Kayak Fishing exploded in popularity in the last decade and as a result there are a ton of options for great fishing kayaks now on the market. We took a deep dive into the best fishing kayaks and have been covering down on specific kayak niches like best inflatable kayaks, best kayak fish finders and now best pedal kayaks for 2024. We’ve really enjoyed testing and fishing out of kayaks the last several years and we’re here to help you make a good kayak choice that fits how you like to fish.
There are obvious things to consider when picking a pedal fishing kayak and of course price is always one of the most important factors. If you’re like me, you don’t mind to spend a little bit of money for something that is quality and built to last a long time. So price, construction, weight, length, pedal drive system, stability, accessory applications, and more can factor in on the decision on a pedal kayak. So let’s take a look at several of our favorite options and some suggestions on how to choose the best one to fit your fishing needs.
- BEST OVERALL PEDAL KAYAK – Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
- BEST BIG WATER PEDAL KAYAK– Jackson Knarr FD
- BEST PORTABLE PEDAL KAYAK – Vibe Makana 100
- BEST HYBRID PEDAL DRIVE KAYAK – Old Town Sportsman Bigwater ePDL+ 132
- BEST INFLATABLE PEDAL KAYAK – BOTE Rackham Aero HD
BEST OVERALL PEDAL KAYAK
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 with Mirage Drive 360XR
Hobie is a name synonymous with fishing kayaks. The make some of the best high-end fishing kayaks on the market and their Mirage Drive 360XR with Kick Up fins is arguably the best pedal drive system on the market. This pedal drive powers from a simple back and forth motion of your feet. But the new XR technology gives them the most incredible maneuverability I’ve seen in a fishing kayak. The little demo on this page on the website is nuts how easily it went in and out between docks. This drive technology makes building up speed and motoring across the water simple and efficient. A lot more efficient than the revolutions of a prop drive and cycle setup.
That’s largely why we rank this among the best of all pedal fishing kayaks.
But the boat is equally as impressive with it’s deep sides, 6 rod holders, an elevated Vantage ST seat with BOA lumbar support, a Guardian transducer shield, H-Rail for adding accessories quick and easy, rear and forward hatches for storage, with stain resistant grip pads throughout. It’s a high-end kayak package for avid, serious anglers who want a lot of features in a wide stable platform. This boat is very easy to stand up in and it’s super stable no matter how you choose to fish. It’s wide and has a ton of storage space. I’ve seen one of these rigged out nicer than a lot of bass boats at my local installer HITEC OUTDOORS where they demonstrate just how impressively big the platform is.
It’s a heavy kayak at 132 pounds but it’s not close to the heaviest in this class. The new XR drive is pretty nuts. So if you’re looking for the top of the line pedal kayak, this is a good choice. Or even bump up to the Pro 14 for really big water fishing.
[ Length: 12 feet | Weight: 132 pounds | Capacity: 500 pounds | $5,599 ]
BEST BIG WATER PEDAL KAYAK
Jackson Knarr FD
I’m a big fan of Jackson Kayaks as that’s the kayak I run. And the Knarr FD is their top-of-the-line pedal kayak. This kayak is more than 13-feet long but maneuvers more like a 12-footer. It’s super stable but still built to cut big waves and get you up and over them without it turning your yak or getting you soaking wet. So the stability line is a bit different as it takes quite a bit of engineering to build a boat that can handle waves but also still remain incredibly stable. But this platform shows off that engineering. It’s a super fun kayak to fish out of as it has so many options for storage, rigging, and more. It’s easy to stand and sit and fish out of and the pedal drive lets you effortlessly glide over obstructions under the water thanks to the breakaway technology in the Flex Drive Mark IV.
I tested the Jackson Kayak Knarr FD last summer and found this to be one of the best fully equipped kayaks available. The state of the art Flex Drive Mark IV pedals easily and turns the prop on a break-away shaft that will glide over obstructions under the water with ease. In fact I purposely went over shallow laydowns full speed to see how well this worked. I was able to pedal this boat fast and the stability was very good.
