Johnson seems to be everywhere!

I’m still shopping for a good fishing canoe. I stopped in Gander Mountain on the way home today and took a long look at the Rogue River 14TK canoe by Leisure Life Limited, yet another division of Johnson. I found reviews on here of the LLL Waterquest, which is apparently the same boat as sold by Sam’s and other retailers. All sound pretty good. I can’t find a single source of specs on the darn thing though. I assume it’s going to be heavy with the molded in seats and center storage/cooler seat. It has a big long keel which I think might be good as I learn may way around with a paddle.

Any opinions? I had made up my mind to buy the OT Guide 147, but this looks like a good and much cheaper option at $399.


I wouldn’t …

– Last Updated: Aug-04-08 9:20 PM EST –

.......... (the Leisure life that is) I've seen them and don't like anything about them myself . Why add all that extra weight of the moulded junk inside ??
Besides , it takes up space .

A canoe that is open and clean inside leaves you in charge of what goes in it and when .

The L.L.hull is a solid plastic , not laminated like Old Town which has a floatation core in the laminate as well .

My guess is that if you removed the heavy moulded stuff from inside the Liesure Life canoe , you would have a flimsy shell . I've seen them severely deformed even with the extra moulded parts inside .
They use those parts to stiffin the hull and tell you it's a good thing . I don't think so !!!

The Guide 147 is Polylink 3, ..... good stuff


I think the Guide 147 is a much better design than the Leisure life also .
The Guide is longer (which you will want) and about 3' narrower (which is still pretty wide for a 14'-7' boat though) .

You may also notice that the Guide 147 has a keel also , but it does not run the full length of the boat . I think the hull floor inside the Guide is flat on the newer ones (no gutter , can't see keel line from inside).

The O.T.Guide is a well built tough boat and has been around forever . I think the Leisure Life canoes are junk personally , but then again they cost $150. less huh ??

I'd take a good used 15' Coleman with its tubular bracings any day over a brand new Liesure Life ..

Why don't you keep looking awhile longer for a better used model canoe ?? Or just get the Guide 147 new , it's pretty nice boat for the money really , I think ...

ed: ... do you have a Bass Pro Shop around you anywhere . If so , they should have a selection of Old Town canoes there at a good price .
Sign up for and use their credit card and you will probably get 10% off your first purchase too .

Try the "Carlilse" Beavertail or Scout paddles , they are light , inexpensive and work great .
Don't go cheap on PFD's , get the best you can afford ..

If it seems to good to be true
apparently it is! That all makes sense. Sometimes I need to be smacked with a little reality!

We do have a Bass Pro up in Sevierville. I’ve looked there and I think they did have a couple of Guides, but the price wasn’t marked.

Yikes! A Bass Pro credit card! That would not be a good thing!

I prefer the Old Town Guide
Depending on your uses, the Johnson made boat may be fine. I’ve seen a similar one under the Quest brand at Dick’s. Probably the same boat. At $399, it’s a fair price for the boat. It is an adequate boat, and depending on your uses may be just fine. My use would be to site fish with a fly rod in relatively calm rivers with only occaisional rapids and to paddle flat-water and calm rivers with my children. For those purposes, the Johnson made boat would be fine. I’m thinking about getting one myself.

But for versatility in use, responsiveness, weight, and use in swiftwater or class 2 or 3 rapids, the Old Town Guide is simply a superior canoe. Better QC at Old Town, better design, better (or at least lighter) material.

It’s not so much a question of which boat is better, because the Guide is better in nearly every aspect except price. It’s more a question of priorities with your money and your intended uses. The Johnson made boat may be adequate for your needs, carries a fair price for the boat you get, and is suitable to satisfy a lot of paddlers purposes.

  • Big D

I think the credit card is …

– Last Updated: Aug-05-08 5:28 PM EST –

....... just a major one (I forget which), but has the Bass Pro logo on it too . If they will give you 10% discount on first purchase for signing up , it's worth it !!

Cut it in half and /or cancle it after the deal if you think it would be too tempting to use afterwards .

If you get your basic set up all at one time (which you need to do anyway) , Canoe , PFD's , 2 paddles , maybe carry blocks and straps , then that might come to around $850.-$900. , so that's about an $85. discount at the 10% . Buys one PFD almost ..

I strongly recommend those "Carlisle" paddles (wood)(Beavertail or Scout). I think they have Featherbrand paddles there too , but they are too heavy and bulky .. Carlisle has it all over Featherbrand by miles ..

I’ve seen OT Discover canoes at BPS
They’re more expensive, but pretty good canoes…a bit on the heavy side.

The Johnson made boats
Rogue River, Quest, et all are ok provided:

  1. You keep them totally out of the sun when not in use.
  2. You use it exclusively on lakes, ponds or deep rivers. Contact with the bottom, even a sandy one is definitely not desirable.

