5 Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks: Reviews For Feet Driven Fishing

Kayaks are evolving, and new pedal-drive kayaks have taken over older paddled kayaks. These types of kayaks are straightforward to drive because they leave your hands-free and paddles-free.

So anglers love them for fishing in hard to reach places. It's no surprise that more anglers are buying technique-specific fishing kayaks rather than renting one from a shop.

Preview

Product

Max Load Capacity

Pedal Type

Check Price

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top...

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

475 lbs

Pilot Drive pedal system

BKC PK13 Angler 13' Solo Sit-On-Top Fishing...

BKC PK13 Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

550 lbs

Pedal drive, Paddle also included

Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback (Seagrass)

Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback

425 lbs

Push Pedals

Wilderness Systems Radar 115 | Sit on Top...

Wilderness Systems Radar 115

450 lbs

Push Pedal

BKC PK14 Angler 14' Tandem Sit-On-Top Fishing...

BKC PK14

660 lbs

Tandem Pedal or Paddle


Choosing A Quality Pedal Fishing Kayak - Buyer’s Guide

Intended Usage

Whether you intend to navigate up and down freshwater streams and rivers to catch smallmouth bass and fishing for trout, or you’re hoping to set sail from shorelines, you’ll need a pedal fishing kayak that will be suitable for those conditions.

Some kayaks can withstand harsh waterways and paddle along with pedals to navigate a little easier, whereas some other kayaks will be better suited for shallow, murky waters.

Hull Size & Shape Design

While each manufacturer chooses its unique style and design of their kayaks, the shape of the hull can fit specific purposes and plays a factor in the shape and design. There are four common types of hulls used for fishing kayaks. These include rounded, v-shaped, flat, and pontoon hulls.

If you’re looking for a kayak for the sea, you’ll notice they tend to be longer, with a pointed top and with a flattened bottom. For lakes and streams, you’ll find more kayaks with rounded hulls. These are great for maneuverability and stability, especially when you’re in a standing position.

Stability & Speed

The best pedal fishing kayaks should be designed with stability in mind in still or moving waters, no matter the size of your kayak. It should also be able to withhold a high max capacity without affecting its stability. Many of the pedal kayaks reviewed on our list accommodate "stand-up fishing," so having stability, whether seated or standing, shouldn't be an issue with the pedal drive kayaks on our list.

And in terms of speed, pedal kayaks can go a lot faster than paddle models. But many anglers tend to buy paddles to increase their speeds if they need it. If you're hoping to put a small motor on your kayak, be sure this is an option when you pick your favorite model. Some brands will accommodate this, and others won't even have it as an option.

Portability & Storage

Storing your kayak correctly when it’s not in use is extremely important. The best way to store it is off the ground on a designated kayak rack. Make sure it is away from direct sunlight for extra protection as too much exposure can damage the exterior and warp the kayak.

When you’re transporting your fishing kayak from storage to the water, be sure to use an appropriate roof rack on your vehicle. A crossbar roof rack (or “sports rack") is a great method of transporting a kayak.

Pedal Drive Type

  • Rotational Pedals
    As the name suggests, the pedals rotate very similarly to a bicycle's pedal mechanism. You rotate forward to start moving. It needs a little more cabin space, but it's typically faster than a push pedal kayak.
  • Push Pedals
    If you prefer moving at a slower pace or in calm waterways, push pedals could be a better fit for you. Instead of pedaling, you're pumping with the feet. It is a quick way to get forward momentum. But if you're prone to cramping or rigidity, then it could cause you some trouble.

Number of Passengers

When you're choosing your kayak, you'll have to consider whether you need a solo or a tandem kayak. Tandem kayaks are a great way to spend time with a partner, child, or friend. You can also synchronize your pedaling to increase your speed.

One of the biggest problems with tandem kayaks is the size. As they’re bigger to cater to 2 people, it makes them a lot more difficult to operate alone. If you desire to be alone, free in the open water to do what you please with a kayak that’s thinner and shorter in length, then a solo kayak is for you.

Budget & Warranty

Some of the best pedal fishing kayaks on the market aren’t cheap these days. Brands have added some new technology and features to set them apart, but it also highers the pricepoint. You might find yourself investing a lot in your new fishing equipment, so it's best to buy a kayak with a good warranty. Some brands give a 1-Year, 5-Year, or lifetime warranty with their products.

