Kayaking: Peddle Vs Paddle

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] will start the conversation by saying both kayak styles catch fish. The most important factor has nothing to do with kayak propulsion and almost everything to do with fishing techniques and location of the fishing person. So what are the advantages or disadvantages of peddle and paddle?

Let’s start with the peddle kayak. I am not going to get into different manufactures, let’s just say they are all created equal. Peddle kayaks produce amazing forward momentum, which allows more water to be covered in a faster time. This allows more direct fishing time, but also allows more cast per distance traveled. The person without a paddle in their hand will get more casts off as well. Normally, this equates to more fish, all things being equal.

The biggest disadvantage of peddle drive kayaks is size and weight. This has nothing to do with catching fish, and everything to do with loading and transport. If we consider fish caught over an entire year, instead of one trip, the advantage could favor the simplistic approach. Having the motivation to load and transport the bigger heavier kayak could cost you a few simple run and gun trips.
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As for paddle kayaks, traditionalists will tell you paddle or die, but that gives you no advantage. The true advantage could be in the slower approach to fishing. Without peddle drive, most paddle kayaks will fish with the drift. The method of anchor, cast, and move forward is extremely stealthy. It allows anglers to catch fish on the second
and even third cast. No run and gun approach. This could be the secret to catch- ing the biggest and most weary fish.

I still give the biggest advantage to the paddle crowd based on simplicity. The overall ability to grab your gear and go, could find paddle anglers getting more water time. The paddle angler seems to be more of the throw it in the back of the truck and go catch fish crowd. No trailers needed, no GPS or radar, no rails or rudder cables. A plastic floating transportation to the fish, everything else is gravy.

If you are in the market for a kayak and cannot make the decision, price could make it for you. As peddle kayaks could cost 3 times as much as a paddle version. If price is not an object, loading and transport might be an issue. Cross that bridge before you make a purchase. Understand simplicity and weight will effect where and how you fish. It is much easier to drag a fifty pound kayak to the water, and almost impossible to drag the one hundred pound version. Consider your fishing locations before purchase.

My choice is almost always the simple route, but understand the advantages of peddle power. I have used them to guide trips, and fish offshore myself. I wish I had one, but have no desire for heavy lifting. Peddle if you can, paddle is just fine. Either way, ENJOY.

Captain Mike McNamara