The Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks for 2024 Reviewed and Buying Guide

The Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks for 2023 Reviewed and Buying Guide


Hey there, and welcome to our review of the best pedal fishing kayaks on the market today. Fishing kayaks have become increasingly popular in recent years. They offer anglers a unique and immersive way to enjoy their favorite pastime. While traditional paddle kayaks have been the norm for many fishermen, a new contender has emerged. Pedal fishing kayaks have a hands-free propulsion system and streamlined design that puts paddle fishing kayaks to shame.

My team and I reviewed these nine kayaks over the course of a week. We tested these vessels on several features, mainly focusing on stability, speed, size, and maneuverability. We brought them all to the extreme with weight tests, speed, and design tests. If something was going to go wrong, we wanted to find out for you anglers back home.

Our best overall pick is the Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak. This wide-bodied pedal kayak is the best there is for fishing. The width of this vessel is 34 inches wide, allowing you to stand and fish freely without worrying about tipping. You also get plenty of storage with specialised compartments for fishing equipment. And finally, the propeller propulsion system will enable you to cruise through waters effortlessly. In short, the Malibu Pedal Kayal is a stable and well-designed self-propulsion kayak worth checking out.

In this article, we’ll explore the best fishing kayaks with pedals. We will examine their features, perks, and drawbacks to help you decide which one of these kayaks is the right choice.

Our Top 9 Picks

  1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak (Best Overall)
  2. Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 Fishing Kayak (Best Speed)
  3. Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak (Best Maneuverability)
  4. Native Watercraft Titan Propel 12 Pedal Fishing Kayak (Best Malibu Alternative)
  5. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 (Best For Camping)
  6. Perception Crank 10 (Best Budget)
  7. Pelican Getaway 110 HyDryve II Kayak (Best Fin-Drive)
  8. Old Town Predator PDL Fishing Kayak (Best Ocean Kayak)
  9. Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak (Best Deep Well)

The 9 Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks

Below, we’ve rated the best fishing kayaks with pedals on the market from one through nine. Throw your gear in your dry bag, and let’s get started.

Best Overall

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak

  • Length: 12 ft
  • Beam: 34 inches
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Max Load: 450 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

Up first, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak is one of the more popular options available today. This kayak excels in stability and comfort and boasts a wide and open cockpit, which provides plenty of room to move around and store gear. The kayak also includes a adjustable and comfortable seat with foot braces that adjust to fit you.

This pedal drive kayak is well-suited for both recreational use and fishing. The Malibu Pedal also includes various fishing-specific features. This includes two flush-mounted rod holders and two accessory tracks allow you to attach fishing tackle outside of the kayak’s storage. The kayak also has a large tank well with bungee cords, which can store coolers, tackle boxes, and whatever else you need. Needless to say, you’ll be able to fit all your fishing gear and still have plenty of space left.

In addition, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Kayak is a pedal drive propeller propulsion system. With every crank, you’re spinning a propeller that pushes you through the water. If you’re worried about damaging the propeller during transportation, rest assured. This kayak features a fully removable foot pedal system to protect the prop during transition periods.

This kayak is sleek and smooth in the water with its hydrodynamic design. As for cons, this kayak isn’t lacking in fishing essentials, but it is a little pricey. However, not to worry, every dollar that goes into buying this kayak is returned in features, durability, and catching fish. It doesn’t get better than this, this is the cream of the crop, and this kayak will please you in every aspect.

Best Speed

2. Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 Fishing Kayak

  • Length: 12 ft
  • Beam: 35 inches
  • Weight: 123 pounds
  • Max Load: 450 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

Up next, we have the Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 Fishing Kayak. This is a high-end pedal-powered fishing kayak designed for anglers who want top-notch performance and comfort on the water.

Its pedal drive system is Old Town’s PDL Drive, which provides a smooth, powerful, speedy experience. It’s one of the fastest on the market today! The PDL Drive is strong with an ideal gear ratio to maximize your pedals. There’s a simple propeller system below that can be easily replaced if damaged, but that shouldn’t be an issue due to the “kickback” system on the prop.

The Salty PDL 120 sports a comfortable, adjustable seat with a breathable mesh backrest and lumbar support. This pedal drive fishing kayak also has adjustable braces on the foot pedals that enable you to fine-tune the pedal drive.

In addition to its fishing-specific features, the Salty PDL 120 has storage throughout the entire boat. It features a handy Click Seal hatch that provides easy access to a water-resistant storage area. The kayak also has a comfortable carry handle and is easily transported on a roof rack or trailer. I also really like that the “rocker” on the bottom increases stability. The rocker basically hugs rough seas better, improving your boat altogether.

