How to Put a Trolling Motor on a Kayak? | Complete Guide

How to Put a Trolling Motor on a Kayak?

Mounting a motor on a kayak can be super handy, especially when you row through greater distances. If you’re a fan of fishing, it’ll give you extra energy. You can save the time spent on paddling, and use it.

These are certain steps that must be taken attentively. If you don’t follow these steps, then the mount can turn out to be a big mess!

In this guide, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to mounting a motor on a kayak. Furthermore, we also have added a FAQs section at the end of the post. So without further ADO, let’s get dive into the topic!

Is it really worth it to put a trolling motor on a kayak?

The answer is quite simple. It depends upon your primary goal. If your primary goal is fishing, or just moving through point A to point B on water, then it’ll be unquestionably quite beneficial. Not only will it spare you some time, but it’ll also save your energy, and you’ll be less tired.

However, if your primary goal is exercise or recreation, then mounting a motor on a kayak makes no sense at all!

Is it hard to mount a trolling motor on a kayak?

Not at all. It’s child’s play. Everyone can do it. If you have some basic knowledge of DIY, it’ll be super easy and fun too!

Unfortunately, most kayaks don’t come with trolling motors. However, some have a pre-designed space in them to put a trolling motor on. So firstly, go through the buyer’s guide, and if you lost it, examine your kayak all over. If you find the spot, you won’t have to put holes in the kayak for screws!

But even if your kayak doesn’t have this convenience, you can make it easier. Not to mention, you can also mount a trolling motor on an inflatable kayak.

Kayaks motors are usually designed to be mounted on the bow, transom, or trolling motor bracket. So depending upon the mounting location, it’s up to you to decide whether to buy a mount or make one yourself.

Kit List | Things you’ll need!

The gears and tools required to put a mounting motor on a kayak usually vary. And also, they vary depending upon your kayak and the location you want the mount to be. But the tools and gears required are easily available at any hardware store at low prices. In general, you’ll need the following tools:

• Trolling Motor: Be very considerate in choosing the best suitable trolling motor for your kayak. Choose a motor that’s powerful and long-running.

• Battery box: Of course, how can a motor work without a battery? The battery you choose has to be long-running, and lightweight. Otherwise, it may overload the kayak and make its balance unstable.

• Drill: You’ll need a drill to make holes for screws. Not all kayaks will need holes to fit a trolling motor. Some have pre-designed holes for trolling motors. And don’t even think of making holes on an inflatable kayak.

• Screwdriver: We’re dealing with fabric or wood here. Of course, it is easy to tighten screws using a hand drill, but due to the sensitivity of the material, it may harm it. So prefer a screwdriver to tighten up the screws.

• Battery box: It’s always best to place a battery inside a battery box. And we’re dealing with water here. A few splashes to the battery, and may result in a short circuit!

• Wiring kit: It’s not mandatory for the process, but the wires can go all around messy. I like to arrange all my wires, and I’ll highly recommend buying one for the process.

• Trolling motor quick-release bracket: A quick-release bracket is for mounting the trolling motor on the bow. It enables you to easily attach/detach that motor.

• Silicon sealant: A silicon sealant or some other waterproof sealant will be needed to fill in the holes you’ve drilled. Water can go quickie through a small leftover space, and the kayak will sink. So better use a silicon sealant on them. You won’t need much of it, and just a small tube is more than enough!

What to look into before buying a trolling motor and a battery for your kayak?

Before you go to a store and buy a trolling motor for your kayak, there are some things that you must consider. Else, your trolling motor will be a big futile investment.
Here are the things that you should consider:

  • Dimensions

    Fishing kayaks are usually long, but narrow in dimensions. So you’ll have to buy a trolling motor and a battery according to the dimensions of your kayak. Measure your kayak dimensions using a measuring tape, and make sure that the motor you purchase sits at least 3 inches in between from both sides of the kayak.

  • Weight

Kayaks come with weight capacity, and you don’t want to get yourself drowned by exceeding the weight capacity of your kayak. Weigh yourself, and then see the weight limit of your kayak.

For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, and the weight limit of your kayak is 200 pounds, then find a motor and a battery that weighs only around 60 pounds collectively.

