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Canoe vs. Kayak: Which is Best for Fishing?

Canoe vs. Kayak: Which is Best for Fishing?

Canoe vs. Kayak: Which is Best for Fishing?

A heated debate that pretty much every angler has an opinion on: Canoe vs. Kayak. 

Kayaks have certainly overtaken canoes in popularity, but canoes still have a large crowd of anglers on their side. Which do you prefer? If you’re not sure which one would suit you best, keep reading for the pros of each boat!


Canoes are an age-old fishing boat for anglers. These lightweight, narrow boats have been a go-to for centuries. Canoes are typically open-top, oftentimes with seats for fishermen to sit. When canoeing, an angler uses a single-bladed paddle to move through the water and go after their fish!

Canoe Pros

·      More comfortable: The open-top structure of canoes allows anglers to switch positions easily and frequently. This may not seem like the most important consideration, but anyone who has spent an entire day on the water in a canoe would most likely argue otherwise. Switching back and forth from sitting to kneeling is not only beneficial for comfort but also provides anglers greater flexibility when reeling in a fish! 

·      Greater carrying capacity: Another benefit of the open-top design is greater storage space: either for extra gear or more people! Canoes can typically hold 2-3 people depending on their size while kayaks are only designed to carry one passenger. This makes canoes a great choice for family outings or groups of anglers. It also means that the extra space can be used to bring extra rods or additional gear along with you. Just make sure to put any sensitive gear in a protective bag or box in case of a capsize!

·      Lighter weight: Newer canoes made of polyethylene or a similar material are often significantly lighter than kayaks, which makes them optimal for trips where you may have to carry the boat for a distance. In fact, canoes were originally designed to be transported between bodies of water while kayaks were not, so canoes definitely win in this category! Once it’s in the water, though, the weight isn’t as important, so keep in mind your land transport distance when making this decision. 


Kayaks have become a popular choice for anglers, filling the waters of rivers everywhere. These boats are lightweight and narrow like canoes, but they have a covered deck and a cockpit, or seat, for one passenger. This means less flexibility of movement than canoes and a smaller carrying capacity. So why are kayaks so popular? 

Kayak Pros

·      Greater stability: The differing designs of these boats allow kayaks to sit lower on the water than canoes. This lower center of gravity provides greater stability for kayaks, and this is one of the primary reasons why anglers like fishing in kayaks so much. When you’ve got a big fish on the line and need to stand up, kayaks are much less likely to capsize than canoes. It is certainly possible to stand on a canoe, so don’t rule them out just yet, but if you’ve never done it before, balancing on a kayak will usually be easier. Not only are kayaks less likely to capsize on choppy waters, but they are also easier to recover if or when you do capsize. 

·      More maneuverable: Kayaks are propelled with a two-bladed paddle rather than the one bladed paddle of a canoe, making them easier to maneuver throughout the water and more efficient to paddle. That being said, the two-bladed paddle is much heavier so that can slow some anglers down. Many still argue that kayaks are easier to use because of this design which also contributed to their rise in popularity. 

·      Less expensive: Finally, the factor you’ve all been waiting for: price. The most inexpensive kayaks typically start at around $300 while the cheapest canoes are around $600. And keep in mind, these are just baseline prices. If you’re on a budget and you want the most basic fishing boat you can get, go with a kayak. 

Fishing Technique

For both canoes and kayaks, you’ll need to make some adjustments when fishing in comparison to a traditional fishing boat. Because you’ll be so much closer to the water, use a shorter rod and make shorter casts. Additionally, you will only be able to use your upper body – arms and shoulders – rather than your entire body when casting, so practice this technique to make short and precise casts. Take a look at this video for more tips on technique!

So….Canoe or Kayak? 

While we would love to give you a solid answer as to which boat you should go out and buy, we don’t have one. The truth is, both boats make excellent fishing vessels for the right angler based on their personal preferences. Think about what’s most important to you in a boat and use these pros and cons to help make your decision! Once you’ve chosen, you can check out these lists of the best fishing canoes and kayaks


Is Protective Fishing Clothing Important?

People forget about the importance of performance fishing shirts. When you spend hours on the water in the heat, rain, or cold, the apparel you choose ultimately affects your performance. You need men’s fishing shirts that have UV protection, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, quick-dry, and ventilated features. You should also have fishing shorts with multiple deep pockets, 4-way stretch, moisture-wicking, and stain-resistant fabrics. Skin cancer is very dangerous, and wearing 50+ UV sun protection clothing for fishing shields skin from harmful rays.

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