small canoe as fishing platform

I currently have a canoe, as a fishing platform, that’s far too heavy for me. It weighs close to 80 lbs and is a pain to move.

I’m thinking of getting something smaller. I will use it with either an electric trolling motor (which I currently have) or possibly a 2HP at some point in the future.

The old town pack seems like a pretty good choice, given its size and weight and availability on the used market. However, I am also considering the sitting on the bottom of a small kneeler canoe. I had considered something like the hemlock kestrel, but was told that it doesn’t really have the stability for fishing, though I haven’t tried it. I also don’t need world-class handling, as I won’t really be paddling it.

I was thinking that a wee lassie, nessmuk, or something similar when sat in with a seat high enough to get me out of the billage water (3 in., maybe?), rather than kneeled in might work well, and be very light, and pleanty stable. I do wonder how landing a large fish in such a thing would work out. Any thoughts?

Forget about…
those canoes you mentioned if you’re wanting to use any kind of a motor. The Old Town Pack is doable with a small trolling motor, but takes a lot of special outfitting to make it work. You have to be able to reach the motor from your seat, which is near the center of the canoe, and reach it easily enough to not only run it but also deploy it and lift it out of the water. This, of course, almost requires a short canoe like the Pack. BUT…the shorter the canoe is, the less efficient it is at being propelled by the trolling motor or a small gas motor, because you have to use a side mount, and with a side mount the short canoe will be wanting to go through the water cocked at an angle instead of being parallel to the direction you’re going, which means that it’s always wanting to turn one way and resists turning the other way.

I owned a Pack for years, and tried using a trolling motor with it. After a lot of Rube Goldberg type rigging, I finally figured out a way to mount it on the very front end of the canoe and be able to reach it to lift it out of the water from the center seat. It worked well that way, but ultimately I still found it more trouble than it was worth; for my purposes, smallmouth fishing on small rivers, it was easier to just paddle it.

Different line of attack

– Last Updated: Apr-23-15 11:00 PM EST –

Does your canoe have a carrying yoke? Most big, heavy canoes do not (because most big, heavy canoes are cheap), even though they present the greatest need for that. For the average person, being able to carry the canoe on your shoulders is the only way to handle a canoe that heavy, and once you develop a couple of tricks for getting the boat into the carrying position, it's really not too bad for most carries between the car and shore (one of those tricks should be part of your rooftop loading system, so boat-handling at one end of the carry is always quite easy (I can describe that method if/when the time comes)).

Besides, as Al has already said, if you want to use a motor you'll do best with a big canoe.

Also, rigging up a solid motor-mounting system on a lightweight canoe will be no simple thing (it would have been much easier in the days before electric motors for *small* boats became virtually extinct. Who needs 40 pounds of thrust for a canoe?).

not raise the motor?
The canoe does have a yolk. I’d still rather have something far lighter. As for loss of efficiency, I don’t care that much.

What would present the greatest challenge (potentially) would be lifting the motor in/out of the water. Why would it have to be moved at all? Couldn’t I board the canoe in knee-deep enough water with the motor deployed, and just leave it deployed?

Why smaller?
If weight is your only concern and you plan to drop some cash anyway why not just get a boat that’s the same size but lighter? There are many big stable canoes that weight significantly less than eighty pounds and are easy to handle on and off the water.

As much as I prefer long efficient canoes, this is one time where the short stubby 12’Sportspal shines. In its Raddison configuration with foam seats, its under 43#. Its a tad more in the Meyers configuration, but still very light. Very,very stable, with foam sponsons on either side for additional secondary stability. They come with a motor mount that is best suited for an electric trolling motor, oar locks, light duty paddles/oars and in the Meyers version, foam or bench seats.The bench seats are the better choice for fishing. Near me the dealer that has handled them the longest from both companies is Oak Orchard Canoe in Waterport NY.

The Raddison is Canadian made, the Meyers is from Ohio.


You could…
in the average situation if you’re fishing flat water and deep rivers. But not all situations are average, and there will be times when you’ll need to lift the motor quickly.

And trust me on this, you don’t want a motor mounted on the side of a short canoe. It simply won’t operate well. As I said, it will want to turn one way all the time, and won’t respond well at all when you try to turn it the other way.

If you really want a motor, the Sportspal recommendation below is probably your best bet. Second best would be to pay the cash for a longer canoe made out of materials that don’t weigh nearly as much.