Best Pedal-Powered Kayaks

Best Pedal-Powered Kayaks

Nobody likes noodle arms. Paddling all day from one fishing spot to the next can be a drag.

Any angler kayak knows in order to catch the most fish, you have to cover a lot of ground.

If only there were a more efficient way to get around while kayak fishing.

Oh wait! There is! Introducing pedal powered kayaks, a great way to cover more distance and increase your speed by using the power of your legs.

Here is a list of the best pedal powered kayaks and why they are ideal for kayak fishing.

With foot pedal powered kayaks, you’ll be saving a ton of energy, go a lot faster and cover way more distance! Happy fishing!

Our Favorite Padlle-Powered Kayak

#1 Best Overall: Perception Pescador Pilot 12’
Perception Pescador Pilot Kayak
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  • Best pedal driven propeller system
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  • Ultra comfortable, adjustable fishing chair
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  • 12’ long and can carry up to 525 lbs.

#2 Best Overall: Brooklyn Kayak Company 10’6”
Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK11 Kayak
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  • Best compact and lightweight pedal kayak
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  • Pedal drive system is removable
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  • 10’ 6” and only 60 lbs.

#3 Best Overall: Fishing Riot Impulse Deluxe
Fishing Riot Impulse Deluxe Kayak
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  • Best for more challenging water conditions and surf
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  • Superior tracking rudder
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  • 12’. Only 71 lbs.
Perception Pescador Pilot

The Pescador Pilot 12’ is ideal for kayakers and anglers of all abilities. Trolling on calm days, photography trips and bird watching are a few of the many activities this kayak is great for. Although this kayak is versatile, it is specifically designed for kayak fishing.

You can store your cooler or tackle box in the storage pod in the bow, or in the gear well with bungee tie downs at the stern. The bow also has a gear well above its below deck storage with a mesh tie down for gear security.

The storage options don’t end there. The Pescador Pilot 12’ includes two consoles for mounting electronics and YakAttack accessory gear tracks for attaching equipment. Gear accessibility will be a breeze with the adjustable tracks and easy to open hatches.

Comfort is a huge advantage while fishing. The more comfortable you are, the more you can focus on fishing and other fun activities. The Pescador includes and adjustable, padded fishing chair that can be removed for different kayaking excursions.

With the powerful and speedy pedal drive propellor system, you will be hands free for catching fish. The one handed rudder is great for sharp turns and maneuverability. With mounted in carrying handles, you won’t have any trouble getting this baby out on the water and back to the house.

At 12’5” and only 74 lbs., the kayak is designed for durability. The hull is one piece, made with high density polyethylene. This protects the Pescador Pilot from cracking, scratches, dents and UV damage.

Pro's

  • Ample storage space and accessory mounts
  • 34” wide for stability
  • Adjustable back rest

Con's

  • Not sold with a paddle


#2 Best Overall: Brooklyn Kayak Company 10’6”

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK11

The BKC 10’6” is great for long trips as it efficiently cuts through chop and currents. This kayak is good for excursions like kayak camping, or shorter trips in rougher terrains. It is made with top durability, withstanding anything you throw at it. It’s single piece hull made with roto-molded polyethylene assures you protection from surface damage and UV light degradation.

Foot pedals with adjustable straps power a strongl propellor that will have you cruising through the water at top speeds. The hand operated rudder turns the kayak sharply and precisely so you can maneuver into even the tightest fishing spots.

Challenging chop and strong currents are no problem for the self draining scuppers, pedal drive and rudder system. And the tunnel hull will give you amazing stability while cruising and stand up fishing.  

Since you’ll be able to get to all the best fish spots, you’ll need to bring your gear. That won’t be a problem on the BKC 10’6”. Even though it is a smaller kayak, it doesn’t sacrifice any storage capabilities.

The bow and stern gear wells are designed for storing large containers, like buckets and tackle boxes, and have bungee tie downs to keep everything secure. The bow and stern also have below deck storage hatches that are waterproof with dry bag inserts. You won’t have to worry about getting any water on your belongings.

Pro's

  • Three flush mount rod holders
  • Adjustable aluminum frame seating
  • 420 lb carrying capacity

Con's

  • The stern is an awkward bulky shape


#3 Best Overall: Fishing Riot Impulse Deluxe

Fishing Riot Impulse Deluxe

A sleek, hydrodynamic bow cuts through chop with ease and a wide base makes excellent stability for stand up fishing. The Riot Mako with Impulse Pedal Drive Deluxe is 12’ long and only 71 lbs, including pedal drive weight. Transport will be easy with a molded in handle at the front and mounted in handle on the rear.

