Better For Fly Fishing: Canoe vs. Kayak

One of the best outdoor recreational activities is fishing. It is also a perfect bonding activity for friends and family. However, when flying fishing without the skills, you can go out fishing all day and come back with no fish. Using a canoe or kayak is one of the best ways to have a productive fishing day. The water vessel will help you cover more ground since you can move in the water more swiftly.

What is Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing is the method of catching fish using an artificial fly. The artificial fly is a lure that usually has a bait to lure the fish. For fly fishing, the bait is presented on top of the water. The idea behind fly fishing is to appear as if a bug has landed on top of the water.

However, this method is not the same as the traditional fishing methods where the bait is presented inside the water.

Better For Fly Fishing: Canoe vs. Kayak

Differences between Fly Fishing and Traditional Fishing

Fishing Tools

Fly fishing and traditional fishing are two different methods of fishing. First, the tool used in traditional fishing is quite different from what is used in fly fishing.

The line’s end contains a hook for the traditional fishing tool, some weight, afloat, and a lightweight fishing line is used. The bait is usually on the hook, and the attached weights allow you to make a cast and reach your desired distance. The float holds your bait at a depth in the water where fish can see or smell the bait.

When fly fishing, the fishing tool is lightweight; hence you can fly it out on top of the water or just below the surface. It would be best if you also were very careful not to scare away the fish when casting the fishing tool.

Fishing Line

The bait and weights act as the weight to get a good cast in traditional fishing, while in fly fishing, the line itself provides the weight required.

Fly Rod and Reel

The fly rod and reel of the fly fishing rod are very different from traditional fishing. The fly fishing rod and reel are made of graphite, they are very flexible, and they are longer than the regular fishing poles, and they usually bend when casting, enhancing extra distance.

The traditional fishing pole has a closed reel, while the fly fishing pole has an open reel. Additionally, the holding position of the traditional fishing pole is behind the reel, while the fly fishing rod’s holding position is at the front of the reel.

Factors to consider when Fly Fishing

Whether you choose a canoe or kayak, there are several factors you need to consider when fly fishing.

  • Comfort: When fishing, one of the essential considerations, is comfort. Kayaks are mostly sit-on-top styles. This helps lower your center of gravity and enhance stability. You can sit with both your legs bent or straight-out flat. With kayaks, you can only sit facing forward. Looking back gets difficult with the kayak. You sit higher for a canoe, making it quite unstable, and your legs are usually bent. However, it is easy to squirm, wiggle, crouch, kneel or stand whenever you need to.
  • Moving Around: Each vessel requires its skill to propel. A kayak uses a two-bladed paddle, and when it’s not in use, you can balance it across the cockpit or fasten it along the deck. To move around you need to paddle and use a tether on the paddle not to escape. Using a kayak, you can incorporate using a long or double blade handle to move from place to place or a short paddle for one-hand maneuvering. On the other hand, a canoe is propelled using a single blade paddle, and when you are not using it, you can drop it on the deck. With the canoe, you can add an electric trolling motor to improve their speed.
  • Weight and Capacity: The carrying capacity is one major consideration you need to consider when choosing whether to pick a canoe or kayak. In kayaks, you use covered wells and elastic cords. You can drop your stuff on the deck with a canoe, and it allows you to carry more things than the kayak since there is storage even under the seats.

Canoe Fishing

Canoes are usually an excellent choice for fishing where you require lots of storage, multi-person adventures, and fly fishing.

Fishing in a canoe allows your fishing pole to cover more water and catch more fish. Canoes are usually well balanced and perfect for people who are more comfortable fishing while seated.

Canoes are better vessels for fly fishing as compared to kayak since they provide a fly angling with enough room for backcasting, changing position and fly line management.

Advantages of Fly Fishing from a canoe

  1. In a canoe, the angler can go over water more quickly.
  2. With a canoe, you can access untapped fishing holes that were previously inaccessible.
  3. The canoe is silent; hence you don’t need to worry about scaring away the fish.
  4. Most canoes are short hence making fly fishing easier.

Disadvantages of Fly Fishing from a canoe

  1. In the beginning, it might be difficult to control your line due to the proximity to water.
  2. After a fish is caught, it isn’t easy to reel in without tipping the canoe.
  3. It is hard for the canoe to stay still in the water.

Kayak Fishing

Kayaks are ideal fishing aids in turbulent rivers or oceans when covering large areas in a short time and shallow water.

The poles in kayaks can cover much distance because of the kayaks’ close-up design. The kayak can also be used for fly fishing, but they are not the preferred vessel since they are not as stable as the canoe, and they will require you to perform most of the fishing tasks when standing. However, for conventional fishing, the kayak is the best vessel since it is easy to throw cast with a conventional rod even when seated.

Advantages of fly Fishing From a Kayak

  1. With a kayak, you can cover more distance swiftly and efficiently.
  2. The kayak is silent, and with it, you eliminate the possibility of scaring away fish.
  3. With a kayak, you have a comfortable armrest if you glue thin neoprene sleeves at the paddles’ end.
  4. You can also access the areas with weeds where most people would not access.

Disadvantages of Fly Fishing from a Kayak

  1. The kayak is unstable and will have a hard time maneuvering in high waves or wind.
  2. You are mostly limited to shallow waters when using a kayak.
  3. After the fish is caught, the kayak becomes quite unstable when moving it to the kayak.
  4. The kayak will not sit still in water; hence, it might scare away the fish.

Here’s a video from Paddle TV on Tandem Kayaks.


One way to have a successful fishing experience is by choosing the right vessel. You can cover more ground with the right fishing vessel, access inaccessible areas, and be comfortable when fishing. Fly fishing requires you to be delicate; that is why you need to be cautious when choosing between a canoe and a kayak. Both can be perfect fishing vessels; you only need to pick what works best for you and which of the two you are experienced in.

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