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transition to watercraft question

Joined:
2010/9/1 13:55
From State College PA
Posts: 117
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I gave in and made the transition to WW FF last year, wading sections of the Juniata branches. Enjoyed it enough to make it a permanent part of my portfolio, but still working on the nuances. Anyway, I have been considering purchasing a water craft since many areas are inaccessible by foot or along private land. I am seeking some opinions regarding WW fishing from a boat- mostly peoples experience on how they had made the transition/use watercraft. I made my first attempt floating in a canoe. While using it to access areas and fishing via wading was very good, I was very much frustrated trying to fish out of it, such as the slow, deeper sections which would require a boat. Is this something that one has to get used to and over time grow to like it (much like flyfishing)? I was with another guy and this might be part of the problem, I think. Are Kayaks or 1-2 man pontoon much better than canoes? Or do people mostly use water craft to access locations to wade?
I’m hoping to avoid making a regrettable purchase.
Thanks in advance for your advice.

Posted on: 7/29 21:42


Re: transition to watercraft question

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If you have a canoe, build a set of outriggers for it. It will be very stable. If you don't have one then options at kayak or too.

Kayak pros:
Fast moving
Easy to car top by yourself
May or may not have much storage or dry storage

Kayak cons:
Not as stable for stand up fishing
Tipping is a distinct possibility
Fishing specific models can be quite pricey


Toon pros:
Easy to use
Can carry a ton of stuff
Nearly impossible to flip
Some can be used for stand up fishing
Breaks down to store it
Turn on a dime and bounces off boulders

Toon cons:
Punctures but easily repaired
Pain in the azz to load by yourself
Slow moving. Not turtle slow but it's definitely not fast

I have second pontoon and would be willing to let you use it for a float with me. Problem is my trailer is being torn apart to rewire and install new decking. It will be a few weeks before I'm ready to go again. Looking at the Susky, it will be 2-3 weeks before the flows get near normal levels. Fishing from one will take some time to adjust. If it's possible to be great and suck at the same time....that's a pontoon. LOL

Posted on: 7/29 22:41
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Re: transition to watercraft question

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2006/9/9 22:43
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Learning to fish from a single man fishing craft can be frustrating at first but once you develop a system and with muscle memory kicking in it can be an opener to a whole new world of fishing for you . When purchasing a craft I would definitely do your homework first concerning you're fishing needs and portability being your main topics . And I wouldn't skimp on price because you usually get what you pay for and the craft will last you for years .

Posted on: 7/30 12:59
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Re: transition to watercraft question
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This is a tough call and any craft to settle on will be based on compromises.

Good info from Fred and Krayfish above. ^

Assuming you're interested mainly in a paddle powered craft for fishing bass rivers here in central PA, you'll want to consider canoes, kayaks, and single person pontoons (there are other options such as johnboats, driftboats, two/three person pontoons, not to mention jet outboard based bass boats).

The advantage to yaks and canoes is that you can paddle them upriver. This is very tough with a pontoon if not impossible, especially if there is wind. As one who mostly fishes alone, I like this aspect as I can get around better and get back to the ramp if I go downriver. I do get out and wade frequently.

I've settled on a two person, 14' rotomolded canoe that has a seat in the middle. When fishing by myself, I can sit in the middle, paddle with a kayak paddle, and move upstream fairly easily. Although difficult and takes some practice, I can fish standing up from this boat if I'm by myself. If I want to bring a friend, I can fit them in this boat, which is not an option for a yak or one seat toon.

Another thing to consider is getting the boat up on to your vehicle (if you don't have a truck with a long bed). Transporting your boat is a major consideration. My canoe's main drawback is it is heavy, but I have developed a system to get it on and off my SUV's rather tall roof. Rotomolded yaks and canoes, although heavy, are inexpensive and durable.

If you can make the WW jam next month, I'd guess there will be a few guys with different boats and toons that you can check out. You're welcome to test drive my canoe.

