Kayaks have been around a longtime, but over the last few decaded, technological advancements like the rotomolded kayak and now the pedal drive system have forever changed kayaking.
I personally have a Hobie pedal drive kayak and I don’t think I will over go without the pedal drive system again. The most important reason is safety and range. I kayak in the sounds along the North Carolina coast and the tides get really strong. Before I had the pedal drive system going against the current was exhausting. Now with the pedal drive system in my Hobie kayak, it is effortless to move against the current.
A few years ago, I went out kayak fishing with my father in law who did not have a pedal drive. The winds picked up and we had to head against the tide and wind to get back to the house.
Unfortunately, without a pedal drive he could not move. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get enough speed to go against the wind and current.
Thankfully, I had a pedal drive system in my kayak, so I tied a line to the bow of his kayak and using my pedal drive I was able to get us both safely back to the dock.
It’s not just me though. Thousands of anglers love the idea of fishing from a kayak. These boats are an affordable and reliable way to navigate a variety of waters, including many you’d never be able to reach from a conventional boat. But, you need your hands to fish, which has always hindered the usefulness of the kayak for fishermen.
Fortunately, pedal drive systems make it easy for anglers to fish from their kayak with unparalleled maneuverability and comfort. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the leading pedal drive kayaks to help you nail down the best fishing kayak with foot pedals for the way you fish.
Best Fishing Kayak With Foot Pedals: Top Five Picks
Jump right in as we profile the five best pedal drive kayak options on the market right now.
1) Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak: Best for Offshore
Pedal kayaks have been a godsend to anglers, but the majority of options are much better suited to a calm day on the lake than they are with rolling surf. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is changing all of that, with its rugged build and wide frame.
This yak is a full 14” long and features a streamlined bow that cuts through the surf with ease while covering more ground in the process. The Mirage Drive 180 system effortlessly drives in forward and reverse, which helps reduce fatigue so you aren’t drained of all your energy when you finally make it to the fishing grounds.
Other angler-specific features such as six horizontal rod lockers, plenty of tackle storage, the comfortable Vantage ST seat, and kick-up fins that allow you to easily navigate shallows, and debris make the Pro Angler 14 a wise choice for saltwater fishermen.
- Covers more ground with less effort
- Streamlined bow cuts through the surf with ease
- Tons of rod and tackle storage
2) Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13: Best Value
Pedal kayaks can be quite pricey, but the PK13 from BKC delivers a slew of high-end features while delivering impressive fishability at a price that won’t break the bank.
The rotational pedals are ideal for kayakers who need to cover long distances, as they’re less fatiguing than push pedals. It’s easy to pick up and maintain speed with the PK13, and it’s whisper-quiet, so you won’t have to worry about spooking skittish fish when you pull up on them.
The PK13 offers plenty of intuitively designed storage, including rod holders, tackle holders, and a rear cargo bungee system. The rear cargo area also has a drain plug, so you can quickly convert it into a cooler when it’s time for some cold ones back at your launch point.
This yak also offers a high storage capacity of 550-pounds and it weighs in at only 80-pounds, which makes it an ideal choice for anglers who like to pack heavy but want a lightweight kayak that’s easy to transport.
- Comfortable and ergonomic seating
- Plenty of storage
- Quiet operation
- No access to inner hull
3) Titan Propel 10.5: Best Compact Kayak
If you’re looking for the best fishing kayak with foot pedals under 11”, the Titan Propel 10.5 model could be ideal for you. Despite its smaller size, it’s loaded with many of the same features as its much larger brother, the Propel 13.
The Propel 10.5 features Titan’s patent-pending Plastifoam technology, which makes the yak stiffer and more buoyant for one of the most stable and safe rides on the market. Inside the kayak, it’s clear special attention was paid to the design process, and there’s plenty of storage and intuitive extras.
The Propel 10.5 offers two horizontal rod racks, a vertical rod holder, waterproof stern and bow storage, and a sliding seat system with under-seat storage. The sliding seat is a particularly nice touch for shorter or taller anglers who have difficulty with the stock seat placement in other yaks.
If you’re considering an anchor or trolling motor, the Propel 10.5 is designed to accept either. All you’ll need to do is add the transom-style motor mount and trolling motor of your choice and you’ll be ready to power your ride with either the Propel Pedal Drive System or a motor.
- Easy to transport
- Excellent maneuverability on the water
- Ideal for a trolling motor or anchor
- Impressive capacity
- Could use more storage
4) Old Town Salty PDL 120: Best Overall
Old Town is a small, locally-owned manufacturer that’s been making quite a splash with their ingeniously designed and well-appointed kayaks. Their Salty PDL 120 is our top choice as the best fishing kayak with foot pedals.