The Impulse Pedal Drive is a unique to Riot Kayak design, perfect for cruising short or long trips without needing to use arm power for paddling. It can easily be removed while docking or in shallow waters. If you are stand up fishing, you’ll be comfortable on the Mako with Impulse Deluxe due to its padded deck. No tired arms or sore feet so you can fish all day long!

Storage is convenient, too. The bow and stern both have rear gear wells with bungee cord tie downs. There is ample under deck storage with a large hatch at bow and stern as well with water tight seals. You can attach all the gear you want with gear tracks and deck lines along the rails of the kayak.

There are so many ways to fish on this kayak. You can set your rods in four flush mounted holders for trolling, stand up and cast, or sit and cast. The ultra comfortable adjustable seat with cooling mesh will keep you cool in the sun so you can be out on the water longer. Six scupper holes with optional plugs means you won’t get water logged on your fishing excursion.

Pro's

  • Five year hull warranty
  • Molded in ergonomic front handle
  • Removable seat

Con's

  • No foot rests when not pedal paddling


#4 Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK14 14’

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK14

If  you want to go fast, you’ll want to BKC UH PK-14. This model has a two pedal drives for twice the speed when fishing with a buddy. Or take turns pedaling for half the work. Turns are sharp and precise with the hand held rudder at the rear seat.

Though this kayak is tandem, it has enough maneuverability and precision to be padded by one person. It’s a smaller and lighter tandem fishing kayak, at 14’ and 99 lbs., so it is easy to transport as well. It’s ideal for long distances while paddling with two people because you can cover twice the distance.

At almost three feet wide, you’ll have no trouble with balance while stand up fishing. If you want to relax, just set your rod in one of the four flush mount holders while you chill out in your adjustable lightweight seat with a light aluminum frame.

The BKC UH-PK14 can carry up to 660 lbs. of cargo weight! There is a gear well at the stern and a large under deck storage hatch with water resistant cover. You can store your belongings in the convenient center console, or in the smaller below deck hatch under the stern gear well.

Pro's

  • Sold with seats
  • Trolling motor can be added
  • Hull designed for speed

Con's

  • Not sold with paddles


#5 Riot Kayaks Angler Impulse 12’

Riot Kayaks Angler Impulse

Riot Kayaks makes our list again with the Mako 12 Angler Impulse Drive Deluxe Sot Fishing Kayak for its stability and lightness. For such a light kayak, it can hold an impressive 470 lbs. This kayak is designed with a sharp bow and stern to effortlessly cut through chop and waves. The perfect choice for open ocean fishing.

Even though you’ll be paddling in more challenging water conditions, you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting wet. The large under deck storage hatches at the bow and stern lock and are water tight. Gear falling overboard? Not a chance. The bow and stern above deck gear wells come equipped with bungee tie downs for security.

Speaking of gear and accessories, you can set up your stuff just about anywhere on the Riot Mako 12 Angler Drive Deluxe. Attach accessories to the tracking rails or attach it to the deck lines along the side of the kayak.

Let’s talk about comfort. The adjustable seat can be lowered for travelling across the water or raised for fishing. Don’t want to hold your rail? Just put it in any one of the four flush mount rod holders and troll away as you pedal. Just in case you do want to bring a paddle, there is a paddle holder on the side so you won’t drop it or lose it.

Twelve feet long, 34” cross beam and 74 lbs. With pedal drive, this kayak is perfect for adults of any size who are looking for their next fishing adventure.

Pro's

  • Molded in front handle
  • 5 year hull guarantee, 2 year drive guarantee
  • Stand up assist strap

Con's

  • No cup holder


#6 Native Watercraft Slayer 10’

Native Watercraft Slayer

The Native Watercraft Slayer is top in maneuverability. It has a unique pedal drive system that can go forward or in reverse and you’ll be turning on a dime with the hand operated, extra large rudder.

Choppy waters and waves won’t be a problem for you as you cut through with this kayak’s sharp and sleek bow. The tunnel hull will give you great stability while you sit or stand up cast and fish. The maneuverability of the Native Watercraft Slayer 10’ allows you to access a larger variety of challenging fishing spots.

This kayak is perfect for any angler looking for comfort, as well. The padded deck will keep your feet from getting sore and the adjustable hand sewn seat with three seams will keep your back feeling great.

You can’t go fishing without fishing gear, and the Slayer 10’ has you covered for storage. Below deck gear storage is easy with two watertight hatches at the bow and stern, and a gear well at the stern with bungee tie downs for security.