    These boats are made from thin cheap plastic, patching them permanently is very difficult and they have a significantly shorter useful life than a laminated type (poly link, Royalex, etc) hull. To see what I mean, just check out the condition of a 10 year old Coleman canoe (if you can find one).

    Typically for between a hundred to a hundred fifty dollars more, you can pick up an OT Guide or at BPS an OT Expedition (goes on sale for about $550 to $600)which will provide close to double the useful life if properly cared for. 20 plus year old OT’s, Mad Rivers and many others in good condition abound. Depending on the intended use you might want to consider going used to save money rather than a lesser boat.

Poly canoes can be patched as easily
as poly kayaks. Its not rocket science, though it does take a bit of time to learn and its best to practice on a piece of waste material. Taken care of, a poly canoe will last a long time.

I have a Johnson
I have a 2 seater that’s just under 13ft. I got it at a Dick’s 4yrs ago. It has the Northeast Outfitters logo on the side. I use it on calm water a local creek that is moderately fast at times. It’s great. It has the web mesh seats and is fairly light. I do a good bit of fishing out of it and due it’s flat, stable bottom, I bow fish out of it as well. The plastic is kinda flimsy, but it has a metal tube running most of the length of it for support. The bottom does have some scratches a few gouges from being drug across rocks and gravel, but nothing that’s close to putting a hole in it. For use in easy water, I don’t think you can beat 'em.

I have finally decided…
…to get the Old Town Guide. I found out that Bass Pro has them at $470. For that price, the upside is just too great to pass up. I called the closest one (Sevierville, TN) last week and they had one. By the time I got there today to buy, they had already sold it! But they’ve ordered one for me and I’ll have it next week. I went ahead and picked up pfds, paddles and a car topper kit, so I should be ready to at least paddle around a bit. I can tell already I’m going to put more into bags, boxes, rod holders, etc. but that’s part of the fun!

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who shared their wisdom and experience with me. I’m sure I’ll have many more questions about things as I get out on the water.

Happy paddling everyone and good fishing to you all!

Now remember , gonefishing …
… I was the one who tried to talk you out of that Guide 147 , so don’t take it out on me if you don’t like it !!!

Just kidding , glad you will be on the water soon .

Have a great time , I’m sure you’ll love the Guide , it is a real good all around boat , and you don’t have to baby it . Looks like another Old Town paddler on the way . Be prepared for some negetive comments when you say you paddle an Old Town . It’ll be because they are just jealous , lol …

Now that you’ve spent your money
Wal Mart has or had last week, some decent Stearns PFD’s on sale for $6. They’re an “it’ll do you until you have more money” PFD, also great as an extra for that unexpected passenger.

I saved some on pfds
by buying some on sale at BPS. We spent a lot of time trying different ones and picked ones that were relatively comfortable and fit properly. I will admit that we did buy one for my daughter at Wal Mart. It fit her very well and when I picked her up by the shoulders of the vest, she stayed in it very well. And it had the added bonus of being covered in Barbie stuff! In all seriousness, it is supposed to float her face up and should work fine.

As for the Old Town, I’m not looking to paddle around the world or to run races. I’m interested in getting to the fish with myself and my family dry. Yes, this boat is heavy. I’d love to have an Osprey Angler in Royalex that weighs 2/3s of the Guide. I’d also love to have the $1200 that the Osprey cost! I’ll learn with this boat and if I don’t like it, I’ll sell it and try something else. I have a feeling it’s going to work just fine! I should have it a week from today. I’ll post a report after I take it out for the first time.

Thanks again everyone!

Misguided (get it?) canoe purchases are supposed to be based on Nostalgia NOT consumerism! Sheesh!

why do they call you Mr. Grumpy? I just don’t see it!

Alas, my skinny bank account very often constrains my fun! And have I mentioned my 5 year old? Besides, I don’t have any history with canoes to be nostalgic about! Don’t get me wrong, I think the old cedar strip boats hand-built by real craftsmen are simply beautiful. But so are Ferraris and I don’t have one of those either! Of course, you can’t fish out of a Ferrari…

Good decision
I think you’ll be happy with that boat.

The Johnson boat would be OK too. I take exception with the idea that a poly boat can’t touch bottom. My 1981 Coleman Scanoe would too. The problem isn’t banging over wet and mossy river rocks, but dragging the canoe across gravel, concrete, or macadam. Don’t do that with any canoe.

OT makes some very good designs and builds their canoes well. You should have a real good time in your Guide. That’s the same model my Dad has been considering.

  • Big D

Amen to not dragging over concrete
etc. My Sandpiper has a little burned place from having been drug for about 2 minutes on a concrete sidewalk. Gotta patch it, but for now, duct tape does well.

Troll from a convertable on a bridge?
It’d be wierd, but possible…

  • Big D

Maybe best done on the casueway
to Key West.