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Old Town’s New Salty 120 PDL Pedal-Powered Fishing Kayak Reviewed

What It Is:

The Salty PDL 120 is a pedal-powered fishing kayak produced by Old Town in the spring 2020 as part of its Sportsman line of fishing kayaks. The Sportsman series contains eleven boats, each built to be powered both by electrical motor, pedal travel, or conventional paddling. The Salty PDL is one of 4 versions in the series rigged as a pedal-powered kayak, and geared toward the strategy of the coastal angler. If your autumn hinges around chasing striped bass migrating from New England to the Mid-Atlantic, or spending the winter stalking redfish throughout shallow mudflats in the southern U.S., the Salty PDL 120 is what Old Town has in thoughts.

For the Salty, Old Town didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. It took the proven and common design template of a sister manufacturer, the Malibu PDL from Ocean Kayak, and produced some tweaks to established the boat up as a maritime do-it-all fishing rig.

“The Salty grew to become part of the line for the reason that we required a craft that would be speedy, fairly compact, and could manage some waves,” states Sharon Scott, the senior director of manufacturer administration and item advancement at Johnson Outdoors’ watercraft division. “The Malibu Pedal’s instantaneous fingers-free forward and reverse would make it a great system at a pretty interesting rate point, so we re-imagined it for the angler.”

Salty PDL 120

As Scott notes, the Salty has been outfitted with just about any feature you would be expecting to find on a fashionable fishing kayak. It is a sit-on-top rated model, open-deck kayak, with an elevated seat to assist in casting, vision, and maintaining you higher-and-dry. Storage wells open in the bow and stern for stowing gear and tackle. A common transducer mount is prepared to install a fishfinder. From there: built-in rod holders, furthermore a number of accessory tracks for your GoPro and GPS, or fish-finder display screen.

At twelve ft lengthy, above 34 inches large, and weighing a hundred and five lbs . assembled (a wieldable eighty five lbs . without the pedal method put in), the Salty PDL retails at $one,900.

Why We Like It:

As a paddler, my to start with perception looking at the profile of the Salty was, “this is going to be exciting.”

The boat has rocker, particularly as it curves up by way of the substantial, wedged bow. The top rated of the nose sits nearly 18 inches from the ground. What does this imply on the water? The Salty can trip out some swell, and continue to keep water out of the cockpit. The rocker in the bow not only means you can bust by way of some waves, but also flip downhill and capture a couple of rides.

Salty PDL 120
Johnson Outdoors

While narrower than the other pedal boats in the Sportsman line, the slender width delivers a very little more speed, without sacrificing considerably security. Also thanks to the pontoon-model tri-hull, standing casts felt steady, the place waves rolled proper less than the boat whilst adrift. I’ve analyzed the Salty in hectic inlets with erratic boat wake, as effectively as letting it sit broadside to shorter-interval wind-swell, and under no circumstances felt the want to make a reactionary grab at my paddle for bracing strokes.

The open deck of the Salty is laid out in a simple and usable style. The bucketed storage effectively in the stern is roomy, with a 27-inch by 22.five-inch footprint formed to simply seat a cooler the dimension of a Yeti Tundra 35. The bow storage effectively is smaller but nonetheless has a capacity for a fantastic-dimension drybag. There’s also a compact dry-storage compartment built in the top rated of the pedal travel that lies involving your ft inside of the cockpit area—great for maintaining things dry and straightforward to obtain like a mobile phone, treats, to start with help kit, or spare batteries. If you max that out, there’s also a dry hatch found less than the seat, which also delivers obtain to mechanical parts within the hull.

TopWater PDL Old Town Fishing Kayak console
Useful dry storage in the pedal console. Joe Potoczak

There are a few built-in rod holders (one forward-facing and two rear-facing), generating space for a number of fishing rigs prepared to fly. The two pre-put in accessory mounts and paddle lock are nice out-of-the-box parts that imply you don’t have to go drilling holes in your new boat to comprehensive your set up. The mesh seat delivers an elevated casting posture, far better visibility, retains you higher and dry, and most importantly, is snug. Very simple buckles modify the pitch of the backrest. The seat slides forward and back again with a peg method inside of straightforward achieve to transfer yourself to the appropriate length from the pedals.

Salty PDL 120 pdeal Old Town Fishing Kayak motor
Joe Potoczak

The twelve-inch span of the rotating propeller on Old Town’s trademark PDL Push supplied a lot of fuel. In a potent headwind, the Salty simply trolled together at around one.five to 2 mph, and was in a position to speed up into a sprint of around five mph when wanted. I found the energy of the PDL Push to supply a self-assured sum of horsepower to manage any wind and tidal currents I confronted. The bicycle-model pedaling method is intuitive. With the capacity to also kick the PDL Push in reverse, it would make me question how I at any time fished with a paddle in hand. When coming into a shallow stretch or generating a landing, the travel can rapidly be rotated up from less than the hull, and locked in a disengaged posture, pictured over. The rudder on the Salty would make for extraordinary steering. At around 16 inches in duration and bellying out just above 4 inches, the usable surface space delivers a restricted turning radius, and can keep a line in tough problems. The hand-controlled steering for the rudder method is very low crucial, responsive, and conveniently placed on the remaining facet of the boat the place your hand desires to relaxation. A hand knob on the steering dial tightens down to lock the rudder angle, generating for a simple and helpful autopilot-like operate.



If there is a position for advancement on the Salty, it is in its mechanical parts. The hand regulate for example. Thinking of how closely the steering dial outlined is utilised, the components and design look mild duty. My perception centered on the sense of the current components and establish, is if something will be to start with to fail on this boat, it will be this hand regulate.

Salty PDL 120 steering handle on the TopWater PDL Old Town Fishing Kayak
Joe Potoczak

Likewise, the pre-put in paddle lock is presently in an odd posture. If a paddle is latched, it delivers some interference with the reels of a rod in equally the forward- and rear-facing rod holders on the remaining facet of the boat. If I ended up to make a brief grab for my paddle, I could see unintentionally sending a rod in the consume. Somewhat going the posture of the paddle latch looks it could simply relieve this.


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