Canoe for a big guy

Hello everybody,

I’m in the market for a canoe after fishing from a motorboat for years. I’m kind of nervous about the stability of canoes as I’m a pretty big guy(6’5” 350lb). Anybody know of a canoe model that would suite me? All I really want it for is fishing and a little exploring. Thanks much!


I wish everybody who asked “what canoe to buy” would let us know what canoes are available in their area.

Okay, what’s available used, what are people paddling in the area, what are the dealers selling locally? You also may want to post on the fishing forum if you haven’t already. There’s one model out there with floats on the exterior, Sportspal, that’s it, that the guys on the fishing forum know about, but of course, if there’s none near you, this would be useless information.


– Last Updated: Jan-22-07 9:41 PM EST –

Try out a Wenonah encounter. This large and stable solo will easily handle a guy your size. The floor mounted sliding bucket seat may not be what you are looking for though, if you need a back rest for long hours of fishing.

An Encounter has its pedestal sliding seat assembly set up for a person about 230 lbs to trim an empty hull. You can re position the assebly but would run into interference with the thwart to balance the boat to accomodate your weight. The Encounter certainly would work but the seat and thrwart would need to be moved. A used Mad River Traveller set up with a wenonah slider is another big solo boat but haven;t seen one for sale in a long time.

You might consider a tandem canoe with a center seat, among others, a Mad River Malecite or Old Town Penobscot. Be selective as to which boat you end up with as the heavier the boat the less use it gets.

Welcome back from the darker side
We’re always delighted to hear someone giving up the motor boat and coming over to the light side. You aren’t too far from at Old Forge. They carry several different models that would suit your needs, and they are very easy to talk to and will offer you some good suggestions. They also have a demo weekend coming up in May that is always a blessing for trying before buying. If you’re closer to Rochester try

Candidly, I don’t think any of the dedicated solo canoes are going to suit your size or your use. The way I fish is a lot of moving around in the seat, even standing up to cast or pole, so a stable platform is important. You can get that from some of the smaller widebody tandems, such as the Bell Morningstar 15-6 or the Wenonah Prospector 15. If you plan to take a partner from time to time then move up to a 16’ widebody. One of my favorites for big guy paddling around the lake fishing is the Old Town Camper. Not a performance canoe by any means, but well matched for your needs IMHO.

Good luck

Canoe for a big guy
HEy Max. I have received a lot of good info relative to canoes on this site. I have a suggestion that is a little different from the rest.

I am a big guy as well … sort of. I am 6’4" @225. I am uncomfortable fishing out of a prism or encounter. However, underway they are really fast and very stable. I think the most stable and reasonably effiecient canoe, especially for big folks, is a Souris River Quitico 16. It has great glide, is very stable for fishing, is not fast, but is not slow. It is extremely durable and light weight, just a little spendy. You can contact Red Rocks and talk to Joe on the 800 number. It is a great boat for both big water and waves, wind, or slow quiet water. I have a 17 footer I solo all the time. I can stand up to fish. I also solo trip out of her.

Good luck Max.

Old Town
makes several models specifically for fishing

The Osprey (three seats) and Predator (two seats) might fit your style.

If you are mostly fishing alone, I would stick with the Osprey so you have a work station in the middle. With your height you have a high center of gravity and would benefit from being able to stay at the widest point of the boat.

Can’t help but point out that you should get a really comfy PFD. Its disturbing how many fishermen drown in canoes. I presume they are standing to fish (or relief) and fall in what usually is very cold water.

I think we have a winner here. The Souris River Quetico 16 solo is a tandem canoe that was outfitted with one seat. It was expressly made for those folks that are either larger or want a stable fishing platform, or both.

I agree with the others. If you aren’t interested in speed and efficiency, but are in stability, a dedicated solo may not be for you. You probably want a solo-able tandem. If you can’t get the SR Q16 you could look at the Old Town Penobscott 16, perhaps a Nova Craft Bob Special, or any number of brands of Prospectors.

