Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks: How Fishing Kayaks With Pedals Work
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Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks: How Fishing Kayaks With Pedals Work (& Why You'll Want One!)

Pedal Drive Fishing Kayaks: How Fishing Kayaks With Pedals Work (& Why You'll Want One!)

When most people think of kayaking, they picture someone sitting in the center of a canoe-type craft, paddle in hand, cutting through the water. But as kayaks have gained popularity over the years and have been used for more than just recreational purposes, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that several different styles of kayaks have emerged. And while the conventional kayak we described above still has its place and certainly isn't going anywhere, pedal drive kayaks are becoming more popular, especially for fishing.

Here we'll touch on the pedal fishing kayak, how it works, its key benefits, and more. Read on to learn more about pedal kayak fishing:

How Pedal Drive Kayaks Work

Pedal drive kayaks are a mix between a paddle boat and a kayak. They don't look any different from a conventional kayak, yet they're driven with the feet via pedals rather than with the arms via a paddle.

More specifically, pedal drive kayaks have pedals in the front center of the boat where kayakers place their feet. As the kayakers pedal, the kayak moves forward and cuts through the water, with direction controlled via a rear rudder. Most pedal drive kayaks can travel both forward and in reverse with ease.

Pedal drive kayaks were first created in 1997 when foot propulsion technology was introduced by Hobie. It was particularly embraced by kayak fishermen as a fishing kayak with pedals meant their hands would be free to cast and reel as they moved through the water. Today, two types of pedal drive kayaks are available: push pedal kayaks and rotational pedal kayaks. Here’s how the two types differ:

  • Push Pedal: Push pedal kayaks operate by simply pushing your feet down onto the pedals. Underwater fins on the underside of the kayak help propel the kayak through the water as the kayaker pedals. Due to a lack of gear reduction, these drives tend to be slower than their rotational competitors and often lack instant reverse, instead featuring a style of “transmission” requiring the fins to be rotated in order to move in reverse. However, due to the use of fins, these drives can be “feathered” by leaving one foot forward and one back while pedaling gently. This causes the fins to lay flat against the underside of the kayak and sneak through shallow water with ease. 
  • Rotational Pedal: Rotational pedal kayaks are pedaled similarly to a paddle boat or bicycle, as the entire lower body is used to propel the kayak through the water. The pedals connect to a propeller beneath the kayak typically through some level of gear reduction This gear reduction allows for more equipment to be included on the kayak and allows for easier movement through choppy water. However, due to the rigid mount of a propeller beneath the kayak, rotational pedal drives often can’t operate in extremely shallow water.

Over the years, the pedal drive fishing kayak has been improved and is even suitable for ocean fishing. Old Town has developed some of the industry's best models for pedal kayak fishing, including the Sportsman Salty PDL 120, Sportsman 106 PDL, and Sportsman 120 PDL, all available at Black Hall Outfitters.

Key Benefits of a Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

There are a variety of benefits to switching from the conventional paddle kayak to a pedal drive kayak for fishing purposes with the biggest benefit being that a pedal drive model offers the ability to free up your hands to fish. In other words, you won't have to place your fishing rod in a rod holder or put it elsewhere in the kayak cabin when you want to adjust your position in the water or move to a new location. This hands-free benefit has been one of the biggest reasons the pedal drive kayak has been so widely adopted by fishermen.

Other key benefits of using a pedal drive kayak include the following:

  • Fitness: One of the biggest draws to kayaking  is its fitness benefits, and pedal drive kayaks still offer this element, albeit for the lower body rather than the upper body. Pedal drive kayaks also offer a low-impact workout, meaning that you won't put excessive strain on your joints and tendons.
  • Speed: Kayakers tend to travel faster in pedal drive kayaks than they would if they were paddling. This is especially true for those using rotational pedal kayaks. Think of it this way: the muscles in the lower body tend to be much stronger than those in the upper body. 
  • Noise: You might think that pedal drive kayaks would make a lot of noise as the fins propeller cut through the water, but they tend to operate much quieter than a conventional kayak. Pedal drive kayaks eliminate splashing and cut through the water more quietly, another reason they've become so popular among fishermen.

There are various other benefits associated with pedal drive kayaks. For instance, they tend to be more accessible than  conventional paddled kayaks,  and are also more stable.

Contact Black Hall Outfitters Today

For more information on an ocean fishing kayak with pedals, contact Black Hall Outfitters today. As a supplier of industry-leading kayaks and kayak accessories, we have pedal drive kayaks such as the Sportsman Salty PDL 120, Sportsman 120 PDL, and Sportsman 106 PDL in stock and ready to help you take kayak fishing to the next level. Contact us today for more information.

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