By David Graham: 2/2/2023
I have been fishing from canoes for as long as I can remember. During a day in age where the kayak fishing market has exploded and the latest and greatest kayak rigs are like a floating swiss army knife of custom features and upgrades.... simple space and ease of transport is all I have ever wanted.... and sometimes less is more.
I've used a lot of canoes from buffalo canoes, coleman, and Old towns... but today I use the Sportspal S-13 and I absolutely love this thing. Meyers Sportspal canoes are made in the USA, and should not be confused with the Radisson canoe manufactured in Canada, whose hull is composed of thinner (0.022), softer aluminum.
The majority of my fishing has always been in calm, sluggish, or stagnant bodies of water. Areas where I need to move quietly and slowly... Not so much through rivers, or moving waters. I favor a rig that is bigger, wider, and can safely harbor more gear. Because often times I use my canoe on multi-day expeditions with camping gear and a half dozen rods. I find that the Sportspal S-13 checks all the boxes for what I need in a small watercraft.
Stability: Extremely wide for length and equipped with side sponsons for added safety and stability... you would be hard pressed to find a more stable small watercraft. The Sportspal S-13 is virtually unsinkable.
Weight: The Sportspal S-13 is less than 60 pounds. Shockingly lightweight for a rig that is built like (and looks like) a tank! The lightweight hull of this large bulky canoe will take you by surprise, this may have been the biggest selling feature for me!
Speed: The sportspal is not necessarily built for speed or cutting through the water, but its light weight and flat bottom does allow it to glide over the water seamlessly. With a square stern, I simply pair my rig with an electric motor and tiller extension I never have to concern myself with the speed at which it paddles!
Capacity: The Sportspal S-13 has an incredible carrying capacity of 625 pounds! You'll not find this kind of capacity out of a kayak. This allows me to haul all kinds of gear, motors, batteries, and passengers all without much of an effect on my overall speed or maneuverability. The S-13 can even handle small outboard motors up to 3hp!
Durability: With The two-piece heated and hardened aluminum hull reinforced with 25 support ribs... this thing is as solid as they come! However, in the event of a puncture or leak.. maintenance and repair is much more difficult and this could be considered a negative for these canoes.
Meyers Sportspal canoes are manufactured from aircraft grade aluminum... making them especially durable and lightweight. My Sportspal S-13 is over 13 feet long, 45 inches wide, and weighs less than 60 pounds. Equipped with a lining of ethafoam and side sponsons for added stability... its unbelievably stable in the water and virtually unsinkable. Built like a tank but light enough to throw over my shoulder and carry with one arm its the perfect 'throw boat' I can toss into the back of a truck or strap to the roof unassisted.
Loading and unloading is very easily done alone. I can throw my canoe on top of the jeep or in the back with a bed extension bar without a problem. The canoe can easily be pulled for long distance with a set of wheels like a C-tug kayak cart... or simply thrown over the shoulder for a quick trip down to the water's edge.
I like the fact that the bottom of the boat has a comfortable and soft lining, which has the dual purpose of adding comfort and stealth. I can quietly move around in, and drop items on the floor of the canoe without the fear of generating a lot of noise and scaring everything away!
The portability and capacity of this canoe is hard to beat. Down in the everglades there is no shortage of new water to explore but there aren't always good 'put in points'. The ability to pull this canoe off the jeep or out of the bed of the truck anywhere at any time and do rugged launches makes it my absolute favorite small watercraft for most any calm water scenario.
The canoe is a simple and classic watercraft that I see making a resurgence in popularity. Coupled with a small electric motor, this approach has helped me get to more big fish in the last decade than anything else. I have found the Sportspal S-13 to be the ultimate solo adventure angling canoe!