You can also effortlessly attach gear to the tracks along the rails on store smaller items in the center console with cup holder. With all the storage space, it’s a wonder this kayak is only 10’ long.

Pro's

  • Two flush mount rod holders
  • Only 62 lbs.
  • Padded carrying handles

Con's

  • Bouncy on waves


#7 Ocean Kayak Malibu 12’

Ocean Kayak Malibu

The Malibu 12’ Pedal Kayak makes our list for best gear access. Most of the storage options are very close to the seat, so you will be able to grab any gear and accessories in seconds. The Element Beach seat itself has plenty of storage, boasting a storage pocket right underneath and on the back.

Under the seat there is a click seal hatch that’s easy to get into because the seat can move forward and backward along the deck. There are also convenient gear wells with bungee tie downs at bow and stern; good for storing larger items, like coolers and tackle boxes.

The best aspect of this kayak is the ability to pull the propellor right up onto the deck without needed to pull it out of the hull. The propellor rotates on a hinge through the specialized hole in the hull to mount on the deck in seconds. You don’t even need to stand up or move about the deck. From your seat, simply grab the handle on the pedal system and pull up.

Speaking of propellers, you’ll be reaching up to 5.5 mph with this impressive pedal drive system. Turn with ease and precision with the hand controlled rudder at the seat. The rudder also pulls up easily onto the deck for docking or shallow waters.

With three scupper holes and a 35” wide deck, you won’t get water logged or tip over. The Malibu Pedal Kayak is ideal for any seated or stand-up fishing trip.

Pro's

  • PDL Drive 10.3:1 gear ratio for top speeds
  • Padded pedals
  • 450 lb weight capacity

Con's

  • Only two small 8-inch gear tracks
  • No under deck storage


#8 Hobie Mirage Compass

Hobie Mirage Compass

The Hobie MIrage Compass Pedal Kayak is another great one for tougher waters, like open ocean. Currents, swell and chop is no problem for its sharp bow and sleek hull design. The pontoon hull and 34” cross length will assure stability for stand up fishing and pedaling across the sea.

Feel like a calm day on the lake? The Mirage Compass Pedal is great for that too! The adjustable Vantage CT seat will keep your back comfortable and relaxed, while keeping you cool with its mesh fabric.

The under deck storage consists of a convenient quick lock hatch right at the seat and a smaller one at the stern. There is also a gear well at the stern with bungee tie downs and a gear well at the bow with a secure mesh tie down. Great for keeping your belongings on the boat where they belong.

The pedal driven propellor and rudder system is unique on the Mirage Compass Pedal kayak. The rudder is below the stern so it won’t get caught in any deck lines. The pedal drive system easily detaches for storage or shallow waters.

Transport will be easy with the two mounted in handles. Trolling with your fishing line will be convenient with the two molded in rod holders. And with two eight inch gear tracks on deck, you’ll have all your most important fishing gear at your fingertips.

Pro's

  • Paddle rest
  • 34” wide for stability

Con's

  • Handles attached with string, can twist up
  • Less storage than other angler pedal kayaks


#9 Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK 13 13’

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK13

An adjustable seat, adjustable foot straps and adjustable gear tracks make this kayak a universal fit for any adult kayaker. The BKC UH-PK 13 can handle even the messiest chop with a wave cutting bow and ultra watertight bow storage hatch.

This kayak is known for its stability and excellent tracking. With so much control, you’ll devote a lot more attention to actually catching fish. The pedal driven propellor will free up your hands while you cruise, and the precision rudder will allow access to more fishing spots.

Set your rod in any of three flush mount rod holders while you see the sights or eat some lunch. Speaking of lunch, the watertight below deck storage will keep water off your sandwich and the bungee tie downs on the gear wells will keep your cooler full of beers on the boat.

Still worried about water leakage? Just in case the water tight hatches didn’t convince you, the dry bag inserts in the below deck storage will have you confident that your belongings will stay dry.

Enjoy the luxury of the padded, removable seat while you fish or paddle. Don’t forget to sip that ice cold beverage you brought in the included cup hole in the center console. The Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK13 will make it hard to keep you off the water.

Pro's

  • Can add trolling motor
  • Removable pedal drive
  • Can carry up to 550 lbs.

Con's

  • Bow hatch can be hard to get into
  • A little heavy at 80 lbs.


Pros and Cons of Pedal-Powered Kayaks

Pedaling with your feet definitely will save arm strength. This can be great when you want to save your arm strength for casting, catching fish and wrangling them in. You can also focus a little more on your surroundings when you don’t have to paddle. Pedaling does have some downsides though. Below we have analyzed the pro’s and con’s of pedal kayaking and what that means for your fishing.

