I need some help shopping for a new solo fishing craft.I currently have a Grumman 17’ aluminum canoe that I love for two people.It is just to big and heavy for solo trips.A few years ago I bought a future beach 11’ sit on top Kayak that worked great for fishing and was almost impossible to tip.As I got older it started hurting my back on all day trips so I sold it.I then thought my answer would be a smaller canoe.I then bought a used Old town pac 10 or 11’canoe.This was very light and great for hauling and loading,It was just to unstable for my fishing needs.I sold this canoe and I am now looking again.I want something very stable,very comfortable and still small enough to throw in the truck.I am open for sugestions and thank everyone for any help…Joe
Almost all the fishing from this craft will be smallmouth fishing on creeks and smaller rivers.No whitewater or large lakes…thanks
Lots of good options, but most not cheap. Better solo canoes run more in the 14-15’ range and are made of other than thermoformed plastics.
Sit In Kayak
For small water fishing I have a Heritage Featherlite. It has a large opening and an opening behind the seat. I use a snap on pole holder when the pole is not in the opening behind the seat. Very light - 30 some lbs. Very comfortable and it is a good beginners boat for friends to come along also. Heritage is out of business but you can find them used. Look at Pungos also.
Two questions you aren’t expecting:
1: How are your knees?
Time and again, people ask about solo canoes and stability, but if you have the ability to make use of your knees, stability becomes a non-issue even in worse water conditions than most people go out in. It seems that very few people consider kneeling because they don't even know how it's done, or how to slightly modify the boat to make it work well.
We just talked about this on another thread. Setting up the seat so that it's high enough for your feet to slide beneath it, and so that it slants slightly forward, makes for very comfortable kneeling (put a pad on the floor for your knees, though they will carry just a small proportion of your body weight). This cures most back problems too. You can then also install a footbrace in front of you and also use the slanted seat for sitting. It works really well.
#2: Have you really put the stability to the test?
Unless you are a really big guy, I can't imagine stability issues with an Old Town Pack. One thing that "fools" a lot of beginners into thinking a canoe is unstable is the feeling of the boat moving beneath them. Of COURSE it is going to move! But it's not going to tip over as long as you keep most of your body within the confines of the boat and as long as you don't try to lean on one of the gunwales to hold yourself up. I bet you just need to get used to the thing.
The seat might be a little too far behind center for the best stability (that's the case on most of the Old Town Packs I've seen). Moving the seat so it's immediately behind the centerpoint (if the seat isn't already there) will make a significant improvement.
One neat little solo canoe that beats the pants off an Old Town Pack is the Novacraft Trapper. You aren't likely to find a used one for sale, and test paddling is probably out of the question, so you might not want to jump at the idea, but some people like them.
Maybe you'd like something like a Raddison or Sports Pal. Both are very fat, lightweight aluminum canoes which are more cumbersome to serious paddlers but liked by many.
have you looked at the Next?
I moved my seat on my old town to make it better.It was a great canoe for paddling rough and calm water.It just didn't work for my aggressive bass fishing style. I couldn't imagine anyone casting and fishing all day on their knees.....Joe
Second the Next
The Next is similar to your pack boat, but more stable.
Truck has 8’ bed?
If so, with the tailgate down, you should be able to manage a 14’ canoe without going to a rack.
I gather from your comments that sitting in a kayak style seat hurts your back, and you think kneeling for a long time will hurt your knees. Kneeling gets easier with time - if your knees don’t have real physical problems that stretching and conditioning won’t help. I find that the more time I spend kneeling in my solo canoe, the longer I can do it with comfort. Of course, that assumes proper fit, positioning of the seat, and decent padding for knees. But only you can determine if that can work for you.
We still don’t know what your budget is or what kind of waters you want to paddle, but I can make a suggestion for all-around use on inland waters. Check out the 14’ Wenonah Fisherman. Very stable and not too big to solo in moderate conditions. Available in lightweight layups, and even the old royalex version wasn’t too heavy.
Jackson Coosa or Cuda
Jackson makes some comfortable sit on top fishing kayaks with high initial stability. Check out their product line at a demo day if you can.
They have the Big Rig for big water and Coosa and Cuda for smaller water. I have a Coosa myself, and even though it is pretty short it supports my prodigious bulk well and is a good bit faster than I’d have expected.
Wilderness System’s Ride is also a comfortable and fast ride with high initial stability.
Consider rowing that beast of a Grumman.
In my younger days, I soloed 16’ Grumman canoes in whitewater up to class III. It can be done.
Now that I’m middle aged, fat, and slow, I’m not about to burn my knees on the bottom of an aluminum boat. I have a 17’ canoe that I fitted with oars. I can handle it solo with relative ease - though I skip the whitewater in it, the boat could surely handle it.
If you want a new boat, an SOT kayak will work great for you. But if you are looking for a way to solo, and are willing to make your Grumman work, try outfitting it with some oars and rowing from the center seat.
Stay safe and have fun.
- Big D
i fish with a 15’ pre 72 grumman, double ender.mostly alone but also with my 11 yr of nephew.
outriggers from Spring Creek Canoe Outfitter, Mt Iron, Mn, 1-800-937-8881 solved the problem. well made, in Mn, family owned and operated, lightweight, durable, easy to put on and take off and transport in its own bag. Way to many advantages to list but web site says it all…
they were a pleasure to deal with
Solo Kayak Shopping
You have a lots of choices for your solo kayak, and you can go online to locate a kayak shop close to you. I usually just borrow it from my friends as I’m not really into kayaking on a regular basis. Though, a number of my friends who go kayaking on weekends are shopping for their kayaks from Dragon Kayak, one amongst the best kayak retailers in Brisbane, as they provide additional guidance to buy kayaks and equipment needed.