Discovery 174

I am looking to buy a canoe for fishing in lakes and also the bayous and backwaters of the Choctawhatchee Bay in Northwest Florida. I have come across a discovery 174 and wanted some experienced opinions. I have read the reviews, and it appears to be a good canoe. I have a creek in my backyard that leads to a freshwater lake that drains into the bay. The lake is where I plan on using the canoe the most. It is about a 30 - 40 yard hike from my garage to the water, and a couple hundred yard paddle to the lake. Is the discovery 174 too much for one man to handle? Thanks in advance for your advice.

You might find that poling will work for
getting a 174 down and back up the creek. Once out on the lake, the boat may blow around unless you take enough fishing gear to load it a bit.

Solo paddling a 17 foot boat is not easy. I would put in a solo seat behind the center thwart, and you might find it easier at times to slide toward one side and paddle with the boat leaned so you can get a more vertical stroke.

Some will suggest trying a double bladed paddle. It would have to be 8’ or more for a boat of that width. A double blade will drip on your lunch, but it will drive the boat faster and will help a lot when working against wind.

You might also look at some of the fishing kayaks that are available.

It would be way too much boat …
for me to handle, but then again, I am way over the hill.

They are a great sturdy boat, but are very heavy, and would be a bear to paddle solo.



Heavy boat
In the water the 174 Discovery is a fine paddling canoe, off the water its like carrying a bulldozer on your back. With the rotomolded plastic seats its 85#. If you can buy this canoe cheap, take some of your savings and buy or build a canoe cart. Jack L posted his directions on another cart thread. If your yard is grass you could drag the Discovery, but a good center mounted cart, like the Swedish or Canadian style carts with 20" bike wheels works the best on a heavy beast like the 174.

Solo this boat will make you work, but its weight will help in the water. It will run deeper than a light kevlar boat, but not by much. 50# of weight spread over 17’ of canoe only makes a fraction of an inch of draft. I agree with creating a paddlng station just behind the yoke instead of using one of the existing seats. You need to be balanced and near the center to have any hope of controlling a 174 solo if the wind comes up. The idea of a pole has merit if your water is not too deep.

Enjoy the canoe and if you decide its time to go with a good solo canoe, the Discovery will probably fetch your purchase price.

Discovery 174
Thanks for the advice. I like the idea of polling down the creek. I had not thought of that. The boat is selling for aproximately $600. It comes with a side motor mount,trolling motor, and paddles. I would think the trolling motor would help in the lake. Wouldn’t a larger canoe work better for tandem fishing in the bay?

May have to do some outfitting
Discovery Canoes are decent boats and pretty tough. You don’t anticipate paddling it very long distances so you don’t need great efficiency.

Comfort and stability are more important and this canoe should provide both. You would probably be comfortable standing in it to cast.

I see 2 potential problems:

  1. Discos are pretty heavy. Just make sure you can comfortably lift it and carry it far enough to get it in and out of the water.

  2. If I remember correctly that canoe has those molded seats that do not allow you to comfortably sit on the seat backward.

    This is basically a tandem canoe but you want to be able to paddle it solo. You can kneel near the center of the boat, but that gets uncomfortable in a hurry. The “traditional” way to paddle a tandem canoe solo is to sit backwards on the bow seat so that you are looking at the stern and paddle the boat “backwards”. The bow seat is closer to the center than the stern seat so that way the boat is better trimmed. If you sit in the stern seat, the boat will be very bow light. That can be a real pain as even a light breeze will tend to catch that unweighted bow sticking up in the air, and spin the boat around like a weathervane (called weathercocking). But I don’t think the Discos bow seat will let you sit on it backward.

