The Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5
Anglers who like to cover vast distances or prefer fishing in open water typically want the fastest craft they can get their hands on. It’s the only way to get from point A to a very distant point B in a reasonable amount of time. And while a few paddle-powered kayaks are incredibly sleek, enabling them to reach relatively high speeds, most anglers eventually start setting their sights on a pedal-powered model, which will leave most traditional kayaks in the dust.
But pedal systems typically increase the price tag of a given kayak quite significantly, making it important to select carefully to get the most bang for your buck. Fortunately, there are a number of very high-quality pedal-powered kayaks on the market, but one – the Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5 – stands out as the best fishing kayak with pedals.
Well made, intelligently designed and equipped with all the features modern anglers demand, the Titan Propel 13.5 is easily the best pedal-equipped fishing kayak on the market, and most anglers would be well-served by picking one up. We’ll discuss some of the most important features of the Titan Propel 13.5 below and explain the different types of pedal systems commonly included with kayaks. But first, we’ll discuss some of the reasons anglers prefer pedal-powered kayaks and the best circumstances in which to use them.
Why Are Pedal-Driven Kayaks Preferable to Those You Must Paddle?
If you’ve spent 30 seconds browsing kayaks online or in your local sporting goods store, you’ve surely realized that pedal-powered kayaks are often much more expensive than otherwise-comparable models are.
This causes many buyers to question whether the ability to pedal is really worth paying such a premium? In a word: Absolutely. While there will always be kayaking purists, who prefer using a paddle to get around, most other kayakers will quickly opt for pedal-driven models, given the funds to do so.
Simply put, paddling a kayak essentially involves a trade between your shoulder, back and arm muscles and the water. The more energy you apply, the faster you’ll travel through it. But unless you have very unusual weight-lifting habits, your legs, butt and hips are much stronger than your upper body. This not only means that you can go faster by utilizing these muscles, but you’ll find it easier to keep going for longer too.
Additionally, pedal-driven kayaks leave your hands free to do other things. This is especially helpful for anglers, as you’ll likely want your rod in your hands as much as possible, so you can keep fishing. After all, the very reason you’re getting a kayak is to improve your ability to catch fish, so it hardly seems wise to trade your rod for a paddle.
That said, it is possible to paddle a pedal-equipped kayak when it makes sense to do so. For example, you can still use a (long) paddle while you’re standing up sight fishing. You can also use a paddle to get yourself home if you experience a malfunction (thankfully, these are rare among modern propeller-based drive systems).
Are There Any Drawbacks to Pedal-Powered Kayaks?
While pedal-driven kayaks are usually preferred to paddle-powered models, they do exhibit a few small drawbacks. Although most anglers will consider these shortcomings minor, it is important to go into all substantial purchases with your eyes wide open.
The most noteworthy problems associated with pedal-driven kayaks include:
- Pedal drives are heavy, and they increase the overall weight of the craft – sometimes significantly so.
- Pedal drives are expensive to produce, so they are drastically more expensive than similar, but pedal-free kayaks.
- Pedal drives are easy to damage in shallow water.
- Pedal drives can make it more difficult to transport and store a vessel.
You’ll find ways to work around these drawbacks in many cases. You may, for example, purchase a cart to counteract the increased weight and bulk, or you may wait to install the pedal-drive system until you reach the water. But there isn’t much you can do about the price or their susceptibility to damage in shallow water.
Nevertheless, most anglers will agree that the benefits provided by a pedal-powered kayak easily eclipse and outweigh their drawbacks.
Things to Seek in a Pedal-Driven Kayak
Fortunately, most kayaks with pedals are well-built, well-equipped and well-designed vessels, a few popular models lack some of the things you’d want. Accordingly, it is important to look for a kayak that includes the following features:
Advanced Design Features
If you’re paying premium prices for a kayak, you should try to get as many premium features as you can. This includes things like cable ports, transducer mounts, advanced storage systems, built-in rudders or skegs and accessory rails. Most pedal-powered kayaks will provide one or two such features, but the best – such as the Titan Propel 13.5 – will overwhelm you with the advanced features included in the design.
For example, the Titan Propel 13.5 is not only equipped with one of the best pedal-drive systems available, it makes fish-finder mounting easy with its cable ports and transducer mount; it includes one of the largest cargo decks of any kayak; it includes a built-in rudder, which is protected by the hull’s keel; and it features more linear feet of accessory rails than most of its competitors.
Adjustable seats are always desirable, but they are especially important for pedal-powered kayaks. Attaining a comfortable pedaling position is crucial, and adjustable seats are the only way to do so in most pedal-equipped vessels. Whenever possible, you should opt for kayaks in which the seats can not only be tilted back and forth but slid forward and back inside the cockpit.
Even though you’ll be using the pedals to propel yourself around the water, you’ll always want paddles on hand, in case you experience a malfunction or failure. Paddle keepers allow you to do exactly that, while still keeping your deck tidy and free of clutter.
