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Kayak fishing continues to grow in popularity and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Serious kayak anglers are now using fully rigged pedal and motorized kayaks to access water that was previously unreachable by paddle. We even saw the introduction of the first-ever pedal-assist kayak last summer. And while all these advancements in fishing kayaks are impressive, they are also expensive. In fact, finding an affordable fishing-specific kayak that still offers tournament-level performance is nearly impossible.

Enter the new Magellan Outdoors Pro Pedal Drive fishing kayak. It’s part of Magellan’s new Pro Kayak series that comes in three different models, which range in price, size, and performance. Earlier this year, I picked up the Pro Pedal Drive (Magellan’s top-end model) and have been testing it on my local waters in South Florida ever since. And while the price tag of this boat might not seem like a budget option at first glance, it is still less expensive than many other pedal kayaks on the market. So, I set out to see if this yak holds up with the other premium options available. Here’s how it performed.

Magellan Outdoors New Line of Budget-Friendly Kayaks

The Pro Pedal Drive is part of Magellan Outdoors’—one of Academy Sports + Outdoors private-label brands—newest kayak fishing line. There are three models ranging in price from $599 to $1,199, all of which are made from roto-molded construction. Magellan Outdoors claims the Pro Pedal Drive, its flagship model, is a budget-friendly kayak for the serious angler. The kayak features a pedal drive system, ample storage, a platform chair, and other amenities common on premium fishing kayaks.  


  • Length: 10 feet, 5 inches 
  • Beam: 35 inches
  • Height: 15 inches
  • Weight: 88 pounds
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds

Looks and Features

Let’s start with the basics. The Pro Pedal Drive features a black and blue paint scheme, with an all-black stern and bow fading into an ocean blue color in the midsection of the boat. It’s simple, and I like it. The kayak’s deck is laid out in comfortable, water-resistant cushioning that offers the angler stability when standing. Arguably one of the most important features of the boat, the elevated adjustable seat keeps you off the deck and, more importantly, comfortable whether fishing or pedaling.

The kayak’s guts lie in the prop-driven pedal drive system. While I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of this just yet, I can say this drive system is smooth and consistent. It’s paired with a rear rudder and hand steering control for easy maneuverability and command.

As far as storage goes, there are compartments in the front and rear, plus under-seat storage for easily accessible tackle. A small rear dry storage compartment is built into the stern of the boat for electronics and valuables. Behind the seat are two rod holders and two modular accessory rails for customization. Scupper plugs are also included for easy draining, and the kayak comes transducer-ready.

Setting Up the Pro Pedal Drive Kayak

Out of the box, this kayak requires minimal assembly that shouldn’t take longer than a half hour. I recommend doing this in your garage or driveway to avoid any hassle you might encounter assembling it on the bank. You’ll need a screwdriver, 8 and 10-mm wrenches, and various Allen wrenches (provided by Magellan). The hull is fully pre-rigged, so there’s no need for any drilling—don’t put any holes in your new boat. Simply follow the instructions to install the rudder assembly, rudder hand control, seat, and pedal drive.

On the Water Testing

The term “budget-friendly” can seem a bit misleading when you see a price tag of over a thousand dollars. But compared to other premium pedal drive kayaks, the Magellan’s Pro Pedal Drive is significantly less expensive. So, the question then becomes, how does this kayak hold up to top-end models?

To answer that, I spent a good amount of the last month pedaling around different bodies of water in my home state of Florida. I took it to small ponds, larger reservoirs, and everything in between. I fished in rain, wind, and scorching heat. I pedaled and paddled until my legs and arms were too tired to keep going. I made endless casts—sitting and standing—with different lures and rods to get the ultimate feel for this so-called pro-level fishing yak.