    If you otherwise like the boat, you can set it up for solo paddling. You might be able to replace the bow seat with a traditional cane seat suspended from the gunnels. You would have to look at how the molded seat mounts to determine if this could easily be done. An even better option might be to install either a “kneeling thwart” or a third center seat. The seat would be the better option for fishing. You would have to either remove the center thwart of the canoe or shorten and reposition it closer to one end to get it out of your way. The center seat would not go dead center but would be positioned so that your center of gravity would be in the center, which means that it would go a little stern of the center.

    If you buy the boat and want to do this, you can find sources for a center seat and advice for mounting it in recent threads.

Wenonah 16
I have also found a 16 foot Wenonah. What is the consensus of a 16 foot Wenonah vs a OT Discovery 174?

Wenonah is half the price.

Probably very worth considering. What
model is it?

Which model?
Wenonah has made many models in the 16’range. Some are solos.The Adirondack and Aurora would be great for your purpose, the newer Kingfisher is very stable and just a tick slower to paddle. The older 16’6" Echo/Sundowner is a great paddling canoe, but unsettles a lot of paddlers as its initial stability is a bit lower than most 16’ canoe. You get used to it and it has good final stability.

Get all the information off the rating plate attached to the hull on the right side of the stern just under the gunwale. It has the model name and hull ID number engraved on it. If the plate is missing the canoe may have been stolen.

The 174 Discovery will be more stable than any of the 16’ Wenonahs because of its greater volume, but any of them will easily outdistance the Discovery, and most will weigh between half and three quarters of the Discovery depending on their layup material.


Oops, I mispoke
Sorry about that guys, but the other canoe is a Mohawk Blazer 16, not a Wenonah 16. I got them confused for a minute. I would appreciate your thoughts on the Mohawk Blazer 16. Thanks.

we use an Old Town Expedition 169 …
… I believe it is “almost” exactly like the Discovery . It weighs 84 lbs. and I wouldn’t trade it for anything . It’s a great canoe , takes on big mountain reservoir crossings and tourings , even with high winds extremely well .

Fantastic in large river sections with strong currents and wind , also capable of the skiniest twisty streams with only inches of water .

Handles light rapids well . If you have about 150 lbs. in the bow seat area (person or ballast) , you can paddle from the stern by yourself all day long , even up river against flow .

I like the stern seat but you can paddle it from just aft of center although it’s wider there so you need a longer paddle for sitting , if you don’t like kneeling and healing over .

away from the Old Town if youre alone most of the time, from a weight standpoint alone. It doesnt take many times lifting a heavy canoe even short distances to regret buying it even at a good price. Just my experience based on alot of solo time in full sized canoes. I personally would rather solo tandoms any day compaired to a canoe made for 1 guy. I know, it’s all preferance and we are all different. I often put ballast in the front of the canoe in a wind and that works out well.

Mohunk Blazer
No confusing a Mohunk Blazer with any 16’Wenonah. The contruction of the Blazer is low end fiberglass, same for the trim pieces and seats. The hull of every one i have paddled oil-canned under even slightest loading, the interior was rough and the hull design was low on final stability. The low price put them in a lot of liveries till the Discovery series came out. Weight is high for fiberglass in that length and its not notably faster than a 174 Discovery.

The above poster with a 169 does not have the same boat. The 169’s are all poly versions of the Tripper,they have recurved stems and more rocker. The 174 has angled stems and a sharper entry.

How do I get it home?
Thanks to everyone who gave some advice. I ended up agreeing to buy the discovery 174. Most of the time I will have a buddy with me fishing, so I think the 174 was the right move.

My next question is what is the best way to get it home? I have a dodge dakota regular cab. I do not have the insert holes in the rails of my truck bed, nor do I have a trailer hitch. So the ideas I have seen for racks will not work. Any suggestions on how to tie the canoe down for a 20 mile trip home at a max speed of 55 mph? I will be crossing bridges over the bay so wind will be a factor.

Is this the canoe that
was on the Pensacola Craigslist? Do you live in or near P’Cola? I am a member of the West Fl.Canoe & Kayak Club. There might be someone near you that could help you get it home if you don’t figure some other way.