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    • James Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Hey guys,

      I’m a recent migrant to croc country. Waterways, which are usually places I treasure, I am now terrified of 😳 I’ve decided the best way to overcome this is to spend some time in them (the waterways, not the crocs). I really like the idea of an american/canadian style canoe, however I know NOTHING about them…

      They’re not really common here and pretty expensive, but I’ve got some plans to build one that should only cost a couple hundred bucks. I’m pretty handy but a bit hesitant only because I’ve never even used one so wouldn’t know anything about what I’m building beyond the plans.

      Has anyone built one themselves? Is it a fairly straight forward process or is there an art to it?

      Regardless if I build or buy one, for guys that have experience using them, what kind of things should I be looking for in a canoe that I would like to be able to take a heavy field pack and hunting gear in, and be stable enough I could stand in to bowfish? Like length/width/shape. I really don’t know the first thing about them πŸ˜†

      Jim

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2371

      I really don’t know anything about them either. Except that my dad built one when he retired, just for fun. He built it from some plans he got from some wood working magazine.

      It turned out looking really cool, and it floats well. But the thing weighs over 200 lbs. Which makes it way too heavy to be mobile or for portage. So it sits down by his pond. My kids paddle around with it.

      So I would say to keep weight in mind when looking at the advantages of building one. Sometimes true cost is a subtle thing to calculate.

    • Arne Moe
      Member
      Post count: 147

      Canoes are very useful watercraft and will carry quite a load compared to their overall weight. I have some experience with them — was a canoe guide for several years in North America’s top area — Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Canadian Quetico.

      Canoes have a reputation for being easy to capsize and for beginners that is true! Unlike you there in Oz, we don’t have “scary” things lurking in our water — at least not up here in the “North Woods.” IF you pursue the canoe, learn to handle it in “safe” water that doesn’t have a population of “nasties” waiting to poison, strangle or eat you.

      There are many books available about the building of a canoe, some better than others. There are wood strip and wood and canvas styles but they all take a fair amount of study and wood working ability. I don’t know if folks try making them at home from fiberglass, kevlar, etc. that just doesn’t seem like a “home” project to me but I may be wrong about that.

      IF you just want a boat to go out into the Croc infested waters, I’d suggest something that is a little more stable at least as you are learning. Don’t misunderstand! A canoe is VERY seaworthy BUT there is a learning curve involved that more often than not involves getting pretty wet. (That would be “total immersion” training. :shock::D:shock::D )

      Arne

    • hrhodes
      Post count: 31

      I use a canoe quite often hunting and fishing here in lower Alabama. They take you to places that motorized vessels will never see. You can spend as much or as little as your finances will allow, if you decide to purchase one rather than build. Low end chopper gun fiberglass canoes will get the job done and can be purchased used in these parts for around 200-300$ U.S. Top of the line kevlar and carbon fiber models can easily run into the thousands… What type of water you plan to paddle and the weight of persons and cargo will ultimately determine your needs. I have two canoes that are favorites of mine. I have a Mohawk brand solo canoe that is about 13′ and weighs about 40lbs. I can carry it easily and it will accomodate my 225lb body weight, a deer and hunting gear for a day. You might find that a recreational or sporting type canoe, with a slightly wider flatter bottom suits your needs for a first canoe. Slightly keeled bottoms are okay on flat water, but perform poorly in moving water over rocks and such. Standing up is generally not a good thing in any canoe (and not around crocs for sure). I wouldn’t want to ring there dinner bell by falling in….

      If you plan to build, you might try plans from someone like Glen-L boats. Plywood/fiberglass canoes are a possibility, but keep in mind that a canoe over 85lbs is a HEAVY canoe. 85lbs doesn’t sound like that much until you start dragging it around.

      Check out Paddling.net – lots of good canoeing/kayaking info on that site. Good luck.

    • Mathew Carothers
      Member
      Post count: 21

      My brother and I used to use our canoe to fish a couple of small residential area lakes nearby. We had a harness type thing, with wheels, that secured to one end and allowed us to wheel it across the street through the neighbors yard to the river.