Posted on: 7/30 15:33

Edited by Dave_W on 2017/7/31 18:01:01


Re: transition to watercraft question

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2013/12/7 0:10
From SE Pa
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I fished from a canoe because it's what I had. At the time it was awesome but I was young and pretty much paddling up river in life. Now I'm old and would not do the canoe again. It's just not comfortable enough for me and a long day of fishing. I have a 16' tin boat with a 25hp tiller which is very comfortable. I also have an 18' wooldridge with a 115/80 jet. I've thought of getting a kayak but the thought of sitting in cold water prevents me. the kayak season, for me, would be to short for the investment.

Posted on: 7/30 17:56


Re: transition to watercraft question

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From State College PA
Posts: 117
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Thank you all. Good information.

Krayfish,Thank you. that's generous of you. Let's see if our schedules sync.

Dave, very interesting perspective- the ability to row upstream when fishing alone. I like the idea of that flexibility. Part of my deliberations was considering how often I could coordinate a trip with another and the cons of a two person craft- size, weight portability. Thank you for calling attention to the WW gathering. I did not see that. Sounds like a great opportunity. It's very generous of that fellow to host this on his property. Unfortunately, I am scheduled to be out of town that weekend. But if things change I will stop by. It's only 50 min away.

Fred, Yes I learned years ago saving some money by compromising on needs only leads to regrets.

too many options. I'm thinking ahead and don't expect to jump until next year. I suspect it will come down to a SOT angler Kayak or pontoon (such as a two person sea eagle).

the way I'm looking at it now-
toon is great for being easily transported (back of SUV), weight and ability to stand more easily. Cons- being blown around and difficult to go upstream.
Kayak- ability to row upstream, ability to fish alone and less wind resistant.
cons: weight, transport- especially if a two person angler model is chosen

I guess what would help is knowing how often do people stand to fish. Is this something you would do more if you could or is this something that is beneficial only part of the time and not worth driving the purchase?

Posted on: 7/31 5:23


Re: transition to watercraft question

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2012/10/2 8:32
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I think the canoe is the most versatile of the bunch.
You can find good used ones for under $500.
Some are stable enough to stand in as is, but pontoons can be made or purchased easily.
Option of adding trolling motor or small outboard.
Standard roof rack/crossbars or cheap foam pads for transport.
Room for a buddy, dog, kids, etc.
Durable enough to store outdoors.
Doesn't weigh much more (if any) than a stable SOT.
Easier to load/portage (depending on model and thwart)


Cons
Tracking can be tough in a plastic (Royalex , Tri Ply etc) canoe
Wind is not fun
Paddling upstream solo can be tough

I stand to fish 99% of the time if fly fishing.



Posted on: 7/31 13:09


Re: transition to watercraft question

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Another question is do you plan to anchor when fishing?

Posted on: 7/31 13:26


Re: transition to watercraft question

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I have always owned a craft were I was able to stand and found that at first I would stand allot because it offered a better cast and sight fishing . But as I got more comfortable fishing from a yak I would sit and cast more because I was able to execute a long cast and it was a stealthier approach leading up to more catches . Make sure your craft has a high seat it will greatly increase your casting distance and overall fishability , not sure if you have ever tried fishing out of a sit in kayak with a fly rod but it is a big PIA .

Brianh mentioned about anchoring I use a 8 foot hand made stakeout pole for most of my anchoring . You can see a partial pic in the snakehead thread .

Posted on: 7/31 13:47
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Re: transition to watercraft question

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likely would want to anchor. I saw some Kayaks have fully systems (bow and stern) for this

Posted on: 7/31 18:29


Re: transition to watercraft question
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Here's my river boat. It's a 14' Mad River canoe. At the back is the simple, makeshift anchor system I designed which ties off on a stern cleat. I mount the anchor at the bow when I'm fishing upriver and move it to the stern when fishing downriver.

Again, you can stand up in this boat if you're careful and it's streamlined enough to paddle upriver on the Juniata with a kayak paddle (in most spots). This boat is inexpensive and available at many big box outdoor stores. I believe it also comes in a 16' version.

I'd recommend as a starter boat, something like this as it has many of the best attributes of a canoe or sit-on-top kayak.

Attach file:



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Posted on: 7/31 18:42


Re: transition to watercraft question

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I asked if you plan to use an anchor because for me, a pontoon is the way to go if you plan to anchor in current. I feel more stable sitting in between a pair of pontoons.

