PFD Buyers' Guide:
THUNDER BAY & NORTHWEST ONTARIO
Fair winds and fresh water are calling...
How far will you go?
Haven't been here...
Posted by: Al_A on Feb-24-12 10:18 PM (EST)
for a few days...
It's really kinda hard to give you much advice. If you are so worried about flipping your craft that you feel like you need the sponsons, then you probably do need them. No decent canoe is so stable that you can do the same stuff in it that you do in one with sponsons and not flip occasionally. But most paddlers eventually gain enough confidence in their abilities that they neither need nor want "training wheels". That's not to say that you get so good you never flip. In 45 years of paddling in everything from lakes to class 3 whitewater, I've flipped my canoe a few times...maybe five or six times total. Well, actually I've only actually flipped it twice, but I've bailed out before it went all the way over the other times.
With your unease about getting rid of the sponsons, though, I'd probably recommend the Native. It IS supposed to be very stable, stable enough to stand in. The Natives have a lot of drawbacks, including less space to store fishing tackle and stuff, more weight, and lower sitting position (for the angler, a higher sitting position is usually advantageous). But if stability is your prime concern, then that may be the way to go.
D's recommendation of the Old Town Pack is good advice if you want to go with a "real" canoe. It's reasonably inexpensive, durable, and at 33 pounds it's a joy to carry from the vehicle to the water, or lift on or off the vehicle. It is FAR from a really good paddling design but is a very serviceable fishing solo. It will handle your weight, but to be honest it won't handle your weight plus a lot of gear. You might also look at the Mohawk Solo 14, which is a little higher capacity.
Great Products from the Buyers' Guide: