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Advice on new canoe.

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I am in the market for a new canoe and looking for a little advice. I am looking for something that I can portage in to lakes and ponds without a boat ramp. I would like the option of using an outboard motor where permitted, but would still like to be able to paddle the canoe on occasion. I need something that will allow 2 adults to fly cast and I would like to be able to stand in the canoe while fishing. I am thinking about a square stern canoe. I have been considering the Esquif Heron, the Esquif Cargo and the Meyers Sportspal. Does anyone here have experience with any of these models? Does anyone have any other experience, advise or points to ponder? Thank you. Any help and insight is appreciated.
 
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They're heavy from my viewpoint, like double or triple the weight of my canoes. You're ok with that? There are aluminum square sterns that don't weigh as much. And sorry, no experience with those.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I am looking for something that I can portage . . . . I would like the option of using an outboard motor . . . . I need something that will allow 2 adults to fly cast and I would like to be able to stand in the canoe while fishing. I am thinking about a square stern canoe. I have been considering the Esquif Heron, the Esquif Cargo and the Meyers Sportspal. Does anyone here have experience with any of these models?

Dropshot, I'd first like to welcome you to site membership! Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please consider adding your location to your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is in many ways a geographic sport. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.

I don't have personal experience with any of your three potential candidates, but I have looked at their specs and, having bought many canoes without personally trying them out, I can give some educated evaluations of the three against your desired performance criteria.

I believe the only Sportspal with a square stern is the 13' model, which can carry only 555 pounds. This would be a wide canoe to portage and the least likely of the three to have a comfortable capacity for two adults. Sportspals are also not of the construction quality of an Esquif.

As between the Esquif Cargo and Heron, which are both square sterns that can take a 3 hp outboard motor, the Cargo is MUCH bigger, longer and heavier. I really doubt anyone would want to portage 95 pounds even if they are young and strong. The Heron, at 69 pounds, is reasonably portageable, should be able to carry two adults with its 800 pound capacity and, at 38.5" beam, should be stand-up-able for one person, but I'm not sure about two at the same time.

Just based on specs, I'd say the Equif Heron would best meet all your listed objectives as a portageable canoe for both tandem and solo use. Price can often be the determining factor in making compromises, but that is a separate issue known only to you.
 
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Dropshot, I'd first like to welcome you to site membership! Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please consider adding your location to your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is in many ways a geographic sport. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.

I don't have personal experience with any of your three potential candidates, but I have looked at their specs and, having bought many canoes without personally trying them out, I can give some educated evaluations of the three against your desired performance criteria.

I believe the only Sportspal with a square stern is the 13' model, which can carry only 555 pounds. This would be a wide canoe to portage and the least likely of the three to have a comfortable capacity for two adults. Sportspals are also not of the construction quality of an Esquif.

As between the Esquif Cargo and Heron, which are both square sterns that can take a 3 hp outboard motor, the Cargo is MUCH bigger, longer and heavier. I really doubt anyone would want to portage 95 pounds even if they are young and strong. The Heron, at 69 pounds, is reasonably portageable, should be able to carry two adults with its 800 pound capacity and, at 38.5" beam, should be stand-up-able for one person, but I'm not sure about two at the same time.

Just based on specs, I'd say the Equif Heron would best meet all your listed objectives as a portageable canoe for both tandem and solo use. Price can often be the determining factor in making compromises, but that is a separate issue known only to you.
Thanks Glenn. I was looking at the sportspal S-15 from Meyers. I thought it would give me a little more room for two people. It is actually pretty light in weight at 67 lbs. It has a capacity of 705 lbs. It does not come with a yoke installed. I have never owned a canoe and have always been a boat guy. My experience with canoes is limited to the canoe trips that I did with the Boy Scouts 30 years ago. I made two trips to Maine in the last two years and found myself limited with my bass boat. The fishing on the bigger lakes that I went to in the summer with the family was not very good. I expected this due to the timing, but that is when the kids could go. I found that I did much better wading the rivers and fishing the ponds in my kayak. That said, fly fishing from a kayak was less than ideal. I did some fishing with a friend from his canoes, which was much better. Ideally, I would like to stand and fish. I was a little concerned that the Esquif Heron was just a little two short for two people fly casting. I know that the cargo is longer and heavier, but I thought it might be a little more stable for standing and would get two fly casters a little farther apart. I haven't actually had to portage a canoe by myself since I was 15 years old. Don't know how much those canoes weighed, but they seemed old, big and heavy at the time.
 
