I’ve tried this question on a “Solo” site but it might do better here.

I’ve got a 12’ canoe I pulled out of the dump a couple years ago that I’m rebuilding. It’s a fiberglass, triple keeled canoe that I replaced the gunwales on and am about to build a seat for. I figure it will make a great solo fishing canoe. Most likely I will sell the canoe after I’m done rebuilding it. It’s the first and easiest of four that I have to rebuild.

My question is, How far back from center would you put the center seat and how low would you hang it?

all the pics at



That will be good for fishing
I wouldn’t put the seat real low. It looks wide enough to handle some weirdness. I’d put it 18" or so behind center, but the best guys to ask are Mike McCrea over on the “Paddling Suggestions” forum and Al A right here on the fishing section (though he only rarely jumps on). You could also call Blue Mountain Outfitters in Marysville, PA and ask them (while you’re ordering the supplies). They are an excellent resource for materials and knowledge.

  • Big D

I’d say for canoe fishing there are as many opinions on seat position as there are fishermen. I generally modify all my canoes so that the front edge of the seat is about 12" behind center and high enough to get my feet under the seat when kneeling. This set-up works for me because I fish streams 95% of the time. I’m near enough to the center for good control, even when I drop to my knees in rapids, and the high seat isn’t a problem in flat water.

I generally use rods 6’ or under so there is still plenty of room in the front of the canoe to protect the rods from overhanging branches. As I usually carry a small cooler behind me, this offsets the weight of the tackle up front, keeping the ride balanced.

I might add that only 4 of the 14 canoes I’ve owned have been in the 12’-14’ range so I don’t have as much experience in fishing from shorter boats as others may have.

BTW, good lookin’ job on the gunnels and end caps.


Here or there…
I thought the answers you got on the other site covered it pretty well. If you’re just going to sell it, why not leave the cross-members long and give the buyer the option of choosing seat location? Otherwise, you might re-read the suggestions and make a decision. Don’t sweat it too much - it can always be changed.

BTW - your work looks pretty nice so far.

Blue Mountain Outfitters
Big_D…Second your recommendation of Blue Mountain. I drive up from VA whenever I need something serious done.

Nice people, very knowledgable, and a well-outfitted shop.

You got good answers on the other forum

The guys who answered you over there are the ones to listen to.

Love that shop.
I showed up there one year with my daughter when she was very young. Mary actually was so kind that my daughter didn’t want to look over the shop with me. She wanted to hang out with Mary. I can also remember way back when they first opened. My family used to drive down past there and stop at the antique store that was there before them. One time we came down and it was a canoe shop. My dad was intrigued by the boats so we went in anyway. My mom and Mary hit it off and spent well over an hour chatting away by the fire. They are the friendliest, kindest, most knowledgeable shop I have ever been to in a lifetime of paddling. They make it a pleasure to spend money there.

  • Big D

I just wanted to try it here also to see if anything else came up.

Didn’t see this question until now…I’ve just been slumming on the bicker and banter board the last couple of weeks…

I fish out of a solo canoe about as much as anyone, and for me the seat in any solo of that length should be placed so the front edge is just about on center, for a couple of reasons. First, if your weight is near the center, the canoe tracks better without having to make every forward stroke a strong J when you’re moving forward, and the canoe stays put at the angle you want it when doing a back ferry. If the seat is farther back, the canoe wants to turn much more easily on any power forward stroke, and when you are back-paddling during a ferry, it will also want to change angles…assuming that you have it trimmed so that the back and front are about even.

Second, putting your weight as close to center as possible, where the canoe is widest, actually seems to make the canoe feel more stable, something that tends to be important to anglers.

I use bench style seats in my canoes, and install them high enough that I can get one of those black plastic auto battery boxes under the seat and an inch or so off the bottom. The right size auto battery box holds 5 3701 Plano boxes full of lures perfectly, and I strap it under the seat with velcro. If I floated more class 2 and above water like Dirty Ed does, I’d want to be able to kneel with my feet under the seat as he said, but since most of my float fishing is in class 1 and low class 2, I don’t kneel.