Fishing Solo

I have been wondering how many of you P-netters fish from am solo canoe. How long did it take you to gert used to the narrowness of the boat for fishing? Also, when on a solo trip with lots of portaging, have you ever taken a small anchor, or is that just too unnecessary to carry?

Recently bought a Wenonah
Sandpiper used. Its a 13.5’ solo…smaller brother of the Vagbond. My other fishing craft include two rec kayaks and an big tandem canoe. At first, the Piper seemed a bit squirrely, even after I removed the angled blocks that set the seat up for kneeling. But, but the third time out, it felt almost as stable as my Old Town Loon 138. Of the two, my kayaks are better on windy days, especially if the waves begin kicking up on the lake. The Sandpiper is faster when paddled with a doublebladed paddle.

I primarily catfish these days…the lake that’s 2 miles from my home holds lots of catfish, not many bass. For that, I use some good size rods and reels, Abu 6500 and Penn 209’s mounted on saltwater Ugly Stick rods, I’ve noticed no significant problem.

Solo canoes come in several different types and widths. Canoes like the Old Town Pack are fairly wide, know for stability, and light. The Vagabond and Sandpiper are narrower. Clipper makes a 14 ft Prospector solo I’d love to paddle. Its wider than my Sandpiper, but looks great for carrying gear, camping out of, and river trips. Bell has a few solo canoes that make good fishing boats, as does Swift.

How and where you fish has a lot to do with determining what is going to work best. Canoes are not as easy to rig for fishing as are kayaks, not that it matters much if you only carry one, maybe two rods and, if you carry two, don’t try to fish both at the same time. But, they can be rigged for fishing in a manner similar to a kayak.

Solo Canoes
I used to fish solo out of an OT Penobscot 16. Then started using an OT Pack. It’s a bit more tender than the P-16, but still very enjoyable. Picked up a Wenonah Prism this spring but as yet have not had it on the water. We still got ice here in Northern Maine, but hope to get out in the next week. I fully expect the Prism to be more tender than the OT Pack, but I could be wrong as it is longer. Most reports I have read say it is pretty stable to fish from.

Let us know how the Prism works for
fishing. Folks are so kayak fishing crazy around here that sometimes nice canoes like the Prism go cheap. Its on my short list, kevelar, tuf-weave, or royalex.

some solo canoes

– Last Updated: Apr-19-07 10:26 PM EST –

are really touring canoes and not meant for dedicated fishing. I started out in an SOT kayak many years ago and as my interest in paddling longer distances needed a more efficient means of transport. I now fish out of a QCC400x touring kayak and a Bell Merlin 2 solo canoe. The solo canoe is my favorite paddling and fishing platform. I do not recommend it as a fishing canoe because it will feel quite tippy for first time solo canoers. There are other solo canoes that are better suited for fishing such as the Wenonah Vagabond which was my first solo canoe. It however is not as fun to paddle as my Bell Merlin but all depends on what your priorities are. One thing you can do is lower the seat as much as possible while in a touring canoe. I like to kneel so that means 4" max. Adding weight like a cooler and fishing tackle which we all take anyway, also makes it more stable. The solo canoe is a great alternative to the SOT kayak for fishing.

Camping: Do camp quite a bit and do so in a very ultralight no nonsense way. Don't need much to enjoy an evening in the wilds. An anchor...get a mesh bag and fill it with rocks when you want to fish they sell these or you can make your own. No need to lug an anchor on a portage trail.

I fish and camp out of my Hemlock Peregrine solo canoe and although I’ve avoided portages for a couple of years, I still don’t bring an anchor. I use a nylon mesh bag, fill it with some rocks, and tie it to a line.

I bring along a set of outriggers and sometimes just keep them on to fish. Other times I don’t bother with them…depends on the conditions and how much oomph I’m putting into my fly cast that day.

when I figure out
what I am doing with the solo canoes I am getting a Hemlock Kestrel. How tippy is the Peregrine to fish from?

For anchoring, you can also use a brush
anchor. There are a couple of types. Mine is basically a heavy wire spring clamp. Clamp it to limbs, brush, logs and stickups in the water, all sorts of vegetation. I’ve even clipped to hydrilla weed mats…those get thick in these parts, go down deep. A brush clamp cost about $4 for the wire variety, $7 for the steel clamp.

The bag anchor is great if portaging and you need an anchor, but not the weight. Also, its very compact. Can’t use one where I fish, more mud than dirt, sand , or rocks.

Usually I just drift fish letting the wind and current give my fly action. However this year I intend to try some long leader flyfishing and will need to use an anchor to hold my position and allow the fly to settle near the bottom. I’ve had good success in the past with three types. The brush anchor works well when I find something to clip onto, usually good for me in weedy areas. A drift anchor to slow me down when it gets to windy and my favorite, a 3 lb. rubber coated dumbell from WallyWorld.

