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9 Best Pedal Kayaks for Fishing: Your 2023 Foot Paddle Guide

Creative Commons "Hobie_kayak_0108" by Hobie Kayak and Hobie Fishing is licensed under CC BY 2.0


A pedal kayak can be an angler’s dream. With two hands free for casting and maneuvering — letting your feet paddle instead of your hands — kayak fishing can be as easy as a day at the lake.

Since Hobie Kayaks introduced the first kayak with pedal drive in 1998, fishing kayaks with pedals have revolutionized the sport. The best pedal kayaks for fishing on the market today feature a combination of stability, comfort and foot-driven power designed to propel your fishing to the next level.

Besides allowing you greater speed and range of motion, kayaks with foot paddles also offer generous storage space for tackle, photo gear, sandwiches or even camping supplies — a feature both anglers and recreational paddlers will love.

To Pedal or Paddle? A Kayaker’s Choice

Although there are pros and cons to both, anglers often choose pedal kayaks for two reasons: speed and control. Instead of wasting valuable energy wearing out your arms and shoulders, pedal-powered kayaks get you there faster — and allow for greater maneuverability with a catch on the line.

Here are American Paddler’s reviews of the best kayaks with pedals in 2023:


Old Town Predator PDLFishing12'5"475 lbs
Perception Pescador PilotAffordability12'5"475 lbs
Wilderness Systems Radar 135Versatility13'6"475 lbs
Old Town Topwater 106 PDLPortability10'6"450 lbs
Ocean Kayak Malibu PedalRecreational12'450 lbs
Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK14 (tandem)Two people14'660 lbs
Hobie Mirage i11s (inflatable)Inflatable11'3"400 lbs
Native Slayer Propel 13Pedal technology13'2"500 lbs
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14Overall quality13'8"600 lbs

Best Fishing Kayak with Pedals – American Paddler’s Pick

What do you get when you take an award-winning fishing kayak and give it an intuitive new pedal-drive system? You get the all-new Old Town Predator PDL — a beastly angler kayak that strikes fear into the hearts of fish.

Sexy, sleek, stable and powerful, the Predator PDL wins our vote as the best foot-powered fishing kayak.

Old Town Predator PDL

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Old Town could have simply added a pedal drive to the already mega-popular Predator series — but that would be cutting corners.

Check latest price on AmazonInstead, the groundbreaking Old Town Predator PDL is built from the water up to complement the line’s award-winning fishing game with foot-driven power that would make Fred Flintstone jealous. Built on the rock-solid performance Predator tri-hull, the 5-year-warranty forward-reverse pedal system prioritizes speed, control and stability.

The Predator PDL excels in deep and shallow water, thanks to the PDL drive’s patent-pending easy-dock system — which in our opinion puts this pedal kayak a step above the rest. With instant forward and reverse and a flip-switch rudder that can be locked in place when battling a bass, the Predator PDL allows you to focus on the catch — and not the waves.

Like all great Predator models, the PDL offers a plethora of rigging and customization options. Six removable mounting plates eliminate the need to drill holes into the kayak, and coolers and tackle can easily fit in the huge bungeed tank well. Two click-seal hatches offer watertight storage, and the dedicated fishfinder transducer scupper is a nice touch, too.

With a super-stable 36” wide deck, the Predator PDL’s industry-standard Element Seating System was also re-positioned to allow a natural, ergonomic fit with the pedal drive system — a critical element during an all-day kayak fishing excursion. Standing while casting is no problem even for big guys, as EVA foam deck grips keep you upright amid a 500-pound weight capacity.

Most Affordable Pedal Kayaks for Fishing

Perception Pescador Pilot

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Who says a fishing kayak with foot pedals has to break the bank? The Perception Pescador Pilot is a mold-breaking boat that opens the world of pedal-powered kayak fishing to a whole new market.

Check latest price on AmazonFor its jaw-droppingly low price, the 12’5” Pilot doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of features. Powered by a lightweight, durable Pilot Drive forward-reverse pedal system, the Pilot is quick on its feet and nimble to maneuver, thanks to a hand-controlled 360-degree rudder. It’s also incredibly stable, with a spacious, sit-on-top design allowing anglers to stand and cast comfortably.

With multiple accessory gear tracks, drill-free transducer mounting, rod holders, cupholders and wide-open bow and stern tank wells, the Pilot offers all the amenities an angler could want — though it does lack watertight storage. It’s comfortable, too, thanks to a removable, mesh-backed “Captain’s Chair” that can be instantly adjusted to fit your profile.