  • Power of the motor

The power of a trolling motor is usually measured in thrust. The bigger and heavier the motor, the more thrust it has. But thankfully, kayaks aren’t that heavy and you won’t need a bigger and heavier trolling motor for the task.

Every 2 pounds of thrust can easily move around 100 pounds. So if your kayak weight, combined with your, and the battery weight is 300 pounds, you’ll need about 7 pounds of thrust to move swiftly on the water. Hence, a 30 lbs thrust motor will be more than you’ll ever need.

  • Battery Power

And the last thing to consider is the battery storage capacity. Trolling motors are usually powered with 12 V batteries, but they can be really heavy. But because we’re using a kayak here, we won’t need a battery that heavy and powerful.

But remember, the lighter and weaker the battery, the faster it runs out. So take into account how much time you usually spend on the water fishing and get a battery according to those observations.

If one 12 V battery doesn’t fit in your kayak, you can get two 6 V batteries and connect them in a series combination. This way, the total voltage will be 12 V that you can use to power your trolling motor.

How to Put a Trolling Motor on a Kayak? | Step-by-Step Guide

If you have one of the best angling/fishing kayaks, chances are you have a mounting area to put the motor on. Fishing kayak manufacturers usually design their kayaks to fill all the expectations of the customers, which makes installing a trolling motor quite simple and easy.

Recreational kayaks on the other hand usually don’t come with such a pre-designed spot. But you don’t have to worry. It’s also relatively simple to install a trolling motor on it. The only difference is that you’ll have to drill holes to make space for the motor.

How to Put a Trolling Motor on a Kayak

Before you purchase a motor, make sure that it fits exactly in the location you want it to be. Else, the process will become complex and much more difficult to handle.

With all that said, let us begin with mounting a trolling motor on a kayak’s transom:

How to put a trolling motor on a kayak’s transom?

Putting a trolling motor to a kayak’s transom is foremost the most reliable and efficient method of putting trolling motor to a kayak.

Inflatable kayaks usually use a transom mount trolling motor, but they are not the only kayaks that are ideal for trolling motors.
Following is a step-by-step simple and easy guide that will help you to put a trolling motor on a kayak’s transom:

Step #1: Make the holes

First of all, place the mounting bracket to your kayak’s stern. The mount should slight down a little bit to the rear part of your kayak.

Once it looks good, take a marker, and mark the points where the screw will go in. After that, drill those holes with a drilling machine. If you accidentally made any

Step #2: Install the mounting bracket

Once the holes are in the right position, place the mounting bracket to the kayak’s stern, and start screwing it up. Be very cautious at this part! You don’t want to tighten up one screw completely without touching the other screws.

Doing so will make a dent in the stern, and cause the motor to sit crooked or slide to one side of the kayak’s stern. If you accidentally made any unwanted holes, don’t forget to fill them with silicone sealant.

Step #3: Place the trolling motor

Now that we’ve installed the mounting bracket, the next step is to place the trolling motor on the stern. This step will be the easiest one as you will only have to place the motor over the mounting bracket

Step #4: Place the battery

If you’re mounting the trolling motor to your kayak’s stern, then you won’t have to drill any holes to place the battery. The battery can be placed easily in the vacant space at the back.

Step #5: Connect the wires

Wires in the kayak can be a little bit messy, and it’s always good to have a wiring kit in the kayak. The wires will be connected in the form of a socket. If your motor and battery don’t have this convenience, connect their wires with a socket. If you want to dismount the motor, it’ll come in handy in the process!

Step #6: Take it out for a test drive

Head out to the nearest water and take your kayak with you. You’ll find your kayak much easier to move around the water than by bowing it. However, don’t rely on the motor too much. It might fail in the middle of the water, and you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the water. So always take your bows with you.

How to put a trolling motor on a kayak’s bow

How to put a trolling motor on a kayak’s bow?

Putting a trolling motor to the kayak’s bow is my preferred method. The boat looks cool when a trolling motor is on its bow, but that’s not all. For most kayaks, this method works best.

But not all motors and batteries, or kayaks are designed to have a mounted trolling motor on the bow. Buying a suitable trolling motor and battery will save you tons of hours of staring at the kayak and motor!