Pro's

  • Legs are a larger group of muscles which means more power and strength. You can cover more ground for longer durations using legs, which are a more efficient muscle group.
  • Your arms won’t get as tired. You can save your arm strength for fishing and controlling the rudder.
  • It’s generally easier to make it through tougher water conditions with foot pedals. The propellor is underwater, which means it is not susceptible to water chop and wind resistance like paddles are.
  • Foot powered angler kayaks usually come with rudders. Rudders make it a lot easier to turn, so you won’t have to slow down your speed to turn like you would with a paddle.

Con's

  • Propellers can scare fish away. They make noise and movement under the surface that can alert fish that you are coming. The nice thing about a paddle is it can be a lot quieter and allow you to sneak up on your catch.
  • Shallow waters can be tough with propellers. The propellor in your angler pedal kayak runs the risk of damage if it scrapes or hits the bottom in shallower waters. Some fishing spots will be too shallow for you to foot pedal through, or you will have to stop and remove the propellor from its dock. This takes time away from fishing and requires the use of a paddle for movement.


Things To Consider When Buying a Pedal Powered Kayak

Stability

If you plan on fishing while kayaking, you won’t want to invest in a kayak that’s easy to tip over. Touring kayaks, for example, are great for speed and long distances in a straight line. THey are not, however, good for fishing, as they are less maneuverable and tip over easy. The great thing about fishing specific pedal powered kayaks is they are wider and made to be stable against you and your gear tipping over.

When choosing the width of your pedal kayak, consider how much gear you will be bringing and how stable you need your kayak to be. The more gear you intend to bring, the wider the kayak you choose will need to be.


Speed

The top advantage of a pedal powered kayak is speed. You will want to get to as many fishing spots as you can in one day to catch the most fish. You might be a little hesitant at the idea of foot pedaling, but trust me. You need speed to keep up with the fish. If you invest in a slower kayak for fishing, you’ll regret it. Get those legs pedaling and you’ll catch a lot more fish.


Tracking and Turning

The other advantage pedal powered kayaks have over others it the rudder systems. Since you won’t be paddling, you’ll use a rudder to turn while you pedal your feet. This is actually a more efficient way of turning then paddle turning. A rudder is more precise and less subject to human error.


Ease of Transport

Different pedal kayaks come with different handles. If you plan on carrying the kayak by yourself, invest in handles that are more stable, like molded or mounted in ones. If you are tandem kayaking, you can probably use a kayak with handles that are just attached by rope.

Weight of the kayak is also a factor when getting the kayak on and off your vehicle. Again, if you plan on doing a lot of kayaking alone, consider getting a lighter kayak you can lift yourself. If you plan on fishing with buddies that will be willing to help you lift your yak, you can get one with a little more weight.


Features

When deciding on features of your fishing kayak, think about your priorities first. Need to go the fastest? Get one with a slimmer hull shape and sharper bow, like the Riot Mako 12 Angler Impulse Drive Deluxe.

Want to be the most comfortable? Choose a kayak with a super comfy chair, like the one on the Native Watercraft Slayer 10’. If storage is what you’re looking for, consider a kayak like the Perception Pescador Pilot 12’. It has multiple storage hatches and gear tracks for any accessories you want to bring fishing.

If you think you want the option to both pedal and paddle, make sure you get a kayak with a paddle holder. It can be really hard to hold your paddle while you are trying to fish, so a paddle holster is ideal.

The features included on most angler pedal powered kayaks are pedal drive set up, seat options, storage capabilities and accessory mounts. You might also want to consider comfort options like a cup holder or a padded deck for standing.

Pedal powered kayak
Women on Hobie kayak
Side view of native pedal kayak
Kayak on River


FAQ

Why Should I Buy a Pedal Powered Kayak?

As I mentioned above, you’ll want to go far and fast to keep up with the fish. The pedal driven propellor kayaks allow you to get that speed and distance. Also, fishing requires the use of your hands. You can troll and catch fish while you pedal. You can also use the time pedaling to set up lures and bait and get prepared to cast. Having your hands free is convenient and leg muscles will produce more speed than arms with much less effort.

The nice thing about pedal kayaks is that you can also remove the pedal system and paddle traditionally. This versatility is a plus if you are on the fence about purchasing a pedal kayak. If you decide you don’t like pedaling, you still have a rad kayak that functions just like any other kayak and is still good for fishing.

