There’s no denying the growing popularity of kayak fishing. The serenity of slipping a kayak into still waters at the break of dawn while the water still steams away the night is undeniably appealing. Bank anglers have an affordable platform to get on the water and anglers that normally fish from a larger boat can access smaller waters.
The market is easily dominated by sit-on-top boats and more and more anglers are moving from the paddle to a pedal system for propulsion. Hobie first introduced the Mirage drive system in 1997. It was alone in the pedal drive fishing kayak market until Native introduced the Propel system in 2008. Old Town followed with their Predator PDL drive in 2016. It is estimated that 25% of anglers fishing from a kayak use some form of pedal drive system.
Pedaling a fishing kayak offers some unique advantages over paddling. Pedaling is more efficient with greater speed and control. Fishing kayaks are not typically built for speed so any ability to get to the fish quicker is a benefit. And since you pedal with your feet you are now hands free to manipulate fishing gear and fish on the move. About the only thing you give up is underwater clearance but most pedal systems can be easily retracted to gain clearance.
I recently visited Annapolis Canoe and Kayak to demo both the Old Town Topwater 106 and 120. Old Town delivered with a boat that is easy to maneuver and comfortable for a long day of fishing. I ended up preferring the 120 as it offered a little more storage room and fit me better. The bow sits a little higher and it tracks better. Their Predator PDL drive allows both forward and reverse operation – you just pedal backwards. At 12 feet long and weighing only 106 lbs fully outfitted, this boat is easy to transport making it a unique portable fishing platform sporting a weight capacity of 500 lbs. The PDL drive comes in a fully 5 year warranty and is maintenance-free. Combine this with a lifetime hull warranty and you have worry-free fishing for years to come. The boat offers plenty of storage space both forward and aft with a compact, sealed storage space integrated into the drive system – never worry about leaving your phone or wallet behind! The ultra-stable double-hull design making stand up fishing a breeze and the EVA foam deck pads offer both traction and all-day stand up comfort.
Annapolis Canoe and Kayak keeps a large supply of different boats on hand and being right on Spa Creek allows for quick and easy demos – they like to say every day is demo day! You can find them on the web at annapoliscanoeandkayak.com, in person at 311 Third Street Annapolis, MD 21403 or call 410-263-2303.
Watch this space for more kayak fishing adventures in the coming months from this boat. That’s right – I couldn’t leave it behind. Now, what to name her….
Publisher, Chesapeake Coastal Angler