calebk

Solo canoe for light saltwater

14 posts in this topic

I've got a Mohawk 14 ft solo canoe that I got a while back for river smallie fishing. I recently moved to SE CT where I live a short walking distance a boat launch to some pretty placid saltwater but this area does get hammered with boat traffic. I was planning on trading it in to buy a paddle kayak but thought since I can definitely shell out for a pedal kayak next year maybe I can make the most of what I've got. I'm mostly just wanting some advice -- I know the wind is gonna beat on me but I'm hoping with a double bladed paddle (I use a very long double bladed paddle for this) I can paddle out and fish a few drifts for fluke and scup and get back home in one piece. If it works out maybe even drill in a few cleats near the seat and rig up a sea anchor to the stern.

 

Anyone done anything like this before? Thoughts/advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It'll work, your main issue is that if you end up in the drink self rescue will be very difficult. I used to canoe salt with my kid, but it was back creek, not anywhere with traffic going more than 5mph. As you say. the wind on a canoe is a bear.  The only really helpful suggestion I have is maybe to airbag the canoe so it can't fill with water if the worst happens, and you can just climb back in and bail the 'cockpit'. This is how whitewater open canoes roll, literally. Might not be cheap to buy though. Maybe there's a good DIY way.

 

G3UiG.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 mins ago, gellfex said:

It'll work, your main issue is that if you end up in the drink self rescue will be very difficult. I used to canoe salt with my kid, but it was back creek, not anywhere with traffic going more than 5mph. As you say. the wind on a canoe is a bear.  The only really helpful suggestion I have is maybe to airbag the canoe so it can't fill with water if the worst happens, and you can just climb back in and bail the 'cockpit'. This is how whitewater open canoes roll, literally. Might not be cheap to buy though. Maybe there's a good DIY way.

 

G3UiG.jpg

Thanks gellfex. May even be worth my time to practice open water self rescue a bit more before going out too far. What were you targeting in the back creeks? Was it a one person paddles while the other fishes situation? I think managing the rod and drift/wind like you said will be tough -- almost looking for a headcount if anyones had even close to moderate success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 mins ago, calebk said:

Thanks gellfex. May even be worth my time to practice open water self rescue a bit more before going out too far. What were you targeting in the back creeks? Was it a one person paddles while the other fishes situation? I think managing the rod and drift/wind like you said will be tough -- almost looking for a headcount if anyones had even close to moderate success.

I was not nearly as experienced a fisherman as I am now, mostly we were chasing snappers and blues. I think anchoring is not unrealistic depending on the current, wind is not a problem when anchoring. And obviously drifting for fluke it's not an issue, you can use an Ikea bag as a sock, and it doesn't really need to be at the bow or stern. I usually attach it to the carry handle of my kayak.

 

5c8fe51428116_ikeabagdriftsock.PNG.89684e7e7df75e08225ad190b58fae90.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Used a number of canoes over the years to striper fishing with great success, but as you know the wind is tough, and boat wakes can be even worse... Sea Anchor is a great tool. I now have a set of pontoons that I strap on and what a great piece of mind (and I can stick a trolling motor on!). My Kayaking friends love to fish with me as they paddle up and drop into my canoe whatever they don't want in their kayak... One year we even set up a 20-gal live well for pogies, worked great. Just be smart and catch lots of fish!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used a 14' great Canadian powered by a trolling motor to fish stripers in a local harbor and LI sound for years.  We fished extensively at night to avoid heavy boat traffic.  Depending on your area, you will also want to consider wind and tide/current to make sure you can get back to the launch point.

Anchoring is not an issue, but I recommend having a float at the end of the rope and a quick release should you need to drop anchor in a hurry.

 

As with any small boat, practice self rescue and wear your PFD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lol don't do it.  boaters these days are WAY less experienced than previously.  Big boats will drive feet away from you and throw a stupid wake.  It'll work fine if you stay out of traffic lanes, but anywhere near other boats - I'd recommend just waiting until you can get into a kayak.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/29/2022 at 9:21 PM, gellfex said:

It'll work, your main issue is that if you end up in the drink self rescue will be very difficult. I used to canoe salt with my kid, but it was back creek, not anywhere with traffic going more than 5mph. As you say. the wind on a canoe is a bear.  The only really helpful suggestion I have is maybe to airbag the canoe so it can't fill with water if the worst happens, and you can just climb back in and bail the 'cockpit'. This is how whitewater open canoes roll, literally. Might not be cheap to buy though. Maybe there's a good DIY way.

