Solo canoe for fishing

-- Last Updated: Feb-20-12 9:26 PM EST --

I need some help and am brand new here.
The details are these:
I am 36 years old, 5'9'', 250lbs. I paddle 90% of the time on small ponds and lakes. the rest is on not white water rivers and streams. I do not need to be able to pack camping gear, all one day trips. I own a 17' Coleman scanoe pointed both ends, a 14' Old town loon, and a 12' pointed Radisson. I am in love with the Radisson. I would use it to get to work if I could. I love how stable it is, the sponsons have saved me from swimming a few times. it is just awesome to fish from too. But it is in my mind fragile. I refuse to risk it on moving water especially with how low the water levels get here in South Eastern Pa.
now here is the question:
Since I think the Radisson is the best thing ever, what is a more durable option that will feel the same as the Radisson? I am looking at the Old Towns, Mad Rivers, nova craft, and the Native ultimates. I want to be in the 12' area. I also want it to be light weight.

any help would be great, preferably from people that have canoes that they love. Oh and no kayaks please, i want the open top. the Native is as close to a kayak I want to go.

Old Town Pack
I have no idea whether it will handle like the Radisson, but it is a nifty boat that’s affordable. I’m assuming that you don’t want something real expensive to bang around and scrape over ledges on limestone karst rivers with low flow. Also the Old Town Guide might suit you.

I’m sure there are a million other options. If Al A chimes in, listen to him. He’s forgotten more about solo canoes than most people learn.

  • Big D

thank you
I appreciate your response. I am surprised there are no others however. I think I am leaning towards either a n Old town pack or a native tegris. I know opposite ends of the spectrum. I may try to find a used pack and attach a Radisson sponson kit to it.

Al A
where is this Al A you speak of? I would love to hear what he has to say.

You don’t need the sponsons
You really don’t. I think they help add rigidity to the thin material of the Radisson, but a Pack is plenty rigid as is. It would almost certainly be a waste of money on a Pack or Guide.

I understand how they can give you a feeling of confidence, but that’s all they would do on a Pack. Learn to bend side to side at the waist to keep your shoulders square to the horizon no matter what your hips are doing and pretty much you’re going to stay upright in your canoe (assuming water conditions you talked about in the original post).

  • Big D

I know a lot of people hat ehte sponson system, and the Radissons for that matter. But I know first hand on my Radisson they make a huge difference. not always but when they do come into play they are awesome. they don’t add any rigidness to the boat. they keep the gunnels from going under water. when I lean too far to one side, landing a fish, untangling my line from a tree, etc. all of a sudden you get that ''I am going swimming ‘’ feeling but the sponsons keep you dry. I posted in the review section a really funny story about the wife sliding into the water and the sponsons keeping me dry. if the guide or the pack are more stable (initial) then the radison it may not matter. I am sold on the sponsons though I have seen first hand times where they saved me from a swim.

Haven’t been here…
for a few days…

It’s really kinda hard to give you much advice. If you are so worried about flipping your craft that you feel like you need the sponsons, then you probably do need them. No decent canoe is so stable that you can do the same stuff in it that you do in one with sponsons and not flip occasionally. But most paddlers eventually gain enough confidence in their abilities that they neither need nor want “training wheels”. That’s not to say that you get so good you never flip. In 45 years of paddling in everything from lakes to class 3 whitewater, I’ve flipped my canoe a few times…maybe five or six times total. Well, actually I’ve only actually flipped it twice, but I’ve bailed out before it went all the way over the other times.

With your unease about getting rid of the sponsons, though, I’d probably recommend the Native. It IS supposed to be very stable, stable enough to stand in. The Natives have a lot of drawbacks, including less space to store fishing tackle and stuff, more weight, and lower sitting position (for the angler, a higher sitting position is usually advantageous). But if stability is your prime concern, then that may be the way to go.

D’s recommendation of the Old Town Pack is good advice if you want to go with a “real” canoe. It’s reasonably inexpensive, durable, and at 33 pounds it’s a joy to carry from the vehicle to the water, or lift on or off the vehicle. It is FAR from a really good paddling design but is a very serviceable fishing solo. It will handle your weight, but to be honest it won’t handle your weight plus a lot of gear. You might also look at the Mohawk Solo 14, which is a little higher capacity.

training wheels?
I totaly understand what you are saying. I really like the sponsons for fishing. things get out of hand some times with larger fish (pike, muskies Etc. … . ), I would rather have training wheels then get soaked and loose my gear. In the end I think I am buying a Kay- noe (Old town disc 119). the local Dick’s sporting has one left on a huge discount. I called Old Town today and they explained to me what that boat really is. they also told me that they are not making any this year for Dick’s. I really don’t need a fast boat, or a boat that takes a lot of weight, or tracks really well. I really just want something to float the small slow rivers around the house to fish. I will use a kayak paddle to keep the traking smoother. this way I will have the radisson that I love for the lakes and this for the rivers. I think they will handle somewhat similarly. thank you for all the information everyone.

Mohawk Solo 14
Nice canoe. I love mine. I considered an Old Town Pack until I tried one. Paddled like a floating bathtub. The solo 14 paddles very good in windy situations as well. Hope this helps.

Love me Pack
fjp110, you have been given good advise cause Big_D and Al A know thier stuff. I stole ideas from them for years off the old river smallies forum.

I have been riding a Pack going on 4 years and absolutely love it. However, all “Pack” canoes like the OT Pack, OT Disco 119, and Guide 119 have the seat too far back…on purpose. A “Pack” style canoe is designed for a paddler and 100+lbs of gear in the bow. If you go the Pack route, you might want to move the seat forward to trim out the boat for maximum stability, speed, and wind resistance. The high bow will catch wind and spin the boat with the OEM seat position which makes fishing a real chore.

A properly sorted out Pack is an absolute joy to fish out of especially with a double blade paddle. Think 240cm + length. I use a Mohawk 275cm.

Here are some pics of my boat and some mods I have made…

Old Town Guide 119
I bought the OT Guide 119 last summer and have been out roughly 120 times since. It is a great boat for fishing as there is room for gear, but still close at hand. It suits my needs just fine and is one of the cheapest canoes I have seen.

Here’s a link to
some cool fishing mods a fellow solo canoeist made to his Guide 119.

Guide 119 and Old Town Pack
I bought a Guide 119 last year and love it, I would take one of my grand daughters out with me fishing at a time and they love it too. over the winter I found a used Old town Pack. I like Old Town, and the weight is what got me. I use a 280 kayak paddle and a canoe paddle far both. The Pack doesn’t do as good as the Guide 119 with two people in it and the guide seems to be tuffer an more stable. If you can find a place that rents them you should try both and deside for yourself.