Best Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks

Revolutionize your fishing game with the best pedal kayaks on the market. Check out our top picks for speed, stability, and functionality.

Best Pedal Kayaks

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Why trust us?

There’s a wide range of kayaks available today, from traditional sit-insides built for long-distance paddles to easy-to-use recreational sit-on-top designs.

But in recent years, an innovative new design has burst onto the scene, providing greater speed without compromising stability or functionality. These are pedal kayaks, which take the paddle entirely out of the equation and are instead propelled by your feet, much like a bicycle.

We’ve reviewed the best pedal kayaks on the market in a range of prices and styles, so a suitable match is waiting for you below.

Our Top Picks

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks. Or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

Best Overall: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Length: 12′ | Width: 36″ | Weight: 129 lbs | Capacity: 500 lbs

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Hobie has planted its flag as one of the premier pedal kayak brands available today. The cream of the crop is their Mirage Pro Angler 12 model. 

The Angler 12 makes its bones as a fishing kayak. Still, it can shine in many different fields thanks to its large storage capacity and excellent stability, allowing you to stand confidently as long as the water is reasonably calm.

There are plenty of custom options for fishing thanks to the H-rail system that allows everything from rod holders to GPS devices to be installed and accessible from the seat.

The lumbar support is excellent for the seat, thanks to the extra high back, which will keep you comfortable for hours on the water.

I love the pedal system, which includes an intuitive kick-up design for the blades and improves durability. Most pedal kayaks struggle in shallow water or areas with lots of rocks or shoals since the blades attached to the pedals are easily damaged by underwater hazards. 

But Hobie has designed blades that retract on impact, allowing you to cruise over these hazards without fear of damaging your sizable investment. 

  • Huge load capacity that can hold all your gear for weeklong journeys
  • Durable design with fins that are difficult to damage
  • Multiple carrying handles make tandem carries much easier
  • One of the pricier pedal kayaks available
  • Heavy weight when fully rigged makes transportation challenging on your own

Best Value: Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0

Length: 12′5″ | Width: 33.75″ | Weight: 85 lbs | Capacity: 525 lbs

Perception Pescador 12.0 Pilot

A little longer than the Hobie Mirage Angler 12, the Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0 offers a slightly faster speed with a narrower width to go along with its longer keel.

It’s another pedal kayak built with fishing in mind. You’ll find several custom options anglers covet in their kayaks. In this case, it uses a pair of Perception’s YakAttack GearTracs to get the job done and ensure that all your toys can make the trip.

The multi-chine hull provides superb stability in calm and moderately choppy water. That said, this still isn’t a boat to take on ambitious open crossings. There’s no skeg, so it’ll be up to your manipulation of the rudder and your peddling acumen to maintain a straight course. 

Multiple hatch openings and plenty of dry storage space make it an excellent option for longer, multi-day journeys. In addition, a considerable load capacity of 525 pounds allows for longer trips without having to leave any gear behind.

The seat is super comfy, easy to adjust on and off the water, and can accommodate most paddlers. Add in the built-in cupholder, and it’s no wonder the Pescador 12.0 takes home our award for the best value pedal kayak.

  • Solid stability, but probably not able to stand and cast from
  • Lots of dry storage space
  • Reasonably priced for all the extras
  • Not as many custom options as higher-end designs

Best Budget: Pelican Gateway 110 HDII

Length: 10′5″ | Width: 33″ | Weight: 59 lbs | Capacity: 300 lbs

Pelican Gateway 110 HDII

If you’re new to the pedal kayak world and the Pelican Gateway 110 HDII is the first kayak you’ve looked at, you may be wondering where the budget is. But pedal kayaks are some of the most expensive kayaks out there, and the Gateway still provides solid performance at a great introductory price.

Pelican has done a great job of including many of the same features and accessories as the more expensive models. There’s a pair of 2” accessory rigging tracks, so you can still bring a GPS, GoPro, or install a fishing rod holder.

The load capacity isn’t as big as in other pedal kayaks. Still, the storage space you have is well designed, including a large, watertight bow hatch and a recessed, open-air stern area secured with bungee cords.

The Gateway also has one of my favorite features for recreational kayaks. The seat can easily be removed and reinstalled, providing a handy camp chair for those nights around the bonfire. 

The shorter keel does mean you won’t be keeping up with the longer designs on this list, like the Hobie Pro Angler or Pescador Pilot. But for casual weekend paddles or the occasional fishing trip, the Gateway is more than enough at a fraction of the price. It’s also appreciably lighter, making it much easier for solo kayakers to handle moving on their own.