The PDL 120 is ideal for freshwater and saltwater environments. The PDL drive works in forward or reverse, and pedaling is virtually effortless, so you’ll be able to cover more water with less fatigue. The patented Easy Drive pedal system flips up for easy launching and landing, and there’s plenty of handles to make maneuvering out of the water a breeze. The drive system is also backed by an industry-leading 5-year warranty.
Inside the yak, you’ll find plenty of smartly located storage, including three-rod holders, bow and stern tank wells with bungee systems, and two 18” rails on the forward side of the hull for easily mounting accessories right where you need them.
- Best pedal system of any kayak we’ve tried
- Comfortable and adjustable seat
- Convenient accessory mounting rails
- Middle-of-the-road weight capacity
5) FeelFree Lure V2 11.5 with Overdrive: Best for Onboard Storage
The 11.5” Lure V2 from FeelFree is the perfect companion for the angler who wants to bring half a tackle shop with them when they hit the water. This powerful yak is smartly optimized for maximum storage while still providing an effortless ride that can take on any water.
Onboard, there’s tons of opportunity for customization. There’s a removable pod for sonar and electronics so you can easily mount your fish finder and transducer. The UNI-Track accessory rails make it easy to install any additional accessories you may need. There’s also storage for up to four rods, and a sizable tank well that’s perfect for stowing away extra tackle or a cooler.
Rounding out this feature-rich boat are some comfort and stability features, such as the height-adjustable gravity seat, reinforced standing platform, and the patented 8-Ball steering system which makes the Lure V2 incredibly easy to maneuver.
- Tons of well-placed storage
- Removable electronics pod and accessory rails
- Excellent price for a kayak this well-equipped
- Mediocre weight capacity
Pedal Kayak Buying Guide
Before shopping for the best fishing kayak with foot pedals, consider the factors below and you should have no problem selecting the perfect kayak for yourself.
Types of Drive Systems
Pedal drive kayaks come in two configurations, push or rotational.
Push pedals are the original style, and they function similarly to a manual water pump. Pushing down on the pedal will propel the craft forward. But, pushing the pedals hundreds of times a trip gets taxing, and it can result in fatigue and pain in your knees, calves, or feet.
Rotational pedals function like the pedals on a bike, and the act of pedaling is lower impact and less stressful.
Either style gets the job done, and many kayakers prefer the motion of a push pedal. But, if you’re covering lots of water or you’re trying to take it easy on your knees and joints, rotational pedals will be best for you.
Features and Characteristics to Look For
When you’re browsing different kayak models, here are the key features you’ll want to look for.
Until recently, pedal kayakers were forced to perform all sorts of dance maneuvers if they needed to double back to an area. Today’s best pedal kayaks can operate as easily in reverse as forwards, so you can skip the dance routine and get back to where you need to be in less time.
While some anglers still rely exclusively on their intuition, most smart fishermen use a bevy of technological advancements to help put them on the fish. The best kayaks build ports and storage areas in the cockpit area to allow for quick and easy mounting of fish finders, sonar, and other electronics.
Motor and Anchor Ready
Pedal drive kayaks revolutionized kayak fishing forever, but why stop there? Many top electronics makers offer small trolling motors and anchor systems designed especially for kayaks.
Not every angler will need these features, but if you’re interested in motorizing your boat, or you may be in the future, choose a kayak you can easily add a motor to.
Rod Holders and Storage
Most anglers like to keep at least two poles with them when they head out on the water, so you’ll want to ensure that the yak you choose has ample storage for rods. Many of the best pedal drive kayaks offer a combination of horizontal storage and vertical rod holders, which allows you to store extra rods while keeping your main pole ready to go. Vertical storage is also a necessity if you plan on trolling from your kayak.
You’ll spend most of your time seated when you’re in your kayak, so it stands to reason you’ll want the most comfortable seat possible. Look for chairs that are adjustable and provide plenty of lumbar support. If you’re especially tall or short, you’ll also want a seat that can easily slide up or back to comfortably reach the pedals.
The last characteristic you’ll want to look out for is stability. Stability is important for any kayak, especially if you like to sight fish or if you need to stand up during a fight for more leverage. Look for wide kayaks that offer reinforced platforms for standing.
If you’re looking for the best fishing kayak with foot pedals, you’ll find no shortage of viable options. Depending on what you’re looking for in a yak, and where you like to fish, you should have no trouble selecting an ideal kayak from the list above.
One, in particular, earns the title as the overall best fishing kayak with foot pedals, and that’s the Old Town Salty PDL 120. This kayak offers the ideal mix of portability and customizable storage coupled with unbeatable maneuverability whether you’re heading out on the lake, river, or ocean.