The tall gunnels provide built-in rod storage tubes. Plus the TriTrak track systems throughout the boat make adding accessories like fish finders, cameras, rod and paddle holders and more super easy and exactly where you want them. You can add a trolling motor to the front or back if you prefer. You sit up nicely in their EZ Hi-lo seating system that is very customizable to make sure you fish comfortably all day. And the steering system on both sides and improved performance make turning a breeze in any conditions with forward and reverse, pedaling or rowing alike.
[ Length: 13 feet 9 inches | Weight: 138 Pounds fully rigged | Capacity: 425 pounds | $4,199 ]
BEST PORTABLE PEDAL KAYAK
Vibe Makana 100
The Vibe Makana 100 came out in 2023 and it’s a super impressive kayak as it’s only 10 feet long but fishes like a super stable 12 foot or larger kayak. It only weighs 77 pounds and has an awesome kick drive pedal system similar to the Hobie’s system. So you can absolutely cook in this kayak. Throw it in the back of the truck, drop it in the creek and get to fishing. This is a super value in a portable pedal drive kayak at $1,599. I would love to add one of these to my own kayak fishing.
The stability is very impressive in this boat. I’ve watched several flip tests with it and everyone says the same thing that you really have to work to get this boat to even feel like it will turn over. Not many 10-foot kayaks will let you stand with confidence like this one will. It offers a very stable while not terribly wide platform at 33 inches. The Makana can support a ton of weight (up to 400 pounds), comes with a pedal drive, several rod holders, a great two-position Hero Seat 2.0, room for storage, Vibe Rudder with easy hand steering, ability to add a motor, and it weighs just 55 pounds (77 pounds with drive, seat, etc). The Makana 100 fits easily in the bed of a truck. So this might also be one of the best throw and go kayaks with all these options at just $1,599.
All of this makes the Vibe Makana 100 a heck of a value in a fishing kayak for anglers on a budget and die-hard, avid tournament anglers alike.
[ Length: 10 feet | Weight: 77 pounds fully loaded | Capacity 400 pounds | $1599 ]
BEST HYBRID PEDAL DRIVE KAYAK
Old Town Sportsman Bigwater ePDL+ 132
The Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 is the first seamlessly-integrated battery-powered pedal kayak providing you with unmatched versatility. Combining pedal propulsion, power-assisted pedal and motorized cruise control, the ePDL+ allows you to seamlessly switch between modes with the intuitive keys and screen located on the drive. Powered by an included lithium battery, the ePDL+ drive unlocks a new way to experience the water, no matter the conditions.
This is the total package. Paddle, pedal, ePDL, autodrive, with fully custom displays that tell you how fast and how far or long you can go without pedaling. And everything comes already on the kayak ready to go. We were fortunate to test this kayak down in Florida prior to its release and were very impressed with the performance of this high-end fishing kayak. We like to exercise and enjoy paddling and pedaling, but having the ability to switch between 4 modes of travel is very fascinating as an angler enthusiast. This kayak puts all the options at your feet or fingers. It’s available the first quarter 2024.
For more information visit OldTownWatercraft.com.
[ Length: 13 feet 2 inches | Weight: 143 Pounds fully rigged | Capacity: 375 pounds | $5,999 ]
BEST INFLATABLE PEDAL KAYAK
BOTE Rackham Aero HD
I did a full review of the BOTE Rackham Aero bundle to highlight all this boat offers anglers. This paddleboard kayak hybrid with an APEX pedal drive gives you the maximum in portability while still providing a stable pedal platform. The APEX Pedal Drive is sold separately but it’s what makes this paddleboard hybrid so inviting. While some will say this isn’t a true kayak. I say it is. It has a comfortable seating system. It has a pedal system with steering that works extremely well. It has great portability and it offers people who don’t have a truck a way to get on the water and be very comfortable, stable and safe as they fish. It’s a heck of a setup for serious anglers like us.
You can read the full review here.
[ Length: 12 feet 4 inches | Weight: 45 pounds (79 pounds in bag) | Capacity: 400 pounds| $1,549 (Apex: $899) ]