  • Lighter than most pedal kayaks
  • Decent storage space with a sizeable watertight hatch
  • Shorter keel limits speed
  • Small load capacity limits the Gateway to day trips

Best Tandem: Hobie Mirage Compass Duo

Length: 13′6″ | Width: 35″ | Weight: 127 lbs | Capacity: 475 lbs

Hobie Mirage Compass Duo

Hobie makes its second appearance on our list thanks to their impressive Mirage Compass Duo (and it won’t be the last). 

The Compass Duo features many of the same designs and accessories as the impressive Pro Angler 12. The H-Track accessory system has been included so both pedallers can outfit their cockpit however they see fit. The kick-up fin design has also been ported over, providing extra durability when navigating shallow water.

With some practice, the Compass Duo glides with surprising ease across the water with a pair of people pedaling. The hull is designed to maximize speed and reduce drag, making it a thrill to pedal even when fighting a headwind.

Like many boats on this list, it’s at its best in calmer water. A crosswind or large waves hitting the Compass broadside can make for a frustrating, unpleasant, and potentially dangerous day on the water. 

The storage layout is similar to other Hobie designs, with a solid amount of dry and open-air storage space. The load capacity is a little on the low side for a tandem kayak (475-pounds). Depending on the size of the kayakers, the Compass Duo may be a better fit for day trips instead of more extended expeditions.

  • Comfortable kayak with plenty of room for two paddlers despite being on the short side
  • Easy-glide hull with an impressive top speed
  • Transitions smoothly from forward to reverse
  • Load capacity is a little low for a tandem pedal kayak

Best for Stand-Up Fishing (Most Stable): Old Town Topwater PDL 120

Length: 12′ | Width: 36″ | Weight: 116 lbs | Capacity: 500 lbs

Old Town Topwater 120 PDL

Old Town makes its first of two appearances in our review with the incredibly stable Topwater PDL 120. It has similar dimensions to some of the other high-end kayaks on the list but is just a little wider. This makes it slightly slower in a head-to-head race, but if you want to stand and cast, look no further than the Topwater.

The secret to the Topwater’s stability lies in its pontoon hull. Not only can it hold an impressive 500 pounds, but it also does an excellent job of distributing an angler’s shifting weight as they cast, reel, and play their catch. 

Despite the wider hull, the Topwater still has solid maneuverability. Giving you great control and the ability to squeeze into those hard-to-reach fishing holes without making a sound and spooking the fish.

There are the same custom features you’d expect in a kayak of this caliber, and the transducer system makes installing your own fish finder simple and intuitive. Add in the great traction pads that provide extra security and comfort when standing, and the Topwater is the total package for the passionate fisherperson.

  • The perfect boat for those wanting to stand and cast
  • In hull transducer for fish finders
  • 3 rod holders and tackle storage system
  • Slower than other high-end kayaks

Best for Open Sea Fishing: Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120

Length: 12′ | Width: 34.5″ | Weight: 104 lbs | Capacity: 450 lbs

Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120

Another Old Town appearance comes for the aptly named Sportsman Salty PDL 120. A boat tailor-made for the open sea and all the variables it can throw at you in a single day.

The rigid keel and easy-to-handle rudder provide excellent control and stability, even when rocking and rolling in the chop. The Salty is even rated as stable enough to stand and cast from, and there are traction pads in front of the seat, similar to those on the Topwater PDL 120.

A transducer mounter lets you install a fish finder with little trouble, and two mammoth 18” accessory tracks provide innumerable options for outfitting your Salty PDL to your precise specifications. 

They’ve even thrown in a handy, customized tackle box to help you keep your favorite lures close at hand. A trio of rod holders rounds out the Salty’s customization features.

I love the flexibility of the Salty’s design, particularly the simplicity of removing the seat and pedal drive system for easier transport and storage. This is especially useful if you’ll be on your own and need to lessen the load before moving your kayak to the water.  

  • Excellent stability, even in choppy seas
  • Huge accessory tracks
  • One of the easier large pedal kayaks to move on your own
  • Capacity lower than other pedal kayaks

Best Inflatable: Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight

Length: 9′5″ | Width: 40″ | Weight: 37 lbs | Capacity: 350 lbs

Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight

If you want a pedal kayak but value a lightweight design and the flexibility to take it anywhere, the Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight may be the perfect model. 

You won’t get the same performance as the rigid, hard-sided kayaks. However, the Ultralight’s high-quality design still performs well when heading out into lakes, rivers, and protected coastal areas.

Checking in at under 40 pounds, you can take the Ultralight anywhere. Once on the water, the iTrek 9 features excellent maneuverability thanks to its shorter keel and well-designed rudder set-up. Of course, you won’t get the same speed as longer-keeled kayaks, but it fits the bill perfectly for shorter day trips.