A versatile kayak that handles well on lakes, ponds, rivers and streams — as well as coastal waterways closer to shore — the Pilot is a great choice for a wide range of paddlers and anglers. Kayakers can pedal when they want to, and paddle when it’s convenient, with a bungee holding your paddle when not in use. A 475-pound weight capacity means the Pilot is built to handle anglers of all sizes, and self-bailing scupper holes eliminate the fear of water splashing into the boat.

Wilderness Systems Radar 135

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If the Radar 135 isn’t on your radar — well, you need a new radar. As far as cheaper pedal kayaks go, Wilderness Systems has figured out the combination: paddle, pedal and power.

Check latest price on AmazonAt a super-affordable price point, the Wilderness Systems Radar 135 is the company’s first “tri-powered” kayak, capable of integrating Wilderness’ Helix MD Motor Drive, Helix PD Pedal Drive, or just plain ol’ regular paddling. The pedal drive system — one of the company’s most popular options — features a compact 6:1 gear ratio “precision-tuned” to a forward/reverse prop — which means this boat has some giddy-up.

When not in use, the entire Helix PD prop can be lifted out of the water with the kick of a switch — a really convenient feature for unexpected shallows.

As for the kayak itself, the Radar doesn’t disappoint those looking for performance. Wilderness’ renown S.M.A.R.T. hull technology (Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness and Tracking) keeps your kayak handling remarkably true in most water conditions. The Radar’s rigging setup is equally impressive, with two watertight storage hatches, molded-in tackle storage pockets, four SlideTrax accessory rails and a Flex Pod OS Console System for mounting fishfinders or GPS units.

Stability? Uh, yeah. It’s also got the only kayak seat we know of that turns into an elevated platform (VIDEO) for casting. I mean, really!? If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

Best Lightweight Kayak with Pedal Drive

Old Town Topwater 106 PDL

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Touting all the features of a larger fishing kayak with pedals, but in a compact, lightweight package, the Old Town Topwater 106 PDL is a space-saving revelation. The younger cousin of the acclaimed Predator series, Old Town’s Topwater kayaks are designed to sneak up on fish with stealth and speed.

Check latest price on AmazonLike the Predator series, the Topwater features Old Town’s patent-pending PDL drive system that quietly and efficiently switches from forward to reverse, and lifts easily for shallow-water fishing. A unique “Double-U” hull is designed to minimize noise while maximizing speed and stability — providing a “best-of-all-worlds” experience for the kayak angler.

Frankly, this kayak is a bit of an engineering marvel. Somehow, this 10’6” kayak — one of the smallest pedal kayaks on the market — carries a beefy 450 pounds. The Topwater 106 packs a powerful punch for such a small footprint — and can be easily stored in garages, sheds and towed on most vehicles.

But don’t let the Topwater’s size fool you. With an ergonomic setup friendly to your knees and back, this pedal kayak is much roomier than its specs indicate. An adjustable ElementAir seat and perfectly positioned accessory mounts keep all your essential gear within reach, and a 36-inch-wide deck makes for an ultra-stable fishing platform.

Best Recreational Kayak with Foot Paddles

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak

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Don’t care about fishing? Just want a fun kayak with foot paddles for an afternoon at the beach? Ocean Kayak — the kayak maker of the people — has you covered.

Check latest price on AmazonThe premier manufacturer of sit on top kayaks for more than two decades, Ocean’s playful Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak is the perfect choice for a weekend family outing. Big, super-stable and with plenty of room for passengers, the Malibu Pedal Kayak combines everything you love about a sit-on-top kayak with the exhilaration of pedal power.

One of Ocean Kayak’s biggest selling points is simplicity — and the Malibu Pedal delivers. With a jump seat for kids, a big deck for dogs and a comfy Element Beach Seat for Mom or Dad, the whole family can surf and play for hours on end. The pedal drive system — capable of reaching 5.5 mph — doubles as a storage hatch for gear, and can be easily lifted out of the way when not in use.

While the Malibu Pedal wasn’t primarily designed with anglers in mind, it does support a little afternoon napping — er, fishing — with its 8-inch accessory track and bungeed tank wells. Add in a sliding seat, and there’s juuust enough room for Dad to stretch out with a cold one and hope the bluegills don’t bite.

Best Tandem Kayak with Foot Pedals

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-PK14

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What’s better than a kayak you can pedal like a bicycle? A kayak you can pedal like a tandem bicycle.

It’s like the Brooklyn Kayak Company looked at a pedal kayak, laughed to itself, and said, “We can top that.”

Check latest price on AmazonWith a second seat and foot pedal system, the twin-powered BKC UH-PK14 stands a living testament to the limits of kayaking ingenuity. With true-tracking, dual-pedal power, the BKC PK14 is one of the longest, fastest and highest-capacity fishing kayaks with foot paddles ever built.

