Canoes have faded into the background somewhat in fishing circles as the rise and rise of sit-on-top fishing kayaks continues. However there is still plenty of room in the market for quality and Rosco has been producing quality for years, especially in their canoe range for anglers.
The latest additions to the Rosco range of fishing canoes includes the Scamper series. This series has two versions, a one-person Solo Scamper and a two-person Duo Scamper. In this review we’ll be looking at the Solo Scamper and all that it offers anglers.
Rosco says of their Scamper that being, “Lightweight, stable, and versatile is the key to the success of the Rosco Scamper canoe. This canoe can be enjoyed by entry level or experienced paddlers alike and is ideal for day tripping on flat water. This craft is perfect for one and plenty of gear can be carried.”
So just how realistic are these thoughts on the Scamper when you actually get one on the water? Well we had that chance recently and here is what we thought of the Rosco Scamper.
First impressions are always a good indication and when you first see the Scamper you know it’s built with great sense. There are no frills, whistles or fireworks here, the Scamper has been designed to be simple, lightweight and able to be customised for your needs.
With a single seat placed amidships, the Scamper is super light at 20kg and one-person can mange this craft easily. Its lightweight also allows the Scamper to be transported almost anywhere. On our test day we easily manoeuvred the Scamper on and off the 4WD’s roof racks with one or two people and carrying the craft to and from the water up and down a steep access track that was overgrown was a delight.
By simply placing the Scamper on your shoulder and wrapping your arm around the seat you could carry the Scamper plus the electric to the water easily. If you didn’t want the electric motor option, then carrying your rod and having a tackle vest or backpack would mean you could go almost anywhere with this craft in one trip.
Canoes are not made to skate through the water at speed, rather they are there for the user to enjoy their surroundings in a safe and stable way. So how do you test a single canoe with a 180kg payload? Simple, you load a 145kg bloke into one and set him free.
When our intrepid tester first got into the Scamper there was a little wiggle and wobble, but this quickly settled down and he got on with the job of paddling and powering around with the electric. I have to say we were more than disappointed that he stayed upright, but not everything works out as planned and it goes to show that one of the Scamper’s neat design features works. This feature is the large tumblehome design. What’s a tumblehome design you ask? I know you did, because I did.
Tumblehome design is a clever bellying out of the sidewall of the canoe to provide a little extra stability. Basically the more you roll over to one side, the more the tumblehome design kicks in to provide extra buoyancy. Until it’s pointed out to you, you really don’t notice the design feature, but on the water it works really well. No it won’t stop you going over if you push a boundary or two, but it does give just that bit of extra security to users.
And if you do happen to go over the side and the craft becomes swamped, the bulkheads are designed to encourage the craft to be self-righting. This is a good safety design because you will go in at some stage, or is that just me? The bulkheads are sealed as well, meaning that the floatation material will not be affected by outside factors such as petrol, weather or damage from being knocked around.
We paddled and electric powered the craft around and both propulsion options worked really well. If I was to set the Scamper up for electric power only I would place the electric as far towards the stern as possible to ensure I had the best steering. A handle extension for the electric would be great. We used an 18lb thrust model and with the Solo Scamper fully loaded, this little electric pushed the craft around quite well.
Paddling was great. You can use a single, traditional canoe paddle or a kayak-style paddle, but for ease of use the canoe paddle wins hands down. With the canoe paddle there is very little water that enters the cockpit and the control you have is first rate. The bigger face of the paddle pushes a lot of water and directional changes, picking up speed and simply cruising were easy.
The seating is simple and effective. A simple bench made from metal tubing covered with double ripstop fabric is all there is. You can add a kayak seat if you’d like, but that’s not necessary at all in my opinion.
The Scamper’s build is a straight composite lay up, which is all fibreglass. Other options include Kevlar or carbon at an increased cost. Using this material provides the ability to form very fine lines, literally down to a knife-sharp entry if desired and the Scamper makes good use of this material.
Some of the advantages of fibreglass include that it is extremely lightweight with the Solo Scamper coming in at 20kg, it has a high strength-to-weight ratio, it can be formed to very fine design lines and it has a moderate cost. All these factors are displayed very well in the Scamper.
And being that the Scamper is fibreglass, what about damage and repair? Damage, of course, is a problem and these craft are not designed for going down classed rapids. If you want to do that, grab a proper whitewater kayak or a Rosco Chief, a 15’ canoe manufactured of Royalex, a material designed for whitewater use. Damage will occur from sharp rocks hit with force so avoid these situations. But the good news is that they can be repaired fairly easily and cheaply. Just remember that this is a canoe, not a rock hopper.
The Scamper is deliberately designed to be easy to use, easy to transport and to be simple overall. It’s a no frills unit that allows the end purchaser to add-on where and how they want.
You can have an electric set up if you want and there is also a great sail option if you want to minimise your paddle workload. You can add on some neat little rod holders that are so simple you’ll kick yourself for not thinking about it and you can add on drop anchors, paddle holders and more. The open plan allows for unrivalled customisation and I really like that.
But most of all I like that it is simple. Grab a rod, grab some lures, grab a paddle and go catch a fish. How easy is that? Single person everything and a whole lot of fun waiting for you in the Solo Scamper.
Lightweight and stable, this canoe will have you rethinking a lot of your ideas for a small watercraft. I was more than impressed by these little wonders.
To find out more about the Solo Scamper log onto www.roscocanoes.com.au or drop into the Rosco Canoes and Kayaks display rooms at 295 Gympie Rd in Kedron. You could also give them a call on (07) 3359 9330 for more information.