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Everything you need to know about the Old Town Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+
The news is out: Old Town, a stalwart in the world of canoes, kayaks, and outdoor adventure since 1898, has announced an addition to its lineup of advanced kayaks - The Old Town Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+! It’s impossible to deny that this is an absolutely incredible time to be a kayak enthusiast! This multi-modal kayak is the first and only one of its kind. It merges pedal-assist technology from eBikes with the tried-and-true Old Town PDL Drive to give anglers and recreational kayak enthusiasts alike a kayak like no other. Now, ePDL+ owners will get to choose between three separate methods of propulsion: pedal, power, or the truly innovative pedal-assist, which lets anglers choose between five levels of power. Nothing like this has ever been done before, and Old Town has yet again set themselves apart from the rest of the field when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind experience on the water. There’s a lot of familiar features in the Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+, but there are a lot of new facets of this kayak as well. Let’s dig in and answer some of the most common and pressing questions about this new pedal-assist kayak.
The Old Town Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+ comes in at a length of 13 feet and 2 inches, and a beam (width) of 36”, marrying a length that provides additional speed and tracking with a width that allows stability in all types of water, from flat calm to inshore swells. The ePDL+ is a single person, sit-on-top kayak, and when fully assembled (with drive and battery) it weighs in at 143 pounds. Constructed in Maine by the Old Town team, the durable, single-layer polyethylene fabrication gives this vessel a 357-pound weight capacity and ensures a durable kayak which with proper care will last through multiple generations.
The ePDL+ drive is what truly sets this kayak apart from every single other kayak currently on the market. There are many kayaks with pedals, and there are many with built-in or add-on trolling motors, but never before has there been a kayak which lets anglers choose between pedal, power, or a pedal-assist options with the push of a button. The ePDL+ does just that. Anglers can choose to propel themselves with only pedals, as with any other Old Town PDL, using the 10:1 gear ratio PDL drive which has proven to be incredibly durable and powerful. There is also the option to switch over to only power and have the ePDL+ provide cruise control, turning this kayak into a fully motorized vessel. How easy is it to switch? According to Old Town Pro Staffer and one of the first anglers to test an ePDL+, “Switching to cruise control is as simple as the push of a button.” Finally, there is the pedal-assist option, the first of its kind in kayak fishing. This is where the ePDL+ truly shines in terms of speed, power, and ease of use. Using 5 different settings, seen on an easy-to-read screen on the drive itself, anglers can pedal the kayak while the motor provides boosting power. Essentially, it is an eBike on the water, and users of eBikes will be the first to tell you: it’s really incredible. Distance covered, energy saved, water fished, tournament time with a line in the water, it’s all going up with the ePDL+. And this kayak can hum!
A pedal-assist kayak has never been seen before, and as always, Old Town has done everything to the highest degree. Care was taken to provide advantages to both fresh and saltwater anglers, but to maintain the bones of the Sportsman line, which is loved by recreational anglers and has seen incredible tournament success. This is the next step in the evolution of technical kayak fishing, and Old Town has again been the first to take it.
Anglers familiar with Old Town’s line of Sportsman kayaks, or with kayak fishing in general, will be excited to know that the Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ is so named because it is built into the existing hull of the tremendously popular BigWater 132 PDL. This hull is ideal for speed, stability, and versatility, and previously was an award winner at iCast when it held its previous name, the Predator PDL. This hull, with improvements, now finds a home in the ePDL+, and Old Town nailed the decision when choosing the platform from which to build out their new pedal-assist kayak. What really separates this hull from others is the bow shape. At 13 feet and 2 inches long, the length is there for speed, but the hull slices through the water with ease, and is especially effective when there are waves, chop, or current at play. The ePDL+ will feel immediately familiar and comfortable, but with the pedal-assist feature it will also bring entirely new features to this award-winning hull design.
Hearing about the pedal-assist and power options on the Big Water 132 ePDL+ likely brings to mind an immediate question: what kind of battery does it take and how much is the cost? In yet another fantastic move, Old Town has included a battery with the purchase of the kayak. The Big Water 132 ePDL+ comes with a 36-volt, 20-amp hour Amped Outdoors lithium battery, made exclusively for this kayak. Lithium batteries are particularly favored because of their lighter weight and consistent output, separating them from their heavier, dated lead acid counterparts. Tim Moore, Old Town Pro and one of the first users of the Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+ made a great point when thinking of battery power versus pedaling: “I enjoyed knowing that if I did run out of battery power I could always pedal and keep fishing.” When anglers take delivery of the ePDL+, they will already be set up to get on the water and will not have to worry about ordering or managing the purchase of a battery. It also comes with a lithium-ion battery charger. Just charge it up, plug it into the kayak, and you’re ripping around in this killer kayak within hours of taking it out of the box.
In preparation for launching this new kayak, Old Town did what they’ve done extremely well for years: they took feedback from anglers and applied it. With that feedback in mind, the deck layout of the Big Water 132 ePDL+ reflects some desired changes from the previous 132 PDL hull layout.
In the original deck layout, the kill switch clip was located just in front of the cupholder. While not terribly inconvenient, this location wasn’t ideal for a couple of reasons. In the ePDL+, the kill switch has been moved back towards the stern of the kayak, ensuring that it is out of the way of hooks, line, and big fish coming over the side.
Another change is reflective of the challenge some anglers had fitting larger tackle crates into the stern of the previous Big Water 132 PDL. In order to make some more room back there, the rear accessory tracks have been removed and the tank well has been widened. Now, tackle crates of all sizes will fit in the stern without needing to be turned sideways and without anglers potentially needing to use a smaller crate at certain times.
The Big Water 132 ePDL+ comes with all of the other features loved by kayak anglers. It still has waterproof storage hatches in the bow as well as in the drive itself. It maintains the front accessory tracks on both sides along with two drillable mounting plates for additional accessories. The seat, proven comfortable even during long days on the water, is unchanged. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the award-winning hull is still there, which is a huge draw to tournament anglers who will now be able to maximize their speed and distance traveled. For saltwater anglers, this means that cutting through current and waves, even against tidal flow, has never been easier. The same goes for maintaining position in tidal waters while targeting specific structure. Use the 5 speed settings on the ePDL+ drive to boost the drive’s output and assist any pedaling you’re doing, and you can sit tight and pick apart structure while that hull slices through the water.
The Old Town Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+ has numerous applications, both for general fresh and saltwater fishing and for specific species. The obvious appeal to this kayak is the interchangeable pedal, power, and pedal-assist feature. Any kayak fishermen who spend long days on the water know that you’re not ever doing one thing at one speed the whole time. More often, you’re alternating between zipping from the launch to a spot, then slowing to pick apart that spot, then likely making several more moves throughout the day. In those moments when actively fishing, you need precision; the ability to maneuver slowly around a rocky point, sunken log, or dock in increments of a foot or two at a time. Tim Moore, aforementioned Old Town Pro, mentioned the incredible ease with which he could fish while maintaining precise positioning: “The ability to fish in current is extraordinary and unlike any other kayak.” The ePDL+ drive can do so much so well, and ePDL+ owners will be able to swap over from cruise control or pedal-assist modes to simply pedal power so that they can achieve this precise navigation while flipping a jig or lining up a spinnerbait with a weed line. When the spot has been fished and it’s time to move to the next, the simple push of a button sends the ePDL+ cranking through the water again, saving time and effort and making the absolute most of the time spent on the water, something everyone can get behind.
Freshwater anglers aren’t alone in advantages gained from this kayak. Hunters stand to benefit as well, particularly waterfowl hunters who may want to quickly get to the far reaches of a marsh or swampland before sunrise or return home after sunset. Many hunters have outfitted their kayaks with blinds and hunted from the kayak itself, a unique and really cool way to pursue that passion.
In saltwater kayak fishing, a rapidly growing hobby, users of the ePDL+ will be able to travel to and fish inshore areas in new and more effective ways. In the summer especially, when saltwater fish like striped bass can be particularly sensitive to hot days and early sunrises, the ability to cover ground before that sun is high can be the difference between hitting the bite window and missing it. The speed of the ePDL+ is going to be absolutely huge here, helping to overcome one major disadvantage saltwater kayak anglers have when compared to saltwater boat anglers: distance covered. Often, tidal changes and the movement of fish mean that if one location isn’t holding fish, another very close by likely is holding them. Time and tides can make moving between these spots, which can be as far as a few miles away, very challenging in only a pedal-drive kayak. With the power of pedal-assist, saltwater kayak anglers won’t need to think twice about whether the time is worth the trip to their next spot. With the push of a button, the ePDL+ adds its battery power to good old human muscle power, and anglers will be casting again in no time, saving valuable fishing time and maximizing bite windows. Again, Greg offers his support, saying, “The ability to take off and go is amazing, whether you are in a strong current or just trying to get from one point to another.” This kayak is a Swiss army knife of a vessel and is practically three boats in one. Holding in current, moving against tide, and covering ground are all wide-open options for salty kayak anglers in the Big Water 132 ePDL+.
In terms of even more specific applications, it’s hard to think of a fast, versatile kayak without thinking of false albacore. There is no more electric way to fish inshore saltwater in New England and the Mid-Atlantic than to target false albacore. And, when fishing for false albacore, there is no factor more important than speed. Chasing down a fish which can top out at 40 miles per hour always presents anglers with a balancing act between choosing to chase them down and trying to position in a spot where they will likely pop up next. Enter the ePDL+, and the choice to chase these fish is already made with the power of pedal-assist. Even more fun are days when anglers are perhaps sitting stationary and bottom fishing, and then false albacore surface nearby. A quick push of a button on the ePDL+ drive and you are now supercharged and chasing after those fish!
The kayaking fishing world is growing rapidly, and the next iteration of speed, navigation, and versatility is built into this kayak. It’s the next step up, the next leap that this incredible hobby is ready for, and the only unknown is what new and innovative ways anglers will find to use this kayak to its full potential. Old Town has a winner in the Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+.
In order to truly experience the groundbreaking technology of the ePDL+, look for an on-water dealer in your area and get in and try it out. Once you feel the power, speed, and ease of use, you’ll see how this patented technology is going to revolutionize the kayak industry.
Potential Questions Answered
Question: Can I just buy the ePDL+ drive and put it in another kayak?
Answer: No, the ePDL+ drive is not able to be retrofitted to other kayaks and the drive will not be available as an individual sale item.
Question: Can the battery be used for other things, like my AutoPilot 120 or 136?
Answer: No, the voltage of the battery (36V) is unique to the ePDL+ and would not function as a backup or separate battery for other kayaking applications.
Question: What colors with the Old Town Sportsman Big Water 132 ePDL+ come in?
Answer: In an exciting change, Old Town is dropping its “Photic” color pattern (the black/turquoise scheme) and is adding Steel Camo, a dark blue and black color palette that is truthfully really awesome and appealing. The other Old Town colors, Ember (orange/black) and Marsh (tan/black) will still be available and the ePDL will be made in both of those colors along with the new Steel Camo.
Question: When will I be able to get an ePDL+ and how much does it cost?
Answer: The ePDL+ will sell for $5,999.99 and anglers can expect delivery in early 2024. However, deposits for them can be made right now!
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