At 14 feet long, the PK14 carries a whopping 660-pound capacity — enough for two adult men, a cooler and a couple of fishing rods. Both aluminum-framed stadium-style seats are equipped with removable, below-deck propellers, and the rear paddler controls a hand-operated rudder. The kayak also comes with two paddles if you or your partner feel like doing things the traditional way.

Though this kayak doesn’t offer much in the way of wet storage, it remarkably does feature three watertight hatches and three flush-mount rod holders.

And while you can paddle with an arm or a leg — it won’t cost you either. The PK14 is remarkably affordable (check latest price on Amazon).

Inflatable Kayak with Pedals

Hobie Mirage i11s (inflatable)

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An inflatable kayak with pedals? Yes, that’s a thing. As with many kayak innovations, it comes courtesy of the undisputed champion of kayak design: Hobie.

Check latest price on AmazonCapable of handling almost any type of water, the Hobie Mirage i11s justifies its price point (as do most Hobie kayaks) with impeccable stability, precision tracking and luxury comfort. One of the few inflatable kayaks with pedals, the Mirage i11s is propelled by Hobie’s powerful MirageDrive pedal system and integrated “Twist and Stow” rudder — a perfect combination of blazing speed and high-end performance.

Unlike most pedal kayaks, the MirageDrive pedal system uses flexible fins and push pedals for a fast, maneuverable and efficient ride. Unlike propeller-driven systems, you don’t need to remove the unit for shallow-water paddling (although you can). Simply push one pedal forward to lift the fins while you paddle across the sandbar, rocky beach or river bed. And if you ever get tired of pedaling (yeah, right), the i11s is compatible with Hobie’s Evolve electric motor. Want a kayak with pedals and a sail? Hobie can do that, too.

The i11s’ rock-solid stability owes to its SUP-inspired design, allowing you to stand, stretch and scout the horizon with ease. The Vantage CTi stadium-style aluminum-frame seat provides sturdy and breathable comfort, and the wide open deck offers plenty of space for tackle boxes, coolers or even a canine companion.

Perhaps one of the biggest selling points — besides the i11s’s superior construction quality — is its lightweight profile. With MirageDrive in tow, the entire kayak weighs just 65 pounds.

Best Kayak Foot Pedal Kits

Native Slayer Propel 13

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Strong as an ox and sleek as a dart, the Native Slayer Propel 13 is a power-packed fishing kayak with foot pedals. The low-profile Slayer glides through the water to get you where you want to be — and digs in its heels once there.

Check latest price on AmazonA rare combination of speed, efficiency and stability, the Propel 13 offers a superior fishing experience. Courtesy of its precisely engineered Propel Pedal Drive system, shorter leg rotations allow you to save energy when pedaling the kayak — even at speeds of up to 5.2 mph. Once locked in, the kayak’s impact-resistant, left-hand controlled rudder gives you tight control over your boat for cruising, sight-casting or reeling.

For such a mean boat, the Slayer has its soft sides — particularly when it comes to comfort. A sliding, breathable seat gives your legs plenty of space, and convenient cupholders, a transducer mount and slip-resistant deck floor grips keep you in your element when fishing, trolling or just kicking back.

At 13 feet long and 33 inches wide, the Slayer offers generous deck space and an abundance of gear storage. Side-mounted gear tracks accommodate RailBlaza, Scotty or Ram fishing accessories, and front-facing rod holders keep your poles and nets always within reach. It also has an absolutely gigantic stern storage well — perfect for that 20-inch largemouth bass.

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14

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Any discussion of the best pedal kayaks for fishing has to include the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14. A veritable angler’s warship, the Pro Angler is the standard-bearer in an industry it helped define more than two decades ago.

Check latest price on AmazonBuilt like a tank, the Pro Angler fishes like one, too. Equipped standard with Hobie’s surf-crushing MirageDrive 180, this kayak’s foot paddle system utilizes twin Turbo Fins and a retractable rudder to glide effortlessly through waves, wake and calm waters. Its rock-solid construction provides a standing platform that’s like casting from your own private dock.

Hobie practically invented the “kayak with foot paddle” space, and today’s Pro Angler is the company’s flagship (literally). Weighing just under 8 pounds, the MirageDrive 180 offers full power in both directions, with a shift cable switching between forward and reverse. The unit can be adjusted to fit large and small paddlers via the push of a button — or removed altogether in favor of Hobie’s Evolve motor or a traditional paddling setup.

