For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Cheap!)

Kayak fishing equipment and rigging discussion.

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internetpilot
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For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Cheap!)

Post by internetpilot » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:53 pm

Thought I'd brag a little, as well as help show how easy and cheap it can be to get yourself, as well as even the family, out on the water to do some small craft fishing.

I bought a 14' 3-seater Coleman Scanoe (squareback canoe) from Dick's Sporting Goods. Nice plastic canoe and fairly ready to do some fishing as-is, but...really...where's the fun in that? Time for some modifications and enhancements.

First came a thwart. It's not really needed in this canoe, because it's fairly well braced with the three seats already, but I added one because I wanted outrigger stabilizer pontoons and couldn't really figure out any better way to attach them. I tried Scotty gunwale clamps, but they just weren't very secure/stable.
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Here's a pic with an outrigger attached. I made the outriggers myself, using a similar design as the Yak-Gear outriggers, but instead of foam floats I used hard, plastic lobster floats, which provide a lot more displacement/buoyancy, as well as being a lot more durable with the oysters and barnacle rash. I also did not add the rubberized bed-liner type paint to the PVC, because from working a lot with painted PVC pipe, I know that what you spray on is easy to scrap off, and also the black gunwale on the canoe already gets way too hot in the sun, so I left the PVC white and just sanded off the lettering/logo. These outriggers work GREAT (can't emphasize that enough), allow me and my two boys to stand up and fish in the canoe without issue, and provide a lot more stability/peace of mind to the boys (and me) when out on the water.
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Here's the painted thwart, and the starting place of all the other more recent mods -- namely, a more comfortable throne for your's truly. :cheers:
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Standard rear bench seat -- definitely not the most comfortable and for my 6'3" height, it's uncomfortably low.
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Old seat gone! That's one thing really nice about these cheap plastic canoes -- four bolts and a seat is out.
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2x2 framing for the new seat. This was by far the most difficult part of this mod due to tapering, curved sidewalls. My miter saw doesn't really have very custom angle settings on it.
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Top of the new bench seat -- nice piece of 1x12 hardwood remnant from Home Depot that I definitely didn't pay the normal $8/lf. When buying any small piece of nice wood at Home Depot, always check the remnant cart back in the lumber section for good deals.
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While coming up with a plan for a comfy swivel seat design on my rear seat, I installed some creature comforts for my two boys -- the cupholders built-in to the seats are too small for a standard can of soda (bad design), and putting a hole in the bottom of the built-in cupholders and calling it a rod holder just isn't going to cut it. These are VERY inexpensive Attwood rod holders, that offer all the benefits of the more expensive Attwood, Scotty, etc., rod holders except that these do not offer an adjustable angle. You can pivot them in any direction, they're fixed at the typical angle that everyone uses anyway, and offer the usual locking design for keeping both casting and spinning rods in place. $8 each! The cupholders are just a very inexpensive set of automobile cupholders that cost under $2 for a set of four. I bolted the rod holders to the piece of wood for a spacer (so the rod holder could operate around the lip of the gunwale), and then bolted the wood to the hull so that I only had to drill 2 holes in the hull. Of course I used stainless steel screws/bolts all around.

One like this for each of the boys:
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And two like this for me:
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I then added a larger genuine Scotty Powerlock rod holder to the middle of my twart to handle our largest fishing rod (which my son actually uses), and then as you can see I figured out a swivel seat solution. Searching the internet resulted in this being the most common solution for installing a swivel seat in a canoe, and then when I saw JKF's very own Crusher using a very similar installation in his canoe, I figured good enough for Crusher, good enough for Internetpilot. I used an Attwood Swivl-Eze locking pin base. I tried to use a standard square swivel plate solution with a quick-release bracket, but I was having a heckuva time finding a swivel plate that would fit in the quick-release bracket, even when they were both the same namebrand. It was about the same price in the end, but the locking pin base solution seems more sturdy, and with no bearings that will likely corrode over time. I also put a thick coat of red paint on all the wood to match the boat and protect it from water.
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Same thing with paint to the front rod holder/cup holder mounts, and then threw a couple of stadium cushions (of their favorite color) on the boys' seats to make them a little less jealous of my kingly seating arrangement. :thumbleft:
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This is after our latest trip on Guana Lake this past Saturday with everything rigged pretty much how we used it. The only thing missing is the net that I took out of the red clamp-on rod holder behind my thrown seat (that was VERY handy).
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Everything worked great! Like Crusher said in another thread about the raised seat height causing the canoe to be tippy or more top-heavy, it really isn't much if at all. With the counterweight of the trolling motor, the heavy marine battery, a couple of coolers, general gear, and my two boys in their lower seats, I have plenty of weight keeping the canoe at a low center of balance. Not to mention the outrigger stabilizers did the job when I would need to spin around in my seat to lift/lower the motor, and I also have the anchor attached by there (so I only have to worry about keeping the hooked fish away from the back of the boat due to the motor and anchor).