Plenty of Cockpit Space
Because you’ll need space to pedal, and you’ll also want plenty of room for your feet while you’re standing, it is important to select a kayak that provides a spacious cockpit. Whenever possible, you should also look for cockpits that include standing pads to provide you with the best grip possible.
Additionally, you’ll still want to ensure that the kayak provides all of the features you’d otherwise expect from a premium kayak. This includes things like:
- Ample storage space
- Sufficient stability to permit standing
- Sleek design to provide the most speed possible
- Rugged hull materials
- Multiple carrying handles
The Best Fishing Kayak with Pedals: The Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5
The first time you look at the Titan Propel 13.5, you’ll immediately notice there’s something different about it. But in truth, it features a number of things that make it unique and deserving of the pedal-powered fishing kayak title.
The Titan Propel is built around a 13-foot-6-inch-long hull, that is rigid and durable, while still being relatively lightweight. It will stand up to most of the dings, scrapes and scratches that occur while spending a day on the water, and it won’t flex when battling moderately large waves. It features sharp bow and stern entries to provide superior tracking ability and a relatively low profile to keep wind resistance to a minimum.
Once you’ve loaded and launched the Titan Propel 13.5, you’ll notice that it handles exceptionally well. Not only does the included Propel Pedal-Drive System make it easy to fly around the water, it tracks very well, thanks to the sharp bow and stern entries, which reduce resistance and keep it moving in a straight line. This is very important for pedal-powered kayaks, which are commonly used to cross vast expanses of water.
Additionally, the Titan Propel 13.5 comes with a rudder (the rudder is even protected by the Titan Propel 13.5’s keel, so you don’t have to worry about breaking it on submerged rocks or logs). The rudder is easy to control thanks to the intuitive, hand-operated control lever, located directly beside the seat.
At 41.5-inches-wide, the Titan Propel 13.5 is a very stable vessel. In fact, it not only permits standing, it comes with anti-slip standing pads to keep you comfortable while doing so for long periods of time. This is also a very buoyant kayak, which will keep 550 pounds worth of rider and gear floating comfortably on the surface. Eight scupper holes (with included plugs) are also included, to make it easy to drain the craft and keep yourself (and your gear) dry.
Like any angler, you’ll need plenty of places to store gear and tackle, and the Titan Propel 13.5 provides more than enough for most angler’s needs. A gigantic storage hatch is provided at the bow and features bungee cords so that you can even store other items on top of the hatch without worry of them slipping into the drink. A circular storage hatch is located behind the seat, and a very large cargo deck is provided to accommodate live wells, coolers and similar items. Once again, bungee cords are provided to keep all of your gear secure. A storage tray is also included under the seat and serves as a great place to store frequently needed items.
But that’s just the tip of the storage iceberg for the Titan Propel 13.5. It also includes grooved tracks around most of the cockpit, a built-in transducer plate to use with your fish finder, paddle keepers on each side of the cockpit and a cup holder to keep your beverage handy.
Of course, the included Propel Pedal Drive System is one of the most noteworthy features of the Titan Propel 13.5. Unlike some other pedal-powered kayaks, which feature fin-style propulsion mechanisms, Native Watercraft has designed a propeller-based drive system. Many anglers find these systems more efficient than the alternative and they also offer one very special capability: You can turn them in two different directions. This means you can travel in reverse with the Titan Propel 13.5.
To ensure you can achieve a comfortable riding position, the Titan Propel 13.5 comes with a sliding, fully adjustable seat. In fact, the supports for the seat extend for about half the length of the cockpit, ensuring that it is suitable for riders of all shapes and sizes. The actual seat is quite nice too, and it is both padded and fully adjustable. Make no mistake: The Titan Propel 13.5 offers a supremely comfortable ride.
Thanks to its weight – the Titan Propel 13.5 weighs 178 pounds when fully rigged – this isn’t a terribly easy kayak to carry around. You’ll either need a cart to help get it down to the water or you’ll need the help of a friend – fortunately, the Titan Propel 13.5 features two handles on each side of the cockpit, as well as a single handle at the bow and stern.
While many anglers don’t think very much about the aesthetics of the kayak their thinking about purchasing, but a top-notch appearance certainly doesn’t hurt. Once again, the Titan Propel 13.5 doesn’t fail to impress, as it is a very sharp-looking vessel, which is available in four different color patterns, including Blue Lagoon, Copperhead, Hidden Oak and Lizard Lick.
Not everyone is willing and able to pay for a pedal-driven kayak, but those who do rarely regret their decision. This is especially true for those who choose one of the best, like the Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5. It provides everything you could want in a propeller-driven kayak, and it does so at a very reasonable price. But pedal-drive aside, the Titan Propel 13.5 is a very impressive kayak, which includes all of the storage space most anglers could want and handles like most anglers could only dream.
It’s important to get good value for your dollar when picking a high-end kayak, and the Titan Propel 13.5 is sure to make you feel like you made an excellent choice.