Trimming a Loon 138.

Probably should post this on the Advise forum, but sometimes, I feel about that forum like some of them do about Bicker and Banter. Lots of know it alls and opinated paddlers over there. So, thought I’d give the nice folk a chance first.

As some of you know, I’ve got a Loon 138. Love it, even though I live in the heart of SOT city. It gets me on the water and allows me to catch more and bigger fish than I ever have before. However, its an older Loon, the kind with the sliding seat, slide s on tubular rails and its a hard plastic fold down seat. My question has to do with the beat position for paddling. I had the seat about 3/4 of the way back. A friend with a 138, and a half dozen other kayaks, mostly SOT’s, slides his all the way back. The 3/4 position allowed for fairly easy paddling and some storage behind the seat, other than that under the hull. But, since I carry a floating bait bucket, a castnet, and a drift sock, all of which I need to put somewhere other than my lap, I moved the seat up all the way. The Loon now seems a bit sluggish when paddling, or maybe its me, after all, I’m getting old. Anyone out there have suggestions for what is the proper placement for the seat? I’m guessing that by sliding the seat forward, I increased the wetted hull area and its slowing me down.

Seat position
My 138 will become bow heavy and not track quite so well with the seat all the way forward. I set mine anywhere from 3/4 to all the way back. Mostly all the way back gets me the best tracking. Gear storage that way is an issue, I usually put stuff behind the seat I won’t be needing right away. Stuff I use frequently goes under the foredeck or between my legs.

I hope to get a Bell Rob Roy in the near future as that looks like it offers good storage options just behind the seat, is of a similar design to the Loon 138 and only weighs 30 lbs.

Loon 111 driver here…
I keep my seat at about 3/4. This gives me a properly trimmed profile in the water when I’m carrying all my gear. You want to have the bottom of hull parrellel to the earth’s surface, or slightly tail heavy. Putting the seat all the way up, or back, unbalences the boat. All the way back and you’re ‘pushing’ thru the water forcing water out of the way with the bottom of the hull. All the way forward, and your creating drag under the hull because of the slight “cavitation” effect you’ll generate as you move through the water. Either extreme will add inefficientcy, however small when paddling. It’s not much I grant you…but over a long day, or several days in a row, you’ll feel the difference in the level of energy you’ll be putting out.

Launched about 8 am, came back in about
5. Going out, didn’t notice much difference, partly because until I get my muscles warmed up, its always a drag in the a.m. Didn’t really notice until I tried to get up to speed in the afternoon. Just didn’t paddle as smoothly. What I need is a narrow bait bucket that’ll hold as much and fit behind the seat.

Position seat for a level boat - loaded
Put in some deck rigging to put some of the stuff you currently carry below deck on top of it. Goodness knows you’ve got acres of space up there. It’ll raise your cg a little, but a very little. It’s not like the Loon 138 doesn’t have the initial stability to handle it.

I keep two tackle boxes and a fanny pack on the front deck, plus a small box of soft plastics, two rods, and my bilge pump on the rear deck.

Pretty much the only thing inside the boat is my lunch, the water I’m drinking at the time, and a spare rod.

  • Big D

The deck is already taken up. Got a
Playmate cooler, it gets hot down here and I like my Gator Aid cold, as well as my diet drinks. and other stuff. I’ve come full circle with the tackle box. As you can imagine, catfishing requires a lot of terminal tackle, weights, swivels, hooks, etc. It’s not unusual to go through 8 hooks and egg sinkers in a day of fishing.

I’ve gone back to a two tray old plano conventional tackle box, took the trays out and use plano plastic boxes for my rigging stuff. It fits nicely between my legs and stays dry. My depth finder, anchor when not in use, and a number of other things sit in a Dr. Pepper box…the kind they put 20oz soda in, along with the cooler. It has two rod holders mounted on the side, plus I have a Scotty flush mounted on the left side, planning to put one on the right side. Can’t stand the rods I’m using behind me.

All in all, there’s probably at least 40 lbs of weight on the front deck. That’s part of the problem with moving the seat all the way forward, I think. I’m going to move it back to at least the half way position.

You want to have the front/back weight pretty much even so that your posture is what affects whether the nose is heavy or light. If you don’t have swirly current or ledges to worry about, not so much of a problem.

That’s a lot of stuff to carry. I thought I went heavy when I was asked by some guys out canoe camping who saw my rig and asked how many days I was out for and I had to say, “Just fishing for the afternoon.” I’ve cut way back. You lose a lot of terminal tackle and line smallmouth bass fishing too. I try hard to keep the line loss to a minimum by using knots that break rather than having a high % strength. But I always have to carry extra line and extra terminal tackle. What I’ve cut back on is the lures I never use but always took. I’m down to two 3600 Plano boxes and a fanny pack to carry my tackle and tools. I’m going to cut back to one rod in use and a spare rather than three or four rods, and my waistline has forced me to cut down on lunch. I don’t much care if my drinks are cold so long as there’s an emergency relief cooler in the takeout vehicle.

