Pedal vs. Paddle - Kayak Fishing
Are you struggling with your decision on a new kayak? Are you trying to decide whether it is worth the extra investment to go with a pedal drive kayak over a regular paddle kayak for fishing? We want to give you our honest advice and go over the pros and cons between the two. This review comes from years of experience on the water fishing in regular paddle kayaks and pedal kayaks from many different brands and all different types including inflatable.
PROS: Pedal Drive Kayaks
  1. Hands Free! That is the number one pro of pedal kayaks. Your hands are free to handle your fishing rod, reel in, and land your fish. Not only while fishing but on the way to each location you can go through tackle, switch lures, or even browse social media. Your hands are mostly free unless you need to control your rudder.
  2. Tracking. The main source of thrust is now directly in the middle of the kayak; allowing for straight forward movement. As long as the kayak has good rudder control the kayak will track better most paddle kayaks.
  3. Power! Pedal kayaks are powerful and great for fighting heavier currents. Using your legs and the mechanics of an efficient pedal drive, you are able to create more steady force.

PROS: Paddle Kayaks

  1. Simple and Easy. If your looking for the most maintenance free option, this is the way to go. A quick rinse of the paddle and your all done. If you don't properly maintain the paddle, you can replace it for relatively cheap.
  2. Lightweight. Only having a paddle makes your setup lighter and easier to transport. This appeals to kayak anglers who want a easy to transport setup.
  3. User Friendly! A paddle kayak is definitely a more simple setup. Some people who don't have kayak experience prefer this option. Most people getting into kayak fishing start with this route.

Now these are just some of the more basic pros but hopefully it brings up a point you may have overlooked.

CONS: Pedal Drive Kayaks

  1. Maintenance. The maintenance required with a pedal drive is very basic but is recommended to increase the life of your drive. We recommend rinsing your drive with fresh water after every use. If your drive is going to sit at the end of the season you should use a marine lubricant to prevent corrosion. Other than that just make sure there are no loose parts.
  2. Weight. A pedal drive only weighs a couple pounds but it is addition to the list of items you need to carry/transport when heading out on the water. It is the more serious option.
  3. Slight learning curve. A pedal drive can be more difficult for a new kayaker. The learning curve is not steap but you will need to get used to things like putting your drive in place or folding it up when coming into the shore.

CONS: Paddle Kayaks

  1. Constant Paddle Wrestling. The problem with paddle fishing kayaks is that your hands are not free. If you hook a fish, it becomes impossible to also pedal and fight that fish unless you put the rod or the paddle down. You will have to pick one.
  2. Back and Forth. This is the case especially with shorter kayaks that have no rudders or skegs. As you paddle your kayak will sway back and forth with every stroke. This can slow you down and significantly effect the amount of time and effort it takes to get from point A to B.
  3.  Workout. It can be tiring paddling long distances with a paddle kayak. It can also be tiring with a pedal kayak but your legs are a stronger muscle than your arms. If your fighting a current sometimes paddling can be a lost battle.

To sum it up the natural progression of a serious kayak angler is to learn on just a paddle kayak than invest in a pedal kayak. Pedal drive kayak are just the overall better option for kayak fishing because having your hands free to cast, reel, and land fish is extremely important. Also many fisherman may have to travel further to get to their spot and a pedal will make that easier. 

Born Salty offers both pedal and paddle kayaks. If you want to go all out, we recommend having both types depending on the location, people you are with, and what you plan on doing. Contact us with any more questions you might have.

Kayak fishingPaddlingPedal kayakPros and cons