Moreover, each brand of kayak has different and distinct features, and what you need to do is to go through the buyer’s guide/ instructions before going any further. If you don’t have any instructions or lost your buyer’s guide, I highly recommend going and seeking assistance from your local kayak store

The mounting method may change depending upon the trolling motor and kayak combination you have, but for most kayaks, it’s generally the same.

The initial steps are the same as that of mounting a trolling motor on a kayak’s stern, but some steps are still different. Following is our step-by-step guide for an easy mounting process:

Step #1: Make the holes

The first step is, of course, to make the holes for the mounting bracket. But the bow part of a kayak is very narrow and slim. So you’ll have to be extra cautious while mounting a trolling motor on a kayak’s bow.

So put the mounting bracket at the place where it fits best, mark the holes, and drill them. Don’t forget to seal any unwanted holes that you made by accident!

Step #2: Installing the mounting bracket

Once you’ve made space for the screws to fit in, this step is piece of cake. Align the mounting bracket on the holes you made, and start screwing it.

Don’t tighten up one screw completely without not even touching the others. This may cause a dent in the kayak, and the trolling motor will lean on one side, which will greatly affect its performance.

Step #3: Placing the motor

The other bracket of the quick-release bracket has to be fixed with the motor. This is pretty easy, as you can tie it up with a couple of table wires, or you can fix it on the motor using screws. Once it’s finished, install the motor to the bracket placed at the bow.

Step #4: Place the battery and connect the wires

Decide where you want the battery to be placed, and once you decided, make enough space. The battery must not shake when you take some bumps on the water, so make sure that the battery in place is narrow enough.

After that, all you have to do is connect the wires. I’ll also recommend using a wiring kit here as the wires all around the kayak will affect its asthetic quality.

Step #5: Head out for a test drive

And that’s it. You now have your own badass motor running kayak. Head out to a water body and test it out. Don’t forget to take your rows with you. In case the motor stops functioning due to some technical issues, the rows will always be there to help you get to the land.

Safety Precautions

When adding a trolling motor to a kayak, it’s crucial to prioritize­ safety to ensure a smooth and se­cure experie­nce. Start by ensuring that the kayak is stable­ and securely anchored be­fore attempting the installation.

Follow the­ manufacturer’s instructions diligently, using the re­commended tools to avoid any accidents or issue­s. Always wear appropriate safety e­quipment like a life jacke­t and protective gloves.

Before going to deeper waters, test the motor in shallow areas first to make sure it works properly. To ensure a safe kayaking experience with your new trolling motor, follow these safety precautions. By doing so, you can enjoy your time on the water while keeping yourself safe.

FAQs – Bonus tips

That said, here are a few FAQs that most people ask before putting a trolling motor on a kayak.

Are trolling motors on kayaks safe enough?

As long as you follow the safety precautions, and the motor is mounted perfectly on the kayak, trolling motors are safe and secure.

But the biggest drawback people face is that they may help the kayak to flip over. So never even think of taking a sharp turn with a trolling motor.

Can I mount a trolling motor on my inflatable kayak?

Yes, you can also install a trolling motor on your inflatable kayak. There are several trolling motors mounts available in the store built especially for inflatable kayaks. And if you find them somewhat expensive, there’s always a DIY solution (available on YouTube) to expensive problems!

How fast will my kayak go with a trolling motor?

It varies greatly, and depends upon several factors, like the number of gears you’re carrying, the weight of the body the motor is pushing, the power of the motor, etc.

But assuming a normal man with minimum gear and average motor, you’ll be able to catch a speed of 2-3 miles an hour. It might sound little, but when you compare it with your paddling speed, it’s a big plus.

How much can I rely on my motor setups?

Well, you can’t expect your motor to run around for hours. The battery will surely run out, and you’ll be trapped in the middle of the water.

Even if the battery doesn’t run out, there might be a technical issue. So always carry your rows with you.

Final thoughts

That’s pretty much everything you need to know to mount a trolling motor on your kayak. Any addition/ suggestions are most welcomed in the comments below!

I am Muhammad Nawaz, a young kayak enthusiast from Pakistan. I have been into water sports since Childhood, And now I help other people with my knowledge and experience.

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