Jon boats are lightweight, versatile, and a popular choice for everything from a relaxing day of fishing to a hard day of paddling.
Do you want to make your jon boat even more versatile? Why not add a trolling motor?
Though jon boats are light enough to paddle or pole easily, adding a trolling motor will take your boat to the next level. It will allow you to get around the water more quickly, without having to waste energy on paddling or poling.
Sounds great, right?
And how do you go about mounting it?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more.
Table of Contents
Can You Put a Trolling Motor on a Jon Boat?
As mentioned in the introduction, most jon boats are highly versatile. In fact, they’re so versatile that they’re one of the easiest boats to pair with a trolling motor.
Most jon boats have a straight transom that seems made for mounting a trolling motor. If you prefer a bow mounted motor, you may need to build a mount to attach to the jon boat’s bow, but this can also be done relatively easily.
If using a transom mounted trolling motor, all you need to do is clamp it onto the transom. If using a bow mounted motor, build yourself a simple mount (or buy one), attach it to the jon boat, and clamp or screw the motor onto this mount.
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We’ll discuss the particulars of mounting a trolling motor on a jon boat a little later. For now, let’s look at a couple more common questions.
How Big of a Trolling Motor Do I Need for a Jon Boat?
The size of a trolling motor primarily refers to the amount of thrust it produces, but keeping shaft length in mind is also important.
Jon boats come in many different sizes, so the size of trolling motor you need will primarily depend on the size of your boat.
- Some jon boats are fairly small, 12 feet long or less. For these, you’ll need a motor with a thrust of at least 30 pounds.
- For larger jon boats, up to 16 feet, 50 pounds of thrust is recommended.
- For the largest jon boats, up to 24 feet, you will probably need 60 to 80 pounds of thrust to keep the boat moving through the water.
Shaft length is another measurement entirely and will not always correspond to the thrust size of a trolling motor. For example, you may find a trolling motor with only 30 pounds of thrust that has a 52-inch shaft, or you may find one with 80 pounds of thrust with only a 36-inch shaft.
To determine the proper shaft length for your boat, measure from the mounting surface to the water line, then add 16 to 20 inches. This should give you an adequate length to make sure the motor head stays under the water, while at the same time keeping it from going too deep.
For example, if the distance from your boat’s transom to the water line is 22 inches, add 20 inches to that. Your sum is 42 inches, meaning your boat needs a trolling motor with a 42-inch shaft.
How Fast Can a Jon Boat Go with a Trolling Motor?
You may think that a larger thrust means a higher speed, but this isn’t the case. Trolling motors with a larger thrust are simply meant for larger boats.
In other words, you won’t be able to go faster by installing a larger trolling motor on a smaller boat.
Regardless of the thrust, most electric trolling motors have a top speed of 3 to 4.5 miles per hour.
That means, if you install the appropriate size trolling motor for your boat, and you aren’t hauling a lot of extra cargo or passengers, you may be able to go as much as 4.5 miles per hour for short periods of time.
If your boat is weighed down with extra gear or people, or even if you’re using a large trolling motor on a small boat, the extra weight will cause the boat to go slower and will put a strain on the battery.
Also, you won’t want to keep your trolling motor set at the top speed for a full day on the water. The faster you’re going, the harder the trolling motor will have to work, and the more it will drain your battery.
How Do You Mount a Trolling Motor on a Jon Boat?
So now we come to the main question: how do you install a trolling motor on your jon boat?
The exact process will depend on whether you’re using a transom mount or bow mount trolling motor, as well as the specific design of the motor and your jon boat. For specific instructions, refer to your trolling motor’s owner’s manual.
For general guidelines, keep reading.
First, we’ll talk about installing a transom mounted trolling motor.
- To get started, determine the thrust size and shaft length you need based on the guide above. Make sure you purchase one of the appropriate size. Doing a quick search for trolling motors for jon boats will give you lots of options to choose from.
- Next, decide where you’re going to attach the motor. It should be placed as close to the center of the transom as possible to avoid a weight imbalance. Mark the spot where you plan to mount your trolling motor.
- Most transom mount trolling motors come with a clamp for attaching to your boat’s transom. If the motor of your choice has this clamp, simply mount it onto the spot that you marked and tighten the clamp.
- Make sure the trolling motor is exactly perpendicular. If it isn’t, loosen the clamp and straighten it.
- If you are unable to mount it directly on the boat, you may want to build a mount for the motor, as shown in the video below.
Now, let’s look at installing a bow mounted trolling motor on your jon boat. This video will walk you through the process.
- Again, you’ll start by determining the thrust size and shaft length your boat needs.
- Deciding on a spot for your bow mounted motor may be a bit more challenging than with a transom mounted motor. Depending on the shape of your bow and the mount you build or buy, you may not be able to mount it directly in the center of the bow.
Once you’ve chosen an adequate spot, mark it.
- If your bow mount trolling motor won’t clamp directly onto the bow, you’ll want to either build or buy a mount, as mentioned above.
- Attach the mount to your boat’s bow either by following the included instructions or by bolting it into place.
- Attach the trolling motor to the mount by following the instructions in the owner’s manual. It may have a clamp that you can attach to the mount, or more likely, it will have a mounting plate or base that will need to be screwed in place.
Mounting a trolling motor to a jon boat is fairly easy and will make your life much easier the next time you go out on the water.
If you follow the instructions in this guide, as well as the instructions included in the owner’s manual, you should have no trouble getting your trolling motor mounted.