solo canoe selection help

Seeking your advice in selecting new solo selection. Years of paddling searching cooperative fish in junk canoes with no interest in style. Going long distances always against tidal flows and finally caring about vehicle, am searching new NECESSITY. 5’8, 160 and old, want best paddling sit/switch solo stable enough to fish sitting down and rescue Jack terrier from sharks when we get there. Bell, Hemlock & Coldon solos seem good choices but any U.S. considered. Any help would be cheered, good bad or indifferent. Suitability of hull, build quality, material choice or any thing you offer really appreciated…Jay

sit and switch
I’d suggest looking at the Wenonah Prism, with the Wilderness as a second choice.

Take a look at the Swift offerings as well. The new for spring 2014 Keewaydin 14 might be a good choice. It’s so new you won’t find much information on their website, but I have seen a prototype and it looks very promising. Look under pack canoes for a few details. It can be built as either a sit on the bottom double blade pack canoe or with a hung seat as a single blade solo canoe. Seems about perfect for your weight. Swift build quality is excellent. Maybe Charlie will weigh in now…

A Prism for a 160 lb guy fishing?
Seems like a lot of boat for that size paddler.

here reviews
Bell reviews and comments by owenrs:




We no Nah

What did Socrates say about Hemlock?

It is, but he wanted stable and I think the Prism is one of the more stable solos. It is also a fairly efficient sit-and-switch boat.

As I am sure you noticed, I also mentioned the Wilderness, which is smaller but still fairly stable.

You’ve paddled a few different boats and I’m sure you have an opinion, so please feel free to make some suggestions.

solo canoe choice
I have 4 solos that I use. I have a Prism flexcore that should fit your needs. I would recommend the ultralight model especially as one ages and looses strength.

I also have a Swift osprey carbon fusion that only weighs 26 pounds. It is a joy to handle out of water, is stable, and maneuvers very well. I am looking forward to doing a lot of photography from it once the ice finally melts.

I also have 2 Sawyer DY Specials that are a joy to paddle fast but are not quite perfect for fishing or a dog companion.

I think either the Prism or Osprey would serve your needs well. As one ages light weight becomes more and more importanf.

Fishing Canoe

– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 12:30 PM EST –

I's suggest staying clear of delta, radically asymmetrical, hulls like Advantage, Classic, Savage, Magic, Prism, as scant forward volume may be problematical when leaning forward with a landing net.

A more general purpose solo tripper will be more forgiving, or predictable; look for something 30" wide or so, 15 -16 ft long. Bell's Merlin II, Northstar's NorthWind Solo or Phoenix, Sawyer's Autumn Mist, Souris River's Tranquility, Swifts, Kee 15, Osprey, Shearwater and Wenonah's Wilderness should all do fine. You may wish to have the seat dropped and at a flatter angle, most are rigged to both sit and kneel. I would want to be kneeling to haul a wet dog across the rail.

I will forward a comprehensive list of available solo canoes if you email

Mad River Independence. Doesn’t do anything great, but pretty much does everything. Stability is good, but it is a bit wide.

Great suggestions
Looking at each and having fun. Easily becomes overload to ignorant one. Pack boats look too low to see/cast for my fishing. Please keep info coming. Thanks

Take a look at Coldens Nomad
or look for an old Curtis Nomad…

You need some speed and a little maneuverability for tidal currents especially if they are whirlpool inducing.

Are waves in big open water like the Gulf of Mexico a concern?

I have paddled several canoes in tidal Florida. RapidFire, Nomad, Hemlock Peregrine, among those still available.

The Nomad is decidedly quicker than the Peregrine… (yes GPS tests, though tidal currents are always changing). And when the seas follow, and the boat happens to slew its easier to get back on course.

I have not paddled any Wenonah in open water swells and would be a little leery of those models with fine ends and a wide part low on the hull in big waves. However I don’t know if that is part of the picture for you.

I am sure some of the Weononahs would be quicker but I am finding out that all around the Nomad fits what I need in Florida the best (aside from a Mad River Monarch…which is less friendly to get on and off the car solo)

Spot on
You have been there. Going looking at your suggestions. The Osprey search gobbled up last two days and looked good; then bumped into adverse comment on company, cooled off. Thanks


– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 12:29 PM EST –

Anecdotal evidence is fairly worthless. It often comes in some variation of " I like my boat, so you will too" which is a common form of conformation bias. Similarly, a negative comment is often as useless.

Kim, above, is vastly experienced, has owned twenty solos, paddled fifty more and is a very skilled stick, but I cannot agree that a 28.5" wide hull with 26" waterline is going to be a stable platform for fishing and hauling dogs into the hull.

Osprey has one of the widest, 27.5", waterlines of the 15' solo trippers; seemingly nice for hauling pup or perch across the rail, and is designed by John Winters, one of the greats, but an adverse comment from some indeterminate individual deletes it?

OP 'oughta try both boats and several others in something other than calm conditions. Even then we seldom know, because the learning curve is pretty steep at first. What seems twitchy when we start calms down considerably after a few jaunts.

Check out Nomad nets to reduce weight across the rail.

We do the best we Cavan

– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 2:09 PM EST –

All anyone can do is answer part of the question. I can address sea handling in FL tidal areas for a few boats . I don't fish and don't include the dog cause yes she will go over the side

Till we have a laboratory and a Center For Canoe Analysis With Varying In Boat Activities that's the best I can do.

Being woefully inadequate I think I will go paddle to find some monkeys.

BTW a gal has a Kestrel that she fishes from in the Everglades. Yes another anecdote

If you have access to an Osprey try and test with a good approximation of load and water conditions.

How in the world did we decide pre internet? We grabbed what floated by. Either it suited us or it didn't . Usually our gut instincts were pretty good or we made it work.

And it's your canoe trip. Don't worry what others think too much,. Sometimes we are barraged with too much information cause all of us have different experiences

Where, in general, are you doing all

– Last Updated: Mar-17-14 3:28 PM EST – what type of fishing(rod)...for what how deep waters? I've done a fair amount of flycasting from canoes on bogs, ponds...lakes etc, especially on windy days. If you're flyfishing or not...I think a little added length(15.5'+) and, of course waterline width, helps the stability when in your casting motion.
Then again I've used a 12' canoe with little to no secondary firmness when leaned, or should I say tipped...and I had a lot of great times, but I think a little more stable boat, that can handle some movement will make for a sweeter day that includes some fishing.....*think it's all personal here cause one man's casting motion will be completely different than another...when sitting...and if I'm reading that right, with a Jack Terrier..y/n?..I'd definitely go with something 15'+ - 16'+.

Full disclosure
When sitting the Nomad will tip…when a manatee surfaces under it and the canoe slides off it’s back. However people do pay to swim with then and my ride was free!

The adverse comment
was about company, not Osprey per se. Sorry to misled. Jack Russell goes over the side when ever it’s most troubling, he’s calculating! If I said equal priority too stability & ease of propelling at moderate pace for 10 miles at a whack, would it change any nominations?

Just make sure he has a CFD with handle
I can’t think of a JR terrier being any sort of problem. ( I have a Golden Retreiver). Just leave out the dog in making comparisons

Colden Nomad
Can’t seem to find anything indicating they make one at present, any info? Try a Jack Russell, it’s like living in a cyclone when ever he is awake. No such thing as a bad dog!