Bob Special
In my opinion the Bob Special is an awesome boat!! However, it can have a tener feel (tippyness) and does not track as well as the Souris River. Both are excellent choices, I would give the nod to SR Q16 … it is faster, a bit more stable and and tracks better. I think it would preform in rough water better, however that part is just a guess ( I have never paddled the Bob in rough water).

The Penobscot 16 is used alot for poling and its stable enough to do jump turns, but not sure about its suitability for a big guy. Its not that wide a boat.

Prospectors heel really easy for Canadian style solo. They are deep roundish bottom boats but standing in one?

Sounds like there are alot of SR fans out there. I dont believe their boats are any more perfect than some other manufacturers. Anyway you should try before you buy so whats available to you?

Before I get flamed, I have a Souris River. I must be the only one within several hundred miles. Price and availability at the time were what drew me.

Big Guy Tandem/Solo Boats

– Last Updated: Jan-23-07 12:52 PM EST –

I've been paddling almost 30 years now, and began paddling as an inexpensive way to fish rivers here in the Ozarks. Over the years, I've gravitated away from concentrating on fishing quite as much, as just the "Paddling" has become my passion, and "Fishing" secondary.

That said, as a big guy myself, I wouldn't have been comfortable paddling ANY solo boat out there while fishing way back then. It takes some experience to become comfortable fishing in a solo canoe, and when you're XXL you have to take in the extra variable that it takes a wider boat to provide stability. As you become more experienced, you may find solo boats like my Mohawk Solo 14 and others mentioned here fine. IMHO, you need a tandem that can be soloed from the bow seat with the canoe turned arround. Remember, these boats are excellent as "Big guy solos" IN MY OPINION. Opinions are like backsides, we all have one! But these boats all warrant a look.

Wenonah Adirondack. It works well on streams and lakes, and it makes a good solo wilderness tripper. I've used this boat on dozens of trips in the BWCAW both tandem and solo. I don't care for the royalex version, it oilcans too much, and the tuffweave or kevlar version is plenty tough (and is faster than the royalex version).

Souris River Quetico 16. I actually traded in one of my Wenonah's for this boat. What I said about the Wenonah, well the Quetico 16 is just a little better than the Adirondack in everything except rivers; I think the Wenonah turns better. Drawback is price. These canoes have become very expensive IMHO. But is very well made, and the Duralite version is plenty tough. Joe, at Redrock in Ely, is very knowledgable and great to deal with.

Ranger Otter. Made by a guy in New Hampshire. VERY GOOD PRICE for a well made canoe. If you look at a Mad River Malecite and enlarge it just a little. Some don't like the shallow-v style hull, I do. Probably not quite as good on rivers as the Wenonah, but I like it better than both the Wenonah AND the Souris for lake travel. Also comes standard with contoured seats, which I got rid of as the wife didn't like them.

And last, FOR RIVER PADDLING, the Mad River 14TT. Excellent for river tripping and for day ttripping and fishing. The boat loves to turn and is designed as such. It would be a PIA to paddle lakes in this boat.

And, you may look at that Bell Morningstar and Bell Angler. Never paddled either, but LOOK like good big guy boats. Look here on for reviews on these boats. I myself have reviewed these boats and you can see a little more in depth description from me and others. But remember, what I said about OPINIONS! Hope this helps, and here's some links to pics of each boat. GOOD LUCK! WW

Thank you!

– Last Updated: Jan-23-07 5:48 PM EST –

Thanks everybody! I'll look it all over and come up with a POA. I look forward to paddling my summer away! Maybe I'll see you on the water!

The P16 isn’t wide?
The Penobscot 16 is not that wide a boat? It’s 34" wide. To me that seems pretty wide especially if using it as a solo.

As far as standing in Prospectors, I agree, it isn’t advised. But why would you think he’d be standing in it?

The only reason I though that the SR Q16 solo would be a good choice is that it is a solo-able tandem that is factory outfitted as a solo. I know that the reason it was done so, and promoted as a solo, was to answer the demand for a stable canoe that a solo paddler could fish out of. Seems to me to be just what the poster is asking for. I wholeheartily agree that availability is an issue because it is only sold by, what, 2 or 3 places in the entire US.