Mounting a trolling motor in a kayak is not hard.
In fact, it’s easy when you follow some simple instructions!
In just a few steps, you can mount a trolling motor to use for:
- Moving across a lake when you want to rest your arms
- Getting out of sticky spots
When you have a trolling motor on your kayak, your days out on the water will get better than they’ve ever been before.
Whether you love fishing or you’re just starting out, this article will answer your questions about putting a trolling motor on a kayak and show you how to do it safely.
Table of Contents
- What is a Trolling Motor?
- What Should I Consider When Mounting a Trolling Motor on a Kayak?
- Do I Need to Register My Kayak With a Trolling Motor?
- How to Mount Your Trolling Motor
- When You’re Done
What is a Trolling Motor?
A trolling motor is a small motor that allows you to move your boat through the water without paddling and without disturbing the fish or other wildlife. People use trolling motors for fishing, and some kayakers prefer to have them available in case they get tired of paddling.
Many trolling motors are battery-powered, though some use gasoline or diesel fuel, too. The majority of them are operated with a simple hand or foot control, and some have a remote control, as well.
What Should I Consider When Mounting a Trolling Motor on a Kayak?
There are a few factors that come into play when you’re mounting a trolling motor on a kayak. These include:
- The type of mount (if any) that the kayak has
- The size of trolling motor you need and want for your kayak
- The weight of the trolling motor and mounting apparatus
- The type of power you want for the trolling motor on your kayak
We’ll walk you through each of these factors below.
Can I Mount a Trolling Motor on Any Kayak?
Some kayaks come with mounts for a trolling motor. Others do not. You can mount a motor on either type of kayak, but it will be more difficult without a mount.
In addition, it is recommended that you not install a trolling motor on racing kayaks or those specifically designed for whitewater use.
However, you should be able to mount a trolling motor on any consumer or recreational kayak that you purchase.
What Size Trolling Motor Do I Need for My Kayak?
Trolling motors come with a thrust rating, which measures their power. Kayaks do not need large trolling motors because they are small and light.
Every 2 pounds of thrust that a trolling motor has can move 100 pounds. Even a 250 pound person with 100 pounds of gear and a 50 pound kayak would only need a motor with 8 pounds of thrust.
The smallest trolling motors, which have about 30 pounds of thrust, will be more than you need for your kayak.
Can My Kayak Bear the Weight of a Trolling Motor?
All kayaks come with weight ratings. These can run anywhere from 150 lbs. to 600 lbs.
Subtract the weight of you and your gear from the weight rating on your kayak. Whatever is left over is the maximum amount that your trolling motor can weigh.
If your kayak is rated at 300 lbs. and you and your gear weigh 250 lbs., you don’t want a motor and assembly that weighs more than 40 lbs.
It should be easy to find the right motor for your needs. Most kayak trolling motors are not heavy.
What Type of Power is Best for a Trolling Motor on a Kayak?
Many trolling motors for kayaks use a 12-volt battery, which you will need to store in your kayak. Some people use two 6-volt batteries to provide the same amount of power.
Some trolling motors for kayaks can use a solar-powered setup.
You need to choose a battery system that is small and light, but that will also give you plenty of power to run your trolling motor as much as you need to.
Do I Need to Register My Kayak With a Trolling Motor?
The answer to this question depends on where you live. Most states do not require you to register a boat as long as it is human-powered.
However, once you add the trolling motor, your boat doesn’t qualify as human-powered anymore.
Some states do not require you to register watercraft with motors as small as the ones installed on kayaks. Others will ask you for registration as soon as the craft is powered.
Check your local regulations so you can make sure you’re always in compliance.
How to Mount Your Trolling Motor
You can purchase a professional trolling motor mounting kit or you can do it yourself.
If you decide to purchase a kit, make sure it is compatible with both your motor and your kayak. Read through the directions that come with the kit and follow them precisely.
DIY Trolling Motor Mounts
If you choose to make your trolling motor mount yourself, first decide where to put the motor. Your choices are:
- Straight off the bow
- Straight off the stern
- Side mounted on the stern
For all of these you will need:
- A drill
- Something to reinforce the mount, like plywood, fiberglass, or metal
- Screws that will go through your reinforcement material
- Your new trolling motor
- Your kayak
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to start mounting!
Bow Trolling Motor Mount for Kayaks
If you want to mount a trolling motor on the bow of your kayak, here’s how to do so safely:
Stern Trolling Motor Mount for Kayaks
Stern mounts are one of the most common types for trolling motors on kayaks. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you get your motor on right:
Side Mounts for Trolling Motors on Kayaks
If you want to mount your kayak’s trolling motor on the side, here’s what you need to do:
When You’re Done
After you mount your trolling motor to your kayak, take it out and test it. Make sure everything is working the way you need it before you decide that your project is finished.
With a trolling motor on your kayak, you can go farther and take more gear than ever before. Fortunately, adding the motor is a quick, easy project.
Before long, you’ll be out on the lake with your new trolling motor!