Canoe confusion

Okay, for the past month or two, I’ve been trying to decide whether to get out of my kayak and into a canoe (Please don’t ask the obvious, Why). I’ve decided to get a canoe and here is the confusing part. What I’ve come up with is 3 canoes that are possibilties, but I need a little help. The first is a Nova craft Prospector 16. it’s 15’6 long and 35 wide. the cost that I can get it for new is $695. The issue, it’s 80lbs. Then there is a Nova Bob’s special. It’s 15’6 32/36 wide 58lbs. The issue it’s $1195.00. The 3rd is a Mohawk solo 14. it’s 44 lbs, and cost $750.00. The issue: it’s 29 wide. I’ll be using my canoe on lakes, fishing. Some river, but all flatwater. my concerns are: is the Mohawk too narrow for a big guy, although I’m use to fishing from a 28inch yak, I’m sure the canoe isn’t as stable. As for the Bob’s special and the Prospector, is the difference in weight worth the cost? okay, your turn!

Haven’t paddled the Mowhawk, but I fish from a Wenonah Vagabond that’s roughly the same dimensions. It’ll seem a little tippy when you first get into one, but you adapt quickly. I wouldn’t try and stand in it or use a fly rod while standing, but everything else is fine and some do stand and cast.

Is the weight worth it, yup!

I’d nix the 80 pounder out of the gate
That would leave you the Bob’s Special or the Solo 14.

I don’t think you’d have any trouble with the stability of the Solo 14. But, if fishing is what you’re doing, it’s awfully nice being in a little bigger boat. I’d go Bob.

if the canoe is for fishing…

– Last Updated: May-24-07 8:26 PM EST –

go with the heavier. If you can comfortably paddle the mid-weight canoe(Bob-Special?), then get that one. It too is heavy enough, although you haven't mentioned your stats. If flyfishing, a smaller guy will have a shorter casting (power)stroke than a taller fellow with longer arms. A heavier-set guy will have the potential to rock the boat more, thus rule out the lighter boat. If it involves a lengthy or stealthy paddle....go with the boat that does both pretty well....(which sounded like the middle just a hunch).


I agree, give up on the 80-pounder
althought those canoes have their place, in rental fleets and anyplace you’re not cartopping or portaging. I once had a 85-pound Fiberglass mat Gazelle and knocked both mirrors off my car trying to cartop it.

You can buy a nearly new Nova Craft Prospector Royalite for $1000 and have a much more user-friendly boat. Over the next ten years you’ll be much more pleased with a boat that you can handle by yourself, even if it did cost you $300 more.

I’ve paddled the Bob Special and the Mohawk 14 and like them both, and chances are they are just as stable as your kayak. If you were sitting on the bottom of either canoe you would feel very stable. Put a canoe seat in your kayak and you’ll feel pretty tippy I bet.

BTW, which kayak?

mohawk 14
is what I teach large entry level paddlers with.

Due to its shape its a big boat. Its not the weight of the boat that makes it stable. The Mohawk solo 13 and 14 are relatively flat bottomed. It has very good secondary stability though if you are standing to cast you will have to pay attention to where your head is, lest you be out and your boat laughing at you!

But I would never buy a boat without a test paddle.

Havent paddled the Bob…but its close to a Prospector which I do have. To paddle efficiently solo you will have to move over to the side. Canadian style that means over to one side kneeling. Most people that fish from it sit backward in the bow seat. That brings the bow up higher than a dedicated solo. You arent interested in exact control and it is possible to paddle backward from the bow seat and stand to fish but while you are paddling the wind may be more influence than you want.

It all comes down to will you use a boat for tandem day tripping too? If yes, go with Bob, otherwise Mohawk.

Which canoe?
A well phrased question! Here’s my 2 cents: I have no experience in the Mohawk 14, but it sounds like a solid little thing from Kayamedic’s description. On the other hand, I have many hundreds of miles in Nova Craft Prospector 16s, 80 percent tandem and 20% solo. The Royalex Lite version weighs about 64 lbs and costs, according to , $1295. The 80 lb version is laid up in SP3, and you add a pound for about every $10 you save; too much weight for me! The Prospector is a classic solo boat when paddled Canadian-style, not quite as good paddled from the bow seat backwards (though certainly still useable). Either way it likes a drybag full of water in the bow to level it out. Prospectors are working boats and, as such, are better with a load in them than empty. Wind and empty Prospectors are not a good combination. The Bob Special is a very different boat and one that I have and use in many circumstances. It is a fun little tandem and a wonderful solo. It has good initial stability (nice for fishing) and excellent secondary stability, too. It is fine with or without a load, but, like the Prospector, needs something in the bow to level it out. I’ve learned that the comments in the Product Reviews stating that the Bob likes to be “a little bow heavy” are on the button. Like you, I am not a little guy (240 lbs). The Bob can handle me and a week’s worth of load with no issue at all. It is a wonderful all around boat and one that I’d encourage you to paddle before you make any other choice. Great luck!