If a 12-foot super stable kayak with great speed is what you’re after, the Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 Fishing Kayak is the best choice for you.

Best Maneuverability

3. Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak

  • Length: 10.6 ft
  • Beam: 36 inches
  • Weight: 94 pounds
  • Max Load: 450 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

Paddling in at number 3, the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak has love from many anglers already. The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 is a performance kayak that offers a comfortable way to fish in a small package. It’s a pedal-driven kayak with a PDL Drive system that powers a propeller and you across the water.

Although the boat doesn’t have the length and stability of a 12-foot boat, the beam gives buoyancy and stability. It weighs just 94 pounds, making it relatively easy to transport and launch compared to others on our list. The kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 450 pounds, so you and your gear will fit fine. Such a high weight rating for such a short kayak is actually quite impressive. Stability is a huge perk for the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106, and that’s what the wide beam does for this kayak.

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Fishing Kayak also has a fantastic seat with an adjustable backrest. Remember, you’ll be in that seat the entire time you’re in the kayak, so comfort is key. The kayak also has various tackle storage options, including a large front and back hatch and one in the center. There are also several gear tracks on the kayak. You can attach rod holders, fish finders, and others to customize the boat. It’s similar to the Malibu Kayak but with more room for accessories and your legs.

This kayak is extraordinary in many ways, but it is lacking in one field, and that’s its length. Having a shorter kayak reduces storage space, stability, and speed. With that said, a shorter kayak is necessary for some environments compared to others. If you’re in the market for a kayak with note-worthy maneuverability, it doesn’t get better than the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106.

Best Malibu Alternative

4.  Native Watercraft Titan Propel 12 Pedal Fishing Kayak

  • Length: 12 ft
  • Beam: 39 inches
  • Weight: 138 pounds
  • Max Load: 500 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

At number 4, we have the Native Watercraft Titan Propel 12 Pedal Fishing Kayak. The Titan is a pedal-powered fishing kayak designed for anglers who want a stable fishing platform combined with a kayak. The width of this boat is a big selling point. If you add that with the length, it screams stability, precisely what you want for a fishing kayak.

The Titan Propel’s wide, flat deck provides plenty of room for standing and casting. It also has a comfortable, adjustable seat that raises and lowers to accommodate you. Plus, tackle storage won’t be an issue. This kayak has lots of storage options. These include horizontal rod storage, a large front hatch, a rear hatch, and a center console that doubles as a cooler. These translate to even more storage space than the Malibu.

The Native Watercraft has a pedal propeller drive. The pedal system is smooth and easy to operate, providing lots of power down to the propeller below. One my favourite features of this kayak is its rudder system. Native decided to hide the rudder under the boat, keeping it safe from being damaged by structures. On top of that, if you hit a rock with the propeller, there is a breakaway lock to control the damage.

So far so good, but this fishing kayak has a couple of drawbacks. With a fully rigged load of 138 pounds, it’ll be hard to lug around with all your gear. You’ll also notice that for 38% more weight, you’re only getting 25% more storage space. What’s more, this storage space isn’t optimised. Unlike the Malibu, there aren’t compartments like cup holders. I personally prefer the Malibu because it’s easier to maneuver, lighter, and much better for solo trips. But anglers who prefer more stability and don’t mind the extra weight will prefer the Titan Propel 12. That’s why we decided it was the best alternative to the Malibu.

You’re in the right place if you’re searching for the best stability a boat can offer. The stability and performance of the Native Watercraft Titan Propel 12 Pedal Fishing Kayak is like no other on our list. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, this kayak suits everyone. The Titan Propel 12 has exceeded our standards and will do the same for you.

Best For Camping

5. Perception Pescador Pilot 12

  • Length: 12.5 ft
  • Beam: 34 inches
  • Weight: 85 pounds
  • Max Load: 475 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

Next, the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is a kayak I was quite impressed by. You’re overwhelmed with storage and fishing features. Additionally, it’s a pedal propeller-driven kayak. This means your pedal revolutions spin a propeller that pushes you through the water. The slim design with extra length lets you cut through rough water while keeping speed.

With a high weight capacity and extra length, this boat is perfect for overnight fishing adventures. The ability to store any item in numerous places on the boat is a great add-on for an overnight kayak. After all, the best camping boat optimizes storage capabilities. Whether you bungee items in the compartments or use the rod holders, you’ll have sufficient space.

However, the biggest drawback of this kayak is its width. Most anglers prefer a wider platform to be comfortable and sturdy. But if you’re of more petite stature, this shouldn’t cause an issue whatsoever.

