Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 15:45

Pedal VS Paddle for Kayak Angling

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The introduction of pedal kayaks was a game changer for many kayak anglers as it introduced a slew of benefits compared to the traditional paddle powered ones. The popularity of these pedal kayaks has seen most of the major kayak manufacturers introduce their own models in recent years. However, for many, the question whether to invest in a pedal or paddle kayak is still an important one. 

There are definitely a couple of pros and cons that need to be examined by anyone still on the fence about these two kayak styles. At the end of the day, the best way to choose is still to physically try out these kayaks and get a feel for them, but if that is not an option then the following points are worth considering.

Hands-Free Fishing

When it comes to ease of use while angling, pedal-powered kayaks win hands down (pun intended.) Being able to operate the kayak with your feet instead of your hands means that you are able to have better control over your rod. It also means that you can keep your kayak in the optimal position while battling a fish without having to reach for a battle to make corrections.

However, owning a pedal-powered kayak doesn’t mean you don’t need to take along a paddle. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong with the pedal drive, the last thing you would want is to be stranded up a creek without a paddle. That means that you’ll be carrying along a paddle with you in any case.

Space Requirements

Opting for a pedal-driven kayak often means sacrificing a lot of space that could have been used for storage or comfort. As mentioned earlier, taking along a paddle is also advisable, which cuts into your available space even more. In addition, when entering shallow water you might have to remove the pedal drive system for clearance and place it in your kayak. For bigger kayaks, the amount of available space is less of an issue, but then weight can become a factor again.


This is something that will probably change as pedal kayaks become more prevalent and more people make the switch, but at the moment, paddle kayaks are still more familiar to people. Anyone that has spent a considerable amount of time kayak angling will know exactly how to use their paddle to make quick adjustments and get around with ease. Some anglers find pedal drive systems to be uncomfortable or awkward to operate until they get used to the process, so there is a definite learning curve involved. Many anglers also enjoy being able to stand up in their kayak for a better vantage point while still being able to maneuver with their paddle, which is not possible with a pedal drive system.

Your Fishing Spot

Some kayaks are better suited for certain locations, so this is something else worth keeping in mind when choosing between a pedal and paddle kayak. If your favorite fishing spot is situated in a very windy area, then a pedal kayak can be useful to stop yourself from blowing all over the place while casting. However, if you like to fish in areas where you don’t need to cover a lot of distance or the water is very shallow, then a paddle might be more convenient. Pedal kayaks can still be used in shallow water but might require you to remove the pedal drive, which can be a hassle. Pedal kayaks have the advantage when trolling deep waters or if you want to cover longer distances quickly without tiring out your arms in the process.


One of the areas where paddle kayaks have clear advantages over their pedal driven counterparts is weight. Due to the pedal drive, most pedal kayaks are much heavier. This might not be such a big issue if you are strong and have a vehicle that can easily handle the load, but not everyone is as fortunate.

The Price

For anyone on a tight budget, the price of the kayak is a big issue and this is another area where paddle kayaks have an advantage. Pedal kayaks often cost significantly more than their paddle counterparts and while prices may be lower in the future, for now, it is still a big consideration when it comes to pedal drive systems.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the choice between a pedal or paddle kayak will come down to personal choice. No matter how many advantages a pedal driven kayak has, some people simply enjoy the act of paddling more and vice versa. That is why it is so important to actually try out the kayak that you are interested in to see if it really matches up with your expectations.


Read 8882 times Last modified on Thursday, 01 February 2018 05:08
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website. ┬áIf you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

More in this category: « Saltwater Kayak Angling Tips


# reelsaltyakangling 2018-02-01 08:52
Peddle - not for me. My paddle yak rigged with stern-mounted optional electric trolling motor works more effectively and was less costly than switching to a peddle kayak.
# SteveK 2018-02-01 16:16
Paddles are History, it's Now "Peddle or Motor" your behind the curve asking about paddles.
All manufacturers will offer a Electric option with in the nest year and a few small companies such a Bassyaks and B&C already offer electric motor kits for the most popular fishing kayak.

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