Canoe and Kayak Fishing


Canoe or Kayak. Which One To Use For Fishing?

Now lets clear up one thing at the outset, in my opinion, a Kayak 'IS' a Canoe. According to the Oxford Dictionary the definition of kayak is: • noun, a canoe of a type used originally by the Inuit, made of a light frame with a watertight covering. And by Webster's Dictionary as: A small canoe consisting of a light frame made watertight with animal skins; used by Eskimos. However, for the sake of ease and clarity, we'll call them canoes and kayaks.

'Outrigged' Canoe
Set up for fishing (mine)

'Sit On Top' Kayak
Set up for fishing (R Taylor)

To Move On to the FISHING OUFITTING Info


There are many advantages to fishing from a canoe or kayak. They have a low profile, quite approach, and can launched in waters not accessible to larger craft. There are advantages of canoes over kayaks and visa versa. Fishing gear storage and getting into and out of them are big factors in choosing one over the other. In a canoe, whether it be solo or tandem, there is plenty of room for multiple tackle boxes, a few rods, cooler and still plenty of room to move about. Because I have an outrigged canoe, I'm biased towards canoes. Canoes are best suited to rivers and dams and other 'enclosed' water and probably shouldn't be used in 'open' water (such as the ocean) for safety reasons. However, kayaks have surged in popularity of late and are well suited to rivers etc, 'and' open water in the hands of an experienced paddler.

In a Canoe, the fact that you're sitting up high has major advantages while spotting fish or identifying water conditions. I have talked people who confess to standing in their canoes while 'site' fishing. It can be done but its definitely not recommended under most circumstances. But try it in a kayak. At best the outcome would be comical (we'll talk about 'outriggers' later). To me, fishing from a canoe is easy, very comfortable, and preferred due to the extra stability and room.


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 a weight of 50 to 65 lbs. This weight range makes loading and unloading easy. To get the same room and capacity in a 16 or 17 foot tandem kayak in a conventional material weights will go from 70 to 95 lbs. A lot more difficult to handle on land. 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 quite 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. An 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 convenience of the open canoe.

In summary let me say that both kayaks and canoes have their place on the water. I believe that most people seeking general recreation on enclosed waters would be better suited in an open canoe, be it solo or tandem, fishing or bird watching, camping or simply messin' about. However, if you want to get among the big'uns on the offshore reefs I suggest you buy a kayak. It's a personal thing. Its entirely up to you. You have to decide what type of boating and fishing you want to do.


1. By riding lower in the water, a kayak can offer less wind resistance.

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. Better suited to open water than a canoe.


1. Canoes paddle solo or with 2,3 or more passengers.

2. You have the advantage of sitting up higher, giving you a better view around you.

3. In a canoe you have easy access to, and more room for gear.

4. Canoes offer a variety of sitting and kneeling positions rather than 1, locked in, position.

5. Canoes can be easier to get in and out of.


Both canoes and kayaks are inherently unstable water craft. Paddlers of both should learn the techniques required to right their craft after a capsize. However, there is a way to make them both far more stable. The addition of outriggers, either single or double, can turn a canoe or kayak into a craft 'more' stable than a conventional 'tinnie'.

I like to use a 'vest' when fishing from the canoe. It keeps everything that I need like hooks, sinkers, swivels, a knife, SP lures, and wet weather gear, close at hand .

To see a photo of the content of the vest showing more detail.
(Will Open In A Pop-Up Window)

Vest by Wild River approx AU$40


For More Info and Videos About 'My' Canoe


Fishing Canoes / Kayaks / Outriggers/ Trolling Motors
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