Best Pedal Fishing Kayak
Best Pedal Fishing Kayak

Best Pedal Fishing Kayak

Best Pedal Fishing Kayak 2021 – Buyers Guide

A paddle was the only option for kayak anglers in the past. If you’ve ever had to fight a moving tide, or paddle miles to your fishing spot, you know how overwhelming that option can be.

The pedal-drive technology has seen rapid improvements over the past few years. This has brought more options to the market and a lower price tag. Buyers have many options when it comes to a pedal-driven, fast fishing machine.

We’d love to keep you informed aboaut the latest developments and narrow down your options if you’re not keeping up.

Below is a buying guide and reviews of our favorite pedal-driven fishing boats.

Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

Old Town Predator PDL

Length: 13′ 2″.

Beam: 36″

Weight: 117 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 500 lbs.

Old Town’s reputation was built one canoe at time. The Predator PDL is a capable, confidence-inspiring, angling-centric kayak that really demonstrates Old Town’s enviable real-world experience on the water.

It is also an excellent platform for a powerful pedal-drive, and the Predator PDL easily ranks among my favorite on the water.

The Predator’s stability makes it an exceptional choice for seated fishing. It would only take a lot of surf or a large wake to make any problems. The Predator’s high seating position allows for better sight angling. It also facilitates better casting for anglers who have learned to cast sidearm.

This kayak is a great choice for anglers who like to fish in estuaries, bays and mudflats. This kayak is easy to use and allows you to move around to the best position.

The non-slip surface underfoot improves traction, even when wet or slimy.

Although the storage is plentiful, I find that the below-deck options don’t make it as easy to use as they should. A small compartment in the front, with integrated electronics pods, is the best. The bow has a larger hatch. Wilderness Systems is the best for hatch storage.

A transducer scupper is included to accept Humminbird electronic devices. There are also two rod holders built into the back of the chair. You can slide a few tackle boxes out of the raised seating to access the rear well.

Old Town provides a comfortable seat for the Predator, so you won’t have any problems.

Old Town’s PDL drive equips this ‘yak. It’s powerful and reliable, and will get you there in no time. The Predator has enough power to fight wind and current, cuts water well and features an easy-to-use rudder.

This is a large ‘yak that has a substantial beam and will steal speed with every step. This is fine as stability outweighs speed for anglers all day. The PDL system of this boat generates enough power to keep you safe from an incoming storm, or to reduce the time and effort required to get to your honey hole.

This is an excellent combination of thoughtful engineering and elegant design that will not disappoint.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • Non-slip deck
  • There are many storage options
  • Removable, modular electronics pod
  • Good hatch design and placement
  • A comfortable seat that maximizes storage
  • Outstanding pedal drive

Cons

  • Hatch design is a little behind the rest of the competition

Wilderness Systems Radar 135 – The Most Versatile Pedal Driven Fishing Kayak

Length: 13′ 6″.

Beam: 34″

Weight: 95 lbs. (Without drives)

Maximum capacity: 475 lbs.

Wilderness Systems engineers have probably forgotten more about kayak design that most people will ever realize. Their solid experience and keen eye for detail are evident in Radar 135.

As you would expect, stability is great and this ‘yak will stay upright even in the most difficult conditions. It’s confident-inspiring in normal swells and feels like you are sitting on a heavy, deep keel. The ATAK 140 is stable enough to be used for sight fishing.

The Radar 135’s hatch design and placement is where it shines. A large rectangular hatch is located right in front of your seat. It’s both easy to use and secure. You can use the hatch to store your radio or cell phone, and you can rely on the gasket’s design to keep it dry even when you drink water from a wave.

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Further forward, you’ll find another hatch at the bow.

There are many options with two pod systems. Both systems can be used to carry electronics such as fish finders. This makes sense for paddle-minded anglers. Each can be swapped with a drive system. The Helix PD has the smaller switches, while the Helix MD has the larger ones.

The other pod can be used to mount electronics, so it’s a versatile system with clear design.

The Helix PD pedal drive is a propeller-driven, pedal-driven unit that delivers plenty of power and easy-to-use. The Helix PD will turn your Radar 135 into an amazing rocket. It is almost essential for long trips against wind and current. The Radar 135 can be paired with an excellent rudder system that is actuated by a hand lever to the left. It’s very easy to track in any conditions, even the most severe.

The Helix PD is a great choice, especially because it can navigate in shallow water, where rocks, stamps, and logs can cause real problems.

The Radar 135’s seat is extremely comfortable and provides all-day comfort. This system is known for its versatility and ease of adjustment.

The rear well is large and offers plenty of storage options.

I love the Radar 135. It is well-thought out, thoughtfully designed, and packed full of features that really matter in the real-world. It’s first-class, with plenty of power for endurance and speed.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • There are many storage options
  • Removable, modular electronics pods
  • Good hatch design and placement
  • Easy to adjust, comfortable seat
  • Excellent pedal drive
  • Excellent motor drive

Cons

  • The pedal drive option can be expensive.

