Kayak Vs Canoe Fishing

Should you get a canoe or kayak for fishing? Which is better?

The canoe vs kayak debate has been going on for a long time. And it is not about to end any time soon. Both sides present very strong points (some of them exaggerated, but most of them valid).

It can be a tough decision to make for anyone looking to choose between the two.

So, we are going to delve deep into the canoe vs kayak fishing discussion here. While we can’t make the final decision for you, we’ll give you all the pros and cons you need to choose wisely.

Which Is Better for Fishing: Canoe vs Kayak?

Here is how kayaks and canoes compare in different areas.

a. Stability

Fishing kayaks are generally more stable than fishing canoes.

Fishing kayaks are very wide and feature a flat hull that offers exceptional primary stability. This means that they don’t feel tippy at all. You can even fish while standing in a number of fishing kayaks. It is the kind of vessel you want when fighting a big fish or when you have a restless child/dog on board.

A canoe, on the other hand, has a V-shaped hull. Although this hull type is awesome when it comes to speed and tracking, it’s not as good for stability. For beginners, especially, a canoe can feel less stable. 

Additionally, a canoe rides high on the water, raising your center of gravity. This doesn’t help with stability at all.

Winner: kayak

b. Maneuverability

Kayaks are much more maneuverable than canoes. With a fishing kayak you can make quick turns and navigate an area with a lot of obstacles. Because of how easy they are to control, fishing kayaks will work better in rougher conditions. If you will be fishing in waters that require impressive maneuverability, go for a kayak.

Canoes are not entirely bad. Paddling them is fairly simple too. However, steering them can be trickier because of how they are paddled.

A typical canoe is designed with two seats for two paddlers. If you are paddling with a friend, you have to develop a seamless rhythm. Otherwise, you will have a hard time getting to your fishing spot.

And when paddling alone, you won’t find it as easy as a fishing kayak. A canoe is not recommended for fishing in choppy waters or an area with many obstacles. But you will love it on flat water.

Winner: kayak

c. Weight

Canoe vs kayak: which one is heavier?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Both canoes and kayaks come in different sizes, made with different materials.

Some canoes weigh as much as 100 pounds while others weigh 50 pounds or less. The same applies to kayaks. Some weigh 40 pounds (or less for inflatables), while others, like the pedal kayaks, can get to 100 pounds.

It all comes down to what the kayak or canoe is made of.

Canoes are mainly made using aluminum, wood, fiberglass, and polyethylene. Fiberglass canoes are lighter while aluminum canoes are the heaviest.

Kayaks are built using polyethylene, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. The polyethylene kayaks are the heaviest while the carbon fiber ones are the lightest.

Most fishing kayaks and canoes weigh more than 40 pounds. They are not fun to transport or portage. You will probably need a trailer/cart regardless of whichever one you choose.

Winner: none, it depends on the construction and size of a specific model.

d. Passengers

A kayak, especially a sit-in, is designed for use by one person only. Most fishing kayaks, however, are sit on top kayaks. But you still can’t bring another person because where will you put all your gear?

If you’d like to go kayak fishing with a friend, a tandem kayak is your best option. They even make tandem kayaks specifically for fishing.

You’ll need more than one fishing kayak for three or more anglers though.

A regular-sized canoe will easily carry three people. And if you get a bigger one you can bring more people on your fishing trip. There will be enough space for all of you and your gear.

If you prefer to go on solo fishing trips then a kayak would be suitable. But if you believe the more the merrier, get a canoe. That way, you can bring your partner/friend and kids.

Winner: canoe

e. Storing Your Gear

Fishing kayaks come with storage wells, dry hatches, fishing rod holders, and mounts. With most of them, you can bring everything you need on your kayak fishing adventure. 

However, you have to be good at organizing. You can’t just throw your stuff inside. The storage spaces aren’t that big.

Canoes have so much space. And you don’t have to organize. Feel free to throw anything anywhere in the deck. (You’ll probably regret this when you start reaching for stuff, so maybe don’t).

But there’s one problem. Your belongings in a canoe will get wet if water splashes and gets in. It sits high on the water, as mentioned, but water can still reach them. If you will be carrying any valuables, you may want to get dry bags.

Canoes also have a higher weight capacity. 

Most kayaks have a maximum load of 300 lbs to 500 lbs while most canoes can accommodate 500 to 1000 pounds and even more.

For any angler looking to bring a lot of gear for a multi day fishing trip and maybe a person or two with them, a canoe would be a great choice. It has the space and capacity.

Winner: canoe

f. Comfort

As stated several times, canoes are more spacious. If you get tired of sitting you can kneel and others will allow you to stand. This comes in handy when you want to spend hours or an entire day fishing. There is enough space to move around or change positions for comfort.

The kneeling is especially nice when the current is strong. The lower position reduces resistance and you’ll have a lower center of gravity. As you can imagine, kneeling on the deck will get painful, fast. So bring some comfortable pads.

Fishing kayaks will allow you to sit with your legs stretched and even stand. But you just won’t have as many options with a fishing kayak as you would have with a canoe.

Winner: canoe

g. Paddling

A kayak paddle has two blades. It lets you paddle from both sides. This style is efficient and makes it easier to control your watercraft. The double-sided strokes also facilitate tracking and speed.

Canoes are typically designed for tandem paddling. The paddles have a single blade. When alone, you make one-sided paddle strokes. It’s not that complicated but tracking and maneuvering will take a little more effort. This, however, won’t be a problem if you have a paddling partner.

The kayak is ideal if you want to fish a large area in a short time.

There are also pedal-drive kayaks. These are controlled by pedaling, rather than paddling. Since your leg muscles are stronger than your arm muscles, you will be able to move even faster. On top of that, your hands will be free, which is awesome when angling.

Both canoes and kayaks can work with trolling motors. But a canoe is best for this because it has more space for mounting the motor and battery.

Winner: it’s hard to pick a winner here. But for solo paddling, the kayak will probably be easier to paddle. 

h. Cost

Canoes and kayaks can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $2000+. It depends on how fancy you want your boat to be. But generally, kayaks are cheaper.

A simple canoe can cost you as little as $400 or even less. And there are good fishing kayaks that are priced under $300.

Winner: kayak

Canoe Vs Kayak Fishing: Conclusion

Both canoes and kayaks let you enjoy angling benefits that you won’t get with a traditional boat. They are small and you’ll not have trouble approaching fish without spooking them. But which boat is better between a canoe and a kayak for fishing?

If you will be fishing on flat water and you intend to bring lots of gear and maybe a friend or two, you may need a canoe. It has a higher weight capacity and much more room. It is also more comfortable. Just know that it is not as stable as a kayak and it is harder to paddle and steer when alone.

The fishing kayak is suitable for anglers that want a boat that is easy to paddle, with outstanding stability and maneuverability. You will love it when navigating tight spaces or rough conditions. There’s also the advantage of standing while kayak fishing. However, you won’t be able to bring as much gear as you would in a canoe.

Which boat type do you prefer for fishing, a canoe or a kayak? Feel free to let us know below. Also check out our article with 25 great kayak fishing tips to get you started.

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