The total price for everything so far is around $850 for a motorized, nicely rigged, 3-seater canoe. $200 of that is in the motor/battery and $130 is in the comfy rear seat mod. So if you decided to paddle it instead and just use the stock seats, you're looking at around $520 to get a family of three out on the water. It's been a lot of fun modifying/rigging it, and even more fun fishing in it with my two sons. I always worked on it with the attitude of even if I really bork everything up, it's only a $350 loss.

Now, for the sad part -- my boys are "over" this whole fishing hobby thing. It's a bummer for sure, but at least it lasted the whole Summer and we made some great memories. So, I'm looking at my canoe now that it's just me fishing and thinking, should I just move on to a single fishing kayak? I'd have to say, for now, no!

I'm a pretty big guy at 6'3", 235lbs, and I like the extra weight capacity, room, and stability that the canoe offers me. Now I'm thinking of ways to modify it so it's more centered around a single person, so I'm sure there will be some more fun mods and tweaks to come!

Hope this benefits someone who likes the idea of kayak fishing, but is looking to get the family on the water. A big thanks and kudos to Crusher (as well as other fishing canoe owners out on the internet) for doing it first and posting pics and videos that allowed me to get ideas or even blatantly copy what they did.
Last edited by internetpilot on Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-- Chris :thumbleft:
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stacktester
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by stacktester » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:55 pm

Great job. Where do you get the lobster floats and the cheaper rod holders?

Your boys are lucky. I have a 14 year old daughter who I've 4 wheeled with and camped and I don't regret a second. Enjoy them because they get big and into other stuff.

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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:50 am

stacktester wrote:Great job. Where do you get the lobster floats and the cheaper rod holders?
I got the rod holders from BoatStoreUSA.com. They're the Attwood RH46 rod holder. If you search the internet, you'll see a broad range of prices for them -- some up into the $20 range (which is just ridiculous). This was the cheapest I found them at <$8:

http://www.boatstoreusa.com/outriggers- ... der-black/

I first found the lobster floats at another online store, but then found them for almost half the price at Amazon.com, but they're calling them crab floats. Anyway, the namebrand is Danielson, but be careful -- they make a very similar looking float out of closed cell foam, too, so if you want the hard ABS plastic float make sure that's what you're ordering. They seem to have gone up a few $ on Amazon since I bought them in April, but I'd still recommend these over the closed cell foam style floats:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003OA ... 04_s00_i00
stacktester wrote:Your boys are lucky. I have a 14 year old daughter who I've 4 wheeled with and camped and I don't regret a second. Enjoy them because they get big and into other stuff.
My boys are 10 & 11.5 now, and were previously really into tent camping, fishing this Summer, and other activities with dad. I think they're just starting to get to the age where they have their own ideas of what to do for entertainment. I have two older kids (boy/girl twins), too, that are now 21 and in college, so I've been through this before. It's still a bummer, but oh well...that's life. I guess I'll get to do it all again with the grandkids.
-- Chris :thumbleft:
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by Vonzipper » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:38 am

That is a very "inexpensive" price to pay for a summer with your boys. One of the reasons I wanted my Stealth is the extra seat on the front hatch cover. I have a little grandson and I can see it now. He will go with me out on the lake every time he comes to see Papa Eric......... for about 30 minutes.......as long as he gets to paddle......backwards. Nice quality upgrading and thanks for documenting it on here for future scanoe owners.

Vonzipper
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by JeffreyMcGovern » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:42 am

Nice job! :cheers: On a budget or not that is one of the best looking fishing canoe setups I've seen.

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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:54 pm

Vonzipper wrote:That is a very "inexpensive" price to pay for a summer with your boys. One of the reasons I wanted my Stealth is the extra seat on the front hatch cover. I have a little grandson and I can see it now. He will go with me out on the lake every time he comes to see Papa Eric......... for about 30 minutes.......as long as he gets to paddle......backwards. Nice quality upgrading and thanks for documenting it on here for future scanoe owners.