I vote Mohawk
At 250lbs my 16’ does me well and I can have the grandkids or my Little fishing Yorkie all at once. I did have a 165lbs of Coon-dog/Golden Retriever till he got so lane he could walk anymore. I could tell more but then you would not believe it. My Mohawk is a 1984 model and it is the second boat I have had from Mohawk. This boat can lay over using the tumble home to paddle or as a tandem to use the “V” bottom for tracking. I have used this boat in the Ocean as well as class 3/4. She will carry any load I want even all the scuba kit. I have done rescue work from her also. I have paddled the 14’ solo doing the same maneuvers with only things happen faster in it. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

I’m not sure what BTW means, but if you are asking me about my kayak, it is a WS tarpon 120. I also have a Perception America, which I use very little and it is for sale.

Jim T.

Here’s my input
I canoe primarily for fishing. Even my trips center around fishing. I have owned a Bob Special. Great all around boat - very stable as stated- but bow light when solo paddling from a reverse seating position. I currently fish from a Wenonah Vagabond (about 42 pounds) and a Bell Magic (about 32 pounds). I find the Vagabond very stable also and it tracks well. For fishing only it is my choice. I have done a 7 day trip in the Vagabond. The Bell Magic is more frisky and will take some getting used to for fishing. Movements tend to make it react more although it’s secondary stabi;ity is very good. It is now my choice for tripping and fishing. No experience with the Mohawk or Prospector but the Vagabond has similar measurements to the Mohawk. I am 5’10" and 200 pounds.

choice of the three …
Well, I completely agree with many on this post, especially canoedancing and mckennaroad. The prospector is a classic and has its place, but I think it is not for you relative to why you want a canoe. I have heard many great things abotu a Mowhawk. I have never paddled one, but others on this board have only wonderful comments about the boat. I do have a passion for the Bob. It can handle 6 to 7 hundred pounds with ease. It is fast for a 15 footer. WIth proper trim, (weight in the bow), it handles wind and waves well. It is forgiving in its secondary stability. In my opinion, it is a fantastic back water/creek explorer, river runner, lake tripper. It does it all, with a real sense of stability. Now as a solo it is no speed deamon, but neither are the other two you question.

If you get the Bob and later decide you want to sell it, I believe it would go easily on this site. I do not know how easily the other boats would sell. My .02 cents would be to go for the Bob. Stabil, good resale, good handling in all weather and water, light weight, do it all hull. However, if funding is an issue, I bet you can’t lose with a Mowhawk.


Have Hada Solo !4 For Several Years

– Last Updated: May-25-07 11:53 AM EST –

Having owned one for almost 5 years, I have fished from it many a time, but it wouldn't be MY choice of the three for flatwater. I think of my Solo 14 as a river canoe for moving water class I, LOW class II. In my opinion, there are MANY better boats for flatwater than this boat. I think a 15-16' boat will paddle easier even IF they are a bit wider. PLUS, you get added stability for fishing not just from the width, but from the length (more boat touching the water).

A friend solo fishes from a royalex Novacraft Prospector, but he is a big guy and pretty strong. I wouldn't reccomend it for most, and the 80lb version will be a real pain in the butt to mess with.

I've never paddled the "Bob," but I THINK I would like it. It would be my choice of the three, but there are a few better flatwater boats that are bargains out there.

If it were me, for flatwater, big-guy fishing boats, I'd look at a 'glass Ranger Otter or Wenonah Adirondack. You can pick up "Blem's" on E-bay or call the guy; it's essentially a one-man operation which is why he can sell them relatively cheap. There's one on E-bay right now (which is where I got mine last year).

Here's a few links to help you. Good luck! WW


Thanks for the correction. I couldn’t figure out what the heck a HADA was!

Also thanks to you and all those who had suggestions.

Jim T.

I agree, give up on the 80-pounder
I agree, give up on the 80-pounder

Posted by: canoedancing on May-24-07 8:32 PM (EST)

althought those canoes have their place, in rental fleets and anyplace you’re not cartopping or portaging. I once had a 85-pound Fiberglass mat Gazelle and knocked both mirrors off my car trying to cartop it.

Stay lightweight, you may have to load it by yourself.