The Perception has everything you could want as an angler. We’re talking storage, speed, comfort, and lightness. If you’re looking for a company that puts thought into everything a fisherman could want, choose the Perception Pescador.

Best Budget

6. Perception Crank 10 Pedal Kayak

  • Length: 10 ft
  • Beam: 35 inches
  • Weight: 87 pounds
  • Max Load: 350 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

At number 6, the Perception Crank 10 Pedal Kayak is a sit-on-top fishing kayak designed for beginner anglers. This is a pedal drive fishing kayak with a detachable propeller system to propel it through the water.

The Perception Crank 10 is the little brother of the Pescador Pilot 12. It has it all in a smaller package. You’ll have bungee strings, compartments, water-tight storage, and electronic accessory mounts. The molded handles can take lots of abuse giving your kayak a longer lifespan.

Although this is a similar kayak to other ten-footers on our list, the price makes this one stand out compared to the others. Coming in at the cheapest on our list, this is a great way to get your foot into pedal kayak fishing. The essential accessories and superior pedal drive system make for a great beginner combo.

Best Fin-Drive

7. Pelican Getaway 110 HyDryve II Kayak

  • Length: 10.6 ft
  • Beam: 33 inches
  • Weight: 65 pounds
  • Max Load: 300 pounds
  • Drive Type: Fin Drive

Next, the Pelican Getaway 110 HyDryve ll Kayak has a name that suits its features. This lightweight kayak truly lets you get away. Weighing only 59 pounds, the HyDrive Fin propulsion systems easily glide you across the lake. This kayak is specific for recreational use, but the storage capacity and mounting options also make it viable for fishing. With a smaller size, you should expect less storage.

The fin drive is a huge key feature that isolates it from others. The kayak handles weedy situations like a pro. This allows you to gracefully cut through the grass, which is useful since it won’t entangle your propulsion system. Use this kayak in ponds or lakes to maximize this feature.

However, the Pelican Getaway HDII has a couple downfalls – the beam length and the lack of deep wells for storage. With only 33 inches of standing space, this may not be the best option for standing and casting. Also, without deep wells, you’re fully reliant on restraints holding your gear in. But don’t sell this one off yet, since you don’t need a ton of gear for day trips and pond fishing and won’t need to stand up.

Take fishing to the next level and slam that bass in the grass on the best fin drive on our list, the Pelican Getaway 110.

Best Ocean Kayak

8. Old Town Predator PDL Fishing Kayak

  • Length: 13 ft
  • Beam: 35 inches
  • Weight: 133 pounds
  • Max Load: 500 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

Number 8, the Old Town Predator PDL Fishing Kayak, is a favourite worldwide for many fishermen. It’s 13.2 feet long and 35 inches wide with a holding capacity of 500 pounds. Basically, this is one big kayak. And big kayaks are great for big bodies of water, like the ocean.

The Predator has storage throughout the bow, stern, and midsection. There are also rod holders, under-seat storage, and watertight compartments. When compared to the Pelican Getaway, the Predator does surpass it. Having the deep wells that really lock your gear in place is key. This kayak can load with gear, food, drinks, and fishing supplies; you’ll still have plenty of room.

The most significant feature of this kayak is its overall size and design. Old Town thought ahead and made this kayak massive but with a super sleek hydrodynamic style. This excels in situations like waves and surges, which you’ll find in the ocean. Also, you’ll be passing other paddlers on the water with the new and improved PDL propeller drive system. Every rotation of the pedals gives more power to the prop.

One of the best activities of kayak camping is the ability to have a fishing platform. You’re up higher and able to look down on the structure. On the downside, if a 13.2-foot kayak isn’t what you’re on the market for, this won’t be ideal for you. You’ll need a kayak dolly or at least two people to move it, not to mention the weight isn’t the lightest on our list.

If you’re in the market for an ocean kayak with a massive fishing platform and incredible storage, the Old Town Predator is your best bet.

Best Deep Well

9. Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak

  • Length: 12.9 ft
  • Beam: 34 inches
  • Weight: 103 pounds
  • Max Load: 425 pounds
  • Drive Type: Propeller

We’re closing with the Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak to finish our list. Unlike other kayaks on our list, the Hobie is specifically designed with the kayak fisherman in mind.

One of this kayak’s most stand-out features is the entire boat’s deep well design. You’re protected from the water better and have enhanced stability. While the deep well helps keep things out, it’s also locking your equipment into the boat and preventing anything from moving around.

The pedal fin drive system is easy to use with a forward and reverse switch that turns to change direction. Like other fin drive systems, this is optimal for slicing through weedy areas that propeller drive boats simply can’t go. Hobie made a bigger fin width to improve your boat’s speed and maneuverability, terming them “kick-up fins”. The kick-up fins also fold back on impact so they won’t get stuck anywhere.

