Kayaking is a fun way of transportation that is evolving every day to include more and more activities. It can be a way to exercise, tour, photograph, and, of course, fish.
Anglers are loving the pedal kayaks because you propel them using your feet, ankles, and legs, which leaves you hands-free to cast, cut baits, tie knots, and remove hooks.
Yet, there are many things to consider before getting your future kayak, and you probably need a well-researched selection of options to narrow things down. So, let’s get into reviewing the best fishing kayaks with pedals.
|Old Town Topwater 106||450||10’6”||
Perception Crank 10
Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback
Perception Pescador Pilot 12
Wilderness Systems Radar 115
The 5 Best Fishing Kayaks with Pedals in 2021
1. Old Town Topwater 106 – Best Overall
The Old Town Topwater 106 balances a lot at the same time. It is affordable and compact in size, yet abundant in features that every kayak angler will love. Its pedal drive has a 5-year warranty, while a lifetime warranty backs the hull and deck.
Our sit-on-top pick comes with a unique hull design, which is the DoubleU hull for maximum stability and quiet performance, whether you’re sitting or standing. In addition, it has Eva foam floor pads for extra comfort and control when you’re stand-up fishing.
Moreover, this kayak comes with a beach-style ElementAir seat that is breathable and adjustable. It will keep you comfortable and cool, even on sunny days.
The kayak is relatively short and wide, at 10’6” in length and 36”. These dimensions help make it easy to maneuver and stable by default. The easy-to-transport kayak only weighs 95 pounds with the drive, yet it has an impressive weight capacity of 450 pounds.
So, how can you utilize its capacity? It comes with 2-rod holders and horizontal rod storage because it has fishing in mind. Also, it has under seat tackle storage, an oversized stern tank well, and a universal transducer mounting system to maximize your capacity.
Since we’re talking about kayaks with pedals, we must speak about the pedal drive system. This kayak has an award-winning instant forward/reverse drive that provides smooth pedaling, and even tips up instantly for shallow-water docking. Also, it is saltwater-safe and low-maintenance.
Furthermore, it has 4 attractive color options: olive, photic, first light, and boreal.
However, this kayak’s downside is that it’s not meant for open water fishing, as it’s mainly designed for lakes, ponds, and similar distances.
- Award-winning instant forward/reverse PDL Drive
- Compact in size
- Breathable seat
- 2 rod holders and horizontal rod storage
- Not suitable for open water fishing
The Old Town Topwater 106 deserves a top spot among the best fishing kayaks with pedals because it is affordable, comfortable, stable, compact, and accessory-friendly.
2. Perception Crank 10 – Runner-Up
The Perception Crank 10 is one attractive pedal kayak that is portable, compact, and ready-made for kayak anglers who want an excellent kayak for freshwater and calm coastal water.
This sit-on-top kayak, with its hull design, aims at being fast, as it can speed up to 10 mph. Its high speed doesn’t interfere with its primary stability, so rest assured it will always be stable on flat water.
If you’re looking for a comfortable kayak, look no further. The Perception Crank 10’s Captain’s Chair is a removable, adjustable, and breathable mesh seat that will make your fishing trip comfortable, no matter how long it lasts.
Being 10’ long and 35” wide, this kayak is on the shorter side, so it’s not hard to maneuver, thanks to its one-handed rudder control, as well. Since it’s also on the wider side of kayaks, its balancing abilities will impress you.
Furthermore, it only weighs 87 pounds, with the pedal drive and everything, which makes it one of the lightest pedal kayaks on the market at the moment.
Besides being incredibly lightweight, it has a rigid carry handle on the front and rear to make it even more portable. Also, the Perception Crank 10 has molded-in side carry handles.
Despite being so light, this kayak has a weight capacity of 350 pounds, which you can utilize with the front and rear storage areas with bungee lashing to secure your tackle and personal items. Furthermore, it has a bungee paddle park.
Also, its accessory-friendliness is very fishing-focused, as it has a transducer scupper for your fish finder and 2 molded-in Solo Mount recesses with an easy reach that accept Solo Mounts for your accessories.
