Fly fishing gear

Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132 Review: A Kayak for Stand-up Anglers and Rough Water

Choppy water can make kayak fishing miserable, but the Old Town BigWater PDL 132 offers great stability in choppy conditions.

If there’s anything predictable about fishing, it’s that the weather can be unpredictable. With the Old Town BigWater PDL 132 you can hit the water even when the conditions aren’t ideal.

Many inexpensive kayaks don’t have the spine to handle choppy or windy conditions. And you don’t want to learn that when fighting your line and trying to stabilize your kayak.

I have kayak fished off the Gulf Coast and around Mobile Bay in kayaks that have nothing to do. Sure, they worked well when the water was glassy, ​​but with the slightest wind, they made my fishing a tricky balancing act.

I recently had the privilege of testing the Old Town BigWater PDL 132 on Maine’s Moosehead Lake. The lake was anything but calm and I was impressed with how well this kayak handled choppy waters.

In short: The Old Town BigWater PDL 132 is hull sized to withstand reasonably rough water, so you can concentrate on fishing instead of trying to stay afloat. Plenty of storage and tackle accessories like gear tracks should appeal to serious anglers, and the instant forward or reverse drive pedal makes using this kayak in big water or tight spaces a breeze. child.

Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132: review

BigWater PDL 132: Specifications

  • Length: 13 feet, 2 inches
  • Lenght: 34 in.
  • Lester: 86 pounds.
  • Total weight capacity: 425 pounds.
  • Includes rod holders and accessory rails
  • Dry storage
  • Adjustable seat
  • Central bow hatch
  • Lifetime hull warranty

Old Town BigWater PDL 132 Test

Sporty Old Town BigWater PDL

A few weeks ago I spent a day trolling Maine’s Moosehead Lake looking for landlocked salmon. The PDL drive system made it easier to navigate the kayak while rigging a fly rodand the forward- and rear-facing rod holders my conventional setup out of my way while pedaling.

Moosehead Lake is huge; far too big to cover in a traditional kayak. However, the PDL drive system on the BigWater it was easy to cover the ground and its 13’2″ length helps maintain a respectable speed.

Because I was hanging out, I obviously needed to keep moving. Even after more than 4 hours of pedaling in choppy conditions and trying to maintain a steady trolling pace, my legs weren’t tired. If you’re new to pedal kayaks, you’ll find that pedaling the BigWater becomes second nature after a few hours.

The conditions on my fishing trip weren’t ideal, but the BigWater’s weight and tri-hull design took the coast in stride. It felt rock solid on the lake with minimal tipping, and I never felt like it was in danger of tipping over. That doesn’t mean you won’t get wet though. After all, you are kayak fishing and I got more spray than expected.

I’ve taken less robust kayaks to inshore waters, and would have no hesitation in depending on the BigWater for ventures where I might be hesitant to venture into.

The inconvenients

Sporty Old Town BigWater PDL

While some might consider the size of this boat an advantage, the weight of the BigWater makes it cumbersome to store and travel. It really is, essentially, a boat.

At just over 13 feet and around 100 pounds, this kayak is difficult to transport on your own and flirts with the need for a trailer if you don’t have a truck bed and extension for transportation.

I also noticed a tiny bit of slack while pedaling, especially when trying to maintain a steady speed (around 2.5mph), but not enough to deter me from buying it.


If you have no problem fishing all day, the BigWater’s efficient pedal drive system, storage and comfortable chair make it easy to fish from dark to dark. You can easily rig your favorite fish finder with the built-in accessory rails.

Storage under the seat and in the front and back provides plenty of space for gear and extra layers. And dry storage in the sealed bow hatch is a nice touch. So for JIC anglers packing whatever they might need, the BigWater will hold it.

Spend some time on a kayak and you’ll enjoy a good spot. The fully adjustable Element seat is super comfortable and breathable, so whether you’re fishing long days or in hot conditions, the seat won’t cause you to sweat out of your clothes.

Unlike other kayaks, the BigWater’s instant inversion makes it easy to avoid drifting into thick cover when trying to land a fish. Simply pedal backwards to move the kayak in reverse. And even if it’s long kayakits controls made it smooth and nimble to navigate.

Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132: Final Thoughts

Sporty Old Town BigWater PDL

Whether you’re fishing in coastal waters or in variable conditions, the BigWater’s design makes it easy to focus on catching more fish. Serious anglers will find little to complain about, especially when it comes to storage space. And if you want to get the most out of your kayak, this one has the space to hold a deer when hunting season approaches.

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