Pick The Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Pick The Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

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 Choose A Pedal Kayak?

Best Fishing Kayak With Pedal Drive

There will always be traditionalists who favor the ease and stealth of paddling over other forms of transportation. Additionally, there is a connection to the water that comes from dipping a blade, in addition to a degree of precise control and mobility that cannot be attained without a paddle in one's hands. This is something that cannot be accomplished without a paddle.

When opposed to using a paddle for fishing from a kayak, pedal fishing kayaks have a few disadvantages that make them less desirable. If you require an ultralight kayak for backcountry fishing or portaging, you should look at paddle possibilities rather than pedal-driven kayaks since the hull of a pedal-drive kayak is nearly always heavier than a sit-on-top kayak of the same length.

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in fishing in extremely shallow waters, a pedal drive is not the most excellent option because it needs to be withdrawn or retracted in order to navigate the shallows.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 does require some care, at least more than a paddle drive does, and it may be expensive to repair or replace if something goes wrong with it. In point of fact, 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 the vast majority of fishers, so this is still a viable option. Because the majority of individuals have greater strength and stamina in their legs than they have in their arms and shoulders, a pedal fishing kayak gives them the ability to travel further and remain out for a 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.

What Is The Most Effective Kayak For Pedal Fishing?

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.

The Pedal Operated Vehicle

Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak
Light weight
Easy to inflate

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. These fins are connected by a chain drive 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.

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.

MorTime Grapnel Anchor Kit 3.5 lb Folding Anchor
Easy to use
Light weight
Value for money

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.

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.