Vonzipper
Thanks, Vonzipper! Hopefully my boys just need a break and they'll come back around to fishing with me (especially if I catch a lot going by myself a couple times). Have fun with that grandson! I'm in such poor (mobility) health that I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to do these things with my grandchildren. Maybe modern medicine will come out with some magical cure-all for a bad back and neck by then...and hips...and knees...and a bum shoulder...haha
JeffreyMcGovern wrote:Nice job! :cheers: On a budget or not that is one of the best looking fishing canoe setups I've seen.

http://www.jeffstacklebox.com
Thanks, Jeff! That means a lot coming from you, because I've seen your fishing canoe video! I think yours has "better bones" than my plastic canoe, but as long as it keeps getting me out on the water, I can't complain!
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by Dreads0518 » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:14 pm

Great Job on the modifications!!!! :thumbright:
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by clbelling » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:13 pm

Nicely done, great way to get the kiddos out on the water and fishing!!

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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:02 pm

Dreads0518 wrote:Great Job on the modifications!!!! :thumbright:
Thanks, Dreads! I'm just practicing for when I get a kayak some day!
clbelling wrote:Nicely done, great way to get the kiddos out on the water and fishing!!
Thanks -- yeah, the kiddos seem to be warming up to fishing again. I think it might be time to try a new location or two to keep their interest up. They're just not the creatures of habit that dad is (who's perfectly happy to just fish SML 7 days/week).
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by Simonredhobie » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:40 am

Great job! I remember growing up and my dad taking me on a fishing weekend once every 6 months. We had a caravan (trailer) down in a place called Mevagissey in England. We were never good at fishing and were lucky to catch a cold. But he would rent a boat for a few hours. The boats had lines that hung off the back with shiny lures on them. One day I caught a mackerel and that was about the only fish I remember catching. We tried all different types of fishing, in the rivers, ponds, and sea. They are some of the greatest memories of my life. I look forward to going home to England in December this year to go visit some of the places we used to go.
So what I want to really say is: making a family canoe that looks amazing is great, creating memories that will last forever is priceless.

Simon

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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:44 am

Thanks, Simon! I agree completely -- this has been an awesome Summer fishing with my two boys. It appears they're still into it and want to go, but to start changing things up a bit, we might put in at the Guana Lake Dam (still on the lake side) and then maybe a couple trips later start dealing with the tides and new adventures on the Guana River side before trying a few other places further away. I'm just glad they still want to go. As an adult, I've only fished with them. If I wasn't untangling a birds nest of fishing line at least 1/2 dozen times per trip, I don't know what I'd do with myself!
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by MrTopWater » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:24 am

IP
That rig looks perfect for you and your boys, and if for some reason you ever wanted to get rid of it you would have no problem selling it. Great craftsmanship in your build. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:55 am

kayakkid wrote:IP
That rig looks perfect for you and your boys, and if for some reason you ever wanted to get rid of it you would have no problem selling it. Great craftsmanship in your build. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, KK! When the boys started losing interest in fishing a bit there, I was thinking about selling it and going with a single seater solution, but now I think I'll try the more difficult route -- convincing the wife that I need both! Still in the planning stages on that... :scratch:
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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by polee7 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:31 am

Chris,
I'm new to this site solely because of your blog. I'm certainly not new to fishing or canoeing; however, I've never been on a kayak, and probably never will (just a matter of personal preference).

When I retired (the first time) in 1999, my co-workers got me a 17' Coleman tandem. My wife and I have spent many, many funfilled hours in that canoe on fishing and camping trips throughout Virginia. I have not altered the canoe except to install loops at each end to secure painters.

Over the years, my wifes health caused her to be less and less able to do any canoeing for anything more than a couple hours; and I found myself doing solo trips more frequently, while she remained at camp or cabin. I retired again from my second career in January 2012, and have decided that I want to do more canoe fishing than I had been able to for the past few years. I only float lakes and slow sections of rivers, too old now for those "X games" floats :pale:

OK, enough about me and to make a long story short, I was looking for a solo canoe, but then decided to rig up my old tandem for solo operation, both fishing and camping. I had searched the internet, extensively, and started to rig up my Coleman, when I found this site and you blog.

I had built the outriggers like you did, but used the cheaper foam floats. After seeing you setup, I sold my original outriggers and ordered the ABS floats from Amazon; and just received them today.

Now, I have a question ~ I had no problem using 3/4" (1" O.D.) Schedule 40 PVC on the foam floats, but the 1" hole in the ABS floats is too small to slip the PVC in. Did you have this problem? and if so, how did you resolve it?

My original outriggers were attached with clamps, but I didn't like that setup. I'm going to do some significant alterations this winter for a more permanent setup, and just might post photos with updates as it progresses.

Thanks for sharing your rigging! It is really nice and gives me some really good ideas; plus confirms some of the ideas I have started to incorporate already.

