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That happens to be an important question lately. To each there own is what I say, but let us look at both sides of the plate! With a variety of pedal drives from different companies hitting the market, there are many options for you to choose from. Along with hull advancements in paddle craft many will keep true to their paddling roots.

Stealth Approach

Easing into that back lake marsh you could see the wakes from nervous bait fish fleeing voracious red fish! Standing to see the fish better, I used my paddle as a push pole to ease along for a sneak attack on the reds that were ambushing mullet along the marsh grass. Sometimes in shallow marsh situations a paddle kayak is to your advantage. A paddle can be an extension of your arm. Like my application mentioned, you can use it as a push pole to ease along shallow flats. Also, it can be used for quick direction changes and also as a pivot point when turning around to scan those flats.

Extra Deck Space

Added deck space is also noticeable on paddle kayaks. I currently paddle a Liska and have ample deck space along with plenty of room to stand. Now, think of a pedal drive system inserted into a Liska (while I would find that a great kayak) you are losing quite a bit of deck space.

Pick the Right One

The paddle is a valuable tool for you! Make sure to pick the right one. Advancements of materials and design of paddles have come a long way, keeping them light and efficient. I currently use the Trophy Angler by Accent. The composite shaft and foam core blades slice thru the water effortlessly. Plus having a 20cm length adjustment and infinite angle settings this makes a perfect weapon for kayaks with hi/lo seating. So research a few and check out your local outfitter to feel some up before making a decision.

The Trophy Angler by Accent Paddles never leaves me stranded.

Pedal On

Yes… I have a pedal driven kayak also. Being partial to Jackson affords me to be in a Coosa FD. FD meaning FlexDrive. By using a flexible shaft, they have designed the drive to run thru a daggerboard that allows for adjustable depths and can tuck up into the hull with a quick pull of a lever. That leads me to a Con of most pedal kayaks. The ability to fish shallow water. Jackson provides a way around that by using the retractable daggerboard. So pairing the Coosa FD with a paddle is a deadly combo.

The Coosa FD in all its glory.

Pedal and Paddle power combined make a deadly combo.

Wind…..why yes

The ability to conquer the wind definitely excels in a pedal driven kayak. Hands free adjustments, or a quick swipe of the rudder control is all you need. Also, dealing with tidal influenced estuaries you have an advantage of not having to quit fishing to grab your paddle and readjust positions. By fishing into the current or wind it allows you to work your bait naturally back with the current/wind. This is huge advantage for the pedal driven kayaks.

The plus side to a retractable daggerboard, BASS in the GRASS!

Wrap Up

Well….. I sure hope I didn’t make you more confused! I tend to use both a paddle kayak and my pedal drive for different situations. The Liska (paddle kayak) is a great grab and go boat. Making it easier to portage across those remote areas to access new water. The lighter weight and ease of transport are a plus!

Then the Coosa FD (pedal driven). It is a heavier boat requiring a transport cart or trailer to back down to the water to offload. But, you can surely cover more water to find the fish. That has been a big plus this year when pre-fishing for tournaments. If conditions allow I will retract my drive and use my paddle to fish more methodically. So, as mentioned above a paddle is a great tool on a pedal driven kayak. Paired together, what a combo. Don’t forget about that E Drive about to be released. Well, that will open another “Can of Worms”!

Dustin Nichols ~ Jackson Kayak Fishing Team