Jerlfletcher, will definitely give a report on the Prism. I bought it primarily to do long day trip fishing excursions. I am chomping at the bit to get it wet and pitch a few flies. Ice out trout and salmon are suckers for a slowly trolled wooly bugger or black ghost.

In our inshore coastal shallow water fishing we also use a stake out pole which is basically a 60" rod you quietly push into the shallow mud to hold your position while you cast. You can make this out of PVC or an old broken fishing rod even a broken golf club or can buy one already made. The brush grip works well for us in small creeks but only in winter because if you grip close to those mangroves in the summer…you’ll be eaten alive by the skeeters and no see ums!

Prism canoe, looks like a great fishing solo and touring solo. Saw alot of them when I was in the BWCA and asked the folks using them how they liked the canoes. The response was favorable from those fishing from them.

Lots on the Texas coast use pool cues.

– Last Updated: Apr-20-07 10:44 AM EST –

Stake out poles work in fresh or salt water, with sit on tops and sit insides or canoes. But, if the bottom is hard as in rocky, they're not much help unless you can find a place to wedge them.

Beachcamper, do you use your brush clip to hook up to the stake out pole?

I’m a Biggun
I weigh a bit more than I should for the boat so it’s a bit tippy feeling but has good secondary stability. In order to really go for it and relax, I put the stabilizers on. If you’re a normal sized person, the Kestrel should make a great fishing solo.

Vagabond and Magic
I fish from the Vagabond in rocky moving water (royalex) or when day fishing in local lakes. I use the Magic (kev-lite)for over night fishing trips (so far up to 1 week but a 2 weeker coming). I sometimes take an anchor on trips. It is a folding anchor that weighs about 2 pounds.

I find both canoes adequate fishing platforms once you get used to fishing from a canoe.

I’ve found my Sandpiper in Royalex
to be good for fishing. Its the baby brother of the Vagabond, no longer made. But, stake out poles don’t work well in rocky environments.

Solos and fishing
I fish out of a 16’ Swift Shearwater. It is perfect for my fishing habits. I have a bow and stern anchor anchor that I can deploy as needed. It is super smooth due to the pulleys and cam cleat setup. I can easily let out more line or pull the anchor up. It works so smoothly that I lost my stern anchor, water was deeper than I thought or the rope was shorter than I thought either the way the one smooth action all the way to the bottom. As for the anchor, I am using a couple of those rubber coated dumbells, they are cheap and work well.

solo canoe fishing
I’ve fished from canoes for a long time. Most family types 16-17 feet and weighing on average of 85lbs. My wife doesn’t like to fish and being in the sun for to long is not good for any more.

This had me looking for a very lite weight canoe that handled well and I could fish from. I finally chose the Old Towne Pack. I’ve had it for about 6 mo. I’ve fished on lakes,streams and back waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It fits me and I’m very pleased with it. That’s my 2 cents.

Just returned from fishing,
also cleaning the fish. Caught 16 catfish, one a whopper of 9 lbs. Also two white bass. All were caught from a 13.5 ft Wenonah Sandpiper. At 40 lbs, its become my favorite lake and slow river boat. But, I think I’d like to get the Voyager or something similar now. Need more capacity, the canoe was a drag paddling back the two miles to the put-in with 30 lbs of fish.


– Last Updated: Jun-23-07 6:59 AM EST –

Sounds like a fine day on the water. I have been out at least 2-3 days per week since ice out. The Prism is everything I hoped it would be and then some. Yesterday was a 50 fish day, though most were big bluegills, some perch and a few trout. All caught on the same red/grizzly wooly worm I tied. Going to a new, deeper lake today got my spoons all shined up for salmon and lake trout.

Thought I would add a note on anchoring. Though I have used the foam covered dumbell before and liked it, I found it a pain in the a$$ to recover when secured to the bow of the Prism. I'm now using the drift anchor most of the time and am very pleased with the results. The brush anchor gets the nod when there is something to clip onto.

Drift anchors are great. These days
when anchoring in one place, I’m using the brush anchor 70% of the time. As for the dumb bell, I used to just stick it under the closest deck bungee.

rarely ever anchor
I fish small rivers primarily and use my Mad River Indy the most often. Rarely do I ever anchor or carry an anchor, just drift thru taking advantage of upriver flows and eddies. You really learn how to read a river when you fish as you see subtle reactions of the water to obstacles like rocks, sandbars and bends. You actually become the fish and get a first class canoeing lesson when you fish from a responsive canoe.

I use an ultralight pole and typically with a panther martin for trout and the same PM with a small curly tailed grub for smallmouths.

My anchor is a curved 3# lead downrigger. As I need to portage a distance every time I canoe, weight is a factor and only if I fish for carp or set up a camera blind do I take my anchor.