The Pedal Kayak Guide to Hands Free Fishing

Photo courtesy of Austin Canoe and Kayak

Paddling might seem like a chore when you’re headed against the wind. But it’s actually a pretty efficient form of locomotion. When you’ve got the right type of boat, paddle, and stroke then you can propel yourself quickly and for a long time. However paddling can be a little problematic when you’re trying to fish. Positioning the boat and managing your rod and tackle simultaneously isn’t impossible, but it’s also not the easiest thing in the world. Pedal kayaks address the inherent difficulties of fishing from a paddle kayak elegantly. With a pedal kayak your legs take on the job of locomotion and leave your hands free for casting, reeling, and lipping in the big ones.

Ever since Hobie introduced the first pedal drive system in 1997 the pedal drive market has exploded. Today there are 15 different pedal drives readily available in the U.S. and several foreign made options. Competition has bred innovation and companies are constantly trying to introduce greater efficiencies and features in their drives. Better speed, durability, and steering are all hallmarks of newer high quality drive systems. More so than before pedal kayaks are increasingly designed around and for drive systems to offer a better experience for kayak fishermen.

Stats

There are currently 53 different pedal drive kayaks available. Every yak on this list comes with the drive system included in its price. This list does not include yaks that can be upgraded to use a pedal drive, but aren’t sold with one.

StatisticLength (ft)Length (in)Width (in)Weight (lb)Capacity (lb)MSRP
Average12'5"14935108457$2,655
Median12'2"1463599450$2,499

Pedal Drive Kayaks

Click on the kayak picture to learn more about a specific model.

ModelImageLength (ft)Length (in)Width (in)Weight (lb)Capacity (lb)MSRP
3 Waters Big Fish 1083 Waters Big Fish 10811'13238115450$1,979
BKC PK 11 Pedal Drive SoloBKC Pedal Drive Solo10'6"1263460420$1,397
BKC PK12 Pedal Drive SoloBKC PK12 Pedal Drive Solo12'1443373397$1,447
BKC PK13 Pedal Drive Solo TravelerBKC PK1313'1563580550$1,547
BKC PK14BKC PK 1414'1683499660$2,097
Feelfree DoradoFeelfree Dorado12'11"15537124450$2,499
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 w/360 DriveHobie PA12 36012'14436133500$4,599
Hobie Mirage Pro Agnler 14 w/ 360 DriveHobie PA 14 36013'8"16438149600$4,799
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 w/ 180 DriveHobie PA 12 with 18012'14436129500$3,739
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 w/180 DriveHobie PA 14 18013'8"16438145600$3,889
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17THobie Pro Agnler 17T17'20443.5244900$6,599
Hobie Mirage OutbackHobie Mirage Outback12'9"15334103425$2,999
Hobie Mirage CompassHobie Mirage Compass12'1443487400$2,349
Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5Hobie Mirage Passport 10.510'5"1253475325$1,499
Hobie Mirage Passport 12Hobie Mirage Passport 1212'1443483400$1,699
Hobie Mirage Revolution 11Hobie Mirage Revolution 1111'6"1382981275$2,749
Hobie Mirage Revolution 13Hobie Mirage Revolution 1313'5"16128.588350$2,899
Hobie Mirage Compass DuoHobie Mirage Compass Duo13'5"16135127475$3,499
Hobie Mirage OasisHobie Mirage Oasis14'6"17433127550$4,499
Hobie Mirage Adventure IslandHobie Mirage Adventure Island16'7"19944185400$5,299
Hobie Mirage Tandem IslandHobie Tandem Island18'6"22248240600$7,499
Jackson Big Rig FDJackson Big Rig FD13'3"15940145550$3,499
Jackson Bite FDJackson Bite FD11'6"13835111400$2,199
Jackson Coosa FDJackson Coosa FD12'7"15135122450$3,199
Lightning Strike HDLightning Strike HD12'6"1503494415$1,749
Native Ultimate FX Propel 13Native Ultimate FX Propel 1313'6"16232.598400$1,999
Native Slayer Propel 10Native Slayer Propel 1010'1203481400$1,999
Native Slayer Propel 12.5 MaxNative Slayer Propel 12.5 Max12'6"15034125500$2,599
Native Slayer Propel 13Native Slayer Propel 1313'2"15833108500$1,899
Native Slayer Propel 12 LTNative Slayer Propel 12 LT12'1443182350$2,499
Native Titan Propel 10.5Native Titan Propel 10.510'9"12937.5121500$2,499
Native Titan Propel 12Native Titan Propel 1212'14439138500$2,799
Native Titan Propel 13.5Native Titan Propel 13.513'6"16241.5178500$2,999
Native Manta Ray Propel Angler 12Native Manta Ray Propel Angler 1212'2"1463389325$1,599
Ocean Kayak Malibu PedalOcean Kayak Malibu Pedal12'14434.5100450$1,900
Old Town Sportsman PDL 106Old Town Sportsman PDL 10610'61263695450$1,999
Old Town Sportsman PDL 120Old Town Sportsman PDL 12012'14436106500$2,199
Old Town Sportsman Salty PDLOld Town Sportsman Salty PDL13'2"15836117450$1,899
Old Town Predator PDLOld Town Predator PDL13'2"15836117500$2,599
Oldtown Topwater 106 PDLOld Town Topwater 106 PDL10'6"1263695450$2,000
Old Town Topwater 120 PDLOld Town Topwater 12012'14436106500$2,200
Pelican Catch 110 Hydryve IIPelican Catch 110 Hydryve II10'6"1263467350$1,299
Pelican Catch 130 Hydryve IIPelican Catch 130 Hydryve II12'6"1503478425$1,499
Perception Pescador PIlot 12.0Perception Pescador Pilot 1212'5"14933.7585475$1,799
Perception Crank 10.0Perception Crank 1010'1203587350$1,399
Riot Mako 9 AirRiot Mako 9 Air8'6"1023658450$1,799
Riot Mako 10Riot Mako 1010'4"1243658470$1,199
Riot Mako 12Riot Mako 1212'4"1483468470$1,449
Riot Mako 14Riot Mako 1414'3"17136.6121.1550$1,999