 

G3UiG.jpg

Thats a nice canoe. is it the magic 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help guys. After a brief, frustrating trip I decided to put the solo canoe up for sale and got a tarpon 140. Went for a quick after work paddle today and really had a great time. Now to rack up on some kayak rods (most of my canoe rods were for river smallies).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome boat, enjoy. Lots of good 7' rods out there, for jigging fluke and tog I've been loving a cheap Tsunami Classic MH, was a favorite rod of John Skinner. For scup my latest is a Penn Squadron II, I find it a tricky balance finding a scup rod light enough to be fun and sensitive but heavy enough to get a good hookset in their hard mouths. When I use a real light rod I drop too many using a single hook jig.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How heavy can you go on the classic mh jigging for fluke before it starts to feel mushy? It's most likely going to be my next rod for exactly the purposes. I don't think I'll have to worry about rod action as much for tog jigs but I'm new to this so recognize I could be way off. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, calebk said:

How heavy can you go on the classic mh jigging for fluke before it starts to feel mushy? It's most likely going to be my next rod for exactly the purposes. I don't think I'll have to worry about rod action as much for tog jigs but I'm new to this so recognize I could be way off. 

I'm usually using 3/4 to 1 1/2, 2 is possible but a bit much for fast style jigging, slow lift and drop is fine. I'm usually in 5 to 25 ft, have to be really drifting fast to use 2! Tog it's noce to feel whats going on, but still have enough power to get them away from their hidey hole. I rarely see one over 22", so I'm not underpowered like I might be offshore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

As someone who lives on the coast part of the year and has a bunch of canoes and kayaks, I ultimately just take them to where I want to fish and beach them and then cast from the shore.

 

If I had stuff that was specialized for fishing it'd be another story but these are boiler plate kayaks and canoes.

 

Kayaks - always get wet when it's choppy, tip very easily, just a passing boat is going to have you stop fishing for a moment and balance yourself for the wake. Thoughts of hooking into a big fish while balancing a wobbly kayak gives me stress. Even casting with them, the drag of the lure will pull me in the direction that I cast when the wind is calm. I don't know a single ocean kayaker who hasn't had the occasional tip. When it's just you it's fine and you just got a little wet. When you have your rod and tackle then it becomes a whole other story.

 

My cousin has one dedicated for fishing and he says it's a wholly different concept as you are sitting on a platform where you have room to operate, keep gear/fish with you, and they are much more stable so when you do hook up with something big it doesn't seesaw as dramatically. He fishes on his fishing kayak all the time but will never in a million years do it in a regular kayak.

 

Canoes - What you gain in stability you lose in speed and wind resistance. If there is even the slightest wind then you won't be able to effectively fish in a certain area for very long as your boat is just one big sail. It can be quite the sisyphean task to paddle it against the wind or current. What is an extremely calm day can become not very friendly for a canoe pretty quickly so you can go somewhere no problem on a super calm day and then find yourself in a real struggle to go back from whence you came.

 

It's a lot easier if you have a second paddler with you, if not then you'll absolutely need to have one that has specialized seating for single paddler, otherwise you'll be spending your time in the middle on your knees or in a crazy creek. The typical method used in freshwater of just sitting backwards in in the bow and paddling "backwards" won't work at all if there's any wind due to aerodynamics blowing you left and right and they are designed to have the front cut into the wind better.

 

Also, just like the kayak, even when it's calm with no current, a big fish is going to pull you where he wants and landing a big one is going to shift all the weight to one side and you'll be at a decent risk of tipping.

 

I've literally spent several weeks throughout my life living on canoes in remote wilderness. I am extremely comfortable on these boats and an avid fisherman. But I still get the heeby jeebies and deep thalassaphobia whenever I'm out on the open ocean in one of them and there's fish breaking around me. It's very disconcerting feeling for me being so isolated on a tiny sled - especially so knowing that if a storm were to surprise me how ffed I am and even just some unexpected wind can make the paddle home last several hours. There have been times when the winds and current were perfectly fine then pickup out of nowhere and I literally need to just beach somewhere on shore and ride it out.

 

Your canoe is fine for some casual paddling about the bay on calm days but I wouldn't make a habit out of fishing out of it. It just takes things going poorly once with all your gear in the boat where you're not upset at all about losing your gear when it tipped because you're just happy to have gotten home alive. There's good reason why you don't see many of those boats out there.

 

I think fishing from a canoe is only feasible with another person for added stability and manpower and from a standard kayak it's fine if you have everything on board attached to flotation devices so you can just worry about righting the ship and then collecting your gear. I saw the other guy mentioned that he'd hook up his with pontoons on the side for added stability, I think that's a great idea and something I've been considering myself so then I would feel a lot better fishing directly from the canoe rather than beaching it at the islands and casting from the shore.

 

Would invest in getting an aluminum skiff you can easily get in and out of the water yourself with a small little motor just so you can easily get away from the rocks while drift fishing if the wind/current starts moving you precariously close.  Otherwise, if you're ok with the extreme feeling of exposure out there then get a dedicated fishing kayak imo.

 

Just treat this very seriously, each year a lot of people die out on the ocean in those things because they were treating it like they were out on a lake.

 

Edited by adam42

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.