Whether you are bored of paddling, need your kayak to move at a higher speed, or just want to be more efficient (and hands-free), the solution to all this is a trolling motor that you can simply install on your boat or kayak. Adding a motor to your kayak will provide you with a brand new experience and a new perspective to kayaking.
How To Put A Trolling Motor On A Kayak?
In order to put a trolling motor on the kayak, it is necessary to have a mount. Two kinds of trolling motor mounts are available: off-the-shelf ones and homemade mounting kits. Off-the-shelf mounts can be bought, while homemade mounts have to be assembled manually in a DIY fashion.
Motorized kayak is the latest addition to recreational vessel development. It has grown in popularity even more with the growing fan club of fishing kayak. The anglers and paddlers are taking a keener interest in becoming more efficient and utilizing less physical energy when out in the waters.
Recommended Kayak Trolling Motors
A trolling motor lets you relax and sit comfortably without the need for physical paddling. This motor is fairly quiet and is not an annoyance to you (or the fish under the water). You would appreciate a trolling motor a lot more, if you have heard the sound of a large propeller engine used by bigger boats.
This guide aims to assist you in your quest of finding the best kayak motor and related accessories, and at the same time imparting some handy information on its installation and key features that you need to consider when buying one.
Without worrying about spending a fortune or tons of effort of time, a trolling motor mount can be used to attach a motor to your kayak.
On a comparative basis, off-the-shelf mounts are pricier than homemade mounts, but they are aesthetically better and also provide added durability and maneuverability.
The mount, once installed, should be able to absorb the motor vibrations effectively (particularly with powerful engines), otherwise you will not have a smooth running kayak.
For the mounting to last longer, it should be made from rust-resistant and water-resistant material, so you can avoid severe technical issues whilst in the water and ensure longevity.
Always opt for an easy-to-install mounting kit to make your life easier. This is particularly important if you do not have much liking or experience for DIY.
The trolling motor mounting kit needs to be 100% compatible with the kayak. If that is not the case, then you are certainly compromising on the motor’s performance as well as looking to spend more money into this installation process going forward. This is because may have to modify the dimensions or important components to achieve the right fit. Reading reviews and re-checking with the seller or supplier is important and prudent.
Homemade Mounting Kits
To build a homemade mounting kit, you will need to utilize the existing components and features of your kayak. By way of example, rod holders can be effortlessly used to house mounting poles. A rear storage box may be wide enough to place an onboard power source such as a 12-Volt deep cycle marine battery. You can easily come up with an innovative mounting method, if you love DIY and frequently like to engage in a creative thought process.
The requirements and the basics remain the same as you employ for off-the-shelf kits. The mounting is meant to reduce the vibrations from the motor, by absorbing the impact. The items or materials you are using should be long-lasting, and lastly, the compatibility of the mounting with the kayak should always be checked and ensured at the outset.
If you are not the DIY kind or do not have the requisite tools, then you can always take assistance from a mechanic to help you with the construction or installation of the mounting.
Always keep the safety considerations at the forefront of your mind, as kayaks are not typically designed to be operated by a trolling motor.
Best 10 Trolling Motors and Accessories For Kayak
Here we present to you the top 10 trolling motors and the related accessories that kayakers would love to have on their kayaks. These reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research on some of the best brands and kayak motors available in the market.
Trolling motors have varying features and specifications, and with that in mind we look at their functionalities, power consumption, battery life, speeds and much more.
1. Newport Vessels Kayak Series
It has variable speed settings – 8 speeds (5 forward & 3 Reverse) that can be controlled with a 6-inch telescoping handle, keeping you in control of your ride at all times.
It is saltwater rated (DC 12V) and constructed from all aluminum motor head, corrosion resistant magnesium, zinc, and stainless-steel hardware that makes it ideal durable for saltwater use.
It comes with extra-long cables of 5’6″ battery cables and offers diversified battery placement for maximum weight distribution of the kayak.
2. Coleman Company Sevylor Inflatable Boat
Sevylor Electric Trolling 12V Motor can power your inflatable boats efficiently without using any gas or emitting any exhaust.
The mount is patented and integrated within the outboard SBM motor to provide a good fit for all Sevylor inflatable boats. The motor can provide you with the boost to propel and maneuver through the deep waters – thanks its 18 lbs. of thrust.
It is manufactured with an 18.5″ aluminum tube shaft that affords it durability and longevity. It also incorporates a plastic bracket for a transom mount. For eyelet mounting, it has stainless steel tube with plastic fittings for your vessel.
3. Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor
This motor comes with a solid and 10-position lever lock bracket that has a quick-release lever lock feature and constructed from reinforced composite material that prevents flexing, warping, and sunlight damage.
The 60inch telescoping tiller offers you ease and comfort while you intuitively operate your trolling motor.
