Outdoor hobbies and sports, in general, are rising in popularity. Much of this is to do with the enforced lockdowns seen during 2020. During that time, bicycle sales went from $6.1 million in 2019 to $7 million in 2020 in the US. Kayaking and angling saw huge increases in popularity also.
There are around 226,431,000 recreational anglers in the world. And the US has over 29 million individuals who actively enjoy fishing as a hobby or a sport. The activity saw more people enjoy the hobby, and it was deemed safe to enjoy during Covid. The term ‘social fishtancing’ was coined at that time.
Kayaking is another hugely popular outdoor sport and hobby. Between 2010 and 2021, kayaking in the US grew in popularity by a staggering 87.3%. While competitive white water kayaking and sea kayaking are enjoyed by millions, by far the most popular use for kayaks is recreational. However, there is a growing group of people who are combining the popularity of fishing with kayaking.
How do people combine kayaking and recreational fishing?
Kayaks offer a way to reach points on rivers and lakes faster and easier than by other means. They are more agile than boats, and easier to transport, and it is possible to use a basic regular kayak for fishing. Many people use sea kayaks to go out on the ocean to catch seawater fish. But, there are kayaks available that are designed specifically for fishing.
These kayaks will have rod holders and storage for tackles. They may have support for fish finders, and a rudder too. These kayaks will be open-topped which allows easy access to fishing equipment in the vessel.
For a beginner, using a regular kayak for fishing is fine. But once you get serious you will want to upgrade to a fishing kayak, and possibly one with pedals.
What is a pedal kayak?
Some fishing kayaks come with pedals as do some recreational vessels. A pedal kayak is designed to mostly do away with the need to paddle. The idea is that the kayaker can pedal much faster than they can paddle , and with portable kayaks with pedal systems making their way into the market, pedal kayaks are starting to gain popularity.
The average person’s legs can push up to four times the weight that arms can pull. This extra strength is ideal for propelling a kayak across a lake easily and with less effort.
A pedal drive kayak can be used for fishing as can a paddle version. But a pedal kayak might offer some added benefits.
What are the differences between paddle and pedal kayaks?
The obvious difference is that one is powered purely by arms and a paddle, and the other is mostly powered by pedals and legs.
Yet, anyone who takes a paddle kayak out on the water will still need a paddle. Pedal-driven kayaks can get tangled up in vegetation, and they are not suited to shallower waters. The pedal drive could hit logs, and rocks, or get caught up, but the fins can be raised to avoid damage.
Pedal kayaks are increasingly being used for recreational fishing though, as many anglers see them as being superior to paddle vessels in this context.
Which type of kayak is most suitable for fishing?
Comparing different vessels for fishing has been a pastime for some anglers for some time. For instance, are canoes or kayaks better for fishing? Kayaks are more stable and usually more affordable.
If you are set on a kayak, then you will want to choose the best one for fishing; pedal or paddle.
Below there are some advantages and disadvantages to both pedal and paddle kayaks, but before then here is one reason why a pedal kayak may be the better option.
Pedal kayaks can simply cover bodies of water much quicker than paddle kayaks can. And the benefit of a pedal drive is that you won’t have tired arms before you’ve even started fishing. A committed angler will spend 3 hours on each fishing outing. Even a casual angler will be out for 1.5 hours. If your destination is someway out, you could start your fishing trip with tired arm muscles.
Disadvantages and advantages of pedal and paddle kayaks
There are many The canoe and kayak market for kids and first-timers. You can incorporate camping, make it a night fishing trip, or use a kayak. Either a paddle or pedal kayak can be used, and below are some pros and cons that might make the argument for one of them clearer.
Paddle kayak advantages
Better for shallow waters
Paddle kayak disadvantages
Requires arm power
Paddles can disturb the fish
Pedal kayak advantages
Uses stronger leg muscles instead of arms
Modern pedal drives won’t disturb fish
Easier to control and stabilize
Pedal kayak disadvantages
Some drives can disturb fish
Not suitable for some shallow waters
Still require a paddle
Pedal kayaks can be up to 30% more expensive than similar paddle versions, and they can weigh from 25 pounds to 100 pounds. However, they can travel at 10 knots an hour compared to 3 knots in a regular kayak.
The forward and backward pedal control along with the rudder allows a pedal kayak to remain in position when fishing. Arms are freed up through the use of pedals, and altogether this could make them the best choice for angling.
How popular is kayaking now?
The popularity of kayaking has been on the rise for some time as mentioned above. In 2014 there were over 3 million more people kayaking than just four years previously.
During 2014, there were somewhere in the region of 216 million outings by kayak across the states. With the abundance of rivers and lakes, not to mention oceans, the US is one of the best spots for kayakers in the world.
The growth continues now. The canoe and kayak market is expected to grow globally at a CAGR of 2.5% up to 2029. And while recreational paddle kayaks are the most popular type, pedal vessels are becoming increasingly common.
It is good news to see that both recreational fishing and kayaking are growing in popularity. The US is blessed with beautiful countryside and an abundance of waterways and lakes.
Combining kayaking and fishing seems a logical step, and with a good fishing kayak, anyone could start enjoying outings. And the pedal kayak seems to have the edge over the more traditional paddle option.