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AaronM

Portaging

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What's the best item to use in a portage-canoe or kayak? I'm really looking at a canoe for the purpose of being able to fish two people confortably in it, but the security of a kayak is tempting. Any thoughts? After looking in the new Cabelas magazine, the inflatable kayaks struck my eye. Has anyone ever used these, or better yet, fished out of one of these?

Another question, I usually bring in electronics and a trolling motor to make things a bit easier. The problem with this is that batteries are heavy to carry in along with the canoe, rods, trolling motor, ect..Is there a light battery out there that could power a trolling motor for a day's usage?

Thanks much for any reply!

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Depends on your excursion. I prefer the canoe because I'm usually with someone, it handles the camping and fishing gear better, its stable and easy to fish out of and if you get a decent one, they really are not bad to portage. In the BWCA you're going to be grinding on the rocks quite a bit which would also make me a bit nervous about an inflatable. I don't know of any light weight battery that can handle a trolling motor, but I always pack a portable locator.

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I'm not quite sure what you're asking here. Canoes and kayaks can both be portaged easily if properly equipped. Once the boat is in the air its more about dealing with terrain than whats on your shoulders. Thats when you know you've got the right portage set-up. You shouldn't even worry about the weight or the size of your boat. You should only have to watch where you're going.

That being said, I find that portaging is the easy part. Landings are the most difficult part of portages. There will be shallow water, rocks, mud, sticks and logs, and the landing may not have an actual landing spot. Water levels play a huge role, but some landings are just plain nasty.

I personally prefer a canoe for this reason. You can land much shallower than a touring kayak, carry more gear if you want, and its easier to get in and out of. I just swing my leg over the side.

I'm not sure I understand your comment about the "security of a kayak". I have owned a canoe since I was 15yrs old (12yrs) and I've never swamped a canoe accidentally. We've done it on purpose when there was no rish of losing gear or we were swimming in the lake, but never have I had a boat tip. That comes with proper technique and having a boat that suits your style. Certain boats have different shaped hulls and different depths and that all can change the feel in the boat. Some are faster, but feel more "tippy". Others are low, deep and wide. These tend to be a bit slower, but can haul more gear and are more stable.

Canoes are nice for the 2-3 person factor. I don't use a motor on mine, but I do bring a locator and I use a rod holder. The great thing abot a canoe is you can solo paddle it if you want to go alone or bring a friend.

I've solo paddled in 14' Wenonahs, I own a 15' Coleman Ram-X (plastic tug boat), used 17' kevlars (buying one this spring) and even used a 19ft aluminum canoe in the BWCA. That thing was a barge disguised as a canoe. We ran 3 ppl plus gear and it took 2 to portage cause there was no center yoke. I've used 2 kayaks, but never owned one. My wife wants a 2-person kayak for recreational paddling, and we'll probably end up getting one, but I just prefer canoes. More versatile.

I've never actually fished from a kayak, but I'd try it.

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For fishing out of a canoe you want a 17 foot aluminum with a keel. Also buy a good set of yoke pads. If you set yourself up like this you can crash into all the rocks at the portages.The keel helps you from blowing around while trying to stay on track. It also helps stabilize the canoe for casting and anchoring.I don't use electronics when i'm in my canoe. Trust your fishing knowlege and you will be surprized at what you will catch.

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I really prefer plastics to aluminum; quieter, tough...did my time with the old (heavy) coleman, royalex (sp?) is a newer, lighter plastic used my quite a few manufacturers. Old town, for instance, makes (or made) a heavy plastic 17 ft'er, and then the Penobscot 16 out of Royalex, night and day portaging the 2. Theres a company called Spring creek up in Mt. Iron making some really cool canoe accesories; one of which is a combo center seat/carrying yoke that is SO much nicer than standard yoke pads, I'll never portage without it again if I can help it. Obviously I prefer canoes to kayaks, mostly for room for fishing stuff.

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I have a wood cedar strip with no keel. I fish with it all the time in BWCA. Yoke pads are a body saver when portaging. We carried in a vexilar to Kawnipi lake in the Quetico, it was a pain but it saved the day when we hit the motherlode -wallys, the screen lit up. Couldnt have done it without vexilar-lake is huge. Problem with kayak, where do you put fishing rod when paddling, maybe have to rig up up some velcro thing.

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Some kayaks suck a$$ to portage. I am determined this year to make a device of some kind that one could mount to a kayak to make it easier to portage. When I do, they will go on sale. grin.gif

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fishbreath, I'm not sure if you've tried some of the commercially available kayak portaging devices, but they are out there. I witnessed one first hand with a woman who was solo tripping in BWCA with her kayak. She said it was very comfortable and didn't get in the way. Look on sites like Piragis outfitters.

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Get rid of your center thwart and replace it with a combination seat/ portage yok. You can make your own or buy one. Spring Creek makes them, same place that makes the sail rigs for canoes. I however think its goes against all rules to travel with 3 in a canoe unless its a kid. I wouldn't let an adult sit in the center seat in a canoe because the center of gravity is too high.

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