To make my test results as comprehensive and straightforward as possible, I broke my findings down into three categories: handling, comfortability, and functionality. Here’s how it fared on the water:

snakehead on kayak floor
The author landed a nice snakehead during testing on the Pro Pedal Drive kayak. Max Inchausti


Any premium fishing kayak will feature a pedal drive system. The only difference with Magellan’s new kayak is that it costs half as much as many top-end boats. The Pro Pedal Drive is smooth, quiet, and controlled on the water. The pedals are positioned at the proper width and angle to operate comfortably all day. And while I wouldn’t call this boat fast, the output is modest, getting you to your spot in a respectable time.

The pedal drive system is a through-hull design, meaning it drops into the center of the hull and out the bottom of the boat. It is secured with two lock bars that swivel into position, which does take some getting used to. With the propeller system deployed, there is roughly a foot of clearance. Anything shallower than a foot, and it’s time to pull up the pedal drive and start paddling. I did just that on my inaugural outing, exploring a shallow canal off the main waterbody. The boat tracked true and paddled just as well as it pedaled.  

To steer, the kayak utilizes a rudder system in the stern of the boat. Depending on the depth, two pull chords (red and black) are used to raise and deploy the rudder. A hand control can be mounted on either side of the boat that turns the rudder via steering cables. I chose to mount mine on my left side so I could fish with my right hand. Out of the box, the steering control was fairly stiff. That said, the stiffness minimized any steering play, which helped the boat track in the direction I wanted.

From a standstill, the rudder had minimal impact on direction, but as I gained speed, its effect was more dramatic. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of control when in reverse, and I often had to do a small forward circle to reposition myself.


I’ve tested many kayaks for fishing, hunting, and paddling over the years. But no matter the pursuit, stability is one of the most important factors in terms of safety, success, and comfort. The Pro Pedal Drive was stable as a rock. It handled rough water, boat wakes, and standing with ease. I attribute this to its respectable beam and unique hull shape. The bow of the boat has a tri-toon design that disperses weight, increases stability, and creates a more comfortable ride. Even with winds nearing 13 knots, the ride quality remained comfortable and dry. This helped maximize my time fishing, giving me the confidence to go where I wanted while knowing that I was stable and secure. 

This model features an elevated seat with an aluminum frame. It’s rigid, but the cushion makes for a comfortable ride. The adjustable sidebars allow it to slide back or forth to reach the pedals, and the padded floor improves comfortability when standing to fish.  


The Magellan Pro Pedal Drive comes ready to fish with two-rod holders for a total of three rods on the water, including the one in the angler’s hand. Behind the seat, anglers can fit up to three tackle boxes, plus room for one more under the seat. An additional rear hatch with tie-down points can hold extra gear like a backpack, extra water, or, in my case, an anchor. The forward hatch has a door cover perfect for rain gear. An additional rear dry compartment is useful for valuables like a wallet and keys.

An overhead look at the Pro Pedal Drive kayak layout.
An overhead look at the Pro Pedal Drive kayak layout. Academy Sports + Outdoors

Throughout a day of fishing, I easily switched out rods, baits, and tackle. Everything was convenient and easy to access. My only gripe with the boat layout was the lack of tool storage. A small slot for pliers, spare baits, or a phone would keep them from bouncing around the bottom of the boat.

For serious anglers, the Pro Pedal Drive is ready for aftermarket accessories. Several rail systems around the kayak let you plug and play to outfit the rig to your liking. While I haven’t added anything yet, additional rod holders are definitely on the list. This boat is also transducer-ready. A small cutout under the boat is sized for most transducers, and track systems on the bow can mount multiple screens—perfect for tournament anglers.

Final Thoughts

I went into this testing with one question: is this truly an affordable performance fishing kayak? After several days of fishing, the boat quickly met my criteria. While some aspects of this kayak don’t match premium models, anglers looking to upgrade from a paddle to a pedal boat can’t go wrong with Pro Pedal Drive.

Compared to other high-end fishing kayaks, it is relatively affordable, lighter, and just as comfortable to fish in. This boat makes jumping from a mid-level fishing kayak to a tournament-level performance boat less daunting—and that was missing in the kayak fishing world.