Old Town BigWater PDL 132 Fishing Kayak Review


When I first moved to the West Coast, I was disappointed in the fishing. The fly fishing opportunities nearby were minimal compared to what I was used to in Colorado. The bass fishing didn’t seem to be particularly noticeable, at least from shore. And ocean fishing from charter boats was very expensive.

But my disappointment quickly turned to excitement when I got my hands on an Old Town BigWater 132 PDL Fishing Kayak and started hitting the salt. From catching halibut in San Francisco Bay to chasing rockfish and crappie off the Sonoma coast, I’ve put my BigWater 132 PDL through the rough—and it’s exceeded my expectations at every turn. It is a reliable, versatile and full-featured fishing kayak, and I am convinced that it is one of the of the best sea kayak fishing options on the market today. That is why.

Old Town BigWater PDL 132

Main specifications

Style: Sit at the top
Push method: pedal
Weight: 122 pounds
Length: 13 feet, 2 inches
Width: 36 inches
Usable weight capacity: 378 pounds
Integrated rod holders: 3
Additional tracks: 4
Mounting plates: 2

A Brief History of the Old Town Sportsman Line

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The Sportsman Series features six kayaks and one canoe. Old City

The Old Town is synonymous with canoes. The company, based in Old Town, Maine, built its first wooden canoe in 1898. Nearly 125 years later, the company is still producing well-made canoes, including its wildly popular Discovery 119 model—a only maneuverable.

In recent years, Old Town has branched out beyond its Canoe Center origins. In the mid-1990s, the company began to invest heavily in the production of kayaks – and the move paid off. By 2000, kayak sales were outpacing canoe sales. The company would soon capitalize on the kayak fishing craze of the 2000s, becoming one of the top two names in the industry, along with rival Hobie. In 2013, the company introduced its Predator Series – a line of stand-up kayaks specifically tailored for fishing including pedal propulsion, an incredibly durable fishing and storage platform, and accessories tailored for anglers.

In 2020, Old Town launched its Sportsman Series, which was an update and expansion of its Predator Series, and in 2022, the company updated the Sportsman Series. The BigWater PDL 132 2022 is an updated version of the Predator PDL, with updated seating and color options. Of their current lineup, it’s the most convenient option for ocean anglers willing to pedal. In addition to the BigWater 132 PDL, the Sportsman Series has 6 other options, including two AutoPilot™ motorized kayaks that boast a game-changing Spot-Lock technology, several smaller pedal-and-paddle kayaks, and a kid-friendly canoe. fishermen.

How I Tested the Old City BigWater PDL 132

halibut in old town PDL bigwater kayak
The Old Town BigWater PDL 132 uses a steering system for steering. Sage Marshall

I received my Old Town BigWater PDL in April and have been launching it several times a month since then. I’ve mostly used the kayak for saltwater kayak fishing – which is what it was actually designed for. I have fished both inshore and offshore in a variety of water conditions including high swells and wind.

I also aimed for a variety of different types of kayaks. I have been trolling for halibut in relatively shallow water near the beaches. I have taken the kayak into deep water scenarios to fish for rockfish and lingcod. And I’ve put the pedals to use while trolling for chinook salmon in open water. I have gone up to 10 miles in one day and maneuvered the kayak in close proximity to kayaks and other structures. A lifelong angler, I paid close attention to not only how the kayak handled different water conditions, but also how its characteristics affected my fishing. Can I really fish with no hands? Was there enough room for all my tools and equipment? Was the pedal system efficient enough for trolling? This is what I found.

Pros

Stability: You need your ocean kayak to be durable—and the BigWater 132 is. As a 13 foot plus boat, it feels very solid on the water. If you are facing swells head on, the kayak is almost unbeatable. If you let yourself be positioned on the side of the waves, it’s possible to capsize – but that’s true of any kayak.

Speed: Man, Old Town’s PDL Drive system works well. It’s easy to set up and once you get going, the kayak flies through the water. Unlike most other pedal kayaks, the Old Town PDL system pedals in a circular motion, like a bicycle. This makes it particularly efficient in water. The long shape of the kayak rides well, meaning you can cover some serious distance when trolling – and its speed can be especially valuable if you find yourself fighting the tide or the wind. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed pedaling the kayak—it gives you a nice workout while keeping your hands free to fish. The steering system is easy to manage and you can lock it when you want to set a straight path. The easy mount system allows you to quickly disengage and engage the pedaling system when launching and docking in shallow water.

Comfort: Several other anglers have come to me to rave about the Old Town BigWater 132 seat – and for good reason. It’s super comfortable and offers the perfect blend of support and softness. My back never hurts, even after a long 10-hour day in the water. This means I can keep my line wet for longer – and focus on the task at hand.

Storage space: The fishing kayak has ample storage space throughout. The large tank well is very spacious and comes equipped with a special bag to hold a battery for your fish finder. The seat has a space for a tackle box and a bait tray just below it. There are two side compartments to keep other important pieces of equipment within arm’s reach. The back of the kayak also has good storage space, which can be easily secured with a bungee cord. There are three built-in rod holders as well as a cup holder. What more could you want?

Eligibility: The Old Town BigWater 132 PDL is ready for any angler to make it their own. The four additional tracks allow you to quickly install and reposition any accessory from a visibility flag to an additional rod holder. The kayak comes with a universal transducer mount that makes installing a fish finder—like the Garmin STRIKER Plus 4cv, which I have—quick and easy. There are also two replaceable mounting plates, meaning you can drill and install other fittings without worrying about causing any permanent damage to your boat. These features make the kayak something that any angler can tinker with for years to come as they fine-tune their setups.

ANTI-

Weight: The assembled weight of the kayak is 122 pounds. Without the pedal board, the boat is just over 100 pounds. This is not light. With two people, I have no problem loading and unloading the kayak on the roof rack of my car. But when I’m alone, it’s a different story. The extra weight makes it difficult to safely load the kayak without assistance. Most of the time, I can ask a fellow kayak angler to help me, but that’s not always the case. For this very reason, one of my friends uses an old PDL 120 city sportster, which shaves off a few pounds and is less bulky. And let’s face it, the days when you need the extra speed and durability of the BigWater 132 PDL over the slightly smaller 120 are few and far between.

Turning Radius: There’s no two ways about it: The kayak makes wide turns. In open water, this isn’t a problem, unless maybe you’re trying to deliver something to one of your buddies. Then, the wide turns are really just a minor annoyance. For most saltwater fishing purposes, the wide turning radius isn’t a problem, but if you’re hoping to use your kayak to navigate close-in structure, say while bass fishing, it might be.

Mesh fabric: I might be splitting hairs here, but I’m not a fan of the mesh fabric used for the seat—and the storage underneath. Old Town says it offers “ventilation”, but I think it’s a magnet for stray hooks. Line management while kayak fishing can be challenging, and if you’re fishing with barbs, it’s not difficult to get your gear into the net. Then your only recourse is to cut it short.

Final Thoughts on Old Town BigWater PDL 132

man holds fish on top of old town kayak, BigWater
It’s hard to beat the Old Town Bigwater PDL 132 for saltwater kayak fishing. Old City

Overall, the Old Town BigWater PDL 132 is one of the best options for seawater kayak fishing. It’s a solid watercraft packed with angler-friendly features, not to mention a literal boatload of storage space. If you’re serious about hitting the saltwater, both inshore and offshore, in a kayak, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option on the market today. The BigWater PDL132 is a great option for both novice and experienced kayak anglers. I can’t wait for the next chance I get to hit the water in mine.





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