So far, so good, but I found that sitting in this boat can get uncomfortable with only a mesh pad below. But no worries, since this boat is so sturdy, a quick standup and stretch should put you back in the game.

Pedal Fishing Kayak Buying Guide

With so many kayaks on the market, choosing the right kayak for you can be intimidating. During our research, we mastered terminology and features to better explain them in this buying guide.

Fin Drive VS Propeller Drive

When we get into the different types of propulsion methods for pedal kayaks, there are two main options; fin drive and propeller drive.

A fin drive is also known as a pedal drive. Pedal drive systems use a pair of fins or flippers attached to a shaft beneath the kayak. The fins move back and forth as the kayaker pedals, propelling the kayak forward through the water. The fins are typically positioned towards the kayak’s stern and vice versa for reverse.

On the other hand, a propeller drive uses a propeller attached to a shaft that extends beneath the kayak. The kayaker pedals turning the propeller, creating forward motion.

When making your final decision, consider some cons of each. First, propeller drives are notorious for getting tangled in grass and weeds. Second, they’re pretty heavy (15-20 pounds), so de-weeding on the go may be a hassle.

If we switch to the pedal drive fishing kayaks, there are also some flaws. The speed of pedal drive kayaks is drastically slower than the propeller drive, and with a slower speed, you’re limited in how far out you can fish. While pedal drive fishing kayaks do have reverse, they’re not very good.

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of pedal drives and propeller drives before deciding.

Buoyancy

The buoyancy of a pedal kayak is primarily determined by the volume of water it displaces, which is a function of its overall size and shape. The more water the kayak displaces, the greater its buoyancy will be.

In simpler terms, the more weight a kayak holds, the better buoyancy and overall stability the kayak will have. While you explore kayaks, look at the maximum load for each kayak and make sure you subtract the kayak weight from the maximum load.

For example, if a kayak has a maximum load of 450 pounds and the kayak weighs 100 pounds fully rigged, the weight displacement left over is 350 pounds.That will then tell you your usable weight.

Storage

The amount of storage you need varies between each kayak angler. This will depend on your specific needs and the kayaking you plan to do. However, you should aim for a kayak with ample storage space to accommodate all of your essential gear and supplies.

If you plan to use your kayak for day trips or shorter outings, you may get by with a smaller kayak with one or two small hatches or storage areas. However, you will likely need a larger kayak with more storage space if you plan to go on longer or overnight camping trips.

Be sure whichever kayak you choose, there is at least one watertight storage area for your electronics and personal items.

Maintenance

Like all watercraft, pedal kayaks require regular maintenance to keep them in good working condition. Some common types of maintenance that a pedal kayak may require include cleaning, lubrication, proper storage, and general repairs.

You should follow the manufacturer’s maintenance and care recommendations and promptly address any issues to prevent further damage or problems. However, maintenance isn’t difficult on a pedal kayak.

What Are Pedal Fishing Kayaks?

A paddle fishing kayak is a specialized kayak designed for fishing in all sorts of water such as lakes, ponds, and even the ocean. The most notable difference between a pedal kayak and a regular kayak is the propulsion drive system that “powers” the boat. There are two standard propulsion drives you’ll find, and they’re a propeller or fin drive system.

A propeller drive system has a prop attached to the lower unit that spins like a boat motor. A fin drive system has two vertical paddles which move front to back with each pedal revolution.

These kayaks are typically equipped with features that make it easier to fish from, such as built-in rod holders, storage compartments for tackle and equipment, and, most importantly, the seat (remember you’ll be sitting in this chair for an extended time).

Pedal kayaks are broader and more stable than traditional kayaks, so anglers can stand up and easily cast their lines. They are also designed to be maneuverable, making it easier to navigate in and around obstacles in the water, thanks to the steering system (rudder).

In summary, a pedal fishing kayak is a “beefier” kayak with a propulsion system that improves your time on the water.

Why Buy A Pedal Fishing Kayak?

Considering how many different types of kayaks are on the market, why should you invest in a pedal fishing kayak? Below, we’ve reviewed some critical kayak features to help make your decision.

Ease Of Launch

Kayaks have always been favored due to their lightweight design and ease of launch. When launching a big power boat, it’s necessary to have 2-3 people to either catch lines or drive the truck. However, for a kayak, it’s as simple as pushing it halfway into the water, climbing in, and pushing off with your paddle.

