I am in the market for a decent fishing canoe for my son and I to take out on local lakes. Mainly will be used for fishing but at times used for just recreational purposes with the wife. I am a bigger guy around 315lbs and my sone is around 160. Went to local shop and looked at a We-no-nah Spirit II and a Old Town Discovery 169 and also considering the Saranac 160. Any thoughts or experiences with these? Also any thoughts on rod holder set ups on canoes or any other useful items to have? Thinking my son and I would start off on a canoe and maybe eventually switch to a predator kayak if we get more serious into it. Any helpful information is appreciated. Thanks
Location, location, location.
Will you be in lakes - or in ocean or moving water?
First - I would skip the Saranac, if possible. 169 is a better boat, IMO. But for fishing on lakes, the OT Guide 160 is better. Anything with a protruding keel will be less effected by wind. The Spirit 2 is a great all-around boat for lakes and mild moving water, but has a smooth bottom and presents a lot of surface to the wind - so take that into consideration.
You can get nice clamp-on rod holders (Scotty) that work on just about any canoe. Clamp them slightly behind you so they don't interfere with paddling. I have them, but find that I rarely use them. YMMV
If you will be on ocean or really big lakes - go with kayaks.
In my opinion…
The Discovery 169 is the best all-around recreational use canoe on the market. There are other boats that are better for specific purposes, or for specific people, but when it comes to a boat that works on lakes, rivers, and under varying loads, I really like the Discovery 169. It’s a station wagon, not a Grand Cherokee or Corvette or anything else. It’s a dead ahead, simple, workhorse of a canoe.
I wouldn’t bother with the Saranac, but either of your other two choices will be fine for what you want it for. Some others to look at…Mad River Explorer, Nova Craft Pal or Haida and pretty much any mfrs version of the Prospector.
I like the 169 too, Big D.
Except for the weight.
Not what I look for in a canoe anymore, but it does well in a wide variety of uses.
The only reason I might pick an OT Guide over it, all else being equal, is if it will be strictly for lake and wide flat river use. The slight bit of raised keel can help a little in the wind, and from what I’ve seen, the Guide does keep it’s bottom shape a little better - I’m guessing that’s also due to the stiffening effect of the keel (not that it’s a huge issue).
Having said that - if I were faced with both as available used boats in good shape, I would probably just pick the one that is cheapest. Funny thing about the 169 though…My son and his wife recently told me that they much prefer paddling the 169 over my Nova Craft Prospector. They found out first-hand that the 169 is much easier to manage in the wind.
My first canoe was a Coleman Scanoe that the previous owner had replaced the closed cell foam in the bulkheads with spray foam insulation that had breached and absorbed every possible ounce of water. That sucker weighed 125 lbs if it weighed an ounce.