Pedal vs Paddle Kayak Fishing –

Pedal vs Paddle Kayak Fishing


Fishing and Kayaking; Pedal vs. Paddle


Some of the most beneficial aspects of kayak fishing have historically been

  1. Affordability,
  2. Ease of entry
    1. Mobility
    2. Transportation
    3. Storage
  1. General simplicity.
  2. Access to skinny waters, non motorized lakes etc.

With the growth of the sport, some could question that getting into kayak fishing is easy and or inexpensive. Nevertheless, the benefits still hold true, when comparing kayak fishing vs. any other boat fishing, but it’s easy to see why getting into the sport may seem more complicated than it used to be due to innovation in design and massive selection of products.

One particular area of innovation is the introduction of  propulsion in kayaks. Hobie Kayaks first introduced the Mirage Drive in 1997. Hobie made Pedal kayaking popular among kayak anglers and recreational paddlers. In 2008, other manufacturers introduced their own version of a pedal drive.

 Now the market is rife with pedal systems, and it appears that electric propulsion is making strong inroads into the market as well, see our upcoming article. 

So the question is, pedal or paddle when kayak fishing?

To Pedal…


  1. Speed & Efficiency – For many anglers, speed is not of major concern when fishing. But getting to one’s honey hole is another story! With a pedal device, you’ll be able to cut across larger bodies of quicker than traditional paddling.

  1. Hands Free Control – If you’ve spent any time kayak fishing, you will quickly find that one of the most difficult tasks is managing the position of your kayak. With a pedal system, you’ll be able to maintain control with your legs and the occasional rudder adjustment.


With all good things, there are always some drawbacks.
  1. Most notable is the fact that in order to use a pedal drive, you’ll need additional underwater clearance.
  2. If you are on a budget, you may end up spending more than you want,
  3. you’ll sacrifice cargo space on the center deck of your kayak.
  4. There’s also additional maintenance, and servicing you need to consider.

To Paddle…


  1. Simplicity – Getting into the water requires less steps, there is minimal maintenance and for some, there is just something about sticking to the roots of paddling.

  1. Affordability – Put simply, traditional kayaks are less expensive. This is usually the deal breaker for many. Pedal kayaks can start at about $2,500, and go up to 4500.00, while a traditional kayak with a paddle can cost you less than $1000!

  1. Less Disruptive – Some may argue this, but you will find that your paddle (with care) is quieter and will cause less commotion under water than a propeller or fin. This is because you have full visibility and control of how deep and hard to paddle vs a prop or fin where you won’t always know if you are disturbing branches, mud or sand and other underwater debris.


Some of the major pitfalls of using a paddle instead a pedal drive
  1. is the fact that you’ll need to juggle your paddle with your fishing gear in windy conditions or moving water
  2. Holding your rod and reel, leaving you with minimal control of your paddle and thus a lack of full kayak control.
  3. In addition, you’ll get more endurance out of your legs than you will your arms; tiring sooner in a traditional kayak.
  4. You can’t go wrong either way. Whether paddling or pedaling, kayak fishing is a much more affordable and healthier alternative to using boats powered with motors.
  5. Both provide you with the ability to get into areas of water that traditional boats are unable to and give you that up close and personal experience with nature.


Click here to view a comprehensive line of pedal kayaks or stick to the basics by shopping our traditional paddle kayaks here.


Happy paddling… or pedaling!

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