The Perception Crank 10 features a new and improved pedal drive that is fast, smooth, and able to forward and reverse. In addition, it is lightweight and removable for extra convenience.
One last thing we love about this kayak is its 4 color options and how vibrant and sleek they look. It comes in sunset, grasshopper, déjà vu, and dapper.
So, what’s not to like? Similar to the Old Town Topwater 106, the Perception Crank 10 works best in fishing in freshwater or calm coastal water. You won’t get the best performance if you use it in ocean water or open-water fishing.
- Front and rear storage areas with bungee lashing
- Rigid carry handle
- Lightweight at 87 lb
- Captain’s Chair
- 2 molded-in Solo Mount recesses
- Not suitable for open water fishing
The Perception Crank 10 only weighs 87 pounds, can go up to 10 mph, and has roomy storage, secured with bungee lashing. We can’t help but place it so high up among the best fishing kayaks with pedals.
3. Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback – Premium Choice
If you’re looking for luxury, look no further. The Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback has premium construction, well-thought-of design, and unmatched accessory-friendliness. It has a high price point, but its excellence in performance and quality makes up for it.
This luxury pick is a sit-on-top kayak, which is the kind of kayaks you make when catering to anglers, as they are far less restrictive in terms of movement. Also, its design helps it maintain its stability, even when traveling long distances or dealing with rough water.
Our premium choice comes with a wide and comfortable Vantage CTW seat that is perfect for different body shapes and sizes. Moreover, the EVA deck pads help you stand fish comfortably and securely; they dampen the noise you make.
So, how long is that comfortable kayak, anyway? It’s 12’9” long, which puts it in the medium-to-long category. Also, its length helps it cut through the water faster. The 34” width helps both in stability and onboard storage.
It weighs 103 pounds, which isn’t the lightest but isn’t heavy either. Plus, the Outback Loader makes up for it by facilitating its car topping.
At a maximum weight capacity of 425 pounds, there’s so much that you can do. The kayak has a lot of dry and wet storage in the form of a vertical rectangular hatch with a bottle opener, redesigned extra-large bow compartment, and a large rear tank well.
We’re still not done yet. As a fishing-focused kayak, it comes with 4 molded-in rod holders. Furthermore, it comes with H-Rails and H-Tracks to help you mount any accessories you like. Also, the kayak’s transducer has a retractable shield that gives you a multidimensional vision.
Now, we’ve come to the best part. The MirageDrive 180 has earned itself a name and a place among kayakers because it makes you pedal fast and quietly. So, you can use it in freshwater and saltwater, and it will handle the long distances gracefully.
The 2-piece paddle helps you go even faster and more comfortably because you can use it for both sides. Also, we love the kick-up rudder that retracts automatically when hit, which makes the kayak perfect to use in shallow water.
Finally, the Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback comes in 6 modern-looking and sleek colors that will help you show off in front of your friends.
Let’s go through the downsides. It comes as no surprise that a kayak with all of these features and advantages is expensive, but your money won’t go to waste. Also, the MirageDrive 180 is excellent, but it can’t go back in reverse.
- 6 color options
- 4 molded-in rod holders
- H-Rails and H-Tracks
- Retractable transducer shield
- Redesigned bow with extra storage
- Can’t go back in reverse
The Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback is a rightfully expensive kayak, with incredible attention to detail and what freshwater and saltwater anglers need.
4. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 – Highest Capacity
Large capacities are known to be accompanied by a heavyweight, which is fine because it is hard to balance the ability to carry a lot while weighing very little. Not anymore. The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is second to none in its low weight, high capacity, and accessory-friendliness.
Our roomy pick is a sit-on-top kayak, of course. This affordable kayak comes with high UV, impact, and abrasion resistance to live up to your standards of durability. In addition, it has a replaceable skid plate for protection when dragging your gear-loaded kayak to the water.
Furthermore, the stainless steel and brass hardware are corrosion-resistant, so feel free to take your kayak saltwater fishing. We also love the leak-proof one-piece construction.
