How small can I go.

I want a Meyers Sportspal square back canoe. They come in 11, 13, or 15 foot lengths. They are all the same width, 44” and very stable. My friend has a 15’ and I know I can go shorter than that. However, I’m not sure if the 11’ would be too small.

The 11’ can hold 500 lb max and the 13’ can hold 625 max. I will not be doing any overnight trips. I think the weight will be ok but I’m not sure about the size. Two guys fishing in an 11’ might be tight. Any thoughts?

For TWO guys fishing…
For two guys fishing, I’d go with a 15 or 16 foot boat. A buddy keeps his Michicraft 13’ canoe on my rack. We’ve both fished out of it and it was fine, but we had to be pretty careful about our backswings. A couple extra feet would have been nice. I’ve got a 16’ Scanoe and I feel almost like I need a bullhorn to talk to the guy in the front seat. No problem with backcasts in that boat.

  • Big D

I should have mentioned we will be salmon fishing. That means 90% of the time we will be getting out of the boat. So casting is not a problem. I’m just concerned about fitting gear and two adults in it.

Go with the bigger boat. Its not much
more difficult to cart around or carry on a vehicle. In fact, I find my 17 foot canoe easier to load than either of my shorter kayaks.

Still go with 15’
What’s the advantage that you think you’re going to get with a shorter boat? 15’ isn’t that much larger than 13’, until you’re stuck sitting in it. I’ve got a recreational solo kayak longer than 13’.

The 13’ will do as a gear and backside toter, but what’s the advantage to getting as small as you think you can get away with only to find out that the 15’ is so much more comfortable?

  • Big D

What do I gain with a smaller canoe? 10lb for every 2’ and room in my garage. I usually go with my wife or boy so weight is an issue.

Yes, but…
What do you wish to gain by getting a square stern canoe? I assume you’ll use it with a motor. The 11 footer probably wouldn’t handle anything but a trolling motor. It will be a poor tracking canoe if you want to paddle it, and very slow. You CAN use a trolling motor on any canoe, doesn’t need to be a square stern. Lots of good 15-16 ft. canoes out there that are Royalex or plastic so they aren’t noisy like the aluminum Sportspal, are lighter than the 15 ft. Sportspal and close to the same weight as the 13 footer, are much better paddling canoes, and can still take a trolling motor.

I think the 11 footer is just too small. The 13 footer is marginal. But if that’s all the room you have in the garage and no place else to store it, well, it’s better than no canoe!

Longer is better for two people of
most any size. For two, the 15 is the way to go. You may be surprised that a 15 is easier to load than a shorter boat, but I find it is so. Who ever is in the bow of the canoe will thank you. You will thank yourself because the longer canoe will paddle more easily.

1. I have used a trolling motor on canoes before. If they are not on the rear, as with a square stern canoe, they steer very bad. And you can put a small 2 hp motor on this one.

2. The Sportspal is foam lined so it’s not nosy at all.

3. The Sportspal 13’ weighs 56lbs and holds 650 lbs. I have not seen a plastic type canoe with those features. It also has sponsons on the side and is impossible to flip. I realize it will be tough to paddle. However, salmon fishing you have two adults that paddle for 15 minutes then get out and fish. With me and the family it will be the trolling motor. The only disadvantage is if you want to take a 4-8 hour paddling trip.

You’ve made up your mind, have
determined you don’t want advice, so go buy it.

Mind not made up.
I have not made up my mind. If I did why would I post here? From the replies I can eliminate the 11’. Now it’s a matter of the 13 or 15’.

Think the responses are pretty much in

– Last Updated: Feb-01-07 4:55 PM EST –

favor of a 15. There's no real advantage for the 13 with two or more paddlers that's not outweighed by the longer canoe. If the majority of the time, you are going solo, then the 13 may be good, but with a trolling motor, even the ease of handling a 13 vs a 15 disappears.

15’ for two

– Last Updated: Feb-16-07 1:37 PM EST –

Greetings all. This is my first post here.

I have a square stern Sportspal 13' and I love it, for what it is. I go solo most of the time, but sometimes take a friend. With all of our gear(two rods each, tackle, lunch, raingear, etc) and a large cooler (big enough to hold a 30# King salmon) it is quite snug. No extra room.
Not bad for trolling spinners in the lower rivers for tidewater Kings with an electric, or dragging wooly buggers around the lake, but a little close for fly casting with two adults. Also, if the second adult is a bit large, the 13' is on the verge of being overloaded...kind of a drag when I took my 220# brother for a tour (I weigh 170+ and we were riding pretty low), but fine with my friend's 14-year old son, who is trim and fit.

For two adults to be comfortable, I would definitely go with the 15' and if you plan to use a trolling motor, make it a square stern, as the handling is much better than when using a motor bracket off the side (been there, didn't like it).
These things are beamy and very stable and I stand in mine much of the time, so that I can fly cast to cover along the bank, or at risers in the lake. The stability while standing to cast is the main reason I got it, as these paddle like dogs.

I almost always use one of my trolling motors to make fishing much easier, as well as fighting the wind and tide heading back to the put-in. I really like my Minnkota Riptide 50 for the local estuaries and the South Puget Sound and Hood Canal, and use an Endura 30 for lakes. For all day, I usually take two batteries (except for smaller lakes)...I like the Optimas and also have a Cabelas AGM.
I have made a few custom fittings (removeable swivel seat-mounts, pully anchor system with 10# mushroom to hold in moderate current, removable floor boards, etc.) to make fishing easier and more comfortable. I also ran some 6 gage battery cable to the bow, so I can balance the canoe with my two batteries up front when going solo.
These are NOT whitewater canoes, as they would get destroyed by hiting rocks in the rapids...class 2 would be the upper limit, and that is if you already know the route thru. I prefer a drift boat for fishing out of when running faster rivers, anyway, as you get to go downstream alot slower rowing against the current. (Have a Don Hill 9'6" glass mini-drifter for going solo...sweet! And my buddy has a Willie 16').

I'm now researching to buy a new kayak for ocean fishing off the beach in the Summer. The Jetty beckons!

Be happy to answer any questions about my Sportspal square stern 13'.

Damn that was long-winded! Hope it helps!

Why ain't I out fishin?

Coastal Cutt

For ocean fishing, probably one of the
best is the Fish 'n Dive, heavy and a beast to paddle, but very stable. You may want to check out and Both are great places to research beyond the breakers kayak fishing.

for off the beach
Thanks for the suggestion and the links.

I need something light enough to carry/drag over several hundred feet of berm and beach…thinking of the Ocean Kayak Prowler 15’ (at 56#, its only two pounds heavier than the 13’). I like the idea of the “scupper pup” dolly.

The O.K. Caper Angler, at 11’long, 31" wide, and 45# looks mighty intriguing, but I don’t want to sacrifice distance paddling capability.

I need to try these out!

I’ve only begun my investigations, and don’t plan to purchase a yak til Summer, anyway, as I am just starting to outfit a used SeaNymph 16’ aluminum sled as an estuary/bay flyfishing platform for more extended day trips with buddies. One project at a time! Otherwise things get so jammed up that there’s no time for fishing!


Its not on the website yet, but take
a look at the new Ride by Wilderness Systems. It should be a great kayak for going through the surf, which is what beyond the breakers mean. On the web site, sign up and p.m. a guy named Jolly Roger, he’s the kingpin off the beach kayak fishermen in Texas right now. Friendly and will give you the right advice. Also, just do a search “beyond the breakers”, lots of threads.

I’m a big fan of the Sportspal. For two full grown men, with a lot of gear–go with the 13 foot model.

The 11 is great for solo, or for a adult and a kid.