Be sure to know what you need, and keep a realistic budget in mind. If you find a good fishing kayak under your budget, then you can use the rest for some accessories, like paddles, racks, or for a new fishing rod and reel.


5 Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

1. Perception Pescador Pilot 12

Best Pedal Fishing Kayak

Max Load Capacity

475 lbs

Pedal Type

Pilot Drive pedal system

Dimensions

12’ 5” x 33.5”

Kayak Weight

95 lbs

Key Feature

Amazing Storage Capacity

Warranty

5-Year

The best pedal fishing kayak on our list is the Pescador Pilot 12 by Perception. This brand is well known by fishermen and kayaking enthusiasts alike, as they produce high-quality gear at a range of price points. Pescador Pilot 12 is also a new and advanced version of a kayak by Perception and is a pedal drive kayak that can be driven by paddles too. You can have a comfortable hand-free ride, or a speedy sail through lakes, ponds, slow-moving rivers or streams, and calm coastal waters.

Perception thought about everything an angler may possibly need when designing this kayak. From the conveniently placed cup holder to the four molded-in rear rod holders for hands-free storage while paddling. You'll find a lot in the 12 feet long, 33" fishing kayak. The spacious, sit-on-top design has even more storage and accessory mounts so you can add a transducer onto it, or mount it to an appropriate rack.

This has to be one of the best pedal drive fishing kayaks for its superior stability over the others on the market today. Anglers feel very confident to cast from a standing position, and it is designed to give you stability in a range of water conditions, from flat water to the ocean. And, the Pilot Drive propeller system works effortlessly propelling the boat, even in reverse, leaving both of your hands-free to fish or to take some beautiful photos.

Pros
  • Great for maneuvering around shallow water
  • Very comfortable captain’s chair
  • Removable pedal drive system
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The rudder has been reported to be hard to use by anglers

2. BKC PK13 Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Best Pedal Kayak for Shallow Water Fishing

Max Load Capacity

550 lbs

Pedal Type

Pedal drive, Paddle also included

Dimensions

156 x 33.2 x 14.8 inches

Kayak Weight

80 lbs

Key Feature

Adjustable Ergonomic Seat

Warranty

5-Year

When you’re moving around shallow waterways, you’ll need a kayak that can withhold water plants, debris and can be navigated effectively. The PK13 pedal drive fishing kayak is great for the job as it has versatile propulsion options. This vessel was made to travel long distances for miles and miles and in most water conditions. This single pedal-driven kayak moves faster than ever with or without the included paddle, or you can add a trolling motor for the ultimate, effortless cruising

The PK12 has smooth, responsive pedals that feature adjustable foot straps to keep the propeller whirling at speed. You’ll be able to use the hand-operated rudder to give you excellent directional control with minimal effort. It features a spacious rear cargo area with bungee tie-down straps, perfect for securing a cooler, tackle box, or your favorite baitcasting or spin casting rods.

You won't have to worry about water entering your kayak. There are strategically placed scupper holes that allow for drainage of any water that gets into the kayak and comes with scupper plugs that can seal these holes when choppy water splashes up through the hull. It works exceptionally well and can save you and your equipment a lot of damage.

Finally, you'll have a very comfortable built-in chair with an aluminum frame that is also very durable against corrosion and water. This fishing kayak has a ton of amazing features and comes in a range of colors, so you shouldn’t be left too disappointed.

Pros
  • Great for long-distance or choppy waters
  • Smooth, responsive pedals
  • Spacious rear cargo area
  • Paddle and ergonomic seat included
Cons
  • No dedicated scupper hole for a fishfinder

3. Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback

Best Hobie Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Max Load Capacity

425 lbs

Pedal Type

Push Pedals

Dimensions

12’9” x 34”

Kayak Weight

103 lbs

Key Feature

MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks + Turbo Fins

Warranty

3-Year

If you’re looking for the best pedal fishing kayak by Hobie, then the 2020 Mirage Outback is the kayak for you. It’s a complete redesign of the best selling Hobie Mirage Outback but with new features, and space.

This complete redesign features a larger CT-W seat, embedded H-rails, and a sleek displacement hull. The deck space has been widened for easy standing ability, while the integrated deck padding keeps your feet firmly planted. It still comes with all of Hobie’s top-quality features and style, but with more finesse and versatility.

