comparing wenonah and hemlock


– Last Updated: Jul-02-14 1:45 PM EST –

As you reduce the beam to make paddling more efficient, you usually sacrifice stability. The best compromise will vary with paddler size, skill, and mission. Boats intended for fishing tend to be on the stable-but-slower end of the range.

That said, I have happily fished from a 22" beam sea kayak, which is a far cry from the beamy sit-on-tops and rec kayaks typically sold as "fishing kayaks" It does require good balance and attention. A healthy smallmouth abeam can be exciting when it decides to go under your keel. I suspect that fishing from something like a Kestrel would be much the same.

Your best bet would be to rent/borrow/demo a solo similar to the ones you're considering. Someone here might be able to help you with that.

another idea
On my Kestrel I fastened the seat in with wing nuts, and for rough water, like a big lake crossing, removed it and sat on the floor-real stable. (I’m a wuss in waves). It’s a bother, but you have the best of both worlds. I didn’t do this while on the water.


…on your size, your sense of balance, and how loose your hips are, I guess. I have no problem fishing from my Dagger Sojourn, even in waves - but, I managed okay in the back seat of my '65 Mustang too…

I’ve heard reference to this. what does hip “looseness” have to do with anything? is it just a question of adjusting one’s center of gravity?

hip looseness
means an ability to roll with the waves… Stiffen up whether sitting or kneeling and your head is more apt to wind up outside the gunwales.

And that is how many dunks start. Its the same for canoeing or kayaking.

Loose hips save ships
Think of the kneeling position as an inverted “Y”. If you’re rigid, a fairly small tilt will put your head and upper body outside your knee. Swimming soon follows.

If you’re loose in the hips – the intersection of the inverted “Y” – your torso can stay centered in the boat as it rolls under you.

That’s what I tell every new paddler.
The visual demonstration I provide usually results with chuckles, but it sticks in their memory.

Big Yard
There is a lot of grass between a Wenonah Vag and a Hemlock SRT.

The STR is ~ narrow, 28.5 max beam, and has a roundish bottom. There are a couple narrower solos and a handful as narrow. None are applicable to a sitting fisher with a 10 pound northern on a line. You will join your fish in it’s environment.

The Vag is flat bottomed and without rocker. In between the two lies almost every other solo canoe in the marketplace.

You need something 29-30 inches wide with a flat or elliptical bottom. Differential rocker would be helpful. It helps both tracking and turning. Lots of better choices between the two suggested. Lots of builders beyond the two suggested, some worse, some equal, some better.

I’ve a document covering dimensions of almost every solo canoe made that may be helpful. Email me for an electronic copy.

If it’s a choice between two discounted and used boats, I’d prefer the SRT for performance and build quality, but it is never going to be a fisher’s boat. Fishers will prefer the Vagabond.

The Colden DragonFly would make a
wonderful boat for fishers wearing a snorkel… I’m putting a fair amount of time in it but pretty much paying attention to paddling.

Same for the Curtis Dragonfly… Unless you have a stash of lead weights that is…and remember lead is a no no now.