Most Expensive Pedal Kayak

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 with 360 Drive

Hobie PA 14 360 in Green

Hobie debuted the original Mirage drive in 1997. Since then they haven’t exactly been resting on their laurels. Aside from becoming the biggest kayaking company out there they’ve also put in tons of R&D hours to improve their tech. The result is the 360 drive. The Mirage 360 drive debuted at the iCast expo in 2019 and has had paddlers buzzing with excitement ever since.

The Mirage 360 drive is unique in that it can rotate 360 degrees with just a simple turn of your wrist. Combined with a hand controlled rudder the Hobie PA 14 360 offers unparalleled steering and control. This 13’8″ kayak, that weighs 139 lbs (not including you and all your gear), can turn on a dime. Extreme maneuverability and efficient propulsion aren’t the only great features about this yak.

Fully Loaded

The PA 14 is a heavy kayak, but that’s only because it’s absolutely loaded with conveniences and luxuries. Two extra long H-Rails line the gunwales for easy accessory deployment. The stern tankwell is enormous and sports an 8″ sealed hatch, while the bow hatch is big enough to hold a couple bonitos on ice. An incredibly comfortable seat, new horizontal rod storage, retractable skeg, and safeguarded transducer mount are just a few of the features that put the PA 14 into a league of its own.

We’ve long compared Hobie as the BMW of kayaks. They continually put quality at the top of their design priority and it shows in every little detail. Hobie owners tend to be fanatical about their boats and with good reason. If you’re thinking about joining the fan club you’ll need to be prepared to pay BMW like prices. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 with 360 Drive has a retail price of $4,799. That might be a hard pill to swallow, but for that amount of money you’re getting one of the highest quality pedal kayaks available.

Most Affordable Pedal Kayak

Riot Mako 10

Riot Mako 10

As with any product line there are always going to be companies servicing the high end and low end. Luckily, in the case of pedal kayaks, the low end is still pretty darn good. The Riot Mako 10 is a neat little pedal kayak. Weighing only 58 lbs (with drive) this yak is both light on your arms and wallet. The 2020 model has a price of only $1,200. We’ve seen older models of the Mako 10 retail for just under $1,000, so keep an eye out for sales.

The Mako 10 delivers in the areas that count. It features a sturdy aluminum lawnchair style seat that can trim front to back. A bow and stern hatch provide storage for your gear. Four flush mount rods (two aft and two stern) will keep your rods secure. Steering is handled by a top mount rudder controlled by a side mounted handle on the left. Geartracks on the side and bungee tie downs are great for adding accessories and storing your gear.

The Impulse drive is unique in that it does not require any sort of oil. Through a combination of plastic and other corrosion resistant materials Riot has produced a capable and lightweight propulsion system. We especially like the see-through splash guard for prop alignment. All in all the Riot Mako 10 is a great option for paddlers on a budget. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it will get you where you need to go. Taller paddlers should beware though as this model is short. If you’re over 6′ tall you might want to consider checking out the Mako 12 instead.

Our Pick for the Best Value Pedal Kayak

Lightning Kayaks Strike HD

Lightning Kayaks is a young company in the kayak game; they only started in 2018. However their debut model, the Strike HD, has already made a splash. The all American-made Strike retails for just $1,799. It’s got many of the same features as boats that cost twice as much, but at a fraction of the price.

The Strike HD borrows the best elements from different boats and combines them to present a great fishing vessel. The hull features a tri-maran design with deep chines to provide excellent stability for standing. The integrated rudder retracts into the hull for easy storage and transportation. 6 different gear tracks provide plenty of real estate for accessories. A cavernous stern tank well and bow hatch provide plenty of room for tons of gear.

There are also lots of little touches on the Strike HD that make a ton of sense. An indent on each outer side wall keeps your paddle in place. Rotomolded foot rests give you somewhere to rest your feet when you’re not pedaling. Their pedal drive system, the “Freedom Drive”, is reminiscent of early model Hobie Mirage drives. It operates smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately it doesn’t feature an easy reverse mode. If you want to go backwards you’re gonna need to work it, put your thang down flip it and reverse it.

The Lightning team comes from an experienced kayak heritage and it shows in their freshman effort. We’re confident you’ll be seeing more and more Strikes cruising around you on the water over the next few years. Keep your eyes on Lightning, as we’re sure they’ve got a few more tricks up their sleeves.


Interested in a pedal but not can’t afford it just yet? Check out upgradable kayaks – paddle now, pedal later.