For fly fishing I have used successfully a Wenonah UL Prism, but didn’t like the fact it has no rocker which made it tougher to maneuver when paddling open water whenever wind and or waves kicked up. Sometime it was a bear to make major course changes in those conditions. Presently trying a Northstar Northwind Solo (updated Bell Merlin II), but feel I’m to low in the seat and water for casting from and not sure it is as stable as the Prism was. Now considering the Swift Shearwater which has almost identical specs to the Prism, but has a little differential rocker which I think would aid its’ maneuverability in open water when wind and waves kicks up. At my size, 225lbs, 6ft. I do want to stay with a canoe in the 16ft range as I also paddle open lakes and do some distance paddling as well so to be more multi purpose, not looking at the smaller solos. Thanks.
Can you kneel in the boat? You say you feel like you are sitting too low, and nothing puts you higher than kneeling, yet it gives better stability and control in waves than the lowest seat. It also allows you to twist and face a broader range of different directions for casting than you could ever accomplish while sitting.
Maybe you know all that and simply can’t kneel, but I mention it because a lot of people have simply never even tried it. If you can kneel, maybe that Northwind Solo will work better than what’s currently the case for you. I have a Bell Merlin II, which had originally been set up for sitting (with a low, level seat) but I converted it to work only as a kneeling boat (with a high, slanted seat) and never looked back. It’s not my favorite canoe for fishing, but I mainly fish from a canoe in places where long-distance travel is not necessary. The Merlin II is a great long-distance-travel boat.
I hope that when they updated the Merlin II to create the Northwind Solo, they got rid of that horrible deformity that exists about one foot in front of the stern of all split-mold Merlin IIs. I’m a fussy kind of guy, and I can feel the effect of that defect pretty easily (most people can’t tell what’s wrong, but it was the paddling characteristics that made me start looking for left-to-right asymmetry in the hull, and sure enough, it turns out that the old Bell company made a pretty big mistake when building the mold).
Yes the Shearwater, Hemlock’s Peregrinne and maybe a Rockstar(if found) are some, in addition to the Merlin II. Maybe there’s some way of adding height onto the Merlin’s seat while providing the most in comfort…y/n? Have not checked out the details in the Northwind’s specs but GBguy’s mentioning of it, or something similar, sounds good and also brings up a personal opinion…paddling aesthetics, when fishing, to me are secondary as long as one has good C and J-strokes, just find something light to carry, efficient enough for getting to where you wanna go…and stable enough to support fishing/casting motions.