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Old Town Topwater 120 Review

Mark Armstrong
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The Old Town Topwater is a sit-on-top fishing kayak with a pedal drive. It’s designed for solo paddlers and has a stable hull for fishing on a variety of waters.

It comes with an adjustable mesh seat, rudder system and a forward/reverse pedal drive.

Topwater 120Pin
  • Length: 12 foot
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Weight: 106 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

The Topwater comes in a shorter 10 foot 6 inch model, as well as non-pedal versions in both the 106 and 120 sizes. This craft could be a good option if you’re looking for a stable, high capacity boat with room for your fishing gear.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Old Town Topwater Kayak

Topwater 120 PDL

The Old Town Topwater is aimed at keen anglers, so it has several features that can make your fishing trip easier. Some of these features include increased stability, transducer system, rod holders and an elevated seat.

The Topwater PDL has a pedal drive system that is designed to offer a more hands-free approach, letting you use your feet to power you over the water rather than your arms. This can make it easy to use, as you generally don’t require any skills to get started.

The yak has a high weight capacity which can be ideal for fishing gear or even camping gear. But being a pedal kayak, it can be pretty heavy, so it might be a good idea to think about how you would transport it.

Topwater 120

The Topwater 120 is a sit-on-top fishing kayak without a pedal drive. It has similar features to the PDL version but is narrower at 33.5 inches and lighter at 82 pounds. It has a similar pontoon hull and plenty of storage space, along with a 500 pound capacity, so it could be ideal for fishing or camping.

Topwater 106

Topwater 106 PDLPin

The Topwater 106 comes in two versions, the 106 PDL with the pedal drive and the regular 106 without. The pedal version has a slightly higher weight capacity of 450 pounds compared to the non-pedal version’s 440 pound capacity.

Generally, they have the same features, including a pontoon hull for increased stability, a standing platform and elevated seating. Both versions are 10 foot 6 inches long and can be easy to maneuver in small bodies of water.

Biggest Features Of The Old Town Topwater 120 Pedal Kayak

Pontoon Hull

The Topwater 120 PDL has a pontoon hull, which can optimize stability and make it ideal for use on both flatwater and choppier currents as it can offer a good combination of primary and secondary stability.

This increased stability can make the boat feel a little more comfortable, especially if you’re new to kayaking. This can also be useful when you’re fishing, as you tend to move around more to access gear and reel in your catch.

Gear Storage

With a huge 500 pound capacity, the Topwater 120 should be able to carry everything you need for a day on the water. There is plenty of room to store it, with the large rear tank well providing ample space for a fishing crate as well as other gear. There are bungee cords to help keep your gear tied down.

There’s a large bow hatch that can offer you storage below deck. You’ll also find three flush mounted rod holders, a cup holder and gear tracks so you can mount additional accessories without having to drill into your hull.

Fishing Platform

A handy feature of this pedal kayak is the standing platform on the deck. It benefits from having EVA foam pads on the deck which are designed to offer you improved traction and grip for standing.

This means you should, with good balance, be able to stand up for improved casting and to stretch your legs.

Hands-Free Fishing

One of the main features of the Topwater PDL is the pedal drive system. The rotational pedals on the deck control the propeller under the hull, allowing you to move across the water using your feet and legs. This can make it easier and quicker to get from A to B, especially if you’re not a skilled paddler.

You can travel both forwards and backwards using the pedals and for added control over your direction you can utilize the rudder, which is controlled by hand from the deck. The rudder can also come in handy if you’re fishing in currents.

Video: Old Town Topwater 120 PDL On The Water Review

The pedal drive can give you more power and means you can fish more easily without having to contend with a paddle. However, a paddle is generally still recommended for more efficient maneuvering and there is a paddle holder on the side of the deck to keep it safe.

The pedal drive can also be easily lifted up from the deck if you’re about to hit very shallow water.

Adjustable Seat

The seat features breathable mesh fabric so it’s designed to be breathable and quick to dry. The seat can be adjusted forwards and backwards so that you can set it in the best position to reach the pedals. It can also be adjusted to sit higher or lower in the kayak, giving you improved comfort for both pedaling and sight fishing.

We think this is a stable and spacious fishing kayak and it appears that others on social media think so too.

Old Town Topwater Alternatives

Hobie Mirage Compass

The Hobie Mirage Compass is a 12 foot sit-on-top pedal kayak that weighs a little less than the Topwater, at just 68 pounds. It features dual fins under the hull but you can only pedal forwards, not backwards.

It has a 400 pound capacity and has a spacious stern tank well, a mesh covered bow storage area and a small center hatch. It also has a rudder and comes with a two-piece paddle.

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

Perception Pescador 12.0 PilotPin

The Pescador Pilot is a little longer at 12 foot 5 inches and narrower at just under 34 inches. It features a pedal drive system, four molded-in rod holders, convenient day hatches and has a weight capacity of 525 pounds.

You’ll also find gear tracks for mounting additional accessories and a rudder system for improved tracking and control.

Pelican The Catch 130

The Catch 130 is 12 foot 6 inches long, 34 inches wide and benefits from having a tunnel hull for improved stability. It has a standing platform and the adjustable seat can be flipped out of the way to create more space on deck.

It features a dual fin pedal drive system, rod holders, a rudder and it has a 425 pound capacity. It also has bow and stern storage decks with bungee rigging for securing your gear.

Common Questions

What Is The Top Speed?

The top speed is around 3.5 mph.

Is This A Stable Kayak?

Yes, its pontoon hull means it’s stable and it has a standing platform that can allow you to stand up to fish.

Can I Add Pedals To The Non-Pedal Version?

No, the non-pedal versions are not designed to have a pedal drive installed.

Finishing Up

Topwater 120Pin


  • Stable
  • Standing platform
  • Rudder system
  • High weight capacity


  • Not cheap
  • Heavy

The Topwater 120 PDL can be a great kayak if you’re wanting to haul a lot of gear for fishing. With its high weight capacity and spacious storage options, you should be able to bring along everything you need. It’s also stable and the pedal drive is easy to operate.

If you think this boat could help make your fishing trips easier, check it out for yourself by clicking here. Remember to share it for others to check out and let us know what you think of it by leaving us a comment.

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