The 2020 Mirage Outbreak features a multi-adjustable Vantage CTW chair that’s 1.5 inches wider than the previous model. This kayak also comes with Hobie's high-quality MD180 ARC pedal drives with turbo fins so you can race through any waterway. And with the new kick up fins rudder system automatically flipping up when they hit an obstacle, it can be trusted in even the most shallow waterways as well.

Storage on this unit isn’t a problem either. You’ll have four molded-in rod holders, with multiple deluxe H-Track mounts, and numerous high-capacity storage compartments to ensure that all of your gear is safe and at your fingertips. And in terms of power and performance, the 2020 Mirage Outbreak is powered by the MirageDrive 180 with ARC Cranks + Turbo Fins.

This model is a fine-tuned angling vessel and is highly versatile, fast, quiet, and exceedingly nimble. So whether you’re prowling the ocean for monster gamefish or stalking bass in your favorite freshwater fishing hole, this kayak could be your new best friend for finding schools and catching fish.

Pros
  • Comes with a  multi-adjustable Vantage CTW chair
  • H-Track storage pockets included
  • Includes a kickup rudder system
  • Great for shallow or deep waterways
Cons
  • The sailing rudder isn't included, but it helps with maneuvering around waterways

4. Wilderness Systems Radar 115

Best Budget Option

Max Load Capacity

450 lbs

Pedal Type

Push Pedals

Dimensions

11' 8" x 34”

Kayak Weight

85 lbs

Key Feature

Tri-powered kayak (paddle, power and pedal)

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Next on our list is our best budget option, the Radar 115 from Wilderness Systems. This fishing kayak may be the cheapest on our list, but it definitely doesn't lack in capabilities or functionality. This bestselling tri-powered kayak can move in three ways: by paddles, power, or pedals. It's compatible with the Helix MD Motor Drive and Helix PD Pedal Drive, but you'll have to buy both separately as they're not included. 

What is included with this kayak is an ultra-comfortable and adjustable AirPro Max Seat. It has 3 adjustable positions, and the seat can travel the majority of the boat's length, so it's particularly useful for fishing. It also offers a flat surface for standing, so any angler has the freedom to move around. You may like a little more room if you're in the standing position, so if you find the 115 model is too tight, you can opt for the 135 model that's also available.

The Radar 115 fishing kayak uses what Wilderness is calling S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology. This is a combination of elements such as Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness, and Tracking throughout the entire design for ultimate performance in multiple water environments.

It’s also a perfect match for anglers that use fishfinders on their fishing excursions. It’s fitted with a Flex Pod opening to accommodate the Flex Pod for mounting your fishfinder set up with ease. You can install your fish finder, battery, transducer, and all the wiring inside the Flex Pod for an easy kayak rigging.

Pros
  • Flex Pod OS is removable- perfect for fish finders
  • Can be operated by pedals, paddles, and motor
  • The seat can be adjusted easily
  • 2 sizes and 3 colors available
Cons


5. BKC PK14

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak with Pedals

Max Load Capacity

660 lbs

Pedal Type

Tandem Pedal or Paddle

Dimensions

169.2 x 34 x 19.5 inches

Kayak Weight

99 lbs

Key Feature

4 built-in carry handles

Warranty

5-Year

Tandem kayaks are a great way for two people to get out on the water together. Maybe you'd like to spend the day with a partner or a son or daughter; this PK14 will be smooth sailing during any adventure. Having two people won't affect your speed on the water though, it actually enhances it.

This fishing kayak has a twin pedal drive, meaning you can cover vast distances and move quickly across the water. This Tandem Fishing Kayak with Pedals is designed for speed and has excellent stability, and execution.

As it’s a tandem kayak, it’s a little longer than the others on our review, measuring in at 14”. But it’s overall, pretty lightweight, only weighing 99 lbs (before adding the pedals, propellor, and your gear of choice). The larger size helps this kayak feel more stable for anglers. Its sturdiness allows you to stand up with ease and without the fear of flipping the kayak!

The aluminum seats are comfortable and adjustable, and the pedal system is excellent in still water. Combine it with paddling, and you can build up a lot of speed. The rudder system is straightforward to use and keeps you on course even against a tough current. And it's finished with a robust, durable outer shell, so you don't have to worry about your kayak getting scratched.