The removable Pescador’s Captain’s Chair is made of zonal mesh for a breathable feel on hot days. It is also fully adjustable, allowing you to tilt it back or slide it forwards or backward. The legroom is big and comfortable.
At a length of 12’5”, this kayak lies in the middle, with short kayaks’ maneuverability and long kayaks’ quickness. Its 33.5” also lies in the middle between quickness and stability. Furthermore, it only weighs only 95 pounds, so it won’t be a pain to haul.
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 has the highest capacity on our list and possibly one of the biggest among solo pedal kayaks, which is 475 pounds. You can maximize this capacity by using the large front and rear open storage and the storage under the seat.
It even has 4 molded-in rear rod holders, gear tracks, and consoles for a fish finder. If you’re planning on having beverages on the kayak, it has your back with a drink holder as well.
The removable Pilot Drive is quiet and stable. Furthermore, it can go forward and in reverse. For extra maneuvering, there is an impressive one-handed rudder control with a 360-degree turning radius.
We must mention the aesthetically pleasing 6 colors this kayak offers. Both the colors and graphics are wear-proof, which we are grateful for because they really look good.
Of course, it has its disadvantages. First, the rod holders aren’t as sturdy as they should be. Second, they are oversized, and some people resort to stuffing them to make them hold the rods securely.
- Lightweight with an incredibly large weight capacity
- Drink holder and gear tracks
- 4 molded-in rear rod holders
- One-handed rudder control with a 360-degree turning radius
- Rod holders aren’t sturdy
- Rod holders sizes are problematic
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is affordable, durable, colorful, lightweight, and incredibly spacious. So, it is definitely worth being among the best fishing kayaks with pedals.
5. Wilderness Systems Radar 115 – Budget Pick
Everybody wants a great kayak, but you usually have to pay a lot to get something worth your time. Well, this isn’t the case with the Wilderness Systems Radar 115, which is a tri-powered kayak that offers a unique hull design, lightweight, accessory-friendly, and affordable.
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 is made with the S. M. A. R. T. Hull technology, which makes it stable, maneuverable, and fast enough for any water conditions you may encounter. In addition, the bow is upswept to keep you dry.
Also, its stable flat platform is a godsend for stand-up fishing or just moving around.
You will love the AirPro Max seat, which is breathable, quick-drying, comfortable, and adjustable to the point that you can store it vertically when you’re stand-up fishing for more space.
This kayak is 11’8” long and 34.5” wide, which means it will be a dream to maneuver and will have impressive stability even in rough waters. It is one of the lightest kayaks on the market, weighing only 85 pounds. Yet, it has a maximum capacity of 450 pounds.
Its capacity can be utilized through different storage compartments. There is a center rectangular hatch that provides watertight storage within arms reach. In addition, there is a large rear tank well storage. For more accessory mounting, we have the SlideTrax rails.
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 gets creative with the versatile Flex Pod OS, which helps you use the Helix MD Motor Drive, or install your fishfinder.
Things get interesting here. The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 is a tri-powered kayak, that you propel with paddles, pedals, or motors. You can’t beat the versatility of options here, especially in such an affordable kayak.
You’ll love the 4 color options it comes in: atomic, mesa camo, midnight, and sonar.
What we don’t love about this budget pick is that it’s not that stable when paddling, and the front hatch needed to be bigger to be usable.
- S. M. A. R. T. Hull technology
- Weighs only 85 lb
- Tri-powered kayak
- Not stable when paddling
- Front hatch is too small
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 is affordable, versatile, lightweight, and accessory-friendly.
How to Pick a Fishing Kayak With Pedals
1. Pedal Style
Kayaks with pedals usually have one of two types of pedals.
Rotational pedals are the most common and the easiest to use. These pedals rotate in circles like a bicycle’s pedals, which makes using them more intuitive. Thus, there is no stress on the legs or feet.
In addition, there is minimal energy loss because it keeps a bit of momentum, even after you stop pedaling. Also, this kind of pedaling has no adverse side effects on your health. In fact, using rotational pedals is like a fun workout, and is definitely good for your health.
