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Power up Your Fishing Game: Pedal Kayak 2024

Pick The Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Pick The Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Updated on 7/10/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Best Fishing Kayak: Should I pedal, or should I not pedal? That is the question. Not so much any longer, especially considering how pedal-driven kayaks dominate the kayak fishing market. The question "Which fishing kayak with pedal drive should I pick?" is one that you should ask yourself, regardless of whether you are purchasing your first fishing kayak or upgrading from an older model.

Why Pedal Drive Kayaks are Worth It?

Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Kayaks with pedal drive are becoming increasingly popular in the fishing world due to their many advantages over traditional paddled kayaks. In this section, we'll discuss why pedal drive kayaks are worth the investment for any serious angler.

Pedal drive kayaks are not only more efficient but also more comfortable, stable and easy to maneuver than traditional kayaks. They are powered by the user's legs, which makes it easier to cover more water in a shorter amount of time, increasing your chances of catching more fish. Moreover, with pedal drive kayaks, anglers have the freedom to use their hands for other tasks, such as casting, reeling or taking pictures of their catch, due to the hands-free operation of the kayak.

Comfort is also a key feature of pedal drive kayaks, with many models boasting comfortable seating options, which can prevent back pain or other discomforts while on the water. In addition, pedal-driven kayaks are easier to maneuver and turn, allowing for better control and positioning while fishing.

Pedal drive kayaks are designed to have a lower center of gravity than traditional kayaks, which makes them more stable and less prone to tipping over, especially in choppy waters. Stability is an important factor, especially when fishing, as it ensures a safe and enjoyable experience.

Overall, pedal-driven kayaks offer several benefits that make them a worthwhile investment for any angler looking to improve their fishing game.


Pedal-Driven Propulsion Systems

Pedal-driven kayaks are powered by the user's leg muscles, providing an alternative means of propulsion to traditional paddle kayaking. There are two main types of pedal-driven systems:

  • Push-pedal systems: These systems require the kayaker to push down on the pedals, similar to how one would use the pedals on a bicycle. The motion of the pedals is then converted into a rotary movement that propels the kayak forward.
  • Rotational pedal systems: These systems, like the Mirage Drive by Hobie, involve two underwater fins that move back and forth as the kayaker pedals. The fins generate thrust, propelling the kayak forward. This mechanism is highly efficient and allows for greater speed and maneuverability.


Benefits of Kayaks with Pedals

  • Hands-free kayaking: Pedal-driven kayaks allow users to keep their hands free for other tasks, such as fishing, taking photos, or adjusting equipment. This feature is particularly useful for anglers who need to cast and reel without constantly switching between the paddle and their fishing gear.
  • Stability: Pedal kayaks are often designed with a wider hull for added stability, making them ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more stable platform for fishing or photography.
  • Maneuverability: Pedal systems provide greater control and precision in steering, making it easier to navigate through tight spaces or follow fish.
  • Speed: Because pedal-driven kayaks rely on the powerful leg muscles, they often achieve higher speeds than traditional paddle kayaks, enabling users to cover more ground during their adventures.
  • Comfort: With adjustable pedals and ergonomically designed seats, pedal kayaks provide a comfortable experience that can help reduce fatigue during long trips.
  • Fitness benefits: Pedal kayaking offers a low-impact, full-body workout that can improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength, making it an excellent choice for those looking to stay active and fit.