Posted on: 7/31 20:43


Re: transition to watercraft question

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I would just get a drift boat.

I've played the kayak game, the canoe game and the jon boat game, and they're not as nice for fly fishing as a drift boat. I'd save money 'til I could get a used Clacka.

Posted on: 7/31 20:50
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Re: transition to watercraft question

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Quote:

Dave_W wrote:
Here's my river boat. It's a 14' Mad River canoe. At the back is the simple, makeshift anchor system I designed which ties off on a stern cleat. I mount the anchor at the bow when I'm fishing upriver and move it to the stern when fishing downriver.

Again, you can stand up in this boat if you're careful and it's streamlined enough to paddle upriver on the Juniata with a kayak paddle (in most spots). This boat is inexpensive and available at many big box outdoor stores. I believe it also comes in a 16' version.

I'd recommend as a starter boat, something like this as it has many of the best attributes of a canoe or sit-on-top kayak.



Looks sea worthy Dave whats her name ?

Posted on: 8/1 7:57
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Re: transition to watercraft question

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2011/9/13 11:13
From Flourtown, PA
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I have owned and fished from the following: 15' canoe, 12' kayak, 13' Freedom Hawk (stern opens into outrigger pontoons with lever-action), and a 15' drift boat (skiff).

If you are going to be almost entirely fishing by yourself, I'd be most likely to recommend the canoe. A decent Royalex canoe at 15' is going to weigh around 60lbs, which isn't too much to put over your head to load on your vehicle. It will have enough space for everything you could need, plus a dog or human companion. With a decent anchor trolley and a sharp enough deadrise, it will anchor well enough in all but the strongest currents (where you shouldn't be anchoring in the first place, really). You will be able to have multiple rods available to fish at the ready, and you will be dead silent and able to travel in the shallowest water. You will also be able (with practice) to paddle anywhere in a river, including upstream through Class II-III rapids. The downside to the canoe is wind. This can be mitigated with a drogue or drift sock, but if the wind is really high, canoes get blown about like styrofoam cups on the water. I still have my 15' canoe. I recommend one with a wide beam, so that you can stand up easily. I have fished and paddled mine while standing up for better than 20 years. Ask Afish. I paddled him down the West Branch one time standing up like a Venician gondola driver the whole time because my back was acting up. A stable canoe is the original SUP.

I enjoyed my time with the Freedom Hawk, but at 77lbs, it just weighed too much for a guy with a sketchy bunch of discs in his back to be throwing up on top of a Suburban after a day of fishing. That boat was stable as anything I've ever seen and was superb in almost every way except portability.

The only advantages I know of for certain about a regular sit-on-top kayak are speed when paddling (marginal if the canoeist is using a kayak paddle) and decreased wind resistance. Otherwise they do not measure up too well against a simple canoe. They weigh better than 45lbs most times, so the weight savings isn't dramatic, and it's hard to have all the gear you need with you. If you plan on doing a lot of saltwater fishing out front (in the ocean, not the bay), then maybe a regular kayak isn't a bad idea. The only reason I bought mine was for striper fishing out front, and I ultimately sold it and bought the Freedom Hawk because I realized that you need to be able to stand up from time to time, and you best not be doing that out front in a kayak without pontoons and a leaning post.

If you are going to fish with others, or have a trick lower back, or just don't want to kill yourself when you're out fishing by having to constantly be working a paddle while trying to fish, save your money and buy a used drift boat. If you fish water with consistent Class III or better rapids, get a drift boat with a sharp entry and high deadrise. If you're just going to fish the Delaware and Susky and are averse to having to paddle against the wind, get a skiff like mine (Headhunter II), as the lower profile helps quite a bit with wind. With a drift boat, you row, then you anchor, then you have a nice lunch, drink a beer, stand up and stretch, warm up your casting arm, and then proceed to start missing strikes and losing hooked fish like you do from any other craft or while wading. It's great, and I highly recommend it. It's much easier to just crank it up on the trailer with no exertion at the end of the day while enjoying another beer. I wish I'd bought mine years sooner, but I was still way into the salt at the time.

Good luck.

Posted on: 8/1 12:30



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