"> '); Canoe Vs Kayak Fishing: Which One is Best? – Go Midwest Fishing

Canoe Vs Kayak Fishing: Which One is Best?

People have been fishing from canoes for a very long time, but recently kayak fishing has been gaining in popularity. If you are in the market to buy either a canoe or kayak, here are the things you need to consider.

PriceMore expensiveLess expensive
People1 to 4 people1 or 2 people
GearMore gearLess gear
StabilityLess stableMore stable
Maneuverability Less maneuverable More maneuverable

Now that you are leaning towards one or the other based upon the graph above, lets get into the details, because there are a wide range of canoes and kayaks out there and you might find that you change your mind based upon the following information.

How Much Does a Canoe Cost?

Lets face it, money will be the biggest deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a new boat, so lets review that first. 

The price of a canoe will vary greatly with quality, size and manufacturer. A good quality canoe will sell for $2000, but you can get a cheaper one for $350 brand new. If you would like a fine handcrafted wooden canoe, plan on spending around $3500, but we are talking about fishing here, so you are probably more interested in a canoe that will function well and are less interested in looks.  

Here are some examples of new canoe prices:

How Much Does a Kayak Cost?

Overall kayaks are less expensive than canoes, but they can get pretty fancy as well. There are many types of kayaks, so I will focus on ones specifically designed for fishing.

I bought my first kayak in 2008 for $600. It is a 12 ft sit in kayak by Old Town. It’s a good quality kayak, but at that time, if I went any cheaper, there was a big difference in quality. It seems like everyone is selling kayaks these days, and the price has significantly been reduced. You can now get a decent quality kayak from Wal-Mart for $235! Now if you would like a foot propelled high end kayak, you will spend upwards of $3,000.

Here are some examples of new  kayak prices:

How Many People Can a Canoe Hold

Canoes come in many sizes. The longer the canoe, the more people it can hold. The longest canoe is 149 feet 1 inch, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. You can’t buy that one, so lets look at some canoes that are more attainable.

Typical set up with two seats and a kid who has to sit on the bottom

16 and 17 ft canoes are among the most popular sizes. Most canoes come with a seat in the front and back which will accommodate two people. You will able able to find ones with 3 seats though in this same size range. If you want to hold 4 people, you will likely need one at least 18 ft. 

How Many People Can a Kayak Hold

Kayaks also come in many lengths, but typically only hold one person. They do make tandem kayaks, but I think that defeats the purpose of fishing out of a kayak. The fact that you have total control and can go fish wherever you want is what’s so appealing about kayak fishing.

The freedom of kayak fishing

How Much Weight Can a Canoe Hold

Once again, the size of your canoe will determine how much weight or cargo you can carry with you. Canoes designed for fishing have flat bottoms with wide beams which make them more stable and can haul more weight. The material the canoe is made of will also affect its weight limit. 

Average cargo weights of popular canoes

13 foot750 Lbs
14 foot700 – 825 lbs
16 foot800 – 950 lbs
17 foot740 – 1200 lbs
18 foot1,400 lbs

How Much Weight Can a Kayak Hold

Most fishing kayaks are 10-13 feet long. Longer kayaks track straighter and are easier to paddle, but for fishing, you want maneuverability, which means you want a shorter kayak, but still long enough to hold your fishing gear. Even at 13 feet, a kayak can’t hold as much as a canoe. 

Here are average cargo weights for popular kayaks

10 foot275 lbs
12 foot375 lbs
13 foot400 lbs

Note: I did find a 12.5 foot fishing kayak that holds 525 lbs, so look around at different manufacturers to find your best fit.

Is a Canoe or Kayak More Stable

Neither one is as stable as an actual fishing boat, but if you’re careful, you can give up some stability for the benefits these boats offer.

This shouldn’t happen to you

Kayaks are generally more stable than canoes because they sit lower in the water. The fisherman sits on the bottom of the kayak providing a lower center of gravity. Canoes have seats which allow you to sit up higher with your legs underneath you, but this extra comfort makes the canoe less stable. 

How to Maneuver a Canoe

As I mentioned before, canoes usually have a seat in the front and back ends. If you are by yourself, you will paddle from the back. If you have a friend along, they can also help paddle from the front. 

Paddling a canoe from the back

The fact that you can only paddle from one side at a time, and are at the far end the canoe, makes maneuvering more difficult than a kayak. If you are paddling with a friend, then you must coordinate with each other to make sure you are both going to the same place. If you want to have some fun, just watch two inexperienced people try to paddle a canoe. It will provide hours of entertainment. 

How to Maneuver a Kayak

Kayaks are very maneuverable and easy to paddle. Kayaks use a paddle that can be used on both ends so you can easily alternate left and right strokes.  

You also sit near the center of the kayak so the boat pivots in the middle, which allows you to make full turns in tight spaces. It’s also easy to go forwards and backwards with small movements of the paddle.

Personal Experience Fishing From a Canoe and Kayak

Fishing from a canoe

I’ve fished out of both a canoe and a kayak. They both have pros and cons, but if you want to spend a lot of time fishing, I would recommend the canoe. I absolutely love kayaking, but when I tried fishing from it, I found one issue that makes the decision easy for me. When I fish, I like to be up high looking down at the water. I found it difficult to cast a pole sitting so low to the water. It was also difficult to access my supplies, which were strapped down behind me. A canoe gives you the lightweight boat, that’s easy to carry, but also gives you ample storage and some leg room to stretch out and occasionally stand up. I will still occasionally fish from my kayak, but I will mostly save it for just relaxing on the lake.

Me taking a leisurely stroll in my kayak

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