- Rotary Pedals vs Push Pedals
- What To Look For In A Pedal Kayak
- How Do You Plan To Fish?
- Our List Of The Best Pedal Kayaks
- Final Thoughts
When I first started looking into kayak fishing, I was getting more and more obsessed with Hobie pedal fishing kayaks.
The problem was that I was on a serious budget to start. I was afraid to spend money on a hobby that I had never tried before so I bought a paddle kayak. A Perception Pescador to be exact. And while I liked it, I kept feeling like I had made a mistake. Especially since I had started making friends in the community and they mainly had Hobies.
I got to try one and I was hooked. The very next week I sold my Perception and bought a Hobie Outback and never looked back.
Now, there are more manufacturers and different styles so I want to help go through your options.
Read on for the best pedal kayak reviews to see which one is going to be best for you after the detailed buying guide to help you with your purchase.
Rotary Pedals vs Push Pedals
At the time I bought my Outback, the push pedal system that Hobie patented had been around for a while and was pretty much the only pedal fishing kayak around. Shortly after, Native Watercraft put out their own rotary pedal system and now other brands have gotten in on the pedal kayak action.
What is the difference?
Well, really the only thing they have in common is that they both use your feet to propel the sea fishing kayak. That’s where the similarities end as these systems are very different from each other.
The way these work is that your push the pedals back and forth instead of around like a bicycle. Underneath the pedals are a set of fins. Not a propeller.
These fins twist as you pedal and that pushes water. They are very efficient and don’t disrupt the water much which would spook the fish.
It is really easy to push and the fins give much more torque.
You have to be conscious of how you sit when you are pushing. If you’re too far from the furthest point of where your leg ends up, then your knees tend to lock. This can lead to some strained knees and can end up giving you a sore lower back. Your knees should still be slightly bent at the furthest point so adjust your seat accordingly.
In theory this propulsion system should be more efficient that the push pedal system. After all, you’re pedaling as if you are on a bike and your legs are in continuous motion. As you turn the pedals, it spins a propeller under the sea fishing kayak. The thing is that this propeller doesn’t move as much water as the fins and so you have to pedal more to reach the same horsepower as the push system.
This is not a bad thing, however.
What To Look For In A Pedal Kayak
Before you can settle on the right type of pedal fishing kayak and then which model is going to be best for you, you have to take some factors into consideration.
Whether you are looking for a sea fishing kayak or something to get you around a pond or lake then you’ll need to understand what your individual circumstances are.
This should top the list of important factors when looking into buying a kayak. First, it ties in directly with safety. If your kayak is stable then you are less likely to flip and end up in the drink.
There are two kinds of stability when it comes to kayaks. Primary Stability and Secondary Stability.
Primary Stability is what it means when a kayak is difficult to turn over. The wider a kayak is the more primary stability you will have. When I first bought by Outback I was practicing reentry and no matter how hard I tried to be doing something to make it flip, it wouldn’t go over. It has excellent Primary Stability.
Secondary Stability is when a kayak may have low Primary in the sense that it feels tippy and may go over if you aren’t careful, but the stability comes into play when you try to recover. With the right know how, you can avoid flipping even if it seems inevitable.
Kayaks with high primary stability will be hard to recover once they pass the tipping point.
Even the best pedal fishing kayaks are notorious for how much they weigh. For instance, the Hobie Pro Angler 14 weighs a staggering 138 pounds. Obviously you are not going to be throwing that on the roof of your car yourself unless you have an electric assist bar. You’re more likely to be using a trailer to get to the launch. And if you don’t have an easy to reach put in then carrying it is pretty much out of the question.
Carefully consider how you are going to be transporting the sea fishing kayak and how much it weighs before you buy.
You may or may not be too concerned about how fast these best pedal fishing kayaks can go. If you are like me, then you are just happy to be able to go faster than you can by paddling and that you can fish hands free.
If you are looking at a sea fishing kayak where you will be looking to cover a lot of water, then speed is going to be a factor.
To find a faster kayak look at the ones with a narrow hull. Wide hulls, while offering a lot of stability, are very slow compared to the long slim sea fishing kayaks.
One of the nicest things about not needing a paddle is the fact that you can really load up on the rigging on deck. I have seen guys at the launch with everything but the kitchen sink.
You can put in as many rod holders as you want and include a fish finder, bait cutting deck or anything else you can see fit to add.
How Do You Plan To Fish?
Where you fish and what you plan to fish for is also going to weigh in on your decision about what to buy.
Sight Fishing/Fly Fishing
If you are going to be fishing in the salt flats or out in a lake fly fishing then the deck is going to be very important.
Look for a wide hull that offers space to stand up. These days there are lot of pedal fishing kayaks that have non slip surfaces and plenty of space to stand in your cockpit for sight fishing and easy fly casting.
Just about every kayak in these reviews are going to give you that ability.
Our List Of The Best Pedal Kayaks
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
This tops our list for the best pedal fishing kayak since it has just about everything you would need to get out on the fish. It is really more like a boat than a kayak just the difference being that you use your feet to propel it.
What I really love about Hobie is how they are always innovating. Previously, one of the drawbacks of the pedal drive was that you couldn’t go in reverse. Now with 180° technology, you can turn the fins around finally go in reverse.
The design of the entire kayak is incredible.