Stand Up Kayak Fishing 

Be sure to look for pedal kayaks made for stand-up stability if the ability to stand and sight-cast while fishing is something you're interested in.If you want to specialize in fishing in extremely shallow waters, a pedal drive is not the most excellent option because it needs to be withdrawn or retracted in order to navigate the shallows. In addition, a pedal drive requires some care, at least more than a paddle drive, and it may be expensive to repair or replace if something goes wrong. If you are on a limited budget, you should look first at paddle kayaks rather than pedal kayaks because pedal kayaks are often more expensive than paddle kayaks of comparable lengths and features. However, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages for most fishers, so this is still a viable option. Because most individuals have greater strength and stamina in their legs than they have in their arms and shoulders, a pedal fishing kayak allows them to travel further and remain out for more extended period of time. Additionally, the number one benefit of pedal-powered kayaks, which is that your hands are free for fishing, more than makes up for any single disadvantage that may be listed. Nothing compares to the convenience of not having to pick up or put down a paddle, whether trolling, casting, or battling fish, since it lets you have your rod in your hands the entire time.

Related Best Fishing Kayaks With Pedals

What Is The Most Effective Kayak For Pedal Fishing?

Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

When it comes to pedal-driven fishing kayaks, there are more alternatives available now than there ever have been. If you remember nothing else from this piece, make it that there is no such thing as a single "best" kayak when it comes to fishing. Every kayak design has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that are tailored to the paddler. Finding a kayak that satisfies both your requirements and your preferred method of fishing is crucial to your contentment. To begin, you should pose some questions to yourself. Which do you believe to be more important, speed or stability? Do you wish to be able to fish while standing up? If you do want to feel while standing up, you will need a fishing kayak that is steady. What types of waterways are you going to be fishing in, what kinds of fish are you 

going to be pursuing, and what kinds of fishing tactics are you going to use? Do you wish to include the electronic components and accessories? How will you be carrying your kayak?

The answers you give to these questions will be used to assist in selecting a pedal kayak brand and model that is suitable for your needs. But before we get into it, let's take a quick look at the various pedal-driven kayak alternatives.

Related Best Pedal Kayaks (under $100 and non fishing)


The Pedal Operated Vehicle

Driftsun Rover Kayak
Our Overall Review
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When Hobie first introduced its Mirage Drive pedal-powered kayak in 1997, the concept of a pedal-powered kayak indeed took off. It is similar to the way that a penguin swims, and it employs flexible fins that scissor underneath the boat. A chain drive connects these fins to pedals that are pressed back and forth rather than in a circular motion like a bicycle. The design is based on the swimming action of a penguin. It was a revelation, a remarkable work of engineering, and throughout the years, the Hobie Mirage Drive has become the preferred option for kayak anglers who take their sport seriously.

The fact that the Mirage Drive could only move in one direction at a time, forward, was obviously one of its significant flaws. This problem was overcome by Hobie when they invented the Mirage Drive 180, which, with the flick of a switch, allows the kayak to go in full-power reverse while reversing the direction of its fins. Their most recent product, the Mirage Drive 360, has a feature that enables the fins to work at any angle, which makes it feasible to move laterally even when going through confined spaces.

Another problem with the first model of the Hobie Mirage Drive was that it could bend the mast by colliding with an underwater obstacle, such as a tree stump or a rock. The mast is the rod that extends downward from the front of the fins. If you run into an underwater obstacle, the newly developed kick-up fin technology from Hobie will automatically safeguard the drive.

Hobie's entry-level Passport kayak is still equipped with the company's "Glide Technology" GT propulsion, which can only move in a forward direction. It is highly recommended that you can cycle in reverse if you do a lot of fishing in close quarters, either inshore or in freshwater, and this will allow you to keep yourself in place while throwing at the structure. On the other hand, if you want to do a lot of fishing in open water or troll and you want to save some money, it can be worth it to make the sacrifice.

The patent that Hobie held on their first Mirage Drive expired in 2017, and the following year, in 2018, Pelican International introduced a pedal-driven fishing kayak equipped with a drive that is visually comparable to Hobie's Mirage unit. The Catch 110 and 130 Hydryve helped bring the cost of pedal-driven kayaks down to an affordable level for beginners. With the introduction of Native Kayak's Propel system in 2008, propeller-driven kayaks, in which the paddler pedals in a circular motion similar to that of a bicycle, turn an underwater propeller, gained widespread popularity. When compared to the traditional Mirage Drive, the ability to immediately go in the other direction just by pedaling backward stands out as a significant benefit of this form of pedal drive.

