I’m trying to choose a fishing canoe that can be either rowed from a center seat or tandem paddled for fishing on restricted access lakes & reservoirs. I’ll be carrying it in an 8ft. bed pickup and would like to be able to launch and retrieve it solo. A motor isn’t a consideration at this time…would kind of like to get away from them at times; so a square stern isn’t mandatory (but may prove useful later).
Two of the boats I’m considering, OT Predator 15 ss and the Grumman Sport Boat are fairly heavy, weighing in at around 112 lbs. At first I thought they would be way too much to handle solo but then discovered the two-wheeled canoe carriers and now consider them a possibility. Will a canoe carrier allow solo launch & retrieve of a canoe this heavy? I’m over 6’ tall and in good shape for a 60 yr. old.
The Predator and Sport Boat both have keels which, I feel, would make them easier to manage in the wind on relatively open water. My third choice, the OT Osprey, doesn’t and might be a handful. On the other hand, it’s probably far more agile than the other two and much better for paddling.
I expect to troll, cast, and fly fish from a seated position; so stand-up stability probably isn’t needed.
A good rowing boat is a joy. I like to be able to put my back into the strokes and not have knee interference problems on the returns. I’ll probably row on solo outings and paddle when someone else comes along. Probably the majority of outings will be solo
I’m interested in what the experienced paddlers here think of these choices and if there are other considerations. My experience is limited to paddling a square stern 15’ Grumman for most of my youth and now a Royalex OT Hunter 14 in my old age. I think very highly of both canoes/manufacturers.
Why not a double ender Predator.
Its slightly wider and weighs in the 85+/- range. That makes it a much easier boat to handle loading and unloading and trekking to the lake with it on a cart. There are carts out there that will handle a 115 lb canoe, but you’ll probably want 20" wheels to help make it a bit easier to tow down to the water.
If you are planning to put a motor on it at a later date, a double ender will do fine with a 2 hp or so outboard and very well with a trolling motor. Maybe its just me, but I wouldn’t break my back with a 115 boat. I’ve been down that trail with a jon boat, weighed about the same. It gets old.
Another Old Town you may want to consider is one of the Guide series. Its wide enough to be comfortable rowing and lighter than your choices. It comes in the 147 model and 160 model. The 147, though smaller, is quite roomy and weighs in at 72 lbs. The 160 can carry a whale of a load and is 82 lbs.
Something you may want to consider if you are going to be fishing solo is a solo canoe. I’ve a Wenonah Sanpiper, 13.5 ft (no longer made) that weighs 40 lbs in Royalex. I’m looking with great desire at either a Vagabond at 14.5 or a Prisim at 16.6 ft. Neither look too good for a motor, or for rowing, but paddle well with a double blade. Wenonah also makes some fine family type canoes that could work and be paddled.
Take a look at these
These are on my short list. Leaning more toward the guide boat.
The Hornbecks also come with a rowing option. Look under accessories.
Or the Old Town Pack, its a nice
one for small lakes and ponds. I’ve heard its best to lower the seat a bit for stability, but it is light and will carry a load. Less expensive too.
Seeing as you want to troll you could set up your canoe with a rowing option like this.
I’ve used a canoe cart plenty and yes, it will haul a load if you get the right one. Something like this.
It’s the third one down.
I use one to haul my OT Penobscot around when I solo it.
The Pack is a good canoe too. I’ve used one for three years and even though I now paddle a high end kevlar solo I still enjoy the Pack for beaver ponds and smaller lakes. At 33 lbs and around $700 it’s a nice little canoe. I had lowered the seat on mine, but raised it back up as I found it harder to disembark with the seat lower.
Rowing Rig looks cool.
Thanks. I might try that on the Hunter.
The lakes I primarily hope to fish with this rig are not small. They are among the smallest of the Fingerlakes, but far from ponds. As such, they are 17 and 7 miles long and close to a mile across, though somewhat protected by high ground/ridges on each side.
I've been tempted by the OT Pack before and would love to have one. Unfortunately, I think (could be wrong) that fishing from a Pack would be challenging on these waters, much the same as it would be from my Hunter. If everything stayed calm it would be alright; if the wind came up, boat handling might be a problem.
The reference to ponds may have been misleading; though this rig would find use on such waters.
OT Guide idea interesting.
Found a used 16’ Guide nearby on the Web. Price seems reasonable. Might go take a look at it.
Would have to fit it out with a center seat and oarlocks, but would be free to fiddle with it until I got things just right. The cost is but a fraction of what a Sport Boat or a Predator SS would cost and there wouldn’t be the stigma of hacking up a new boat. The 16 does have a keel of sorts and I think that’s important on a lake. 82 lbs. is certainly less than 112 lbs; but I’d probably still want some kind of dolly system to handle it solo.
If it turns out to be a dumb idea, I won’t have spent big money. Thanks for the push.
The Wenonoh solos, especially the
Prism and Vagabond would do fine on those lakes. My Sandpiper does well on the 14,000 and 30,000 surface acre lakes I paddle. Both are open to the wind except in coves. But, if you are more comfortable in a larger canoe, that’s understanndable.
Big Lake boats
I used the Pack on some big Texas impoundments for a couple of years and have had it on some big lakes here in Maine. It does do quite well in the wind, though it tends to feel a bit tippier than my other canoes.
The Penobscot is rock solid as a solo on any big or small lake I’ve been on in most conditions. Heavy winds can make it tough to paddle. A big comfortable, stable canoe to solo.
However, the Wenonah Prism is without a doubt the best big water boat I have ever used. The wind will tend to push it around some if you are not paddling, but it’s only 34 lbs, so I would expect that. However, while under way the wind has almost no effect on it, it will go where you want it to and it is quite stable for a narow solo canoe. It has become my number one canoe for day trips and fishing.
Finger Lakes region, huh? Where abouts? I grew up in Upstate NY, Chenango County.
Dagger Reflection 15
is no longer in production. However,if you can find one used, it meets your requirements perfectly (in my opinion). The Dagger’s a tandem that’s set up for both solo and tandem paddling. It’s about 65 lbs. I’m also 60 and sold my Dagger a couple years back to buy a kayak, mainly because the yak’s lesser weight made it easier to handle.
From what I’ve read, the solution
to the tippy feeling of the Pack is to lower the seat. I’m not as familiar with the Pack, but my Sandpiper was quite tippy feeling. It doesn’t heel well, flipped it once trying to retrieve a line that was hung up. I’ve lowered the seat about 2" and it now seems as stable as my OT Loon 138.
Try the OT Ospry
it comes in 14 and 16 i think and it comes already set up for rowing. I bought an OT disco 160 made for rowing and it was set up similarly. The only thing these boats need for better rowing is foot braces. For my boat I added adjustable braces like they put in kayaks. It really lets me pour on the steam. the longer boat will be heavier but it will row a little faster.
Yeah, I like the Osprey
Looking at that on the OT site is what started all this. Not too heavy, not too radical, set up for rowing…which I’ve always enjoyed, made of Royalex…which I’ve had very good luck with, and not overly expensive.
Some of the other canoes mentioned don’t seem to be all that different on paper from the OT Hunter I already have. If I were replacing the Hunter, they’d definitely get a close look. But why get a solo if you have a small tandem that solos well? A big tandem that solos well, like the Penobscot, would seem to have something to offer on big water. But the rowing feature kind of makes the solo paddling capabilities a moot point.
Still, my experience is quite limited and it’s certainly worthwhile to hear from those who have been round the bend a few times. Maybe something will sink in.
Just don’t sink with it.
The word gives me chills when talking about water craft.