Item reviewed: <Old Town Guide 119 Canoe>
Condition: <Like New>
Number of trips used: < 3-5 trips>
How it performed: On my last trip to CSB the keel of the Big Game finally succumbed to 6yrs of dragging. Once she is repaired, she will be for flat/saltwater only. Seeing as the Jackson Coosa isn’t out yet, and I have always had some curiosity about the 119, I jumped on a deal MJPrice posted on GRF. I figured it could serve me until the Coosa is out, and then be a stashed on the creekbank here for quick afternoon sessions.
I met MJ in Chattanooga at 9EST this morning and had the pretty much new boat on the water by 12:30CST.
First thing I noticed was the weight of the boat. After years in SOTs, this thing is like a feather. I can carry easily over a shoulder and getting it on a roof is no problem.
Second thing I noticed when stepping into the boat was the amount of give in the floor. There was very noticeable swelling in the bottom due to my weight pushing against the surface of the water. This lack of rigidity and the inherit issues of a canoe without added floatation, tells me this boat should not be used on anything over mild whitewater. Could you make it down the Upper Locust? Yes, but I certainly wouldn’t suggest it except at very low water.
Third thing I noticed was how almost useless the seat is in the stock configuration. I like the positioning, front-to-back, and up-and-down, and it is pretty comfy on the butt and back for a hunk of molded plastic. However, it feels like you are falling off the front of it the entire time. That’s because you are. The only way I could keep my butt in the seat is to place my feet on the front thwart, which luckily MJ had covered with foam.
Fourth, was how responsive the boat was to paddle strokes. It is effortless to move, which is a good thing because the boat has almost no glide.
Fifth, I can reach pretty much the entire boat from the seat.
Sixth, wind is an issue. Even the light breezes I was in would easily push the bow around.
Seventh, this is not a stand and fish boat IMHO. Is it possible? Yes. However, it is far from the stable platform of the Big Game, Ultimate, Xfactor, Stealth, or even the Drifter. I will likely only stand for a brief leg stretch, if that.
-Easy access to equipment
-Unmodified seat sucks
-Lack of rigidity
-Not wind friendly
-Primary stability isn’t there
What does all this mean? It means that IMHO this boat has the potential to serve the riverfisherman well, as long as he doesn’t want to get anwhere fast, sticks to mild water, doesn’t want to stand, and modifies the seat. It should not be your choice if you plan to run anything over very mild rapids, or fish any open water fresh or salt. If I could only have one boat I would certainly look elsewhere. If you can only afford the cost of the 119, wait for a used boat, as the versatility just is not there. However, the 119 has found a home. Once I fix the seat issue, I will reach for it whenever I have a tough putin/takeout on mild water.