The Pedal Driven Kayak

Pedals make kayaking easier.
     "Look it has pedals!"
     This was a common phrase over the weekend in the Rutabaga Paddlesports booth at the WI Fishing Expo.  To be honest it has been a point of interest at every expo that I have attended this past year.  For those outside the world of kayak fishing, the pedal driven kayak is an amazing piece of engineering.  The ability to keep you boat moving without paddling, just blows peoples minds!  In fact I would guess that at least half of the questions I fielded over the weekend were directly related to the Propel drive on the my Native Watercraft Slayer.  The pedal driven kayak is here to stay.  Whether it's a Native Watercraft or a Hobie, new anglers to the sport love the pedal driven kayak.
The Native Watercraft and Hobie pedal driven kayaks ready to launch.
     The confusing thing is the view by many anglers inside the paddling community.  I have over heard on more than one occasion that some people see the use of a pedal driven kayak as cheating.  "Isn't the whole point of kayaking to paddle a boat?" they ask me.  I'm sure to some people, that pedaling a kayak might seem like cheating.  They are probably the same people that think using a fish finder is cheating.  We all know that using a fish finder doesn't make it any easier to catch fish.  Sometimes all a fish finder is good for is letting you know that the fish are around.  As a community I would think we could find other things to be concerned about when kayaking.  I would hate it if I ever heard about somebody being turned off from this sport because they were ridiculed for choosing to use a pedal driven kayak.
The ability to stand can the difference when out on the water.
     What you do get when fishing from a pedal driven kayak is convenience.  You can do a lot more with a pedal driven kayak when out on the water.  Trolling for example, is much easier when pedaling.  You can let out lines and keep a more consistent speed to stay in the zone when you're pedaling.  Also in tournament situations the speed of a pedal drive whether it's a Propel or a Mirage is hard not to notice when you head out across the water.  With minimal effort you can cover a lot of water using the biggest muscles in your body (legs).  Talk about an advantage.  I can go clear across the lake while eating a sandwich, or tying on a lure, then fish immediately with absolutely no arm fatigue.  Plus pedal driven boats are ridiculously stable.  This means that you can stand and fish much more easily in the current pedal driven kayaks then on most paddle kayaks on the market.  To me that's a huge advantage in kayak fishing.  Even the most comfortable seats kill my back after a few hours so I spend a lot of time standing when I fish from my Slayer.  The more comfortable the kayak is the more you will use it that's a given, but if you're a purist and still need a good reason to look at pedal drives consider this.
You can always paddle a kayak with pedal drive if you want to.
     You can paddle them!  Whether you fish from a Native Watercraft or a Hobie when you want to paddle them you have the option.  Doesn't matter how much you want to pedal a paddle kayak, you just can't do it.  For me that's a game changer on the water.  If I'm already gonna be in a small boat I want the boat with the most options.  The ability to paddle or pedal opens up tons of fishable water.  From little creeks, to big lakes, to the wide open ocean, you can use a pedal driven kayak in all of them.  So if you're thinking of dropping some money on a new kayak this season (Canoecopia perhaps), be sure to consider the pedal drives.
     Tight Lines.

Comments

  1. Excellent write up about pedal kayaks!! The versatility of either pedal system is nearly endless. Pedal, paddle, and even sailing them sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. With that, as long as you are comfortable in whatever kayak you choose - whether pedal or paddle - be proud and catch some fish!

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