Portability

A pedal fishing kayak is great for getting to those small lakes or ponds where motorized vessels are prohibited. This is due to their non-motorized propulsion system and their easy portability.

Although some kayaks weigh over 100 pounds, “dolly wheels” (training wheels for the kayak) connect easily. Once connected, moving and transport become much easier.

There are also multiple kayaks on our list that are under 70 pounds, which means wheels won’t even be necessary.

Accessibility

As an angler, you’ll know the best fish are always in the places with the least access. One of the best things about kayaks is how much accessibility to fishing spots they bring into your fishing game. Spots inaccessible before due to trees, brush, or water are now your prime spots.

The slender, lightweight design allows you and all your gear to access spots a motorboat or surf fisherman couldn’t reach. Enjoy the benefits, and get yourself a pedal kayak.

Stealth

When fishing, being as quiet as you can is a huge advantage. You quite literally won’t scare the fish away. Now if you could be directly over a school of fish without them hearing you, why wouldn’t you? Kayaks supply the ability to move around a body of water making as little noise as possible. No more loud engines running or clanking of things in the boat. Instead, you’re now stealthy, quiet, and landing fish.

Health

Many veteran anglers are getting outdoors and being active to keep their health up. With self-propulsion kayak systems, you’re constantly working out. Imagine a workout bike attached to your kayak. You’re getting the best of both worlds, outdoors and exercise.

Affordability

Let’s face it, motor boats, sailboats, and mega yachts are all expensive and not the most convenient. Yet, if you’re a die-hard fisherman or even someone who’s trying to get his line in the water for the first time, a kayak is a great affordable boat option. You get access to the open water, peace and quiet, and your own affordable vessel.

If you’re just searching the market, expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 up to $3,000, depending on quality and features.

Pedal VS Paddle Fishing Kayaks

With pedal kayaks taking the market by storm, we thought we should compare both pedal and paddle fishing kayaks.

Speed

In general, pedal kayaks are faster than paddle kayaks. Pedal kayaks are designed to be more efficient and generate more power with each stroke. This allows them to achieve higher speeds with less effort.

Additionally, pedal kayaks’ streamlined design, lower center of gravity, and sleeker hulls contribute to their speed. However, it’s important to note that the speed of a kayak depends on various factors. These include the size and weight of the kayak, the paddler or peddler’s skill, and the water conditions.

Hands-Free Operation

A pedal kayak allows for hands-free fishing. It lets you keep your hands free to handle your fishing rod, bait, and catch.

With tasks like baiting your rig, unhooking fish, and taking a photo with your catch, having your hands available is imperative. It allows for greater control, comfort, and convenience.

Stability

Some concerns with pedal kayaks are their stability. Since the fisherman is placed in a chair sitting above the waterline, being top-heavy can be a concern. However, with pedal kayaks evolving, there are now options to lower the chair’s center of gravity to get a perfect balance.

Pedal kayak chairs are usually mounted on shuttle rails, allowing you to move the chair to any position you like.

Maneuverability

Paddle kayaks are generally more maneuverable than pedal kayaks. This is because with a paddle kayak, you have more control over the direction and movement while using the paddle. With a pedal kayak, you are limited in the direction you can turn and may need to use a paddle to assist in turning or maneuvering in tight spaces.

A good comparison would be a push lawn mower vs. a ride-on mower. With a push, you can get to those tight corners and get the job done. But with the ride-on mower, you get the job done just as well, with some significant advantages.

Rough Waters Handling

Ultimately, the best way to determine how well a kayak will handle rough water is to test it. Choosing a kayak appropriate for your skill level and the conditions you will be paddling in is important.

That being said, many factors can affect how well a kayak handles rough water. This includes the size and weight of the kayak, the skill of the paddler or peddler, and the water conditions. Some pedal kayaks are designed to handle rough water better than others. These kayaks may have features such as wider hulls, rudders, or stabilizers to improve their performance in challenging conditions.

My Verdict

Throughout this review, we’ve discussed nine of the best pedal kayaks. We’ve gone over what sets each kayak apart from the other, and also their downsides.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, we recommend the Malibu Pedal Kayak. It’s perfect for any level of fisherman. It has a highly stable platform, great PDL system, and overall well thought-out design. You can take this kayak on day trips, overnight camping trips, ponds, lakes, and even the ocean. Basically, this is the best pedal kayak for fishing that money can get.

Don’t forget to bring a paddle on your fishing trip for backup, no matter where you go. Happy fishing!

P.S. If you need any fishing gear whatsoever, we’ve meticulously compiled all the best fishing tackle here for you.

Content retrieved from: https://fishingsensei.com/gear/kayaks/best-pedal-fishing-kayaks/.

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