Guide to Choosing The Best Pedal Kayak

Pedal kayaks are primarily recreational kayaks and that is why they are best used for sight-seeing, fishing as well as other low impact trips. In fact, the best pedal kayaks were designed to allow fishing enthusiasts to travel much longer distances without fatigue kicking in.

Primitive people carried out fishing as an integral part of their livelihood. However, modern civilization views fishing differently as more than just a means to provide for the family. Fishing has increasingly become a recreational pastime. Fishing kayaks, particularly the pedal kayaks  have flamboyance and efficiency in movement and design. This is often to suit preference, budget and personality.

Just to be clear upfront that all the pedal fishing kayaks are on the costlier side. An average pedal kayak will cost more an upward of $1,300. If you want to check out more affordable kayaks check out our list of best fishing kayaks for the money.

The 3 best pedal kayaks for fishing

As always if you want to cut to the chase. Here is the list of our recommended top 3 pedal fishing kayaks:

2017 Wilderness Radar 115

This wilderness kayak comes with a Fishing Kayak Package with Helix PD Pedal Drive System, Vamo Roof Rack Pads and Vamo Tie Down Set.
It Has a Helix PD pedal drive system which is developed by Wilderness Systems. They claim it to be the most efficient and intuitive system ever engineered. It offers a 6:1 gear ratio which is precision-tuned to a 14 x 17 two-bladed fixed pitch prop.

The Radar 115 kayak has S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology that combines Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness and Tracking for ultimate performance in various types of water environments.

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Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak Olive

Hobie Mirage OutbackHobie is a known brand among kayaking enthusiasts. With their lengendary MirageDrive design, the mirage the hobie kayaks are butt loads of fun and enjoyment.

With their Vantage seating system you can be sure of the much needed comfort for long times out on the water. To top that up, they have an adjustable  seat-back, bottom, height and lumbar-support.

It comes with Backwards Compatible Thru-Hull Wire Plugs which are a part of the Lawrance ready system. This system enables you to easily install fish finder on the kayak.

Their  Twist and Stow Rudder is quite unique as you have full control over it. Meaning the rudder is retractractable.  You can easily engage and disengage the rudder-system with the provided control handles.

This kayak is very well built, quite stable and most importantly it allows you to enjoy fishing to the fullest as your both hands are totally free.

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Perception Pescador 12.0 Pilot Kayak

Perception Pescador 12 pilotThe perception pescador 12 pilot sit on top pedal kayak is the cheapest of the three and hence affordable. It comes with the Pilot Drive pedal drive system. This pilot drive pedal system is enables the kayak to achieve the perfect balance out on the water and is also ergonomically designed for a comfortable fishing all day long.

With the accessory rails you can have a fish finder and a rod holder on both rails. This pedal fishing kayak has a huge deck space meaning lots of room for your things. Also the kayak is quite stable thanks to the pilot drive system.

Perception as a brand is also quite good as they generally own up to the flaws and are quite good at fixing those issues.

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Important Things to consider for pedal fishing kayak

There are numerous pedal kayaks that are available in the market today. This is why selection of the pedal kayak is a daunting task. The following are a few important things to consider:

  • The hull of a pedal kayak is important because it determines the degree of stability the kayak will have in various types of water. A round and flat hull is good for people who often go to kayak in rivers that are calm and quiet. However, people who go kayaking in rough waters should choose a V-shaped hull.
  • There are numerous factors that dictate the speed of a pedal kayak. Apart from the skills and strength of kayakers, the following are the major factors that affect speed of pedal kayaks:
    • Rudders significantly slow down the speed of pedal kayaks.
    • Hull materials that promote high speeds in pedal fishing kayaks are Kevlar, thermoformed plastic and fiberglass.
    • Hulls that are narrower tend to be much faster compared to wider ones. However, the wider the hull the more stable a pedal fishing kayak will be.
  • Other factors that ought to be considered when selecting a pedal fishing kayak are price, weight capacity as well as the self-weight.

Types of pedal kayak

Pedal fishing kayaks are available in 2 main types i.e. push pedal kayak and rotational pedal kayak. Each of these types have their own benefits and limitations that need to be carefully considered before arriving at a decision on which one to purchase.

Rotational pedal kayak

This type of pedal fishing kayak operates more like walking as it requires the use of the entire leg. It is relatively less stressful compared to push pedal kayaks. It needs more space because the whole leg is moved rather than just the ankles and calves.

The push pedal kayak

This kayak requires the kayaker to push their feet forward in a manner that is quite similar to bicycles (Only the kayak is pushed forward here instead of tires. ). It needs effort to start again when the user stops. This type of pedal fishing kayak does not allow for a lot of space thus making the kayak feel a bit cramped.

Advantages of pedal fishing kayak

Both amateur kayakers and fishing fanatics are of the opinion that pedal fishing kayaks are characterized by enhanced maneuverability and mobility. Other key benefits of pedal fishing kayaks that users stand to enjoy are the following:

    • These vessels do not create any sound even if they are propelled at a high speed. This is good because the fish in the water will not be scared off.
    • There is a wide range of pedal designs, shapes and options that are available for both single as well as multiple individuals. This opens up the user to select the most preferred type.
    • It is designed with some opportunities for customization. This is good because consumers can tweak them to satisfy individual preferences.
    • It is possible for users to adjust themselves with the vessel so that they can it in a comfortable way regardless of their height.
    • Pedal fishing kayaks move much faster against wind and waves as it yields significant mobility and force. It generally has higher speeds compared to the traditional paddle-type kayak.
    • All body parts and organs remain relaxed in pedal fishing kayaks except the legs. This provides ample time for people to carry out fishing without distraction or to enjoy nature without much labor. Kayakers can freely indulge in talking with friends, taking videos and pictures while fishing.
    • It is much easier for users to go in the reverse direction with pedal fishing kayaks compared to the paddle-type.
    • Pedal fishing kayaks have adequate space for the user’s fishing gear to avoid cramping or feeling enclosed.
    • They facilitate peace of mind while fishing because people do not have to worry about their paddles getting lost in the water.
    • Pedals have minimal maintenance due to their rugged nature. They only need regular rinsing and lubrication once in a while.
    • These kayaks provide an excellent form of leg exercise. This helps in keeping the body fit and healthy.

The benefits listed above are not exhaustive as there is much more to be gained from pedal fishing kayaks compared to the traditional paddle type.


The following are some limitations associated with the use of pedal fishing kayaks:

    • The pedals tend to occupy significant space in the vessel and this leaves limited storage room.
    • They are more expensive compared to the traditional paddle kayaks.
    • Pedalling often requires the body of the angler to be positioned like an L, this position is detrimental to health. Some of the health concern include soreness in the rear-end, acute back pain, poor circulation in the legs and premature fatigue.

Pedal fishing kayaks are not ideal for shallow water fishing, particularly where vegetation is present.

  • Pedal fishing kayaks are heavier because of the additional weight of the rudder and the stainless-steel pedals.


Many kayakers like pedal kayaking because it is easily controlled by legs and it is very powerful. The key features to look for in a pedal kayak are its type of pedals, its speed and its hull. This ultimate guide to best pedal kayak should help you to find the ideal pedal fishing kayak on the market that satisfies all your needs.

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