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On the lakes that you would need to portage into, would the trails be smooth enough to use a canoe cart? If so then the weight issue would not be as critical and a larger heavier canoe could be a better fit for fly fishing.
 
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On the lakes that you would need to portage into, would the trails be smooth enough to use a canoe cart? If so then the weight issue would not be as critical and a larger heavier canoe could be a better fit for fly fishing.
I would guess that a cart could be used on some, or maybe on parts of some. The primary lake that I was fishing up there had about a 100 yard portage. The last 30 or 40 yards had large boulders that I could walk between, but I had to lift my kayak over them. A cart wouldn't make it through there.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I was looking at the sportspal S-15 from Meyers
I missed clicking on that canoe. Most folks here don't paddle wide aluminum canoes because they are concerned about paddling and tripping efficiency. However, if what you primarily want is a "platform" watercraft to fish from, the Sportspal S-15 may very well do the job. You could buy or make a portage yoke for it.

Sportspal S-15.png

Sporstpal S-15 side.png

I'm not a fisherman, but if you have money to burn, you can get very light composite fishing canoes from Wenonah, such as the Backwater (52 or 70 lbs.) . . . .

Wenonah Backwater.png

. . . . or the Kingfisher 16' (39 or 55 lbs.), with which you could use a side-mount motor. . . .

Wenonah Kingfisher.png
 
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If, as you say, you are not a canoe guy I would strongly advise you to rent or borrow a canoe close to your specs and try standing up for your fly casting. Standing in a canoe while fly casting is an acquired skill and certainly doesn’t afford the stability you probably are used to from standing on the bank or in the stream. Two people standing and casting will be more challenging. Try before you buy.
 
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I've never tried fly fishing while standing in a canoe. I stand in my canoe on occassion but wouldn't think casting would be a good movement. I doubt you would want 2 people standing and casting at the same time. The weight of 1 sitting would help stabilize the standing person. I'd suggest you rent or borrow a canoe and try casting from it standing to see if that works for you before you get too far in.
On portaging, I'm a fairly large strong guy. I was a carpenter so probably better at carrying weight than most. As a 40 year old I didn't enjoy portraying a 72 pound canoe I had. As a 57 year old I presently portage a 44 lb Souris River Quetico 17 fairly easily.
As for mounting a motor. If you look online you can find mounts people make to attach a motor to a non-square stern canoe. That's my plan for my canoe if that's what I need to do to stay on the water when I get older.
Just a thought. Maybe you could get a lighter canoe and rig up a clamp on or screw on outrigger to stabilize it. The total package would probably weigh the same or less than a heavier boat but the outrigger would make it much more stable to cast from.
Happy paddling
 
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I ended up buying an Esquif Heron Square Stern. Tried it out for the first time the other day. It actually paddles pretty well for everything that I have heard about them. I put a 2.5 hp Yamaha on the back as well. I think this setup is going to work well although I need to get a tiller extension to make things easier using the outboard. I am also considering getting a set of canoe stabilizers for fishing. The boat weighs approx 68 lbs. I think this will be manageable for what I want to do.
 
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Yep. I looked at getting a square stern for a travel boat. I was going to share this:

1668666141716.png


It is for sale but pretty far for you. I have never seen an ultra light square stern before. I have been passively looking for about 3 years. I too would love to hear how the Heron does. This is from a listing in Georgia, not mine.
 
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Good luck with the new boat.

I've done a lot of fly fishing from a canoe, sometimes seated, sometime standing. As time goes by I do less and less standing and don't feel compromised as far distance or accuracy of my casts. Plus there is less chance to spook the fish. I never fished with two people fly casting from the same boat but it sounds tricky. If you are both right handed I would suggest fishing off the port side of the boat, that way you will more likely be the hooker than the hookee.
 
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Portaging short wide canoes with square transoms presents some problems. So does packing an outboard motor around.

Consider a used aluminum fishing boat with an outboard, and a light weight good paddling canoe for portaging. If you buy used those two boats will cost less than your new hybrid sort of a paddling canoe with a motor.
 
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