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Full-Featured Pedal-Powered Fishing Kayak A Great Find

Gear Review: Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132.

Full-Featured Pedal-Powered Fishing Kayak A Great Find

Hearing rumors of a new fishing kayak coming from Old Town in early 2020, and having owned a Big Game Prowler II for nearly four years, I was thinking it just may be time to make a change.

I anticipated the arrival of photos, videos and info introducing the Sportsman line of fishing kayaks.

The flagship Sportsman AutoPilot 120 boasted a Minn Kota trolling motor selling for $3,799. That was just too much for me, but soon the PDL Sportsman line was out and left me with the decision to choose between the Topwater or Bigwater.

I settled on the BigWater, which has the Predator hull — it is a tad less stable than the TopWater, but cuts through the water much nicer. This hull design can handle most any water condition, and really makes pedaling across the water more like gliding across it. It comes with a five-year warranty.


The more I researched this kayak, and the more I spoke to others who own one, the more I knew I had found the kayak I wanted.


I ordered the BigWater PDL 132, and after lengthy delivery delays due to the coronavirus, I picked up my new family member.

There she was dressed in Photic Camo waiting for me to take her home. Once I got home, the picture session began followed by a brief video and accessorizing, which did not require a lot of work because so much is designed into this kayak series.

One fishing rod holder and my fish finder was all I mounted and so far, so good! Once out on the lake it quickly became clear the benefits of pedals and a prop. Fishing was no longer one arm for fishing and the other for paddling. It was smooth to pedal the PDL and it was easy to find a sweet spot with the seat adjustment. If you want to paddle, the hull design allows you to quietly glide over the water.

I can paddle or pedal up and glide in undetected on great fishing spots. I was able to finesse-fish and finesse my kayak with the pedals, and a steering system connected to the rudder makes it easier to maneuver. A locking nut allows you to set a course and not worry about adjusting it. Even with my old knees I did not have sore knees after pedaling.


One thing to know: In weedy areas, if you do not lift the PDL prop, it can load up fast with weeds.

Handy storage is located on the sides of the cockpit and two spots under the seat. This does not include the in-hull storage up front and the large area to put tackle and coolers in the open stern storage.

The rudder comes installed, so there is no more hassle of running lines through the hull. The only drilling I really needed to do were two holes to run my fishfinder — one to allow wiring to go into the hull to access the battery and the second to come back up through the top to access the fishfinder.


The seat is just plain awesome. I have an issue with my sciatic nerve and if a seat isn't just right, I am stiff when coming off the lake. I had no stiffness or back problems with this new kayak, even after more than three hours on the lake. I haven't felt stability on any kayak like I have felt with this one.

The base weight with nothing added is 96 pounds. which includes the PDL. Not bad for this big yak, but throw your accessories and gear and it gets heavy quickly. The kayak has a capacity of 500 pounds. It helps to purchase a kayak cart, such as the Railblaza C-Tug, which works great when placed just behind the seat.

There are three rod holders, two behind the seat and one on the side next to you. I find this one especially handy when trying to re-tie lures or working on the next set-up. With the two in the back you can troll, one of things so great about having the PDL or AutoPilot models.

The new molded handles in the front and rear makes handling the kayak a breeze. Both are wide enough for both hands to grasp and pull.

Gary Elliott reviews: Facebook, Instagram

Specs

  • Weight: 96 pounds
  • Activity: Fishing, Hunting
  • Style: Sit-on-Top
  • Propulsion: Pedal
  • Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Length: 13' 2" | 4 m
  • Width: 36 in | 91.4 cm
  • Total Boat Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Pedal Console: 21 pounds
  • Usable capacity for people and gear: 383 pounds
  • MSRP: $2,599.99

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