
  • Stern tank well with bungee.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

Bonafide continues to design some of the best fishing kayaks for performance on the market, with sleek, streamlined hulls that are still super-stable.

The P127 adds hands-free fishing to the mix, with the inclusion of a pedal system, to make this an even more formidable tool to help the kayak angler with catching fish.

3 Waters Big Fish 103 Pedal Drive Kayak

3 Waters Big Fish 103 Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

If you’re looking for something that more resembles a bass boat than a fishing kayak, then perhaps the Big Fish from 3 Waters will tickle your fancy.

The sit-on-top design is as spacious as they come, with a fully adjustable, EZ rider comfort seat, and roomy cockpit area. Bow and stern accessory rails allow full customization, and the trimaran hull design makes for a super-stable pedal kayak for kayak anglers who need extra peace-of-mind while on the water.

The beaver tail rudder provides precise boat control, and at just over 10 feet in length, this is a compact and portable craft you can put in the back of your pickup truck.

Pros

  • Flush mounted rod holders.
  • Rock solid stability.
  • Gear tracks.
  • Transducer mount.
  • Rod tip protectors.
  • Ideal for multiple water environments.
  • Great price for a pedal system.
  • Choice of colors available.

Cons

  • Might still be a bit too chunky for some.

Takeaway

A highly versatile kayak/pedal boat that you can enjoy pretty much anywhere, whether you’re a keen kayak angler or you want a good recreational pedal drive kayak for fun times on the water. The Big Fish has you covered.

Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Fishing Kayak

Another Hobie entry (no surprises there), the Passport is well named, as it allows you to go where others can’t, without the size and bulk of other pedal craft.

As such, it’s one of the best river fishing kayaks out there, with the kick-up fins retracting automatically when encountering any obstacles in shallow water, then redeploying as soon as it’s all clear.

And all the usual refinements are here, including a scupper for a transducer, underseat and gunwale storage options, bow and stern tank wells with bungee cord webbing, and accessory track rails to customize how you see fit.

And considering this is a Hobie kayak – the price point isn’t too bad either.

Pros

  • Relatively compact and lightweight.
  • Central storage hatch.
  • Rod holders.
  • Kick-up fins.
  • Anchor mounting point.
  • Frame comfort seating.
  • Rudder control system.

Cons

  • More colors would have been nice.

Takeaway

Yet another brilliant pedal-powered kayak from the inventors of the tech – you’d expect nothing less from Hobie in the near quarter-century they’ve been developing and fine-tuning their famous Mirage Drive pedal system.

I guess that’s what makes them one of the best kayak fishing brands in the world. Check out that link to see if more of your favorites are there.

Point 65 Sweden Kingfisher Solo Fishing Kayak

Now, here’s something altogether a little different. Specializing in backpacks and kayaking, Point 65 Sweden has been on the go since 1996, but is still something of an unknown quantity in the US and Canada.

They make these ingenious modular kayaks (of course they do – sharing a home with IKEA) that you can take apart and rebuild for the ultimate in hardshell portability.

The Kingfisher Solo can come with or without a pedal drive, but the mere fact that you can break it into two sections for easy transportation is well worth its inclusion as one of the best fishing kayaks with pedal capabilities on the market.

Pros

  • Swedish design and construction.
  • Highly portable.
  • Good storage options.
  • Bungee tank well.
  • Accessory track.
  • Rod holders.

Cons

  • A little on the pricey side.
  • The design won’t be for every kayak angler.

Takeaway

Hardshell performance with (almost) the portability of an inflatable – AND a pedal drive system? There’s a lot to like from the Swedes with this brilliantly designed sit-on-top fishing kayak. I think more people should give it a try, as modular kayaks with pedals could become extremely popular.

Perception Crank 10 Fishing Kayak

Following on from the Swedish modular design, we have another highly portable fishing kayak with this super compact option from Perception.

The Crank is just ten feet in length, and it’s ideal for rivers, ponds, and calm coastal waters. The drive system allows you to go forward and reverse, while the one-handed rudder control takes care of navigation.

Rigid carrying handles make transportation even easier, and it weighs just 87 pounds all-in, which is quite remarkable considering it uses a pedal drive.

And if you enjoy portable fishing options, you should check out this review of the best telescopic fishing rods for the ultimate in travel-friendly fishing.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Removable comfort seating.
  • Accessory mounting options.
  • Side paddle park.
  • Bungee tank wells.
  • Waterproof storage hatch.

Cons

  • No built-in rod holders or accessory rails – you need to add them separately.

Takeaway

A great little craft that is one of the most affordable and portable pedal powered fishing kayaks on the market. With all that money you save, you can buy yourself a decent fishing jacket, too!

BKC PK12 Angler Solo Fishing Kayak

BKC PK12 Angler Solo Fishing Kayak

You’ll be hard-pressed to find more affordable pedal driven kayaks on the market, which makes them a great option for beginners, and anyone looking to try their first pedal kayak.