It has a versatile 5 forward/3 reverse speed settings. The power prop (includes prop pin, nut and washer) produces added power so your boat can ease through the heavy under water vegetation, and ideal for 3-1/4″ motor diameters.
4. Minn Kota Ultrex Freshwater Bow-Mount Motor
This Minn Kota’s bow-mount motor for freshwater is responsive and has a flexible steering and now combines the GPS-powered automatic boat control. It also features a state of the art power steering foot pedal that’s built for all-day comfort and precise control.
This Minn Kota Ultrex has a shaft length of 45-inch, offers 80 pounds of thrust (24 volts), and has a multi-function foot pedal, heading sensor, mounting hardware and cabling.
The spot-lock button can be activated by tapping on the foot pedal, which allows you to stay put on a fishing spot without fiddling with the trolling motor. As soon as you take you release your foot from the Ultrex’s foot pedal, the motor head intelligently stays in the same direction that it was left in when last touched, i.e., there is no recoil or readjustment required.
The GPS helps you in locating and locking fishing spots, record paths, and adjust speed. It also has i-Pilot Link system that can help you control the motor with the assistance of a touchscreen remote or with the help of a virtual remote as can be seen on your Humminbird fish finder (that is not included in or part of this product). This fish finder has a transducer that can afford you MEGA Down Imaging (DI) so you can get crystal clear underwater view up to 125 feet below.
5. Minn Kota 1358790 Powerdrive Bowmount Trolling Motor
It prides itself with high-end technology, trusted boost system and ease of operation. The mount is sturdy and sleek, and constructed to withstand the harshest of waters.
The transducer and wiring are fully covered and protected with the help of Universal Sonar 2, and keeps everything running across the motor’s shaft, with the assistance of shielded connectors.
The swept-back flared blades afford great power without draining the battery much. The Weedless Wedge 2 is undoubtedly one of the high-in-demand props for fishing purposes. It also has a lower unit that ventilates the motor, and hence extending its life, and at the same time ensuring that it doesn’t produces excessive noise.
6. Seamax 12V PowerMax 2HP Brushless Trolling Motor
This 12V and 65 pounds 2HP equivalent high thrust output brushless motor offers you a smooth and quiet experience. This, in turn, ensures that you can get as close to the fish as possible without disturbing them with your presence.
It is super light and fully adjustable (35 inches) – thanks to its solid aluminum and powder coated marine grade aluminum shaft. It is also compatible with 16” shaft watercraft. This motor is appropriate for saltwater as well as freshwater usage, and offers a built-in sacrificial anode.
The step-less speed controller has been patented recently and has real-time battery capacity indicator that keeps you informed regarding its overall performance and longevity over the years. The taper-lock transom mount can be released effortlessly and has multi-angles adjustment and anti-theft system.
The telescopic handle (ergonomic) grip your hands firmly, and affords your boat flexibility due to the wide tilting angle adjustment system.
7. MinnKota Riptide EM 55 Engine Mounted Trolling Motor
This ensures that your deck stay clear and tidy, and runs without getting in touch with the water when you are on a plane.
It offers an impressive 55 pounds thrust and is ideal for boats measuring 14 – 18 feet in length. It comes standard with an 18-foot corded remote speed control, and has a 2 year limited warranty.
The discrete mount has composite bracket that can be attached to cavitation plate of the outboard or inboard lower unit.
8. Minn Kota Riptide Fortrex Bow-Mount Trolling Motor
The long-lasting, saltwater-ready Minn Kota Riptide Fortrex is a hand-controlled trolling motor that has an extruded aluminum mono-arm design that makes it quieter and less susceptible to wear and tear.
This variable-speed motor includes Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer feature, that can help you control and maintain your exact speed, and at the same time consuming power so you can spend more time in water (5 times more as compared to a single battery charge).
The push-to-test battery meter on the trolling motor head gives you an instant status of the battery life you have left. It also offers advanced corrosion protection and fully-encapsulated electronics that guarantee you saltwater protection.
9. Mighty Max Pontoon Electric Trolling Motor
The rechargeable battery can be flexibly mounted in your desired position, and is shock and vibration resistant. It can also perform in float and cyclic applications. There are no wire harness or mounting accessories included with this trolling motor.
Some key specifications include: Voltage: 12 Volt; Amperage: 55 AH; Chemistry: SLA, AGM; Battery Dimensions: 9.02 in x 5.43 in x 9.13 in; Weight: 38.58 lbs; Warranty: 1 Year full and 30 day refund policy; Genuine mighty max battery that is heavy-duty and has calcium-alloy for higher performance.
10. Intex Motor Mount Kit for Intex inflatable Boats
This stable mount kit is suitable for 3. 0 HP electric motors and comes with a marine plywood mount and non-rusting aluminum supports that can be easily attached to inflatable boats (and ideally Intex inflatable boats, including the newer models). You can attach up to 3.5 horse power motors.