Regards,
Paul

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Re: For Canoe Folks -- Rigging a Canoe for Fishing (Done Che

Post by internetpilot » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:05 am

polee7 wrote:Chris,
I'm new to this site solely because of your blog. I'm certainly not new to fishing or canoeing; however, I've never been on a kayak, and probably never will (just a matter of personal preference).
Thanks, Paul! If I may speak for the (mostly) Kayakers here, welcome to the site! Like you, I don't think I'll be getting a kayak anytime soon. There are several models I wouldn't mind having (like a Hobie Pro Angler with pedal powered Mirage drive), but that's a $2,000 venture for used and $3,000 for new, and I just have other priorities right now. Again, love to have one, but I'm also doing just fine in my canoe.

That being said, I've learned a TON from this site and all the kayakers here. There are a few other canoers on the site as well, and quite a few who have both a kayak and a canoe. A lot of the discussions (especially fishing in general) apply to the canoers, too, so I would recommend sitting down over a couple of evenings or whenever you get the time, and just skimming through a lot of the old posts. It will definitely give you some rigging ideas.
polee7 wrote:I had built the outriggers like you did, but used the cheaper foam floats. After seeing you setup, I sold my original outriggers and ordered the ABS floats from Amazon; and just received them today.

Now, I have a question ~ I had no problem using 3/4" (1" O.D.) Schedule 40 PVC on the foam floats, but the 1" hole in the ABS floats is too small to slip the PVC in. Did you have this problem? and if so, how did you resolve it?

My original outriggers were attached with clamps, but I didn't like that setup. I'm going to do some significant alterations this winter for a more permanent setup, and just might post photos with updates as it progresses.
I used 1/2" schedule 40 PVC going through the ABS floats only -- the rest is 1" schedule 40. I used a reducer bushing in the "T" connectors by the floats, but depending on your local hardware store, you maybe be able to find a reducing "T" connector that has two 1/2" and one 1" openings. They do make them, but they're not very common since they don't have much of a logical plumbing application. The reducer bushings inserted in the 1-inch "T's" work fine though, and look good too. You may want to check for a tight fit in the bushings -- there will be some variances. I just borrowed a piece of 1/2" pipe and made sure the four bushings I bought were a tight fit on the pipe. I also put a stainless steel screw through the T, bushing, and pipe to make sure it held. My setup has worked fine for quite a few outings/months now, and there's minimal flex in the 1/2" pipe, but if you're still worried about stability you can always buy a hollow aluminum rod to put inside the entire span of the 1/2" pipe. I wouldn't recommend using a wooden dowel, since some water will invariably get in there and could cause you some problems down the road, but the aluminum should last a long time, even with saltwater and they're not very expensive. I used the same type of aluminum road for the axle on my canoe portage cart. Just FYI, the ABS floats will spin on the 1/2" PVC pipe (like wheels), and originally I was worried about that (mostly for noise), but the noise is minimal and the spinning actually has some usefulness during launching or running aground on rocks or a sandbar, etc.

The thwart mount that I did is a relatively easy solution and very stable. I tried the clamp route myself, using two different models of clamps, but it just wasn't working out to be very stable (mostly do to my particular canoe). I also originally tired something more on the line of this outrigger design, but didn't like that they weren't easily adjustable when in the boat/on the water:

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I did take out the rear seat and seat mount modification that I showed in the above thread. It made the canoe a little back heavy (especially for solo fishing), and I never really liked fishing from the rear seat much -- I was only doing so because my two boys were in the other two seats. It also made it difficult, if not impossible, to spin around and reach far enough to lift the motor out of the water when in the shallows. So my latest seat mod (also known as lawn chair...haha) isn't as "professional" looking, but works very well, and the seat is a lot easier to stow when transporting the canoe. It's also very comfortable. I wouldn't recommend doing something like this without having the outriggers, especially since the chair is not mounted very securely (I used velcro straps to attach it to the thwart), but it worked VERY well and allowed me to fish comfortably literally all day long (8am-4pm) on the test trip.

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polee7 wrote:Thanks for sharing your rigging! It is really nice and gives me some really good ideas; plus confirms some of the ideas I have started to incorporate already.
This is definitely a great site to get ideas and help further your own rigging ideas. Another great place to search for canoe rigging is YouTube.com. There are a lot of fishing canoe rigging videos on YouTube that will definitely spawn or enhance a lot of ideas of your own. Please do come back and post your mods to your canoe! It will definitely help the next canoer coming a long!

Good fishing!
-- Chris :thumbleft:
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