Jackson Kayak Big Rig FD –Most Stable Pedal-Driven Fishing Kayak

Length: 13′ 3″.

Beam: 40″

Weight: 145 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 550 lbs.

Jackson Kayak is a leading manufacturer of high-end boats. You can count on quality from stern to stem. The Big Rig FD is specifically designed for anglers. It can be used on saltwater or large lakes and will maximize your fishing opportunities.

This ‘yak is unstable, and it would be impossible to flip it. The engineers at Jackson Kayak clearly spent a lot of time designing the hull. Given the huge beam, I would trust this boat for sight-fishing without any second thought. You’d feel confident rocking to the side in rough swells.

Two rod guards on either side are a great detail. This is an example of real-world experience you won’t see often, and it allows for easier launching in surf, where a roll could mean broken tackle. They are a great “docking system”, for changing and holding rods.

The two excellent hatches (one fore and one behind) provide plenty of access to the deck below, which will keep your gear dry no matter what. A removable bin is included in the front hatch that can be used to store phones, radios, and lunches high up.

This ‘yak’ is powered by the Flex Drive system, which is an extremely powerful pedal drive. It’s smartly designed and reflects real world experience, just like the rest of Big Rig. It is powerful and efficient, and it can swivel upward to allow you to access tight spots and shallow draughts.

The rudder control is on the right. This combination makes it easy to track in currents or winds.

Although it’s powerful, don’t expect to race powerboats that have a beam of 40 inches.

The Big Rig’s seating system is amazing. It feels almost like sitting in a comfortable chair on dry ground.

Although the Big Rig FD may not be cheap, you get what you pay. This is the best ‘yak for anglers who have more than one rod and want stability.

Pros

  • ExtraordinaryStable
  • There are many storage options
  • Amazing rod protection system
  • Excellent hatch design and placement
  • Easy to adjust, comfortable seat
  • Excellent pedal drive

Cons

  • Slower than the rest

Hobie Mirage Pro angler 14–Fasted pedal-driven fishing kayak

Length: 13′ 8″.

Beam: 38″

Weight: 144.5 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 600 lbs.

The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is a unique combination of real-world performance and innovative design. It’s well worth the high price. This ‘yak will cost you a few hundred more than the Jackson Kayak Big Rig.

The Mirage Pro Angler is a great choice for sight fishing from your feet. The Mirage Pro Angler’s wide beam and stable hull contour provide remarkable stability. Standing casting and fighting are easy. You have plenty of room to move your feet and the deck is covered in non-slip matt that improves traction.

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The MirageDrive 180 pedal drive from Hobie is a great choice. It offers more torque and speed than the competition, and folds easily to handle shallows and obstacles. This is a powerful pedal-driven drive and worth considering if you make long trips to reach your destination for fishing.

The 28-inch beam will not slow down this kayak. The big fins at the working end of the drive generate so much power that even the beam can’t stop it from moving!

The storage is excellent, with hatches fore- and aft that can be used easily and are watertight. A built-in tackle organizer is located in the hatch directly adjacent to your seat.

Accessory rails run from the cockpit to each side. They offer plenty of space for electronics, rod holders and other accessories. There’s also plenty of space at stern for a cooler, tackle, and any other items you may have in mind.

This ‘yak’ seat is very comfortable and you won’t need a chiropractor for all day excursions.

The Hobie Mirage Pro angler 14 pedal-driven kayak is great for fighting currents, tides, and wind. It is stable, well-equipped, and extremely capable in saltwater or freshwater.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • Non-slip deck
  • There are many storage options
  • Great hatch design and placement
  • A comfortable seat
  • Amazing pedal drive

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

Hobie Mirage ITrek 11, the Best Inflatable Pedal-Driven Fishing Boat

Length: 10′ 8″.

44 lb.

Beam: 40″

Capacity: 400 lbs.

Although it’s more of a paddleboard than a kayak, one thing is certain: Hobie’s Mirage ITrek 11 stands out as a great stand-up option. The ITrek 11 is fast, stable, sturdy and comfortable for serious anglers.

Hobie uses 550-denier PVC for its hull. This is not a pool toy: Very little can puncture this Hobie, so you can feel confident taking it into difficult situations.

The ITrek 11 is extremely stable by design. Because of the positive buoyancy around the edges, standing is nearly as easy on dry land as it is on wet. It is competing with the Big Rig FD and may even outperform it in primary and secondary stability.

The standard Hobie includes MirageDrive GT, a pedal powered fin system that produces incredible torque and speed. It’s much more efficient than a paddle and can go faster than a paddle. It is also capable of fighting wind and current. This inflatable can be used with the included rudder to make it easy to “paddle” and is comparable to hardshell kayaks on the list.

Although deck space is abundant, storage options are limited. This is a paddleboard that’s been pumped up: plenty of space but no organization. You won’t find any hatches or accessories rails so you will need to be creative with how you organize your gear under the tie-downs. This is not a major issue, and most anglers will be able to fish with ease if they plan ahead.

