Canoe VS Kayak fishing

June 9, 2016
Canoe Shops Group - Canoeing


One of the most common quandaries of those breaching the idea of converting from renting to the investment of owning their own paddle-craft is the determination of what to buy. The biggest problem with this is that there is no easy answer because the decision is largely based on personal preference, the functionality desired, and the experience and comfort of the person buying it, combined with the many features and stability of the crafts they are looking at. We always tell people to come down to the river and we’ll let you try them out. This is something few other vendors in the area can easily offer. For us, it is just a step off the dock away from you trying many different makes, models, designs, and options.

There is no one better design or model than the one you’re most comfortable in. That’s why we have you try them. For the sake of answering the question, here are some options, however


OK, so you can fish of a piece of plywood that will hold your weight in the water but the reality of answering this question is that there isn’t a correct answer. A kayak can be fitted with a lot of fishing options such as rod holders, bait wells, bottom machines, etc. but a canoe has more space, can hold a cooler, and can carry more gear and up to three people. If you’re a meticulous planner, we like to sell the kayak because it is easier to transport, has a ton of accessories, and can be specific to your preferences. Extreme paddle fishermen have also begun actively fishing off of paddleboards but this requires extreme balance and offers little options with regards to keeping what you catch. If you’re fishing for the sport of it however, paddle board fishing for huge Tarpon or Snook is extremely gratifying and generates some of the most pleasurable experiences. It is simply you against the fish.


Again, this question requires us to ask you a series of questions. Most people these days come in already knowing which they want and usually if they do, they have a well defined reason why. It’s not always accurate or correct but mostly, if you know what you want, we leave it alone. However, if you say “I want a canoe or a kayak” or “Is a canoe or kayak the better choice?” we always have five or six questions that we ask that will send us down a particular path. A canoe is not better than a kayak or vice versa. They are simply different boats. Canoes have a higher center of gravity and can be less stable than many kayaks of the same size. Some more extreme kayaks designed for trekking long distances may have similar storage, but carry less gear, or only one person. Your budget is a factor and you should have a clear idea of what it is before we start going through the options. A budgetary limitation on a new canoe or kayak may not limit you from buying a used one however, and we have many pre-owned options available.


Long-distance, ocean traveling kayakers will tell you that on open or offshore water, a closed kayak with a skirt is the only way to go. Well, I might tend to agree, but the question is how many recreational paddlers are looking for that sort of extreme paddling. In far more cases most people are looking to use their craft on protected rivers and lakes in which case canoes have the recreational advantage.

You may not want to be confined and restricted in a skirted kayak so you may be thinking about a "sit on top" kayak. One thing about sit on tops, you will soon realize is, they are fair weather craft, they sit low and most have drain holed in the seat so you’re constantly wet. Not made for a crisp autumn day on the river, which can be some of the best paddling days of the year. Keeping dry is also an issue with closed kayaks, I've heard many people complain as to how irritating it is to constantly deal with water dripping down your arm from the kayak paddle. Even with drip guards, when one blade is in the water, the blade that just came out of the water is draining that water down the shaft and down your arms, this is not an issue with a single bladed canoe paddle.


As for recreational paddling for the typical family for four, you would be hard pressed to beat the practicality of a 16 or 17 foot tandem canoe. With weights of 59 and 66 lbs. loading and unloading for the average couple is easy. To get the same room and capacity in a 16 or 17 foot tandem kayak in a conventional material weights will go from 75-96 lbs. a lot more difficult to handle. Lets talk about room again, because of the closed in nature of a kayak the usable space in a tandem canoe versus a tandem kayak is quit noticeable, carrying passengers besides the 2 paddlers in a 17 foot canoe is done easily, not so in a tandem kayak. When they say tandem, they mean 2 people, and most of the time no passengers. Another advantage solo canoes have over solo kayak is a 13 foot solo canoe is lighter than most roto-molded solo kayaks, plus you get all the conveniences of the open canoe.


  1. By riding lower in the water, a kayak can offer less wind resistance and more stability.
  2. Kayaks are less likely to weathervane into the wind.
  3. A skirt will help keep the inside of a kayak, and any gear stored there, drier.
  4. Sit on top kayaks offer more flexibility with regards to body positioning and movement and are easier to get into and out of while in the water than a canoe.
  5. Sit on top kayaks have mostly sealed bodies and do not easily fill with water when overturned. It is easy to right them and to get back on and moving.
  6. Kayaks allow for solo or independence in the water, allowing one person to control their destination.


  1. Canoes paddle solo or with 2, 3 or 4 passengers.
  2. While in a canoe you have the advantage of sitting up higher, giving you a better view of what is ahead and around you.
  3. In a canoe you have easy access to, and more room for gear.
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