Hi, I’m new to canoeing I have noodled around on some rivers and lakes on kayaks and canoes quite a few times but have never owned one. I initially was looking to purchase a fishing kayak, but I have found a Bell Wildfire the poster says is fiberglass for $375 (is this a good deal?) I am planning on purchasing, but have some questions that may be stupid. Is this a good fishing canoe? How is the stability? I understand this is a one person canoe, but could two people go in it?
First off, I believe $375 is a really good deal on a fiberglass Wildfire IF it’s in good shape. For it not to be in good shape, it might have rotted gunwales (that’s assuming the gunwales are wood, but they might be aluminum which is immune to such problems), or severe wear and tear or even impact damage to the hull.
On the other hand, it’s not a particularly good fishing canoe. A decent solo-canoe paddler could do just fine using it for fishing, especially someone who normally paddles kneeling (knees wide-spread on the floor, butt on a high, slanted seat). If you are new to solo canoes, it probably won’t feel very stable to you,
Twice, I have paddled with a partner in a Bell solo canoe having a similar degree of “stability” (I use that word in quotes because it really comes with all kinds of qualifications) and have done quite well that way, but only in a pinch when my girlfriend couldn’t handle the wind in her solo canoe so we both got in my canoe and towed hers, but that’s not something anyone should consider a practical application, and especially not if they are as large as the average American paddler (both of us are lightweights, and she took a kneeling position using a thwart directly behind the center seat - not something a lot of people would be comfortable with).
I’d suggest that if you are looking for a fishing boat or a boat with two-person capability, you should pass on this deal.
The Wildfire is a fine solo canoe for small to mid sized paddlers with intermediate or advanced skills. It would serve a beginner well if that paddler is committed to learning/improving his skills. Toward that end, I recommend one of the canoe symposiums run by the FreeStyle community (www.freestylecanoeing.com). As for it’s use as a fishing platform, I echo the sentiments of Guideboatguy.
No on two people. The WildFire has alot of secondary stability which means if you heel ( tilt) it to the rail it will hold. Its stability when you are getting in is less than you might want.
It has symmetrical rocker and quite a bit on each end meaning that to get it to go straight you have to be able to commit to learning how to paddle well and learning and practicing what you learn.
It is best suited to paddlers who kneel. I do and would not hesitate to fish out of mine ( If I fished) but sitting and fishing…no.
It fits larger paddlers up to 250 lbs pretty well but height is more important than weight.
It is a bargain at that price but unless you are willing to swim a bit with it or take instruction, I would pass.
Thank you guys. Gonna pass on this one and go with a yak I think.
Own a Bell Wildfire. Best solo canoe for me. Able to twist and turn around obstacles with great ease. Can maintain good forward speed and do not have a tracking problem. Fishing out of it. Not so much if you are sitting. Kneeling and experienced with free style moves maybe. Look else ware for a fishing canoe. A Wildfire is like an exotic sports car. Great for what it was designed for. But not made for a lot a things, Would not put two people in it.