Demise of Paddle Fishing Kayaks?

by • August 23, 2016 • Opinion, Outlaw BlogComments (2)3441

Demise is an ugly word, simply stated it means, “termination of existence or operation”. With the large trade shows of ICAST and Outdoor Retailer behind us this now seems like a viable question or statement. Are we seeing the demise of paddle fishing kayaks? The trend or fad now with kayak fishing is pedal power. While some will always hold to their roots, it seems as though the demise of paddle fishing kayaks has begun.Back in the day, and we use that term lightly, anglers chose between stability and speed when choosing their fishing kayaks. How does it paddle would often be the question of choice. We paddled our fishing kayaks, heck I’ve had to paddle my yak 10+ miles at some points. These days that seems to be something of a relic.


father/son paddling time

We’re enamored with the ability to enjoy hands free kayak fishing these days. Perhaps this is our evolution. Of course, I’m not entirely saying that this is a bad thing. I believe that we’re simply changing with the times. For a long time I held onto the traditionalist ideals, you’re supposed to paddle a kayak. I never understood the reasoning behind putting a trolling motor on a kayak, because it then became a boat. To me that was logical thinking, boats are for motoring and kayaks are for paddling.


Old Town Predator PDL

With ICAST we learned of 4 new entries into the pedal market with Old Town, Wilderness Systems, Perception, and Feelfree. Of course the excitement was amazing as kayak anglers now had several choices now when it comes to pedal kayaks. Outdoor Retailer witnessed Native Watercraft introduce 3 new propel kayaks: Manta Ray Propel, Slayer Propel LT, & Titan 13.5 Propel. OR also saw the debut of a newcomer to the pedal kayak market with Jackson Kayak introducing their new Flex Drive.


Titan 13.5 Propel

It now seems that every major kayak company/brand available is now a member of the pedal drive market. Will the other companies now start working on pedal drives? Will Pelican, Vibe, Kaku, and other smaller brands move away from traditional paddle kayaks, or is this truly the beginning of the demise of paddle kayaks?


Kaku Kayak Wahoo

While the large trade shows weren’t all about pedal kayaks, some companies did unveil new paddle kayaks. Jackson Kayak showed off their new Mayfly and Pelican International showed off their updated Catch 120 kayak. Kaku Kayak stayed true to its roots showing off the Wahoo, which has earned a lot of fanfare as a paddle kayak. Granted, I know that there perhaps will never be a full out demise of the paddle kayak, but the question does earn consideration. With the market swinging towards the new pedal drive kayaks, will there be room for conventional paddle kayaks?

Pedal kayaks come with oftentimes a hefty price tag reaching upwards of $3,000 which often aids the newcomer to the sport of kayak fishing lean more towards more inexpensive paddle kayaks. Is this the lifeline that paddle kayaks have to rely on? Is the financial burden of pedal kayaks keeping paddle kayaks alive? What happens when pedal kayaks become more easily attainable from a financial standpoint?

Smaller companies like Vibe, Eddy Gear, and Kaku have become more and more popular due to the low cost of getting a fully ready kayak. With the trend and popularity of pedal kayaks growing everyday, how long until they themselves move towards development of pedal kayaks? These are some exciting times in the sport of kayak fishing, our ranks growing everyday. How long will it be until we witness a demise in paddle kayaks, or will that day ever come? Personally I think it’s great the growth that we witness everyday in our sport. You can simply look at social media and Facebook on a daily basis and see several newcomers to our sport. Regardless of whether or not the trend firmly stays with pedal power for kayaks, it’s clear to see kayak fishing IS the most popular sport in the country.


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2 Responses to Demise of Paddle Fishing Kayaks?

  1. I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone fish from a kayak like these. I can imagine they are great for getting to the one place you want to get to without having to tow around a boat trailer. Pretty sweet!

  2. Walter Kelly says:

    Wow. I’m going to try this! Looks great. Thanks for the tip!

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