Malibu X-factor in BWCA

I just bought a new Malibu X-factor and had it all rigged out from, great guys, good services, check them out… but anyways I’ve been looking to buy a canoe or kayak for a while and fell in love with the x-factor for storage, size and stability and was wondering if I can expect to keep up with my two friends in a 20 ft canoe… they’re both newbie paddlers and will have the majority of the gear in their canoe but I know a loaded up x-factor can be a real barge to paddle… can I expect to keep up with them or should I tie up a tow-line and let them pool me along while I troll?? lol, also has anyone had a X-factor or any other Malibu yak in the BWCA/ Quetico and how’d it fare? I put a rudder on it b/c I know we’ll be on big water and don’t want wind and chop to kill me on the water… I’m gonna get me a yak cart as well which I’m sure my friends will love to see me break out when we go to portage, they’re huffin ruck sacks and a 20 ft canoe and I’ve got everything loaded in my yak wheelin it down the trail!!!

Malibu X-Factor
I just looked up the Malibu X-Factor. I’m sure it will work well for reasons you bought it, but I hate to tell you that it is not suitable for a BWCA trip. At least most BWCA trips, the kind with multiple portages and a fair distance covered.

I think could be used for fishing in the BWCA on an entry point lake. For instance, if you went to Sawbill Lake you could camp at the Forest Service Campground there (drive up access) and take the kayak out for fishing excursions. You could even portage over to Alton Lake for the day which has a wide,level, short portage to it. Return to your camp on Sawbill at night.

If you’re set on using your kayak, I think you need to find a trip that has no portages or one, short, easy portage. You’ll have to have the canoe carry all your gear.

Let us know how it goes. I know of no one that has done a BW trip on SOT kayak.

plus you will need a drysuit
Cant imagine paddling that in the rain; all of you is exposed. Dont know how to mount any kind of portage yoke. Doesnt seem deep enough.

I would suggest the easy way out; rent a solo canoe and paddle it with a double blade.

maybe a fully guided trip
would be the way for you guys to go .it would cost you some money but it may be worth it .It sounds like all 3 of you are rookie paddlers that have not been on a wilderness trip in the bwcaw before,you would learn a ton of stuff from your guide and with their light weight equipment they could get you into some prime fishing lakes in a more remote area. If you do choose to go on your own with your gear i would maybe try the moose lake entry point. you could paddle up to prairie portage which is a motorized portage and is one for the few in the bwca that you can use wheels on ,or you could just pay to be pulled over the portage,anyway after prairie portage you enter basswood lake where there can be very good fishing .its about 6 miles of paddling from the putin on moose to the portage that is on sucker lake basswood is a very large lake with more area than you will likely paddle in a week in a malibu kayak. these lakes all allow motors up to 25 hp (except part of basswood)and are quite busy and to me that takes away from the trip part of what the bwca is to me ,but it is a place where you could go with what you have .

hope this helps,


I shall be the first SOTer in the BWCA
the fully guided trip just won’t happen b/c we can’t afford it plus we want to be on our own, I’ve read a few books on Pike fishing and done it before so I’m not worried about that, if I can’t catch them I know I can catch smallmouth or walleye. Most all our gear will be supplied through our outfitter so we will be packed light… I’ve canoed before so I’m not a rookie, just my two friends that will be in the canoe, I’m not worried about them, they’ll do their own thing and I imagine will be fine… I can’t believe carts aren’t allowed in the BW, why is that?? We’ll be on Ensign the majority of the trip and if a portage is too far I probably just won’t do it, the main reason I’m taking my yak is you get 1 canoe for every two people, hence theres 3 of us I don’t wanna fish 3 men in a canoe for a week and I don’t think our outfitter has one man canoes to rent. We’re hitching a ride to Praire Portage with a jon boat with the canoe racks as mentioned above and making our way to Ensign from there, as far as the elements, I don’t see how you’re any more exposed in a sit on top than a canoe… plus I have a set of frogg toggs if it is rainy or what not…

Three-man canoes.
All BWCA outfitters rent one-man as well as three-man canoes. The three-man canoes generally rent for about the same price as a tandem, perhaps a dollar or two more per day. So, you could rent the three-man for virtually the same price as a two-man.

it won’t be easy for him to fish with 3 in a canoe. If he just gets shuttled or portaged to a lake and base camps then he’ll be fine. However, as previously stated he won’t be fishing the best lakes if he is limited to basecamping.

