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Do Pedal Kayaks Scare Fish?

The sport of kayak fishing is super popular with not only those new to kayaking, but to those who are seasoned anglers. Whether new or seasoned, there’s always something new to learn with kayak fishing, such as the different gear and add-ons you can employ.

A common question that we hear often is: If I add a pedal drive to my kayak or purchase a pedal kayak, how will it affect the fishing experience?

The short answer is: Purchasing a pedal kayak or adding a pedal drive system to your fishing kayak may change your angling game, but mostly for the better! Here we provide more details on how many of us anglers feel about fishing with our pedal kayaks:

Pedal Kayak Specs

Some anglers like keeping it traditional by paddle kayaking their way to fresh catches. Others prefer to free up their hands by installing a pedal drive system for their kayak. Pedal kayaks can be just as stealthy and easy to maneuver as paddle kayaks, so it’s really a personal preference which you go with.

Pedal drives are usually mounted to the hull of the kayak and protrude off the bottom of the boat. They allow you to propel the kayak with your feet and legs as opposed to your arms. Pedal kayaks are popular amongst anglers because it frees up their arms to just fish and still be able to move along their course.

Pedal drives do need a deeper water clearance to properly engage compared to traditional paddle kayaks. The mount does protrude down past the base of the kayak, but it’s not particularly bulky, nor does it add too much extra weight to your boat. Pedal kayaks are still easily-mounted on your car and transported down to the water.

Pedal kayaks still have the same amount of deck and storage space for all your angling gear, too!  Don’t worry about cutting back on what you traditionally pack for this type of yak, you’ll be set no matter how large your tackle box gets.

Using a Pedal Kayaks for Fishing

Will a pedal kayak scare away the fish?

No. Most modern pedal kayaks won’t create enough disturbance in the water to scare fish away, any more so than a paddle kayak would. You must be intentional about your movements and technique for casting off in both paddle and pedal kayaks, so this is a moot point.

Are pedal kayaks faster?

Yes. Pedal kayaks may have a bit more power and speed, so if you’re used to paddle kayaking, you’ll want to practice your pacing before casting off. This can be great for longer trips, though, as you’ll be able to cover more area and get out to remote spots faster with a pedal kayak.

What about the benefits of the paddle?

Some find that the lack of paddle impacts their ability to balance effectively and pivoting positions quickly when reeling a fish in. This can be an adjustment if you’re used to paddle kayaks but balancing and maneuvering in a pedal kayak can be picked up quickly. Brooklyn Kayak Company pedal kayaks include a paddle, so you won’t miss out on all those benefits of having your paddle

Can I stand up in a pedal kayak?

Yes. A hands-free forward and reverse control pedal drive will go a long way to smoothing this transition, as will really engaging your core, and bracing with your legs while reeling in. If you’re used to standing, make sure you’re not headed towards any obstacles and there’s still room in the cockpit of a pedal kayak for you to reel in from a standing position as well.


Whether you’re wanting to master the traditional fundamentals of angling with a paddle kayak, or adventure into new waters with a pedal kayak, the fishing experience will be rewarding either way. So, no need to worry if your pedal kayak will scare off the fish! Load up your gear and get out on the water today!

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