Many people enjoy going fishing in their kayak. It really has some advantages compared to using a larger boat. However, one of the downsides is the need to paddle to get to the spot where you want to cast the bait. We can get tired quickly, which can make our day out on the water worse than we expected. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem – a trolling motor.
This battery-powered motor is very convenient because it helps us reach our desired fishing location without spending all of our energy. It also allows you to move at a constant speed when the bait is already in the water, which attracts fish. Motors vary in terms of power, and in addition to this, you need to consider several other factors when looking for the best trolling motor for kayak.
We’ve assembled a buying guide to give you pointers and all the necessary information you need before shopping and setting up your kayak with the best trolling motor. Also, be sure to check out the products we picked for you because you’ll certainly find something that meets your requirements.
How To Choose The Best Trolling Motors For Kayak – Buying Guide
Adding a trolling motor to your kayak allows you to move effortlessly, and reach your location quickly. You can move at a consistent speed, and you can go much faster than if you were paddling. It’s a piece of equipment that needs to have its place on your fishing trip checklist, along with all the other kayak fishing accessories you plan to take with you.
As we mentioned in the beginning, you need to make sure the trolling motor is appropriate for your kayak (has enough thrust to move you around). In addition, you shouldn’t have any trouble operating it, and it should be strong and durable so it doesn’t get damaged easily and leave you stranded in the middle of the lake.
Kayak Size and Weight
Size and weight of your vessel play an important role. Basically, these determine the power your new trolling motor needs to have in order to work without problems. You need to consider not just the weight of the kayak itself, but also your own weight as well as the weight of the equipment you have on board. Each trolling motor for kayak comes with a thrust rating, measured in lbs. Kayaks work well with smaller trolling motors that range between 30 and 55lbs of thrust. This is usually more than enough to propel a fully loaded kayak at a steady speed.
You might get tempted to get the largest trolling motor possible, but there are some downsides to this. Sure, they will go a bit faster, but they are heavier and put too much weight on one end of the kayak, which makes maneuvering difficult. In addition, they cost more too. When preparing for your kayak adventure, you’ll be best off getting a motor that can get the job done without adding too much unnecessary weight.
Saltwater or Freshwater
You’ll often see that trolling motors are marked for freshwater or saltwater use. Saltwater is an unforgiving environment when it comes to certain types of metal, because the salt causes corrosion and destroys your trolling motor. Some products are made for freshwater use only, and if you get this type we advise that you stick to the recommendation. On the other hand, saltwater trolling motors have hardware made of stainless steel and other metals with high corrosion resistance, so they are safe to use in the ocean. Be sure you also read other saltwater kayak fishing tips, so you are prepared when you set out.
Back to trolling motors – you’ll be glad to hear that the saltwater type can be used in freshwater too, without any restrictions. No matter which type you get, make sure it comes with a warranty so you can replace it if anything happens. Most manufacturers give a 2-year warranty on their products.
The design of propeller blades is important because trolling motor efficiency depends on it. A trolling motor for kayaks will come with either two or three blades (on more powerful motors). They should have smooth movement through water, without making any noise or vibrations to scare the fish. Additionally, they should be strong so they don’t get damaged if you hit something along the way. It’s a big plus if the manufacturer offers replacement propellers for the trolling motor model you buy.
It’s very useful to have good control over your moving speed. This gives you versatility – you get quickly to the site, and then you move slowly when the bait is in the water. Slow forward speeds and reverse operation greatly increase maneuverability, which is a big plus. Kayak trolling motors usually come with 8 speeds – 5 forward and 3 reverse. When talking about the maximum speed your kayak can achieve, it depends on kayak weight and trolling motor power. In any case, most trolling motors will move your vessel at speeds up to 10mph.
This is one of the key things for good performance. The shaft needs to be long enough so that the trolling motor is properly submerged, which is said to be around 18 inches under the water surface. If the trolling motor position is too shallow it won’t move you like it should and will probably make noise along the way. On the other hand, if it’s too deep, you risk hitting rocks and the waterbed in some areas. Fishing kayaks with trolling motors work best if the shaft is adjustable, allowing you to make small corrections based on the conditions.
Two kayak parts come into consideration when mounting the trolling motor – bow and transom. A transom mount is usually a better choice for kayaks and other small vessels, and many people choose to put it there. In this position, the trolling motor sits behind you and pushes your kayak. It’s easier to operate considering where you sit inside the kayak. For this reason, all of the products we reviewed can be transom-mounted.
However, some of them can be modified and adjusted to mount on the bow too. This position allows more precise maneuvers through tight spaces, but it’s often not as convenient to operate because you have to reach for the handle. Whichever type you get, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to mount it properly.
