I’m trying to decide on which way to go, for fishing. I currently have a 10’ SOT kayak(very stable) but I am going to return it due to a defect. I’m interested in the 10’ Feel Free Moken SOT kayak, or a solo canoe such as the OT Pack 12. BUT I’m concerned about the stability of the Pack 12 canoe. I love that it’s only 33 lbs. and will be better in the cold fall weather here in WI. I know I have to try out the Pack 12, but what do you guys think? Will the 32" beam and flat bottom of the Pack 12 be stable enough? Thanks.
It’s stable enough…
although it might feel a little tippy at first. If you want to make it feel more stable, you’ll need to move the seat forward to where the front edge of the seat is right in the middle of the canoe, and perhaps if you’re really concerned about stability, lower the seat a bit. All that is kind of a pain when you’ve just bought a new canoe, but it makes a big difference.
As for what is better for fishing…the solo canoe can do just about everything the kayak can do, and do most of it better. Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, is that you can easily carry lots of tackle and multiple fishing rods, all easy to reach and protected by the gunwales of the canoe. The only drawback to the canoe is that it is more affected by wind. And if you really want to stand up all the time while fishing, you might want one of the ultra stable hybrid craft from companies like Native. But I’d choose a good solo canoe over any kayak 100% of the time.
Solo canoe vs. kayak
Thanks Al. Have you tried the OT Pack 12? Do you guys think it would be easier to get in and out of a canoe or a kayak? My back does get sore after a couple hours in the kayak also. In a canoe, I hope to be able to stand once in a while to stretch my back. What is involved in moving the seat, and/or lowering it? If that is done, does it affect the warranty?
I LOVE my solo canoe, but if my primary concern was fishing, I might opt for a tandem, and just paddle it solo. I would never stand and fish in my boat (a Bell Yellowstone Solo.) I know the Pack is considerably wider, but it still has a smallish overall footprint. Hopefully someone who actually owns one will chime in for you.
I used to own a 16' Mad River Explorer. You could fish from it easily. You could probably have held a dance in it. I wasn't horrible to paddle it solo, and I often did. There are other boats that are actually designed to be paddled either solo or tandem. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking the 15' Mohawk Odyssey. I have no experience with it, though. A tandem boat is going to be MUCH heavier than the Pack, though.
Best way to give your back a rest…
… is kneeling. Even if you don’t kneel most of the time like some people do, you can still fall back on that method to rest your aching back. It is VERY common to have back pain when sitting low with your feet outstretched in front of you, especially for people who’s flexibility isn’t so great. You know those “ergonomic” desk chairs? Kneeling in a canoe works by the same principle as those chairs, and though it’s not quite THAT comfy, it really IS easy on the back. Note that how much weight is on your knees compared to your butt when kneeling is up to you, and is adjusted by how you position the seat. Off the top of my head, I don’t know the seat-hanging method used in the Pack, so I can’t comment about how easy it is to adjust the seat. On many canoes it’s really easy.
I’ve never paddled a Pack, but I’ve paddled a number of different solo canoes, and I seriously doubt that standing will be a safe thing to do in cold water, or at anytime for anyone who needs to worry about losing gear (and that’s true of anyone who’s fishing). However, your options for adopting a wide variety of body positions will be much better in a canoe than any kayak, even a SOT, and the higher seat position (of most canoes) will make getting in and out a lot easier for people who don’t get around as well as a youngster.
SOTs have quite a following for fishing, and I can see why that’s true for the ocean. I can’t for the life of me see why it would be true on small bodies of water, except that most people would rather not learn how to paddle a canoe.
Thanks guys. I’m interested in the Native Ultimate 12 also.
I owned a Pack…
for years. Nice little fishing canoe for easy rivers. The light weight was wonderful, the Royalex was quiet and reasonably durable.
I think your biggest problem with moving the seat forward is that you’ll probably have to buy a replacement seat. The seat in the Pack in a standard cane bench seat, I believe, and where you want it to be is in a wider part of the canoe than where it is, so the seat structure is not wide enough to move it forward. You can buy replacement cane or webbed seats for something like $40 at various places. You can use the same attachment hardware that was on the original seat, though. I don’t worry about warranties, because if the canoe gets to me in pristine condition, there’s not a whole lot that could go wrong with it later that would be covered by a warranty.
The Pack is not the BEST solo canoe for fishing. It doesn’t track well when you want to paddle from point A to point B, like when I’m paddling through long, dead pools that are unproductive water on my usual rivers. Moving the seat forward helps with tracking, but it still isn’t great. And I like a longer solo canoe, partly because it will track better, partly because it’s easier to fit the five rods I usually carry in the canoe! I think if I was looking for a canoe in the same general price range as the Pack, I’d go with a Mohawk Solo 14 instead. The canoe I’ve used now for many years and still love is the Wenonah Vagabond, but it’s somewhat more expensive.