revisiting the fishing canoe (OT Pack)

-- Last Updated: Jul-04-14 3:52 PM EST --

I recently started a thread asking about the merits of the Wenonah Vagabond vs the Hemlock SRT. I appreciate all of the comments, and have a better understanding of things now.

I want a canoe that is appropriate for fishing. This is key. It will also be used for camping and general exploring, and might (might) be used to transport someone to a spot a mile or so out into a lake for a picnic. To the extent that the canoe will be used on rivers, they will be wider with riffles at most. I would also use it, though rarely, on protected salt water.

I stand 5'6" and weigh 160 lbs.

I've chosen a canoe as a boating platform since it is light, and can be car-topped, is not a kayak (which gives me motion sickness), and is usable in a nearby pond that is paddle-only.

Aside from the paddle only pond, I'd mount an electric trolling motor to it (20 lbs), and have either one or two batteries (25 lbs each). Myself, the motor, two batteries, fishing and camping equipment would come to about 300 lbs.

I am thinking that a great option might be to get a used OT pack. They can be had for $500, and weigh under 35 lbs. One of the main reasons that I'm looking at this canoe, is the wider beam. I'd imagine that it would be less than ideal for paddling, but then, it's not going to be paddled that much.

The key here is that I'm thinking of attaching a skeg with either epoxy or a combination of epoxy and bolts. This would allow the otherwise poor-tracking 12-foot pack to track a little better.

Though motoring is probably frowned upon in these parts, this is the plan.

So, is there anything misguided about any of this?


A kayak gives you motion sickness, but a canoe won’t?

All I can say is try out the Pack before buying. I tried one and it is VERY tippy.

Its a stable barge relatively
if you find its tippy you can lower the seat. Ergo it becomes more kayak like…

The seat is rather aft so you lose some bow control and have to steer like you do a shopping cart when you push it backwards… but tracking should not be a problem if you spend enough time on the water getting a good correction stroke right… and not making the all too common error of letting the paddle describe an arc continuing past your hip

A rudder IMO is an unnecessary appliance for this craft but you could contact Old Town as to its feasibility… Rudders are kind of fragile things and don’t take kindly to contact with trees during a bushwhack.

i’ve never had a problem with motion in a canoe. only kayaks. I don’t know why.

so, one of you is saying that it’s stable, and another is saying that it’s a stable barge. any other thoughts?

it wouldn’t be a rudder, it would be somewhat more durable. but, maybe it would not be necessary.

yes its stable for me
but I come from paddling a whole lot of tippier solo boats.

Some of the definition of tippy comes from ones background and what they are used to.

And there are only tippy people… go back to that loose hips thought.

Head in bounds practically guarantees you won’t be in the water

“VERY” tippy?

– Last Updated: Jul-04-14 6:05 PM EST –

I can't imagine the Pack being called tippy. It has a flat bottom, so how tippy can it be? I've seen it described as a barge numerous times, but never tippy. I wonder if it might be the only small canoe you have ever tried. Or maybe you are just much too heavy for a canoe of that size.

Old Town Pack

– Last Updated: Jul-05-14 9:24 AM EST –

In the reviews section on Pnet; there are 120 reviews of the Old Town Pack.

In my opinion, anyone who finds an Old Town Pack(width 32 inches) to be "tippy", has not spent a lot of paddling time in an Old Town Pack, or any canoe for that matter.
Just using the word "tippy" sets off a lacks experience alarm in my brain.


I believe this same person mentioned in another thread that the Pack was tippy. I owned one for a number of years and put a lot of miles on it and never found it to be tippy…heck, I only turned the thing over once in all that time, and that was while trying to go over a five foot sloping concrete dam on a small creek (not enough volume to cause a dangerous hydraulic at the bottom, but I caught a lump in the concrete going over and turned partially sideways when I hit the bottom).

The Pack was VERY slightly tender with the seat in the factory position, but moving it forward about 6 inches solved that completely, and also helped with tracking. Lowering the seat an inch or two would accomplish the same thing but I wouldn’t have found it necessary…I moved the seat forward expressly to aid with tracking, not to make it less tippy, since I didn’t find it tippy to begin with.

