canoe for fishing in the saltwater

I currently fish from an old town canoe in local rivers, small lakes, and ponds. I take a family trip to the space coast of Florida every year, and every year I fish the Indian river lagoon, and mosquito lagoon. I usually fish with a guide from a flats boat. This year I would like to try my canoe in that area.

Is a canoe a good boat for that area? Thanks for all of the help.

I hesitate to respond…
but I hate to see you not get a response so here it goes…

I’m not familiar with the waters you’re asking about but if you’re talking about shallow estuaries - go for it. Our local flyfishing club has lots of members who ply our (Louisiana) marshes in a canoe.


space coast fishing
I get Florida sportsman, (fishing mag), a while back they did an article about areas near space coast where it was no motor zone. huge redfish, snooks, snappers were being caught. showed some custom setups. search for outriggers for canoes, they look great. Yes some of the area is very productive and only accessable by paddle craft.

best of luck. (check your charts).

-also try florida sportsman search, they have msg boards also!

Saltwater Canoes.
I tried Bodega Bay and Tamales Bay in my Wenonah Fishermen, but after a couple of four feet sneaker waves, I have retired it back to friendlier lakes and slow rivers. I have mine set up for rowing. It does really well in lagoons and at the mouth of slow rivers like the Klamath, Eel and Smith. If I had a nice 15/17 Old Town sports with a motor it would be easier to fish, watch the waves and run the boat.

Space coast
While I haven’t paddled the Space Coast. I have paddled the area you like Port A, Texas. I’ve used a canoe there but found it tough in the constant wind. You should be ok if you’re in a protected bay or lagoon. I have found an SOT kayak to be the preferred paddlecraft for fishing skinny saltwater. Less profile for the wind to play with and no worries if a rogue wave ends up in your cockpit. Have you paddled Lighthouse Lakes between Aransas Pass and Port A?

Fishing in Saltwater
Fishing from a canoe is ideal along the Space Coast here in Florida. The Indian River Lagoon system is home to some of the best Redfish, and trout fishing around.

The average depth of these waters is 3’ or less, offering many different opportunities for you.

Please feel free to contact me. I have many years of experience on all the waters of the area including The Indian River, Banana River, 1000 Islands, Sebastion River, No Motor Zone, etc.

Have a great time.


Bodega Bay?
I think your decision not to take the open canoe back out onto Bodega Bay was a good one…

It can get really hairy out there when the wind starts blowing…

try it… you’ll like it!
Canoe in salt? Funny you should ask. I write a monthly fly fishing column for Louisiana Sportsman each month, with occasional topics related to paddle fishing (we call it “puddling”). In the most recent issue (May), I explained why a good number of fly fishers, particularly those fishing our marshes, are switching to or choosing canoes over kayaks. This trend has taken place only in the last 18 months, so you’re not hearing much about it yet.

The whole yak fishing frenzy overlooked one of the fundamental laws of the universe: choosing a paddlecraft is really a choice of compromises. Canoes offer better standup stability, more gear room, more utilitarianism, and fish 2 more comfortably. Kayaks offer the advantages of speed, wind resistance, and easier egress/ingress. For salt, location (wind, waves) is a major factor, which is why it was assumed that yaks were superior. I agree with the earlier post that Port Aransas is better suited to yak. However, I find Chocoloskee better suited to canoe.

However, one advantage of canoes is that you can accessorize them to suit your fishing requirements. Some friends of mine have added stabilizers to their canoes. This not only eliminates any tippiness, but helps their tracking a bit. They can even standup fish with them on. I have an OTC Guide 147 and find it more than stable enough already.

Another tool canoeists are using in salt is a push pole. At times, it beats the heck out of paddling in shallow water, and does a much better job of approaching fish. Obviously, if your canoe isn’t standup stable, you’ll need those stabilizers.

On rare occasion, I use a trolling motor in the salt on my canoe. For this, you’ll also need a trolling motor bracket and rechargeable battery. Most of the advise on my setup came from the forums. I opted for a MiniKota 30/30 TM, a quick-lock ash bracket and a N22 AGM battery. You can wash the TM and battery after use, to minimize corrosion. Some folks kid me about saying I love to paddle, yet using a TM on my canoe at times. But trust me, when you’re coming back across a bay and it’s 90 degrees, or wind is up and storms are approaching… boy, that TM is really a lifesaver!

Bottom line… give one or more of these options a try on your canoe, and you might find it to be an awesome fishing machine.

Hey Catch
Are you using the saltwater version of the MinnKota or the standard version? The standard is a lot cheaper but I am unsure of how it will hold up to the saltwater. I have an old 17 aluminum canoe that I want to mount a trolling motor on.



I’ve owned both
Frankly, it’s not worth the bucks for the so-called saltwater version. On my motorboat, I replaced a freshwater Motorguide which had lasted 12 years with LOTS of saltwater use with a Riptide. After only 3 years, the RT is suffering from severe paint chipping and rust in joints.

The MinnKota for my canoe cost $90 at Academy on sale. It’s only been in saltwater about a dozen times in the 18 months I’ve owned it, so maybe that’s why it’s still in excellent condition. However, if you believe what the manufacturers tell you, this unit should be falling apart by now.

been there and done that
I used to own a 17’ Navarro Loon fiberglass canoe and fished out of it. But it was too long to manuver and handle it solo.

I sold it and got a WS Pungo classic (sit-inside). It is much easier to manuver but tracking is bad. And the storage space is very limited. I find myself spending a lot of time to undo the tangled tackle. Plus, it is almost impossible to carry a passenger.

Recently, I bought a OT Discovery 147. The length is just long enough to have tracking but it is short enough to be manuverable. The canoe also comes with a motor mount and a trolling motor. I can stand and fish in the canoe without any problem. With a trolling motor, the wind issue can be minimized. Here is my ideal canoe for solo/tandem fishing application:

13-15’ long (double-ended)

34-38" wide

60 lbs or less

preferably plastic for durability and quietness

equiped with a trolling motor