The flexibility doesn’t end with the lightweight fishing kayak design, however. The Ultralight can easily be converted into a stand-up paddleboard. It even comes with a three-piece paddle designed specifically for paddle boarding. 

You also get Hobie’s kick-up fin technology to improve durability in shallow water. However, you won’t find the same custom features you would on bigger kayaks. 

  • One of the lightest pedal kayaks out there
  • Easy to transport, even on an airplane
  • Great maneuverability
  • One of the more expensive inflatable kayaks
  • Lacks custom features

Best Inflatable Tandem: Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo

Length: 13′8″ | Width: 44″ | Weight: 73 lbs | Capacity: 600 lbs

Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo

With a massive load capacity and fantastic stability, you can be forgiven for mistaking the Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo for a raft at first glance. Of course, the enormous width does make it more challenging to steer and maneuver. But it also provides excellent stability, even if it may slow you down if you’re out all day. 

While the huge load capacity is a plus, the iTrek 14 lacks dry storage space, making it better for day trips or areas where there isn’t rain in the forecast. 

The iTrek breaks down quickly and is simple to set up, making it a great tandem for those prioritizing a lightweight and flexible design. A hand and electric pump are included with the purchase to simplify inflation. And a handy travel bag is also included to facilitate travel logistics.

Once again, Hobie’s fantastic kick-up fins are built into the design to protect you in shallow water and give you the confidence to take your iTrek around rocks and reefs. 

Breathable, mesh seats with plenty of lumbar support help keep you comfortable for hours, no matter what conditions you’re pedaling in. 

  • Lightweight tandem that can go anywhere
  • Great stability
  • Large load capacity
  • Lacks the performance of hard-sided models
  • Minimal dry storage space

Pedal Kayak Comparison Table

Pedal KayakLengthWidthWeightCapacitySeatingStructureConstruction
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 1212′36″129 lbs500 lbsSoloHard shellPolyethylene
Perception Pescador Pilot 12.012’6″33.75″85 lbs525 lbsSoloHard shellPolyethylene
Pelican Gateway 110 HDII10’5″33″59 lbs300 lbsSoloHard shellPolyethylene
Hobie Mirage Compass Duo13’6″35″127 lbs475 lbsTandemHard shellPolyethylene
Old Town Topwater PDL 12012′36″116 lbs500 lbsSoloHard shellPolyethylene
Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 12012′34.5″104 lbs450 lbsSoloHard shellPolyethylene
Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight9’5″40″37 lbs350 lbsSoloInflatable550 Denier PVC
Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo13’8″44″73 lbs600 lbsTandemInflatable550 Denier PVC

Pedal Kayak Buying Advice

Young Man Fishing on a Pedal Kayak

There’s more to purchasing a pedal kayak than just looking at individual reviews. Understanding the different features and variables that set these kayaks apart is vital to properly evaluate a kayak.

This guide will discuss many of these factors in more detail so you can confidently purchase your next kayak, knowing it’s exactly what you want.

Kayak Type

Most pedal kayaks are of the sit-on-top design to provide enough room to pedal without your feet catching the top of the cockpit. 

Sit-on-top seats place you a little higher, giving you an optimal view of the water, which is advantageous when fishing. This means that a sit-on-top needs to be wider than traditional kayaks to maintain stability. But with a pedal kayak, you can still generate an impressive top speed.


The hard-sided kayaks on this list are made of a rigid plastic material called polyethylene. Some brands may have a specific, patented version of this material that goes by a different name. Still, their on-water performance should be pretty similar.

Polyethylene is easier to produce and assemble than more expensive kayaking materials, making it the favored material for most hard-sided kayaks. In addition, they’re exceptionally durable and require little maintenance to preserve their performance. 

The drawback is they’re heavier than other materials. Also, with the addition of pedal fins or a propeller, many pedal kayaks are difficult to carry with one or even two people.

Inflatable kayaks have something of a bad rap, and plenty of cheap inflatable kayaks bust a seam with little provocation. But the inflatables from Hobie are all drop-stitch kayaks that can handle on-water bumps and scrapes without fear of popping a hole. 

You should still be careful with your inflatable Hobie kayak. Still, you can feel confident that you won’t hear air escaping from anywhere the first time you graze a rock. 


The simplest way to estimate a kayak’s potential speed is to look at the length of the keel first and the width of the boat second.