The BKC PK12 is a new addition to their fleet, leaning into years of product research and customer feedback to create the very latest model.

12 feet long with a weight capacity of 460 lbs, this is a versatile kayak that boasts a lot of bang for the buck – not least the removable pedal system included. And with plenty of space for all your fishing gear.

Pros

  • Tough and durable construction.
  • One of the most affordable pedal kayaks.
  • Paddle included.
  • Two storage hatches.
  • Two fishing rod holders.
  • Bungee tie-down.
  • Cupholder.
  • Tri-powered kayak capable.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • It can’t compare with high-end models.

Takeaway

The BKC is known for their budget-friendly kayaks and excellent customer service, and this new option is well-worth your consideration if you’re looking for what could be the most affordable pedal system available.

How to Choose the Right Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

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.

angler fishing from the kayak in the river

The Pros and Cons of Pedals

First, let’s discuss the big question – do you need a pedal kayak for fishing?

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.

The Pros

There are numerous advantages to having a pedal system in a fishing kayak, but any kayak angler will tell you that hands-free fishing is number one.

With most pedal kayaks, 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 faster than you would with a paddle kayak. Very useful if you like to 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.

The Cons

It’s not all sweetness and light, as even the best pedal kayak will have its downsides.

Perhaps the most obvious is their expense. Pedal drive systems can be extremely pricey compared to a paddle 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.

It’s highly likely you’ll need one of these awesome kayak carts to help, or rope in a buddy to take one end.

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 uses.

Finally, unless the fins or rotor system is retractable, pedal kayaks can struggle in shallow waters, as it’s likely they will catch on hazards and obstacles below the surface – which can cause drag and damage.

fisherman floats on a white fishing kayak in ocean along the coast

Propulsion System

I will preface this section by admitting 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.

But 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 pedal 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 at these two systems, watch the video below.

Kayak Type

There are so many styles and types of kayaks available today that it can be difficult to keep up, but for the most part, they can be narrowed down into the follow categories:

Hardshell vs Inflatables

There aren’t that many inflatable kayaks with rotational pedals available at the moment – although that is changing. Still, for the time being, pedal power is synonymous with hardshell kayaks.

This article on hardshells vs inflatable kayaks will tell you more.

Sit-On-Top vs Sit Inside

Likewise, I don’t think there’s a sit-inside kayak that features pedals, and the vast majority of kayaks with this technology are sit-on-top versions.

Read this article which pits sit-on-top against sit-inside to see which is better for the kayak fisherman or woman.

Tandem vs Solo

There are tandem kayaks with pedals out there, but they can be difficult to get hold of and/or very expensive, so I’ve not included any in this article.

However, if you are looking for a boat for two, head on over to this article, which explores the best tandem fishing kayaks available. A couple of options there feature pedal power.

Kayak Size

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 long – or thereabouts.

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.

Storage Options

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.

Underseat storage space is also highly advantageous.

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.

angler fishing on the kayak in river

Rudder and Steering

A pedal system will help you move forward and back, but how do you steer kayaks with pedals?

A hand-operated rudder will be located somewhere within easy reach of the cockpit area.

Look for a rudder that can be retracted, as launching will be much easier, and you won’t scrape or damage it in shallow water.

And although it’s possible to power and steer these craft without a paddle, I still highly recommend you take one.

You never know when you might need it, and a paddle provides extra speed, control, and maneuverability. Check out this review on the best paddles for kayak fishing.

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.

Fishing Features

Just because the kayak comes with a pedal drive, doesn’t mean it should cut corners on fishing features.

While it’s possible to catch fish from just about any boat, a fishing kayak should only be considered a fishing kayak if it has one or more of the following:

  • Flush mount rod holders.
  • Articulated rod holders.
  • Horizontal rod holders.
  • Transducer/fish finder scupper holes.
  • Accessory gear tracks.
  • Tackle trays.
  • Staging areas.
  • Paddle parks.
  • EVA deck pads for standing.
  • Fish rulers.
  • Anchor point.

Cost

You’re not going to get a good pedal drive fishing kayak for anything less than $1500 – and that’s if you’re lucky.

Yes, I know, I feel your pain.

Kayaks with a pedal system are not cheap, and they’re not set to reduce in price anytime soon.

Ask yourself the question – “how much kayak fishing am I going to do?”

If you’re a super-keen kayak angler who is on the water more than off it, then a high-end pedal kayak could be a worthwhile investment.

And if you’re of advancing years, they can seriously help you keep active without overdoing it, and you can’t put a price on your health, can you?!

But if it’s a bridge too far, and/or you’re not going to get a lot of use out of it, why not check out this review of the best fishing kayaks under $1000, instead?

Remember, you could always buy a pedal drive capable fishing kayak and add the drive system at a later date to spread the cost.

angler sitting on fishing kayak on calm water of river

FAQs

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 yak 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?

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 using a paddle 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!

Summary

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 2022.

Let me know which model you’ve gone for and why.

Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy pedaling!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content