Hobie spent a lot of time in the seat. It’s rigid, comfortable, high, and high. This makes it ideal for all-day adventures, and gives you a great view of the water. Many people find it high enough to allow side-arm fly casting. Despite the elevated center of gravity, the ITrek 11 feels solid.

This is a great platform for anglers who don’t have the space or ability to transport a hardshell.

Pros

  • Light!
  • It is easy to store and transport
  • Stable and exceptional
  • Non-slip deck
  • There is plenty of deck space
  • A comfortable seat
  • Amazing pedal drive

Cons

  • There are not many storage options

What to Consider when Buying a Pedal-Driven Kayak

Pedal Drive 101

Pedal drives sound exactly like the ones you’d find on a bicycle. You mount a pair pedals so that they are comfortable to use from your seat. Your leg power is converted via the mechanism into thrust which drives your ‘yak.

Some pedal drives use a standard propeller, while others use two flapping fins.

Although it may sound absurd, Hobie proves that fin drives are unbeatable in real life.

Here are some facts about pedal drives.

  • Expensive A pedal-driven kayak will cost you more. This is a premium option and will come at a high price. You might be disappointed by the price of pedal-driven ‘yaks if you are looking for an inexpensive way to fish your local river, lake, or estuary.
  • Powerful and powerful –A pedal drive is a simple rotary pedal system that uses your legs to power your kayak. It transfers power either directly to a prop, or to a pair fins that propel your kayak forward. Some even offer reverse! A pedal drive makes kayakers more agile and can be used to propel them forward, whereas a paddle would limit their ability.
  • Hands-free This advantage is not to be underestimated. This advantage can make the difference between casting or paddling.
  • Lower draught However, pedal drives are not all good news. They are able to extend below your hull and require deeper water. A paddle might be the best option if you fish in shallow waters or rocky rivers often.
  • Minimal routine maintenance Even if it’s just a quick wash after each fishing trip, you will need to look after your drive.
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Always have a paddle handy. Failure can occur when you drive! You can fail!

Design

There are many designs available, but most fishing-specific kayaks can only be sat-on-tops. Sit-on-tops may be the best choice for you, depending on your specific needs.

  • Sit-on tops The angling market is dominated by a few reasons.
  • Open deck space –These are ideal for fishing, tying lures, and using line, reels, and rods.
  • Accessible storage SOTs provide plenty of storage, which is easily accessible from your cockpit.
  • Self-bailing Fishing with scups is easy and safe. These drains render SOTs unwampable.
  • It’s easy to correct and re-enter. Sit-on-tops make it much easier to get out of the water if the worst happens.
  • Inflatables –An inflatable is a great option if you don’t have the means to transport a kayak to water.
  • Portability –These kayaks are lightweight and portable.
  • Poor paddling and tracking –Inflatables don’t have hulls that are designed for efficiency, handling or tracking. This is even more so than regular fishing designs. Inflatables are a little slower than other inflatables, even those with the best hull designs. This is not a rule that can be broken. The Hobie inflatable we reviewed handles just as well as the competition.
  • Durability issues These are made of high-end materials, which don’t come cheap, to make them tough enough for hooks, knives and other sharp objects.

Portability, weight, and encumbrance

Every time you go to the water, you’ll have to lift and load your ‘yak, which can be quite strenuous for many of us. You must be able to lift the weight.

  • Transporting While you won’t feel the extra weight on the water, when you lift and transport a kayak, you will feel every ounce. Remember, too, that the heavier your ‘yak, the less it will be able to carry at a given weight.
  • Portaging –Sometimes you will need to get out of your ‘yak and transport it over solid ground or shallow water. Portaging is a process that can be dangerous for your entire body. If this is something that you are concerned about, keep in mind the extra weight you will be adding to your boat by hauling gear.
  • Before you buy To get an idea of how you handle a given length and weight, we recommend you lift and load a few kayaks. You can get a good idea of how much you can handle and what your fitness level is by starting to experiment now.

Comfort

Your back will tell you quickly that a comfortable seat is not something you should skip when kayaking.

There are many aftermarket options for kayaks that have the worst features, but it is a good idea to look for a kayak with adjustable, comfortable seating.

We prefer high seats, which allow for more storage and give us more space to cast flies.

Storage

Simply put, more is always better.

You want ‘yaks that have easy access to hatches, and lots of accessories mounting options.

Also, I like the idea of molded rod-holders as well as options such electronics consoles. These are great for organizing gear and giving you quick access to the tools that you need.

Last Thoughts

A pedal-driven kayak is a great way to get around your local lakes, whether you enjoy the thrill of fighting largemouth bass in salt water or the excitement of striped bass fighting on the lake’s largemouth. As the technology has become cheaper, more manufacturers offer it as an option on their yaks, making it affordable for everyone.

We hope this article helped you narrow down your choices for a pedal-driven kayak. As always, we would love to hear from and help you.

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.