      We would put quite some weight in it; two coolers full of beer and sandwiches, both of our tackle boxes and buckets of minnows. Tough to guess but probably 75+lbs. It actually seemed to be more stable with more weight in it. Not good for standing, though. After the beer cooler was empty…..

      Old Town Canoes. It was a gift from our dad, so I don’t know how much it cost.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Jim –

      In 2001, my wife spent 8 weeks leading a canoe trip on the Drysdale River in the Kimberly. Someday when we can finally lure you Stateside for some proper American whiskey and elk hunting :wink:, she’ll have some good stories to tell you. In short, they were never too worried about the freshwater crocs, but lower down on the river, the salties were a serious, continual concern. She’s spent a lot of time in grizz backcountry, both in the GYE and up in the Yukon/Alaska, and she said that salties were far more unnerving….

      But I don’t share any of that to dissuade you! Canoes are a fine way to travel, and I’ve always dreamed of doing a hunting trip by canoe. Let us know how it goes!

    • handirifle
      Post count: 409

      Having used a canoe quite a bit, I can tell you I would not want to use one in big croc country. Too tippy. If you must use one I’d suggest the flat sterned models

      Like this. A little more stable and you CAN add a motor if desired. Not quite as easy to paddle solo though.

      +1 on Glen L if you want to build.

    • garydavis
      Post count: 101

      Canoes are great for rivers but in lakes and swampy areas you might be better served by a Dory. I’m thinking specifically of a Gloucester Light Dory. They are cheap and very easy to build, fast, maneuverable, and can carry a heavy load. They are typically rowed or sculled. Sculling is a little tricky to learn, but once you get the hang of it it’s really easy and a fast way to move through a swampy area. Harold H. Payson wrote a how to build book you can get at Amazon used for under $4.00 USD. You’d have to come up with your own Shark Cage to tow around amongst them Salties.

    • archer38
      Post count: 242

      I live in canoe country. Smack in the middle between District of Muskoka and Algonquin Park. Spent ALOT of time in canoes and I would say that if you’ve never paddled one, make sure you get something wide and stable. They can be tipsy to the beginner. Something light (if you’re carrying a heavy pack you wont want an extra 60 or 70 pounds on your shoulders). And about bow fishing, NEVER EVER stand up in a canoe !!! Especially when crocs are about !! I have a small “yacht tender” row boat that would probably serve your needs better. Its only about 8 feet long and 4 ft 6 wide. Small enough to put in back of a pick-up truck or on the roof of a car. Almost impossible to tip and it won’t sink ! Only issues with it is its a bit awkward to portage and its certainly not as swift as a canoe but it rows nicely and I stand in it all the time and fish. Also, I’ve had my wife, 2 kids (age 6 and 10 at the time), myself, all our fishing gear and a small cooler full of drinks and snacks in it so it will carry quite a load !!

      Don’t get me wrong, I love my canoe if I’m just going for a paddle, but If I’m doing more than just paddling, the dingy is so much more practical.

      If you decide to build one, please let me know how it turns out ! I commend your ambition ! Canoe building is a very fine art !!

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Jim,

      Like some here, I grew up paddling in canoe country (might have passed Mr. Moe on a portage or two!)

      Some of your neighbors over there in the Pacific have the solution figured out already:

      Outriggers and the Canoeist.

      In fact, it’s probably how some of them populated Oz way back when …

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Cheers for all the insights guys, please keep them coming. I suppose another requirement is for it to be to some degree man portable. Waterways up here are seasonal, so in the wet they may be wide, deep and swift, but now in the dry they are shallow, slow and intermittent to the point where continuing by boat would require dragging or carrying it a ways.

      Oh and while I’ve never been in a canoe, I have spent some time on surf skis and sea kayaks. I’m no expert but I can get about.

      handirifle wrote: Having used a canoe quite a bit, I can tell you I would not want to use one in big croc country.

      haha, a tippy canoe beats the hell out of my current solution, which is to find a narrow part of a creek with a sandbar and wading across as quick as possible πŸ˜‰

    • Ralph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2554

      Just think, if you were really good on those surf skis you’d have a height advantage to see from and to shoot from. Don’t even worry bout the crocs, take your dog with you:D

      In regards to your pm, the dog was probably kinder to the crocs gut than a man would be. We humans are kinda nasty uh? πŸ˜†

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      http://www.newfound.com cedar strip canues, kayaks, and boats. You will be talking to my brother. You can do it mate, wouldn’t believe how many idiots have.

