• Happy International Left-Handers Day!

Poling newbie questions

Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
15
Reaction score
2
Location
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
I have been messing around with basic poling techniques for a couple summers, on lake edges, sand bars and stuff but haven't really made any progress up river. I have played with different poling stokes or pole plants and edging I have read about and figure I am about ready to start going against the flow!

I am on the hunt for another Pole (current one is too short), I hear 12' is the norm? about 1.5" thick? I will find a spruce pole around here, I know a few spots close by that have a lot of tall, skinny black spruce saplings I could make work.

My main questions is about the type of canoes more ideal for poling. I have been messing around in my Wenonah Spirit II mostly but with 1.5" of rocker I am wondering if it is ideal? yes, I will use it and play around with it, just that I am on the hunt for another canoe and just wondering what characteristics make an ideal poling canoe? From what I have read, flat/shallow arch hull with some rocker, so would a Prospector design make a good poling canoe?
I am aware the width is important as it reduces your draft, just wondering if length comes into play? On flat water, longer canoes become more "efficient", would the same apply for poling?

Well, I think you guys know where I am going with this so please feel free to jump in with your comments, I can tell from reading posts that there is a lot of knowledge here!

Like I said, I will be polling my Wenonah regardless if it is "ideal" for poling or not! I am just wondering what characteristics make a canoe "ideal for poling" and why.

Also, Feel free to through in some tips or tricks on technique for a neub!

Thanks.

BB
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
1,239
Reaction score
458
Location
Penacook, NH on a back road
Well, I've poled my Disco 158, a Ranger Otter 16' (that's a nice poling boat), tried a 12' Riverjammer with a lot of swims, my Malecite at 16'6". Of those boats I like my Disco the most. At that length and width (36") and the flat bottom it works best for me. My second favorite was the Ranger with a shallow V as does the Malecite but the extra length on the MR makes it a little more difficult for me on the upstream. I do use a 12' pole. My first pole was a sapling liberated out of the woods but moved on to aluminum for the weight although it sucks in the cold. I'm sure lots of folks will chime in.

dougd
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
Reaction score
65
Your Spirit II should do fine as a poling canoe. Length does matter. Going against current as you will when climbing ledges and chutes, longer is better for efficiency, but bow control is more critical. I poled a 14' Wenonah Fisherman for a while, and it was easy to turn, easy to keep the bow up into the current, and fit tight spaces - but not efficient for upstream travel. A Prospector design (mine is a 16' NC) makes a very manageable and forgiving poling canoe, but other designs are more efficient. I have also poled the Malecite, and found it very efficient but less relaxing than the Prospector. Same for the Penobscot. Whether a particular canoe is "ideal" for poling depends a lot on the water it's on. Even the Millbrook Coho that was designed specifically for poling is not always the boat I choose.

My advice is to get that Spirit II out with a pole (yes, 12' is the usual, but give or take a foot is personal preference - and 1.25-1.5" in diameter, depending on your hand size.) and learn how it responds to your input in various conditions. I expect that boat will work well for you once you're used to it. If you're like me, you will feel like you've been flogged within about 1/4 mile the first time you go upstream. You will use muscles you likely haven't used before, or at least in ways they aren't accustomed to. It takes a few trips (with recovery time) to loosen up and acquire some finesse. Experiment with moving forward and back in the boat to learn what trim does best where. I had a tendency to be too far back in the canoe all the time at first. That slows you down, and being bow-light isn't always necessary or desirable (especially with a little rocker).

You will probably want to start in shallow water with mild current. But be aware that once you get your legs under you, heavier and deeper current is often actually easier to attain - because helpful eddies are stronger and less suckwater. Enjoy!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
15
Reaction score
2
Location
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Thanks Doug and Steve. It makes sense, no one canoe can do everything poling related perfectly and just like everything else there are trade offs. I am planning on using my Wenonah, just that I am looking for another canoe more suitable for moving water and was wondering what "makes" a canoe a good poling canoe.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
06333
Love my nice big 17'2" Roylex Explorer. I’ve changed the thwart positions so l really have room to walk around. Very stable when at speed, I believe the advertising of he "shallow V" Hull. Generally used it for solo tripping. I have a 1/2" spike on my pole for poling on top of Fresh smooth ice.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
577
Reaction score
240
Location
Hoosier State
Top