Push pedals are the less common and more complicated type.
Using push pedals depends on your feet, pushing the pedals to move forward. Despite the movement seeming simple at first, it puts a lot of stress on your feet and ankles and has many health side effects.
In addition, once you stop pushing, the kayak slows down, causing a significant loss of energy.
Length and width affect every kayak’s performance.
Short kayaks, usually starting from 8 feet, are the easiest to maneuver. So, they’re a good choice for beginners, and anglers looking to fish in narrow freshwater and places that are hard to have access to with longer kayaks.
On the other hand, shorter kayaks are the slowest, so they’re not an ideal choice for tracking.
Long kayaks, around 16 feet and above, are the fastest and best to cover as much distance as possible. So, they’re an ideal choice for tracking and offshore fishing.
However, long kayaks are the hardest to control, and many beginners skip them.
Medium kayaks are the best all-around option that gives you a bit of short kayaks’ ease of use and a bit of long kayak’s tracking abilities.
Narrow kayaks, around 31 inches and above, are similar to long kayaks in terms of being faster and more suitable for tracking as they cut straight through the water pretty easily. However, they provide the least stability and aren’t easy to control.
Wider kayaks are the most stable and easy to maneuver, which you’ll definitely appreciate when kayak fishing. However, they’re not the fastest.
3. Type of Cockpit
Cockpits are where you sit in a kayak, and they come into two types: sit-on-top and sit-in.
Sit-on-top kayaks have you sitting on top of the kayak, instead of inside it. Their popularity stems from their user-friendliness and excellent primary stability, which is a kayak’s stability when it is on flat water. This kind of stability makes them ideal for fishing.
In addition, it’s effortless to get back on the sit-on-top kayak in the event of capsizing.
On the other hand, the secondary stability of sit-on-top kayaks, which is their ability to return to their upright position after being tilted in rough waters, isn’t so great.
Sit-in kayaks have enclosed cockpits, which you sit inside. Their fans love how they protect the lower body from the elements and keep it dry. Furthermore, they have impressive secondary stability, so that you can use them in rougher waters.
However, their primary stability isn’t that great, and getting back into a sit-in kayak after capsizing can be a nightmare if you’re inexperienced.
4. Weight Capacity
Boats, kayaks, and any other watercraft have a limited weight capacity. What you need to consider is the weights of the paddler, the catch, fishing gear, accessories, and anything that will be put on the kayak.
If you use the kayak for short trips, you won’t need a large capacity. However, if your trips will be long, you need to look for kayaks with a higher capacity, especially since pedals take up space.
Yet, remember that large capacities come with heavy kayaks that you’ll have to pedal, store, and haul.
The word “accessories” can mislead you into thinking that they’re not important. Kayak accessories up your game significantly. So, make sure your kayak has enough space and can handle the weight of your accessories.
Furthermore, the kayak has to be accessory-friendly with mounting tracks to enable you to attach and mount accessories such as rod holders, tackle boxes, fish finders, cameras, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Does a Kayak with Pedals Work?
You either rotate or push the pedals, depending on their type, which activates a small propeller that moves the boat forward. As you pedal, you move forward even more. This type of movement allows you to travel hands-free.
How Fast can a Kayak with Pedals Get?
A lot of factors come into play.
First, the type of pedals matters, as rotating pedals make the kayak go faster than push pedals. Second, the length of your kayak matters because long kayaks travel faster. Third, using pedals alone is slower than using both pedals and paddles.
How can You Steer a Kayak with Pedals?
You can steer most pedal kayaks using a hand-controlled rudder system. You use the rudder system by pushing and pulling a lever next to your seat, then pedal forward a bit until the kayak turns around.
You’ll find everything you need to know about the best fishing kayaks with pedals in the list above. However, we can definitely help you by going through the highlights one more time.
If you’re looking for kayaks with fishing rod holders, check out the Old Town Topwater 106 and Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback.
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is our pick for durability and corrosion resistance.
A budget-friendly option that still offers high-quality performance is the Wilderness Systems Radar 115.