Canoe vs Kayak for Birthday Present

My husband has been looking at canoes for fishing and i’d like to actually get one for him for his birthday. The more i read, the more i get confused. He’s been fishing casually for many years but doesn’t go as often as he’d like. I got him a trolling motor a few years ago to go on a boat we no longer have so he’ll want to use this instead of only paddling.

He’s 6’ and 215# and i have no idea which option would be best if i’m going to surprise him. There’s a used Ocean Kayak Ambush available in our area which seems reasonably priced ($400) but how do i decide: 1.) between a canoe and kayak 2.) what’s most important for a beginner to make this an enjoyable activity?

I’d appreciate any advice as i decide whether or not it’s smart to make this a “surprise”. Thank you!

If a Trolling Motor is preferred

– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 1:53 PM EST –

I'd personally go with a canoe over a kayak. Now, if you do want to look at canoes, are you looking for a solo only canoe or a canoe that will work both as a solo canoe and allow for another paddler or three? What types of water will he frequent? Will he be car topping the craft or will it be on a trailer or in the bed of a pickup?

I fish an average of 140 days
a year from a canoe. I recently purchased a kayak for fishing also. I am a similar size to your husband. Here is my take on the situation:

  1. The kayak is faster and a bit easier to paddle using a double blade, however, there is less room to carry fishing rods and gear and it is not as easy to get at your gear. Also not as easy to store your paddle when fishing. I like to have 2-3 rods with me and that is very difficult in the kayak.
  2. A trolling motor will work on a canoe. Canoes have more space, are easier to get into and out of, are more subject to wind, and will not be as fast at the kayak.
  3. If your husband will be car topping or carrying any distance, weight is a factor. I personally would not want a boat over 65 pounds. I have 4 canoes; 2 solos and 2 tandems and the range in weight from 33#s to 58#s. My kayak weighs 58#s.
  4. A solo canoe is great if you use it only alone. If you plan to take anyone along at any time, a symmetrical tandem with eiher web or cane seats would be good. They can be soloed easily by paddling reverse seating in the front seat and can also carry a second person when needed.

    Hope this helps. If you want any more info, feel free to email me.

Re: If Trolling Motor Is Preferred
I think he’d like to be able to take our son (16) or a fishing buddy with him so at least 2 people.

He’d be on inland lakes (corp of engineers type dammed river into a lake) and slow moving rivers.

it would be transported in the back of a pick-up

Well then there are several
tandems to choose from. If he is hauling in a pick-up bed I wouldn’t go over 16 foot and that is if it is a full sized 8 foot bed. A 14 - 16 foot model would be appropriate. Any canoe can handle a trolling motor. It does not have to have a square stern. There are several models made specifically for fishing, but you can fish from any canoe. Here are some models I might suggest: Nova Craft Bob Special, Wenonah Fisherman, Old Town Camper, Old Town Predator, Wenonah Heron, Wenonah Aurora. There are many others. Ozark River canoes handles Old Town at very reasonable prices and ships everywhere. You might check his site or his Ebay auctions.

long canoe in a pickup
I have a ford F150 with a 6.5’ bed. With the tail gate down and a hitch extender, I can haul a 17’ canoe with no problems. I wouldn’t rule out a 17 footer such as The Wenonah Spirit II or the Old Town Tripper.

I REALLY hope you’ll take this advice…

Don’t try to pick a boat out for him unless you KNOW exactly what HE wants.

Cut some pictures of a few different yaks and canoe’s out and paste them on a presentation board to give him as a surprise. Later you can let him know what his “limit$” are.

One more thing… That man has a really cool partner!!!

The canoe is going to better if carrying
two or more people with the exception that some tandem kakays are fine for two fishing out of them. The canoe will carry more. For myself, I’ve both a canoe and kayak. The canoe is more of a problem on resevoir lakes because of the wind when paddling alone, I’m not familiar with the kayak you mentioned for sale, but Ocean Kayak makes some good fishing kayaks. The better ones are the Prowler series, Scrambler XT, and the Malibu tandem for two people, though some also use it solo. Don’t buy a Pelican canoe, you can get a much better one for not much more money. Also, you may want to stay away from plastic canoes, they tend to be heavier.

As for carrying a canoe on a truck, before I put my yakima racks on a pick-up camper shell (they are gutter mounts and my truck doesn’t have gutters), I just placed a piece of foam on the edge of the cab, ran my canoe up over the cab, rested it on top of the tailgate and tied the sucker down. Not good for gas mileage on long trips, but works well if going less than 50 miles or so.

Thank You All!
Great advice from everyone. After even more research, the kayak is out for us and i’m really paying attention to the weight of various models. I’ve also realized that there is quite a market for used canoes because they’re really tough to find! So, if it sits in our garage and he doesn’t use it, i know we can always sell it quite easily . . .

Also with your advice, he’s now involved in the research and although i would have liked for it to be a surprise, we’re having fun looking together so that’s an added bonus.

The best thing has been finding this website full of great information for a family of beginning paddlers in Tennessee!

Tennessee is not far
from southeastern Missouri. Check out Ozark River Canoes

Hey Fisherman’s Wife
I’m about the same size as your husband(6ft 205)and I’d highly recommend the Wenonah Fisherman. It’s 14 ft long and made out of Royalex which is considered the lighest, most durable composite on the market. It’s also very quiet which is necessary when fishing rocky lakes and rivers. It comes in at just under 60lbs and I believe it’s the best size canoe to handle the compromise between a solo canoe and one that can accomodate two people. If you/your husband know it will get used a lot, it’s worth the $899.- price tag.

Best of Both worlds
The Old Town Predator has the best of both worlds and I have seen it outfiited with a trolling motor recently. It track well it is designed as a fishing kayak. It all ready has the rod holder, half skirt for fishing, cup holder, anchor and few other nick knacks

It may be the only 14 ft canoe I’d
consider for fishing two from. For the most part, a 15 ft boat is my minimum for canoes, 16 is better.