Carolina Mountain Sports
123 West Broad St
Statesville, NC
(704) 871-1444
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May 27, 2024
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  Carolina Mountain Sports Paddling

Selecting a Canoe

There are some excellent canoes on the market, although perhaps not as many as there use to be.  Brands like Bell and Wenonah produce many excellent models.   Some select models by Old Town and Mad River, and a few other brands can be excellent all-around canoes for the southeast.      

bell canoe
CMS staff and friends head out in the fog on Maine’s Allagash River.

Stick with a well known brand and model.  For all-around usefulness, pick a canoe that is 15-17 feet long.   Make sure it does not have a keel or ridges or grooves on the bottom.  Those hang on rocks and can make navigating a river much more difficult.    A well designed canoe, without a keel,  will track and handle great, especially if you learn the proper stokes for padding.   The longer the canoe, the more weight (equipment and people) it can handle and the shallower it’s draft (a real benefit in low/shallow water situations

Bell Yellowstone tandem make a great solo craft for smallmouth fishing on the New.

Tips for Solo Paddling

Good, well designed canoes paddles great, as long as the paddler sits or kneels in the center of the canoe.  This usually means you must add a kneeling thwart or a center seat.  Doing so will transform an awkward unstable craft to a nimble, well handling canoe that will perform beyond your expectation.   Learn the various strokes for paddling and practice so you can execute them well.  In long stretches of flat water, a long double-bladed paddle (8-9’) can be a real asset in covering distance rapidly and efficiently (but perhaps without the  aesthetics of single-bladed paddling).

Fishing from a canoe

Canoes make excellent fishing craft,  as long as you adjust and adapt to their limitations (the same is true for kayaks and pontoon boats.   They offer excellent versatility in rivers, whether going downstream or upstream.  They are fast and efficient on slow, flat water.   In addition, if you have chosen the right canoe, they are easy to load and unload and access waterways where other craft could not be launched.    

Updated: July 17, 2021
Carolina Mountain Sports

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