My favorite option on pedal kayaks is to set up my pedal system and bring a paddle in case I want to switch. Most pedal kayaks come with a paddle holder. If you want to exercise your arms, use the paddle. When you are ready to free up your hands for fishing or give your arms a rest, you can just start pedaling.

If you've been through this page and decided that a pedal-kayak might not be your thing, you can also check out our main page at https://finbin.net/best-kayak/, where we review all of the best traditional sit-in and sit-on kayaks on the market!


How Do I Take Care of My Kayak?

Maintaining a pedal kayak is like maintaining any other kayak. The only difference is you have to maintain the pedal drive system as well. The first step in taking care of a pedal kayak is regular cleaning. It’s a good idea to at least rinse your kayak off after each use with fresh water from a hose or a bucket.

Regular rinsing will get rid of dirt and debris that will rust, stain or eat away at the hull and deck gear. If you have a removable pedal drive system, take it out of the kayak to make sure that you are thoroughly rinsing it.

A few times a month I like to give my kayaks a good scrub with soap that is safe for the hull material. There are many good soaps for kayaks out there, like Armor All's kayak cleaner and protector. All you have to do is rinse the kayak, wash it with soap and a non- scratch sponge, rinse with fresh water, and let dry.

Polishing kayaks is important too. Polishing will protect the hull from scratches, dents and holes, as well as stains and UV damage. After you have washed and dried your kayak, put a small amount of polish on a scratch free rag and work the polish into the hull in small circles until you have covered the whole kayak. You don’t need to rinse or wipe it off, just let it dry right on the kayak.

If your kayak does happen to get damaged, try to fix it as much as possible. You can generally fix cracks or holes by yourself by welding plastic over the hull. Heat can be applied to polyethylene hulls to get the dent to pop back into its original shape. If it is something more serious, like pedal drive malfunction, gear issues or a larger crack or hole, you can consider getting it fixed by a professional.

Storage can be done inside or outside, but avoid direct sun. UV light will discolor and degrade the material of the hull. Also, make sure you keep your kayak in a place where it won’t be bumped into or fall over easily.


How Do I Launch and Beach My Pedal Powered Kayak?

Pedal kayaks like the Ocean Kayak Malibu 12' have propellers that can easily be retracted or set into place right from the deck. You can launch with the paddle and once you are in deep enough water you can lower the propellor into place. When you are ready to dock, simply pull the propellor back onto the deck.

Other pedal drive systems may not be as easy to set-up and remove, but it is possible to switch to pedal power out on the water. There are designated spots on the hull that the pedal and propellor system easily fit in and out of, it won’t be hard to figure it out.

The rudders typically fold up onto the top of the deck as well so they won’t be damaged when launching or docking. Do not flip your rudder over until you are in deep enough water to do so. Some kayaks have lines to activate the rudder and some you can activate by hand.


How Do I Steer a Pedal-Powered Kayak?

Most pedal kayaks have rudders installed so you don’t need to bring a paddle. The rudders are hand operated with a lever at the kayakers seat. It is also possible to steer with a paddle on a pedal kayak too. Infact, it would be a good way to alternate between using arm and leg power.

You turn a pedal kayak with a paddle the same way you turn any other kayak. Paddling only on one side will allow you to go in the desired direction. When you are done paddling, you can resume turning with the rudder hand lever. Typically the direction you turn the lever is the direction your kayak will turn.


How Fast Do Pedal-Powered Kayaks Go?

It can be hard to say exactly how fast pedal-powered kayaks go. There are a lot of factors, but they definitely go faster than paddle powered kayaks in general. The mechanics of propellor systems means you will get a lot more power for your energy input.

The legs are a much more powerful muscle group which will increase your power output as well. With the leg power and propellor power per pedal turn, you can guarantee on an individual level that you will go faster than if you were paddling.

Some brands boast top speeds of 7 mph. Data collected from kayakers GPS’s have shown an average speed of 3.5 to 4.5 miles per hour. It’s hard to say how intense people were pedaling but that seems like a pretty good speed to me.

Short answer: pedal kayaks are a more efficient system of gathering speed and for the most part will get you to your destination faster than a paddle powered kayak.


Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?

The Perception Pescador Pilot 12' is the best all around kayak for stability, speed and gear storage. But if you are looking for more specific things, take a look at the other kayaks on this list. Some are best at storage and gear mounting, while others specialize in stability and handling rougher water conditions.

It’s a good idea to give a read through of all the kayaks on this list so you can decide exactly what it is you are looking for. There is something for every kayaker angler looking to get their next pedal powered kayak.

One thing every kayak on this list of best pedal powered kayaks can guarantee: you’ll be having tons of fun catching speed and catching fish.

should you buy?