      I have been fishing from plastic Kayaks for over 20 years. The short ones are wider, lighter, and more stable. You can drag them over rocks all day without a problem. More stable thsn a canue since you are sitting at about water lever, and less freeboart thus less wind problems. Paddeling a conue in the wind is dicy, solo it is worse. Have taken Arwen out with her sitting in front of me when she was the same age as yours is now. Next spring I am getting one for her. My 8′ kayak has a stated weight limit of 250 lbs. If you ate carrying gear in the bow or stern you can streach that. If you are going to stand up you need to build an outrigger. Do a google search on it, and you will find lots of plans. Then you can take the outriggrt off when not needed. You can do it mate. Watch it tho, your lady may want her own.

      Have also seen them used by people to carry gear when ice fishing.

    • William Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      Jim,

      I’ve built several 11′ pirogues which is sort of canoe like but is flat bottomed. It is native American in origin and the Cajuns perfected it. They can be made in different lengths for different loadings. I find mine very stable and not to heavy.

      I have had a couple of poly canoes over the years to and they tend to be less tippy if they are the longer and wider models. Anything under 14′ is going to be tippy.

      But canoes can be used without fear of going over with a bit of practice.

      I guess you already know why the crocs have that permanent toothy smile on their snouts. Be careful on the water.

      Edit: Here is a guy I grew up with that lives in Melbourne and builds boats. He may be able to give some advice if he is still around. Check out his builds.

      http://www.mackhorton.com/Mack_Horton/Home.html

      Duncan

    • stalkin4elk
      Post count: 63

      For the best lessons ever, and free, go to http://www.nfb.ca (national film board Canada)and do a search for the Bill Mason films of approx. 30 min each. These are older instructional films from the Master himself. You will find newer films but not better instruction.

      1)Path of the Paddle – Solo Basic

      2)Path of the Paddle – Solo Whitewater

      3)Path of the Paddle – Doubles Basic

      4)Path of the Paddle – Doubles Whitewater

      I use a Novacraft Prospector that is a great boat for rivers and “doable” but not as good(slower) on lakes. Your intended use is all in the design of the hull and the materials used in the construction.

    • skinner biscuit
      Member
      Post count: 250

      Jim, I have a 18 ft grumman alumminum canoe with fiberglass outriggers and a 3 horse mercury outboard.With outriggers it makes for a very stable boat.You can jump in the water and climb over the gunwales to get back in.I have had this canoe in the Columbia river when its whitecapping with no problems.Check out Nelson outrriggers on the Internet.Expensive yes but they make your canoe a dream boat.I get a good laugh at the $40000 boats burning $100 of fuel when I can boat all weekend on $5 and go places with shallow draft and narrow channel.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      I have a 17 foot coleman that I’ve taken through some pretty tough whitewater but I’d not suggest if for dealing with crocs.

      We are all afraid of what we’re not used to. Bears don’t give me a second thought (black ones) and I’m getting used to gators, but crocs would give me pretty big worry warts.:shock:

    • archer38
      Post count: 242

      Wow, I don’t know why I didn’t think of outriggers !!

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      I use a canoe and kayak alot for hunting, fishing, bumming around, and used to guide on a number of rivers. My humble recommendation is to look for a wider, flatter hull design (as opposed to more rounded). I can easily haul two people (or a dog), hunting/camping gear, etc. in my 15′ aluminum canoe. Have had other material types and hull designs, but the aluminum is light….I’ve got it painted so it doesn’t shine. Just have to be more careful about dinging the side with a paddle, as it is louder. You’ll invariably have to portage low water, drag it over logs, load it by yourself, paddle out a heavy critter, etc…..weight is an important consideration regardless of material.