It is ideal as a sea fishing kayak as it is incredibly stable. It can be used in lakes and rivers as a fly fishing kayak. Just about every scenario is doable with this best pedal fishing kayak.
For storage, you get plenty of dry storage with a back hatch behind the seat and in the front there is a much bigger hatch where you can put diving gear, camping gear or even your catch.
The rails on the side can be mounted with rod holders, fish finders or anything else you need. It already comes equipped with 2 vertical rod holders and 6 horizontal ones. Three of which are under the rail so you can stow those rods as you are under way so they aren’t obstructing anything.
The deck is wide and spacious that allows you plenty of room to move around even while standing. And the Vantage stadium seat is at such a height and angle to allow you to get up from a seated position safely and easily.
Behind your seat you have a deep well that can accommodate a large cooler or milk crate, but honestly with all the storage in this kayak I am not sure you’ll even need one. In fact, most of the tackle you would keep in a milk crate can be kept in the rectangular hatch in the front deck.
There are two big downsides to owning this kayak, however.
The first is the price. It is very expensive and out of reach for most anglers.
Secondly, the weight is staggering. At 138 pounds this is not a kayak that is going to be easy to transport for most people.
BKC Sit On Top Solo Fishing Kayak
On the opposite side of the weight question is the BKC Sit On Top Solo Fishing Kayak. It only ways a measly 56 pounds which makes it far more accessible than the Hobie Pro Angler. And at a considerably cheaper price.
Don’t get the impression that because it is cheaper that it is cheap.
Design wise, it is really well thought out. The deck is really spacious especially considering this is only 10 feet long. It is really wide to provide a lot of stability.
The deck has a lot of room to move around and is covered by a non slip surface. For added ease and stability the stadium seat is as comfortable as it is convenient. Getting to a standing position doesn’t require a stability bar since the height and angle are designed to allow you to get to your feet.
To give you a lot of customization with how you rig your kayak, there are guide rails on the gunnels to mount your rod holders and fish finder. You can easily move them out of the way depending on what you need to be doing. I highly recommend this as a fly fishing kayak for the ability to make perfect casts from the cockpit without much getting in the way.
Another feature that I think makes this a fantastic purchase is the rudder. It never needs to be raised or lowered because it stays flush with the skeg under the hull. I’ve broken pins in my rudder on my Outback a couple of times because I forgot to pull it up when beaching. That doesn’t happen in this case obviously.
Overall, for the price, weight and all the extras you get, this is one of the best pedal fishing kayaks that rivals some of the bigger names. With bigger price tags!
BKC PK13 13′ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak
Finally after a few years since the pedal fishing kayak idea has come around there is a budget version for those that don’t have money to burn.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company has designed a very good 13 foot sea fishing kayak to rival those that cost more than twice as much.
While it might not have all the bells and whistles as its more expensive peers, it is more of a blank slate that can be added to the way that you like. Which I really like since it is more customizable.
The one drawback, however is that it is difficult to add some items on as you don’t have access to the inside of the hull in some spots.
At 13 feet long, this kayak was made to cover big distances quickly. If your favorite fishing hole is offshore a bit then this is the kayak you want to be looking at.
I love the seat as it is comfortable enough for all day fishing and angled just right to pedal. In fact, the pedals are located far higher than any other pedal fishing kayak I have seen. This sort of reminds me of those bikes where the person riding is horizontal to be more efficient at pedaling. Same concept here so you can really move without getting fatigued.
If you’re going to be fishing in shallow water, you can one handedly raise the proeller to avoid any damage. It has a pretty solid plastic shield in front of it to protect it from getting dinged, though.
The deck behind the seat offers up a ton of space for a cooler or milk crate or anything else you want to put back there.
For the price, this is an exceptional value. It may not be in the same league as a Hobie but it is really a great sea fishing kayak with pedals that can quickly get you on some fish.
Old Town Topwater 106 PDL Angler
Jumping into the best pedal fishing kayak game is Old Town who have been specializing in canoes for a very long time. They also make a lot of the sit inside fishing kayaks that you may see out on the water.
How does it fare compared to other pedal fishing kayaks in its class?
Well, it is making our best pedal fishing kayak list for a reason. It is in the middle range as far as pricing goes with only a few brands coming in cheaper so it gives good value for the money.
It is 10 feet 6 inches so it works best on small bodies of water, but can be used in the salt as well.
I like how it is set up. There isn’t a huge difference between this and the Wilderness System Slayer pedal kayak in the way the deck looks, the space available and the comfort of the seat. And the seat does have many different positions it can adjust to. Guide rails on the gunnels give you some nice rigging options for rod holders, fish finder etc. With nice ability to move them along the track to open up room in the cockpit if you need it.
You get great stability if you plan to do any sight fishing or fly fishing since it has a unique double hull design. Not only does the hull provide good stability, but the channels let water pass through for superior tracking.
A sturdy rudder, smooth controls and plenty of storage round out the reasons that this is a great purchase.
What a time to be a kayak angler! As I mentioned before, when I got my first pedal fishing kayak, there weren’t many options. And they were all very expensive. Now there is so much choice that it’s become hard to decide which one to get.
I hope this article has helped you narrow down which one you think is going to be best for you!
Any questions? Drop a line in the box below and I will get back to you ASAP!