Brooklyn Kayak Company has perfected this kayak to suit two users by adding storage under the seats and having 3 watertight hatches included. It has flush-mounted rod holders that can be used to secure fishing rods, with a max capacity of 660 lbs. You’re bound to fit all you need for a short fishing trip with ease.

Pros
  • Largest capacity size
  • Premium seats, adjustable to the pedals
  • Trolling motor can be added
  • Rudder-Controlled Steering
Cons
  • Paddles aren’t included

Comparing Pedal Powered vs. Paddle Fishing Kayaks

Even though they may be budget-friendly, there are some risks when using paddles. One of the biggest and dangerous cons is that you’ll need to juggle your paddle with your fishing equipment, no matter the weather conditions. If you find yourself in windy conditions or a current, you’ll have less kayak control as your arms are already in use. You risk damaging your rod and reel or losing your paddle completely.

Pedal fishing kayaks are way more efficient with speed and direction. So getting to your favorite place with hands-free control isn’t a problem. With a pedal system, you’ll be able to maintain control with your legs and the occasional rudder adjustment if it’s apart of your kayak.


Tips for Using a Fishing Kayak With Foot Pedals

  • 1. Set up your kayak properly:
    Complete a full set up on your kayak before you bring it to the water. This may include installing any accessories you intend to use, like a fish finder.
  • 2. Add your gear and any non-fishing essentials:
    If you're likely to want to take it on your trip, add it to your pile of things. Some things that are essential for safety, however, is a PFD (personal floatation device), rope, anchor, and first aid kit. Once you’ve everything together, have a practice run at packing your kayak before you get to the water.
  • 3. Launching a pedal fishing kayak into the water:
    Before you launch your kayak, be sure to position it well and adjust the seat if needs be. If you’re taking off from a shoreline, be sure you’re able to disengage the pedal system. Otherwise, you risk damaging the fins, rudder or propeller, depending on the kayaks specific system. If you have access to a dock or pier that's over two feet of water, you can easily carry the pedal kayak down to the dock and lower it into the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are pedal fishing kayaks so expensive?

Nowadays, brands are fitting their kayaks with new features to stand out above the rest. These nifty features could include removable pods, super high-end seats, traction pads, and storage hatches. If you don't need these features, then look for a very basic model from a reputable brand. It could knock the price down for you. Otherwise, you can opt for a paddle kayak for your fishing excursions.

What kind of maintenance do pedal kayaks need?

If you’re hoping to keep your kayak for years over seasons, then expect some light maintenance work. You can apply a kayak wax to your vessel to give it an extra layer of protection against damage. It also boosts the durability of the hull. Once it’s out of the water, anglers should dry, clean, and check for damages. Don’t forget to shield your kayak from the sun as much as possible.

How fast can a pedal kayak go?

The average speed of a pedal kayak is about 3 mph, but it can differ based on the weight, size, and load of the kayak. If it's a tandem kayak, the average speed is about 5 mph. If you buy a kayak that specifically for speed, then you could go as fast as 6.4 mph for a solo rider.

Can I add pedals to my kayak?

You can buy aftermarket pedal systems online and install them yourself.  They have an open frame and corrosion-resistant components allowing water to flow around the moving parts.

To install the pedal, you must remove the old foot brace system. Next, determine where you’d like to place your pedals. Finally, try to connect your new foot braces with the pedals with the holes from your previous foot brace system.

What are the best brands of pedal fishing kayaks?

The most common brand that pops into anglers’ minds when they think of pedal-driven kayaks has to be Hobie. This brand is known for its range of kayaks from inflatable to hands-free. Some other brands that stand out above the rest are BKC, Perception, and Wilderness Systems.

Where is the best place to buy these pedal-powered fishing kayaks?

When you’ve picked your favorite pedal-powered fishing kayak, the next step is to buy it. You can check out some of your local fisk tackle stores to see if they have the model you desire. Otherwise, you can always buy directly from Amazon. They have a ton of customer questions and reviews so you can read other anglers’ opinions before you order. It also recommends perfectly match paddles and racks for the model you choose.


Conclusion

From solo kayaks to tandems, and every length and color in between. It’s hard to choose the best pedal-powered kayak, but it’s not impossible. Be sure to narrow down your search as much as you can to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

If you're looking for a good all-rounder kayak, then our top pick, Perception Pescador Pilot 12, is a great option and is extremely versatile. It boasts a great 5-year warranty, too. So you can head out onto the water with your rod and without worries!