It is ideally used with the Intex Challenger 3 & 4, Seahawk 2, 3 & 4, Excursion 2, 3, 4 & 5, Seahawk II and Mariner 4 inflatable boats. It can be attached or de-attached with ease, and can be stored after disassembling.
Kayak Motor Features
Trolling motors are available in multiple models and types; for example, the bow mounted ones and the ones that permit you to use the foot paddles as well. There are certain motors that can also be controlled remotely (and much more expensive as compared to other options).
In view of this, it is important to understand certain basic features and functionalities of these trolling motors, so you can make an informed decision. Let us consider some of these important considerations in detail below.
By and large, there are two kinds of trolling motors: transform-mount motor and bow-mount.
The transform mounted trolling motor, is mounted at the back side of the kayak, and it is operated by hand. This is an ideal option if you have a flat back kayak or boat.
The bow mounted motors, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be operated by hand, foot or even wirelessly. They offer the angler or kayaker much better control and easy maneuverability. This is obviously a more expensive option than the transform-mount ones.
Trolling motors are primarily designed for bow mounting on bass vessel. A lot of these boats have specific designs that provide a sliding hinge so they can be swiftly raised and lowered into the water, as required. Hence, they are not ‘fit for purpose’ as far as kayakers are concerned.
In such a situation, a transom mounting system will be required that will accord with the scuppers at the back of the cockpit. These will be adjustable and accommodate most of the kayaks. They offer a sturdy bar that can be used to mount the new motor.
Power consumption varies from boat to boat. Trolling motors can be purchased in 12, 24 and 36 volts, with their respective batteries.
These batteries require space, and you should buy them once you have inspected and assessed the area that you have available on your kayak. This is occupying your space on the kayak but at the same time, offering you the ease and comfort of operating a powerful motor operated kayak, conserving your energy.
It having said that, if you want the motor power to last longer, then you need to understand the fine balance between thrust and power usage.
It goes without saying that you do not need to take any chances and opt for a saltwater-rated model, if you ever plan to use your trolling motor kayak for fishing in saltwater. If you fail to do so, you will most certainly end up destroying the motor.
Saltwater trolling motors (as opposed to the conventional ones) are manufactured to put up with the corrosive salts in the water. By and large, saltwater rated models are constructed to withstand rougher water conditions and have better performance, as compared to the freshwater-only motors.
The electric trolling motors are generally constructed from stainless steel aluminum alloy that gives it durability and longevity. These trolling motors are meant to last you for a long time and for that reason are robust and heavy-duty.
The stainless steel material also helps prevent corrosion, irrespective of whether you use them in saltwater and/or freshwater.
What Type of Battery is Needed for a Trolling Motor?
Trolling motor batteries (deep-cycle 12-volt) are primarily of two types: Lead Acid Wet-Cell & AGM Batteries. These batteries are manufactured to discharge smaller quantities of current for a longer duration, and also require to be recharged on a more frequent basis.
Lead Acid Wet-Cell – are the most common ones you can find for trolling motor purposes and drain frequently. For these reasons, they are inexpensive and a popular option. They can last for 1-2 years (depending on the usage), and can be purchased for less than $100. The downside is occasional maintenance, including topping off water, and they can also develop vibration and spillage with use.
AGM Batteries – stands for ‘Absorbed Glass Mat’. They are fully sealed, and give you more running time on a charging, and generally more durable and long-lasting (as compared to lead acid batteries). This battery can give you good value for money and last between 3-4 years. For the above reasons, this is a more expensive option (almost twice as much as a traditional battery). The do not require any maintenance and performance the best on a comparative basis.
Can a Kayak Trolling Motor be Used in Saltwater?
The answer can be a yes or a no. It is important to assess and evaluate the type of water you intend to use the motor kayak in.
Trolling motors have metal that can corrode when impacted with salt water and reduce the longevity of the motor.
There are salty water trolling motors that have specific enhancements that can withstand the high salt density water mass. These motors are manufactured with stainless steel hardware, sealed electrical connections and specialized painting process to protect from or repel corrosion.
When you use the freshwater motor in saltwater, you should always get a coverage for service that is based on protective enhancement of fresh water motors in the salty water. Moreover, you should also make it a habit to clean and protect the motor before you use it in salty water and, particularly, after using it in salty water.
A kayak motor is a great utility equipment. It can be installed in no time and can be operated with great ease. The maintenance and repair aspects are also reasonable and affordable.
These trolling motors are now specialized for optimum functionality and designing so they can be utilized effectively and efficiently in boats and kayaks.
A fishing kayak with motor provides you with speed, efficiency and maneuverability that you cannot extract from bigger boats. This, in turn, saves you time and energy, so you can focus on what you set out to do – fishing, relaxing, taking photos or generally enjoying the beautiful scenery around you, at the pace you want to.