Inside the boat, you’ll find your captain’s chair, an elevated Vantage ST seat adjustable to your liking and surrounded by your weapons of the day. Whether it be fishfinders and transducers for scouting, six vertical and horizontal rod holders, or a war chest full of tackle, your gear is ready to be deployed.

Gear management is the Pro Angler’s specialty, with miles of H-rail for mounting any piece of equipment your heart desires, three seal-able hatches, two easy-access pivoting tackle boxes, and a mesh storage pocket for quick-grab items. A huge tank well is the perfect place to keep a cooler or fly a flag.

Pedal kayak
Pedal kayaks provider anglers with hands-free access to gear, plus added stability for sight casting. (“Hobie_Fishing_European_Championship_2014_68” by Hobie Kayak and Hobie Fishing licensed under CC-BY-2.0)

Why Pedal Kayaks are Gaining in Popularity

If you’re in the market for a new pedal kayak, chances are you don’t have to be convinced why they’re a good investment. There are several pros to owning a bicycle-style kayak, including:

  • Stability: Besides acting as a power source for your kayak, the propeller unit also serves to balance the boat a bit better. Especially on kayaks with wider beams, anglers can usually stand to sight-cast with no problems, and bigger guys can paddle without fear of capsizing.
  • Saving energy: Since your legs are stronger than your arms, you’re less likely to tire as quickly with a pedal kayak, allowing you to paddle longer distances. When paddling with your arms, your kayak’s side-to-side motion naturally loses a bit of speed. With a foot-powered propeller, the boat tracks better and doesn’t lose energy.
  • Speed: Again, stronger muscles equal a faster ride — with the boat doing a bulk of the work for you.
  • Better tracking: Powered by a propeller centered beneath the boat and guided by a hand-operated rudder, a foot-powered kayak won’t stray from course as easily as a traditional paddle kayak.
  • Quieter: Hunting and fishing kayaks with pedals don’t create as many splashes and waves, lessening your chances of scaring away the fish or waterfowl.

How to Choose a Pedal Kayak

Besides the traditional factors to choosing a great kayak, there are several additional factors to consider in a kayak with foot paddles.

Pedal Style

While most pedal kayaks nowadays are built with rotational, bicycle-style pedals, not all are. Some kayaks, like the Hobie i11s and the Pro Angler 14 on our list, instead utilize a push-pedal, fin-powered system. Both have their advantages, but in general, bicycle-style pedals are easier to use (using less energy), while push-style pedals have stronger propulsion.

Most, if not all, pedal drives can operate in forward and reverse.

Propeller Docking

While propeller systems are great for deep water, it can be pain to manage if the boat runs aground in shallow depths or weeds. Every good pedal kayak should have a way to access and remove the propeller system in these cases.

Some propeller-docking systems are more intuitive than others. The best pedal kayaks are able to instantly dock the propeller with the click of a switch or the lift of a handle — even without leaving the boat (our favorites for this feature include Wilderness Systems’ Radar 135 and Old Town’s Predator PDL).

Some even allow you to swap the unit for a trolling motor or remove it altogether for additional dry storage space.

Rudder Control (Steering)

kayak pedal drive
Creative Commons “Rudder” by Thatcher Clay licensed under CC BY 2.0

Naturally, one question new pedal kayak buyers might have is, “If I don’t have a paddle, how do I steer?”

The answer, most often, is a hand-controlled rudder. An adjustable fin that’s usually positioned at the stern (back of the boat), a rudder sets the kayak’s direction while your foot pedals propel you forward. A kayak with rudders and pedals gives you better control over your boat.

Usually, rudders are controlled by a lever either to the left or right of the cockpit chair. Consider choosing a boat with an intuitive (left is left, right is right), easy-push lever that can be locked in place. If you’re right-handed, choose a lever control to your left side (and vice versa) to keep your strong hand free for casting.


With a hefty propeller system in tow, pedal kayaks are typically on the heavier side. Most pedal kayaks range from 85 to 130 pounds. While some kayaks allow you to remove the propeller for transport, you’ll still want to consider a boat with handles for carrying it to and from the water.


In general, stability is a function of a kayak’s beam (width) and profile (height and hull shape), but a propeller system can make a bit of a difference. Most pedal kayaks for fishing are designed to be stable, but if this is a top concern for you, choose a boat with a wider beam and lower, flatter profile.

Usually, a 33″ wide beam is plenty wide enough for initial stability, but 36″ or more can provide a little extra comfort.

Tl;dr (Too long; didn’t read)

While all of the pedal kayaks on this list are great options for fishing, recreational boating or enjoying an afternoon with friends and family, each has its own advantages. Whether its fishing, affordability, portability or share-ability, American Paddler hopes the boats above will help you get your kicks this summer.

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