Having said all that, I think the Pack is inferior as a fishing platform compared to the Vagabond. My fishing in it was done on class I-II streams and small lakes, never on big water with bigger waves. I don’t think I’d choose either one for what the original poster wants. I also wouldn’t take another person in either one, unless it was a very small person. I’ve hand my wife in my Vagabond with me once, just to go a few hundred yards, and neither of us are big people. I wouldn’t want to go a quarter mile with another person in it, let alone a mile. Nor would I want to take either the Pack or the Vagabond anywhere there was a good chance of bigger waves.

bigger waves
You said:

and that was while trying to go over a five foot sloping concrete dam on a small creek (not enough volume to cause a dangerous hydraulic at the bottom, but I caught a lump in the concrete going over and turned partially sideways when I hit the bottom).

Unfortunately, I plan on doing this every single time I use the canoe.

Just kidding. What do you consider “big water” and “big waves”. I won’t be using it in the great lakes. I lake 30 miles long and a few miles wide with power boat wakes would be a usual venue. Why would the vagabond make a better fishing platform?

If I
were looking for a nice canoe for fishing Wenonah’s Fisherman would be my choice.You could mount a trolling motor as one of the reviewers here did and throw in a center seat and oar locks for more versatility.

Another option
Dear music,

If you can find one used you might want to take a look at the Old Town Osprey. It’s a 14 1/2 canoe available with a middle seat and oarlocks to make it into a rowing station.

I have never personally paddled one but I am looking for one myself to use as a solo fishing canoe. They come up for sale around me from time to time but they seem to sell quickly which tells me that they are popular canoe fishing boats.

I need something bigger than you need though because I’m 6’5" and 340 pounds. I am also considering a number of 15 - 16 foot tandem canoes like the Mad River Explorer, Old Town Discovery 158 or 16 ft Penobscot, etc.

If I can find one of those canoes or a a similar model used at a decent price I will add a middle seat and oarlocks to it.

I want a canoe for fishing other than my Novacraft 17 Prospector. It’s the heavy SP3 version and while I can handle it myself getting it on the Suburban and into the water is too much like work for me anymore.

Good luck in your search.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Any lake that big…
can produce 2-3 foot swells and whitecaps when the wind blows across it, let alone the length of it. It would not be anyplace I’d want the Pack or the Vagabond on. Speedboat wakes, unless really excessive, don’t bother me much; you can turn into them as long as they aren’t incessant, or as long as the motorhead doofuses don’t intentionally mess with you by passing too close. But fighting big wind driven waves trying to cross a big lake will tire you out in any canoe, let alone one with the low sides and lack of volume of the Pack or Vagabond. Of course, you can go by the weather forecast and avoid being on the lake when there’s a chance of lots of wind, but sooner or later you’ll be caught out in a gale if you fish it a lot.

Other than that, though, the Vagabond is just as stable as the Pack, is faster, tracks better, and the longer length makes rod stowage easier. It has other advantages in moving water, but it sounds like that isn’t your area of emphasis.

If you plan on using the trolling motor a lot, you should probably follow the advice of those who are advocating one of the “fishing” canoes, a short, wide, maybe even square-stern tandem. But everything is a trade-off, and you sacrifice some ease of loading and unloading and a lot of paddling performance with those canoes.

think the wind/swell conditions under

– Last Updated: Jul-06-14 10:44 PM EST –

which you still choose to fish would determine my choice of hull design & volume. ..With serious weight + windy conditions + fishing...just my $.01 but I think I might want more shouldered tumblehome + volume to enable concentration on the fishing rather than survival....

Bernie has the right idea.
Since you say you will rely on a motor everywhere except the small pond, you might as well go a little bigger and get the Wenonah Fisherman. Much better canoe than the OT Pack, and a passable tandem.

Also - no need for a skeg if you are using a motor or paddling on a smal pond.