      And don’t stand up.. Keep your center of gravity low…especially around crocs:shock: Gators are a dime a dozen and of no concern. Crocs?:shock:

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Sorry I haven’t been responding guys, I’ve read and re-read every bit of advice, been reading and watching links etc. So much to consider! I like the look of the cedar strip Otter design at Newfound, short, light but with a decent load capacity. I found out the army has some canoes up here on my base so am going to see if I can sign one out for a few weekends to play around with.

      I’ll be pretty confident with the crocs here if I’m in a canoe. I’ve read about crocs knocking guys out of their tinnies but those are big 18 foot males being territorial of their ponds. Down here I’ve only heard of smaller salties that are desperate enough to come this far south. They still scare the poop out of me though πŸ˜‰ On the up side of cowardice the only ‘bears’ we have are vegetarian tree huggers that are stoned out on eucalyptus.

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      Send Mike a email asking about outriggers. Also might ask if he has any Aussie customers, See what they like for the crocks. Did I tell you that Mike (who ownes Newfound) is my brother? BTY he is grumpyer than I am.

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Cant add much to the above but it is well worth getting some paddling instruction, proper technique saves a hole lot of wasted effort and makes canoe trips a lot more comfortable.

      Have fun, Mark.

    • zimjohn
      Post count: 5

      Mate,

      Done the canoe thing on the Zambesi river and in Canada. Plenty of crocs and hippos in the Zambesi, which made for some nervous paddling but by and large no worries. Although I did get chased by an angry hippo called Mad Mike up near Victoria Falls once – but in a kayak and not a canoe – so speed was important at that time. Anyone ever told you that adrenaline is brown:D

      However salties in the Top End, especially the large ones, may be a different proposition, although the freshwater ones wouldn’t be an issue. Spent a couple of days in Darwin and saw how the locals were teaching the large crocs to jump for food on the Adelaide River, so I’m not sure how close I want to be to one of those fellas.

      Don’t recommend standing in a canoe though, probably better to use it to get to interesting places and then do things on foot. Considerations about weight should be high on your list – portaging can be sweaty work, but importantly, you probably don’t want to hang about on a bank for too long messing about with the canoe – crocs are plenty smart (they’ve survived for millenia) and like prey who hang around the water’s edge.

      Good luck – sounds fun – where are you in QLD?

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      grumpy wrote: Did I tell you that Mike (who ownes Newfound) is my brother?

      You did Grumps πŸ˜‰ I also heard from another unrelated source that he builds some of the best cedar strip canoes in America. At this stage, ordering some plans from him is at the top of my list, I’m just trying to do some general components pricing here before I spend any money. I’ve watched some videos of guys building them and it looks reasonably straight forward.

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      Get the instructions and read them before you commit, are you sure you have the room? Not the kind of thing to do in the bathroom.

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      I have a two car garage and only one car. I think space will be adequate. I thought I may have to buy some new power tools but have discovered I can sign tools out of the workshop at work so that’s a bonus.

    • Ralph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2554

      Hey Jim, they make battleships out of iron and they float. Need iron canoe in croc country? Use aluminum outriggers to lighten it. πŸ˜• Just thinkin which I shouldn’t do often methinks πŸ˜‰

    • zimjohn
      Post count: 5

      Jim,

      Did you catch the news yesterday? Apparently a New Zealander got trapped on a small island off the coast of Western Australia up by Broom by a large saltie – estimated as close to 20 feet long. He was on a sea kayaking trip and the saltie could move faster than he could paddle away.

      Got rescued by a local fisherman but was running out of food and water.

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      zimjohn wrote: Jim,

      Did you catch the news yesterday? Apparently a New Zealander got trapped on a small island off the coast of Western Australia up by Broom by a large saltie – estimated as close to 20 feet long. He was on a sea kayaking trip and the saltie could move faster than he could paddle away.

      Got rescued by a local fisherman but was running out of food and water.

      John, I did read that. I couldn’t help but wonder though, if a croc sidled up next to me in the open ocean, how much I’d start seeing it everywhere. A man alone is a fairly paranoid beast πŸ˜€ Got your email too, will reply when I get a chance πŸ˜‰

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