ePDL+ Review: After 30 Trips, Does Old Town’s New Electric Kayak Stand Up to the Hype?

There is something truly exceptional about the performance of this kayak.
Mutton Snapper on an Old Town ePDL BigWater 132
This 31-inch mutton snapper hit a zoom fluke on a light jighead in 10 feet of water off the Florida Keys. Elias Vaisberg

The Old Town ePDL+ Bigwater 132 fishing kayak won Best in Show at ICAST 2023 — and raised a few eyebrows with its $6,000 price tag. That’s a lot of money, but it’s not much more than other ground-breaking boats we’ve seen over the past decade. Hobie’s Pro Angler was scoffed at when it was introduced in 2009. “Too different,” they said. “Too expensive.” Now it’s one of the best selling fishing kayaks of all time. Old Town itself was no stranger to such skepticism. Their paradigm-breaking Autopilot, with its built-in Minn Kota trolling motor, received a similar mixture of applause and sticker shock but now is almost universally regarded as one of the most effective sight-fishing platforms you can buy. So when Old Town launched it’s new electric-assisted pedal kayak I wondered, how would this new boat compare?

Old Town ePDL+ BigWater 132
The Old Town ePDL+ Bigwater 132 won Best in Show at ICAST 2023. Courtesy ICAST

Here’s the thing. I love the Autopilot (I fish one all the time), but I am most comfortable fishing from a kayak with manual controls. What makes the ePDL unique is that it lets you maintain the same level of manual control as a non-electric pedal kayak. You’re not filtering inputs through a remote control, you’re just pedaling forwards (or backwards) the same way you do in a manual boat. The electric motor just makes everything effortless. After fishing extensively from the ePDL for the last three months I’ve determined that there is something truly exceptional about the performance of this kayak. There’s nothing else like it on the market. Despite the high price, it’s a compelling option for avid anglers seeking to conquer the open waters or to run miles through creeks efficiently and in comfort.

How I Tested

I’ve used this kayak for more than 3 months, fishing it hard in over 30 trips to a wide variety of spots, from open water to tight creeks in the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic to the Everglades. Heading two miles out to jig Florida Keys patch reefs was an absolute blast. Fighting ripping tides to fish tight bridge structures and micro rocks with precision was also plenty doable. Want to cover a big creek and hit all the tight bends you think are going to hold fish? Easy stuff as well. I have been jigging and bottom bouncing out of a kayak for over 15 years and I can’t think of a better platform that helps you spend more time fishing and less time traveling, while also retaining that manual kayak feel that made me fall in love with kayak jigging to begin with. The biggest challenge you’ll face is that it’s too easy to cover water, running over fish by accident. Let’s break the boat down by its components.

Old Town ePDL+ kayak interface
The ePDL allows you you to maintain the same level of manual control as a non-electric pedal kayak. Elias Vaisberg

A Hull Designed for Fishing

The Old Town Predator ePDL+ Bigwater 132 fishing kayak is purpose built for fishing. With a length of 13 feet, 2 inches, and a width of 36 inches, this kayak strikes a good balance between stability and maneuverability, ensuring anglers can navigate diverse water conditions with confidence. The bow is designed to cut through slop. The tri-hull design makes it more efficient than flatter-bottomed kayaks, helping it maintain high speeds and track straighter while still retaining enough stability for me to stand up with ease.

High Speeds at Low Effort

I’ve fished this boat for more than 100 full fishing days and am primarily running the pedal assist at its top speed all day. In flat water with no current, the assist lets you cruise comfortably at 5 miles an hour. You can reach that speed with a manual drive, but your legs will be burning in pretty short order. The controls are simple and installing and removing the drive is simple and intuitive. A truly plug-and-play product.

A Long-Lasting 36v Battery

I have yet to run out of juice in this kayak. A ten-mile (round trip) fishing day only knocks the battery down two bars. The way I fish it is to run from spot to spot at full speed, then turn off the electric assist after I get to a fishy looking spot. I primarily do a lot of vertical jigging or shallow water casting so having those 5 mph speeds on tight fishing spots is counter productive.

Surprisingly Easy to Transport

I rarely use boat ramps to launch my kayak, so I love how easy the Old Town ePDL is to carry around. This is a kayak I can throw up onto my pickup truck rack without risking injury to my shoulders and back. Wheeling it down to the beach for 150 feet through mud, soft sand, and occasionally rocks isn’t impossible, either, the way it is with many of the other big electrified kayaks on the market. The 36v battery is feather-light and does not impede on transporting the kayak from beach to launch.  

The Takeaway

The Old Town Predator ePDL Bigwater 132 is a standout choice for anglers seeking a high-performance vessel that excels in both functionality and versatility. This kayak offers an unparalleled combination of stability, maneuverability, and saltwater fishing-centric features. Whether you’re exploring remote fishing spots or covering miles of open water searching for big game species I can’t think of a better way to do it from a plastic vessel.