  • Big D

From a light weight
I usually keep the seat in mine 2/3 - 3/4 back unless I have the dog with me. Then the seat goes all the way back. I’ve found that the bow plows too much (through wakes and such) any farther forward. Also, I have long legs and like to stretch out. The dog adds an interesting dynamic if he sits sidesaddle and leans on the rim. “Scoot over, boy.” “Good Dog!”

I don’t carry much more tackle than my fly fishing bandolier, T&T rod, and a fanny pack of spinners if I bring along the combo rod and spinning reel. I have a nice dry deck bag in which I keep sandwich, juice, Blueice, a couple of brews and water bottle. I don’t like splashing the consumables with non-potable swill.

Spare paddle (a short canoe paddle,) pump, and paddle float all slide under the front bungies beside the deck bag. The canoe paddle works great for repositioning while fishing. I added rear bungies that sometimes hold the frame from my paddle cart, wheels behind the seat. Hope that’s useful info. Happy fishing!

I added rear bungees on my Necky
Sky 9.6 for the cart, sometimes bait bucket when it was dry. But, haven’t done that to the Loon. The only problem is my floating bait bucket. When I have it loaded with bait, it doesn’t travel well anwhere but my lap if the seat is back. But, don’t like giving up paddling efficiency either. Maybe I need a 100lb dog strapped to the back deck.

Dog on deck
The only problem with a dog on the back deck is the wet tongue in the ear.

Sliding Seats…
When looking to purchase my first kayak I looked at Old Towns with the sliding seats. The dealer selling them told me that the sliding seat feature wasn’t a great idea. He told me that seat position in the yak is best left to the guys who design the boats, not the casual user. He told me that Old Town “got” their canoes right, but weren’t as good with their kayaks. This from an Old Town dealer.

He’s full of fish poop. The sliding
seat has many advantages over non-sliders, but like everything, there are also drawbacks. I’ve had both, like the slider better. As for OT not having it right with kayaks, you won’t find a much better tracking kayak than the Loons without a rudder. Goes straight as an arrow. What other kayaks did he carry? Bet he wanted to sell you one of those.

They sell…

Current Designs

Dagger Canoe Company

Hobie Cat Company


Liquid Logic

Old Town Canoe

P&H Sea Kayaks


Prijon Wildwasser

Pyranha Kayaks

Valley Canoe Products

Wilderness Systems

They said they weren’t cazy about the sliding seats. The siding seats also didn’t hold up well in their rental fleet.

One of my whitewater maniac friends’ primary complaints against recreational kayaks is that in most of them the seat ISN’T adjustable. He expects an adjustable seat in a boat. That said, I’ve got to go adjust the seat and foot rests in my kayak for this weekend’s paddle.

(Hersh or Mikey - if you’re tuned in - me and Spiderman at 6:00A at the takeout we generally use for the Millville run. Quick fishing trip - both of us expect to be back off the water and productive at home by late morning. Come along if you’re of a mind to.)

I’ll keep my Loon, its sliding seat
system, and staight tracking. It fits my mean old fat butted self. As for holding up, mine is over 5 years old and was fished on the bay a lot. No problems with it, but, then, the guy I bought it from took great care of it. Probably better than me.

I would love too D…but…
My painters are finishing up today and the weekend will be clean up time around the house. Lots of gutter debris to gather up and various other crap to dispose of. Hope to get out below the house for a few afterwards.

Sliding Seats, Seat Position, OTCanoe

– Last Updated: Aug-11-06 10:30 AM EST –

Yup, that dealer IS full of fish poop (LOL)! Funny that the dealer thought OT had CANOES down pat but not so with kayaks. I feel just the opposite. The only reason I got rid of my Predator 138 is I was having a lot of problems getting in and out of a kayak since I had a "Bum" leg for a long time. The 2 Loons I've owned have been very well made, darn near bulletproof, and the sliding seat worked very well and I'm no lightweight. I think it would be VERY difficult to damage the sliding seat assembly. If you look at the newer models, OT has the best hatch covers you can find on a kayak. IMHO OT kayaks are VERY well made. As for seat position, I always prefer all the way back and I put a dry sack with dry clothes, 1st aid kit, etc stuffed in the bow to keep it pretty trim. Here's a couple pics of mine a few years ago. Looks like I trimmed a bit bow-light this time, but paddled very well. WW

I’d offer to help
But it sounds like work.

You know if you ever need help with that sort of thing that you can reach out, right? If I’ve got the time to spare, I’ll pitch right in. My rate of pay’s cheap for such events. Donuts and coffee in the morning, pizza and beer at the end.

  • Big D

Looked at all the pics, good job. Lots
of fun there. As for OT, for the cost of their canoes and kayaks, they do an excellent job with both, though its model to model. I’d love to get ahold of a pre-1950’s wood and canvas from Old Town. But, those are awfully rare in the South were folks think if it don’t have square corners, it don’t float and you can’t catch fish from it.

But, if I had the money, and wanted to buy a new canoe, I wouldn’t be looking at OT, but Bell, Wenonah, and a couple of other outfits.