Keel length correlates strongly with speed. A wider boat will have additional water resistance and a lower cruising speed while gliding a shorter distance between paddle strokes

All of these factors apply to pedal kayaks. But in general, a pedal kayak will move much faster with less exerted energy than their traditional paddle counterparts. Shorter models like the Pelican Gateway 110 HDII and Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight will struggle to keep up with many of the longer boats we’ve reviewed.


Paddle kayaks use foot pedals to control their rudder systems. But since your feet are being used for propulsion on a pedal kayak, a joystick-style handle is installed so you can control your course by hand. 

Most pedal kayaks include the option to easily switch the joystick to either side of the kayak so you can use it with either hand. The one drawback to this design is when fishing, as it can be challenging to maintain control of the rudder and fishing pole at the same time, especially if you’re traversing choppy water or a windy area.


Kayak seats have come a long way from the days of rigid, inflexible, plastic seat backs and bottoms that make everything below the neck sore and stiff by the end of the day. All the pedal kayaks on this list include excellent seats that support both your legs, behind and back.

I especially like Hobie’s seat designs that do a great job of keeping your back from sweating on those hot summer days without compromising overall support. 

Kayaks rated stable enough to stand up in have well-padded traction pads, like what you’ll find in the Old Town Topwater PDL 120. This provides a bit of cushion and minimizes the stress on your joints while keeping you from slipping over.

Stability & Tracking

Speaking of standing up in your pedal kayak, several models on this list have that distinction. Both Old Town models feel like battleships on the water. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 is also stable enough to stand in. 

It’s a great feeling to move to a standing position and barely feel the boat rock. However, this doesn’t mean you should treat that rating with impunity. Always make sure that conditions are suitable enough to stand up first. Watch for waves, swell, and especially passing boat wakes that can turn calm days into something resembling whitewater rapids in a hurry.

This doesn’t mean that the other kayaks on this list aren’t stable. On the contrary, even those brand new to kayaking should feel comfortable in all of these models.

Most of these models aren’t meant for dynamic conditions like strong tidal areas, extensive ocean conditions, or fast-moving rivers. The Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 may excel on the open water, but the rest should remain in more protected bodies of water where their performance won’t suffer.

Like a kayak’s speed, tracking is also correlated with keel length. Kayaks with longer keels do a better job of maintaining their course in adverse conditions like wind or waves. The inclusion of a rudder in all of these models is a great way to help you pedal in a straight line regardless of your experience level.


The rigid polyethylene material does a great job of absorbing bumps, collisions, and accidental drops. Even dragging these plastic hulls short distances across the beach is possible. Do your best to carry your kayak whenever you can, though. Over time, extended drags can cause the hull to peel and scratch, decreasing performance and efficiency.

I love the kick-up fins for the Hobie kayaks. If the fins hit an underwater object, they can retract back towards the hull to avoid severe damage. This innovative design feature can add several years to the lifetime of your pedal kayak.

Inflatable kayaks like the iTrek 9 Ultralight and iTrek 14 are a little more fragile. However, their exteriors are well stitched and have impressive rigidity for inflatables. Both should last for many years as long as they’re well cared for. Try to avoid rough beach landings and never drag them.

When putting your inflatable kayak away, ensure the material is completely dry so that mildew doesn’t have an opportunity to grow and spread.

Portability & Storage

A drawback to pedal kayaks is all the additional hardware along with the plastic hull can make them really heavy. Most hardshell pedal kayaks are around 100 pounds, and while they include comfortable carry handles, longer portages can be exhausting.

If you are on your own a lot, consider going with one of the lightweight kayaks like the Pelican Getaway 110 HDII or Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0, which are a bit more manageable.

Investing in a kayak cart to help you move your boat around is the other option. These are reasonably priced, and while they may have trouble getting around on rocky beaches, they are great for getting from the parking lot to the beach.

Storage capacity on some of these kayaks is enormous. For example, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12, Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0, Old Town Topwater PDL 120, and Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo all have capacities of 500 pounds or higher.

If carrying vast quantities of gear isn’t a big priority, going with a cheaper option like the Pelican Getaway 110 HDII or the super sturdy Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 may be good options. Both can still hold over 300 pounds without risking their stability, which is still plenty for a fishing trip.

The Verdict

While a lot of selecting the right kayak for you will boil down to your personal preference, interest, and price range, there’s something to be said for seeking out the best overall kayak too. 

For us, it’s hard to beat the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12. But, don’t let the fishing-themed name fool you. The Angler is capable of much more than just fishing. Featuring excellent stability, a ton of storage space, and custom options that can be used on camping trips just as easily as on fishing adventures.

Whatever pedal kayak you choose to go with, we hope you’ve found this article helpful and informative. We look forward to seeing you out on the water in your new kayak.