As to SOT’s vs. canoes, I fish out of SOT’s, canoes and SIK’s you will need some dry pants and top at minimum. Even in late summer the water is very cold and the SOT will have you wet/cold in no time as opposed to a canoe. Check out KFS for further info from folks that fish out of SOT’s on how to dress for immersion.

no 3 man canoe for me

– Last Updated: Feb-16-07 12:25 PM EST –

Problem with that is my two friends aren't that experienced of fishermen whereas I've fished my whole life... They don't want to fish for pike exclusively which is what I wanna do, I don't wanna drive 15 hrs to fish for smallmouth when I can do it 3 mins from my house... Plus I don't want a hook in the eye or to be unhooking every fish... I know they'll probably snag up a lot and have to paddle over to get it and I have more tackle than I should and they have none, if I'm with them they'll just plan on using my tackle rather then getting their own which is what I want, I don't need them leaving every $5 lure I have in a tree... 3 guys in one canoe is just not for me, especially for a week with how big we all are and all our gear, that'd be a bit cramped and to be honest I really wanna take my yak even if I regret portages simply because I wanna be able to go off on my own and fish where i wanna fish. I definately think we can plan it to where we hit some good lakes without having to portage a lot or do long ones and I have a new pair of Frogg Toggs and waders so I'm not much concerned with getting wet.

dont work in the BWCA. You will find out why if you try a portage though with your arrangements that seems like you will avoid it.

I suspect the rule came from people abandoning carts that didnt work. Then its trash.

Fishing for Northerns
To change the subject, you said you’re fishing for northerns but if you couldn’t catch them you’d be able to catch walleyes or smallmouth. It has been my experience that northerns are the easiest to catch, so you shouldn’t be disappointed. In fact, even fishing for walleyes or smallmouth you’ll still catch a fair number of northerns.

Even when not targeting them 20" - 24" norherns are common. When targeting them it is not too uncommon to pull in a 36 incher, and up to 48" is not unheard of. I’m not familiar with kayak fishing, but in a canoe some guys release them along side the canoe with a needle nose pliers (put a string through it so you don’t lose it), some carry a landing net, others paddle to shore to land them for a quick photo.

I’d hazzard to say that most folks up here don’t eat northerns I think mainly because of the Y bones. I don’t mind them. When the other fish aren’t cooperating, and supper depends on a fish, you generally can count on a northern.

For me, I tie on a red&white (or 5 of diamonds) Daredevel if I need a northern, but they’ll hit nearly anything. Larger Meaps work well. I’ve caught a lot of 24 inchers on a jig and twister tail fishing for walleyes. If targeting them, use a steel leader or you’ll get bit off and lose a lot of lures.

yeah I actually picked up a nice kit of spoons at Wal-Mart for like 12 bucks, 6 different large spoons, plain silver, the yellow and red 5 of diamons, the black with white stripe, red with white-stripe and rainbow trout coloration type of design, dropped a few bucks more on some big mepps bucktails and some other weedless spoons and one with a buzzbait type spinner and too many husky jerk and other big crankbaits so I should be good. That’s what I like to hear about Northerns being so easy because probably 10 years ago we drove like 15 hours up into southern ontario above michigan and fished for a week at a lodge and I didn’t catch 1 northern, we caught 2 in a group of 4 so I was really disappointed hence why I’m looking forward to this trip so much… Regardless if carts or illegal I found one thats really small and narrow and should work on rough trails that I plan on bringing, if it did break I’d pack it out, I’m not one to litter… So oh well, alcohol is illegal as well but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from taking it and thats a lot more dangerous then me taking a kayak cart…

You can take booze in to the bwca just not in glass or cans, there is a reason you cant use carts, its because they don’t work in the bwca , I took some one that wanted to try a cart one time and after the trip he understood why I told him he couldn’t .I think there is like 4 or so portages in the boundary waters that allow carts , they are more like a road that a trail . not sure about ensign for fishing,as I have not tried there but I think basswood still holds the states northern pike record ,which is not to far from where you will be. Generally the larger lakes in the bwca all have great fishing and northerns are easy to find in the shallower areas and bays. Good luck and have fun.what kind of 20 foot canoe are your friens taking?


it’s a 20 ft Wenonah canoe but they have a couple other models we can choose from so they might switch over to like a 17 footer or something

Alcohol not illegal
AS zimbob said, alcohol isn’t illegal in the BWCA - can and glass bottles are. You’ll find liquor stores in the area sell booze and even beer in plastic bottles. We buy our favorite booze and just transfer it to a nalgene (plastic) bottle and we’re good to go.