Ease of Use
It’s important that the handle is in a comfortable position to operate, meaning you can reach it without having to strain your wrist or shoulder. The best kayak motors come with highly adjustable handles which can be extended or tilted up or down to find the optimal position. The handle should also be ergonomically shaped so you have a good grip on it.
In addition to hand-operated trolling motors, you have two alternatives – a foot-operated product or a trolling motor with a wireless remote (which is expensive). A foot-operated trolling motor has a pedal which you need to place inside the kayak. This is convenient if you have a place to put it, but the reaction time is a bit slower.
Besides this, it’s a big plus that some products come with a battery indicator. This allows you to see how much power is left in the battery, and calculate when it’s time to head back. To get the most comfortable fishing experience, you can install kayak stabilizers (in addition to the trolling motor), for added stability and easier movement. Even though trolling motors are generally very reliable, you are advised to bring a kayak paddle for fishing just in case.
Depth doesn’t make a big difference in terms of performance, as long as the trolling motor is in the right position. However, knowing the depth can be useful for fishing purposes, because it can give you a better idea where fish are. Some types of fish are found at certain depths, and for this reason some trolling motors can show the depth underneath you on the display. Some advanced products can even be programmed to follow a certain depth when moving.
Even though depth itself won’t make a difference, you should know that large waves can influence the performance of your trolling motor and require more strength. For this reason, you should always be informed about kayak fishing safety because it can help you get out of a risky situation.
An electric kayak trolling motor requires a battery to work. Motors come in 12, 24 and 36V versions and this determines the number of batteries you’re going to need. Smaller trolling motors (used on kayaks) are usually 12V models and require a single deep cycle battery to work. More powerful trolling motors (24 and 36V) require you to connect two or three trolling motor batteries for them to work properly.
When buying the best trolling motor, you need to plan space for the battery on-board, whether you want to keep it in a battery box or put it in your storage compartment. In addition to voltage, you need to think about the battery capacity. This is shown in ampere-hours (Ah), and it determines for how long your battery is going to be able to power the trolling motor.
A battery with greater capacity is physically larger and heavier which can be inconvenient for kayaks. On the other hand, a smaller battery will save space but it may not give you the power you need to get through the day. It’s important that you find a balance when choosing, and also learn how to charge a marine battery so it lasts for a long time.
Q: Why Do I Need A Trolling Motor For Kayak?
A: As you had the chance to see, it allows you to drive around without paddling. You will reach your destination swiftly, and be able to change locations easily if you have the need. You will catch fish more efficiently too and create less noise compared to paddles. It’s good to install a fish finder on your vessel too. The fish finder will make sure you’re always at the spot where all the action is. Because you won’t exert yourself paddling, you’ll have more energy to spend on fishing. Finally, you can stay longer on water because your kayak with a trolling motor will bring you back faster.
Q: How To Put A Trolling Motor On A Kayak?
A: Trolling motors come with either clamps or special mounting systems. Some require drilling the kayak, while others need a flat surface to attach it to. It’s a big plus if the trolling motor comes with all the required hardware. However, because kayaks come in many shapes and sizes, you sometimes need to get resourceful and create the mount yourself. Most often you need a wooden board on which you secure the clamps.
There are several ways to install the board. Some people attach it to the battery box, while others use PVC pipes to create a mount and then connect it to the rod holders. There are many options available, but it’s always best to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. And while in the process of modifying your kayak, consider adding a kayak canopy too – it will protect you from the sun when spending long hours on the water.
Q: Where To Put A Trolling Motor On A Kayak?
A: Basically, you can put the trolling motor wherever you like as long as you are comfortable using it. We mentioned that it’s more convenient to have it in the transom area because you’ll have an easier time handling it. Having it in the bow area may be inconvenient for some users, but it all comes down to your personal preference. Of course, don’t forget that the cables coming out of the trolling motor need to reach the battery.
Globo Surf Overview
Equipping your kayak with a trolling motor will make your fishing experience many times better. It’s very easy to use, and you can rely on it because it doesn’t require much maintenance. It’s just a question of finding the right one, and we certainly hope that our guide helped you narrow down your choice and buy a kayak trolling motor. We’re sure it will help you find new ways to enjoy your fishing adventures!
More Kayak Reviews:
- Recreational Kayak
- Lightweight Kayak
- Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Beginner Kayak
- Kayak Seat
- Motorized Kayak
- Fishing Canoe
- Ocean Kayak
- Folding Kayak
- Kayak Anchor
Have you tried a kayak trolling motor that made it onto our list? Which model did you get? Was it powerful enough for your needs? Do you have some advice for other anglers? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Trolling Motors For Kayak Reviews