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • 24V Brushless Motor: The 1.8hp equivalent Direct Drive motor provides quiet and efficient power delivery without the use of internal gears, powering you along at up to 5 knots!
  • Aluminum Motor Mount: The 4 bolt motor mount attaches directly to PowerPole ready fishing kayaks, and can be installed on other kayaks using a drill.
  • Battery Options: The motor can be used with lead acid deep cycle or lithium deep cycle batteries with a nominal output voltage between 24V & 29V. Note: Some lithium batteries output higher than the rated voltage, choose wisely.
  • Included in Box: Motor, Speed Controller, Emergency Stop Key, Motor Mount w/ quick release, 5ft Battery Cable Kit, Steering Triangle, Height Adjustment Collar, Motor Lift Arm, Steering Cables, 4x Nylon Cords, Raise/Lower & Reverse Lock Handles, Installation Hardware, Owners Manual
  • Why Choose Newport? Newport Vessels has been serving the marine industry since 2009. We stand behind every product we sell with a 2 year warranty, and a customer service team you can actually talk to!

Things we don't like:

  • Battery compatibility limitations: Some lithium batteries may output higher than the rated voltage, requiring careful selection.
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Today, manufacturers like Old Town (PDL variants in their Sportsman line kayaks), Native Kayak (Propel models), Wilderness Systems (Helix PD pedal-drive models), and others provide pedal-driven and propeller-driven kayaks for consumers to choose from.

Although this is a matter of personal opinion, some anglers choose a cycling motion over a back-and-forth motion when casting their lines. It is highly recommended that you put different pedal drives through their paces in real-world scenarios before making a purchase decision. When comparing the various types of campaigns, you should also research the ease of maintenance, dependability, and service. You should be able to get information about the warranties that are particular to a pedal drive and hull from a dealer that has a good reputation.

Our Overall Review
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When estimating how challenging it will be to raise a kayak onto a roof rack while car-topping it, the weight alone is not the only aspect to consider. In my experience, shorter and broader kayaks were lighter overall but more challenging to lift because of the increased surface area. On the other hand, it is much simpler for me to load a kayak that is thirteen feet long onto my SUV. This is because I can place the kayak's bow on the rear rack of the vehicle while keeping the stern of the kayak on the ground. After that, I can "lever" the back of the kayak up and slide it forward.

Best Fishing Kayak: I am confident that regardless of the kind of kayak you decide to buy, if you prepare yourself enough beforehand by doing some research, you will not be sorry that you invested. Since I invested in my first pedal kayak, a Hobie Revolution, in 2012, I can honestly say that I have not once yearned for the days when I paddled kayaks instead. Throughout my fishing career, I've had the opportunity to put a variety of pedal kayaks through their paces, both in terms of fishing and test drives. One thing they all had in common, even though they were unique in their ways, was that fishing from any of them was a lot of fun.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the most stable pedal fishing kayak?

The Old Town Sportsman BigWater is the market's most stable pedal fishing kayak. You can find the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 with Pedal Drive for $1,000 less if you don't want to spend a month's mortgage on a kayak.

How light is the lightest pedal fishing kayak?

It is the lightest 10' pedal drive fishing kayak on the market, weighing only 62 pounds (without the drive unit). This little yak is a master of hands-free fishing. It's light enough to lift car tops or easily fit into a pickup's back.

Is it possible to mount pedal drives on any kayak?

With bolt-on pedal systems, you can install pedals on any kayak. Attached to the propellers, the cable runs the length of the kayak.

Is a pedal drive kayak a good exercise?

With a pedal kayak, you can exercise your legs while strengthening them. In the same way, paddle kayaking benefits your arms, and pedal kayaking strengthens your legs - quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles!