Incorporating a trolling motor can be a game-changer for people who live to fish (like me). One of the best things you can do to improve your fishing game is learn how to mount a trolling motor on a kayak.
As anglers we know how important maneuverability and speed are, especially if we see sturgeon jumping in the distance.
Mounting a trolling motor might seem too complicated at first. But fear not! We’re here to guide you through the entire process.
Table of Contents
Understanding Kayak Trolling Motor Mounts
The first thing you need to know is this:
Selecting the right mount is absolutely essential.
The motor mount is an accessory that holds the trolling motor in place. Take some time to figure out which mount is right for you.
Motor Mount Compatibility
Choose a motor mount that’s specifically made for kayaks. This minimizes the risk of damage to your kayak and maximizes its performance.
Consider the size and weight of your kayak, as well as any specific requirements mentioned by its manufacturer. Investing in a high-quality motor mount designed for your kayak model is the best option.
Different Types of Motor Mounts
There are several types of motor mounts available and each offer distinct advantages–which is one is best for you depends on your preferences and fishing style.
Bow mounts are attached to the front or bow of your kayak, positioning the motor at the forward-facing end. This setup offers excellent maneuverability and allows you to navigate through tight spaces and change directions with ease.
Bow mounts are perfect for anglers who want precise steering and the motor to be in front of them. (Note: you might need a motor with remote control for this option.)
Stern mounts, as the name suggests, are mounted at the rear or stern of your kayak. This setup provides stability and keeps the motor away from your immediate fishing area.
Stern mounts are great for anglers who prefer a streamlined setup and want the motor at the back. (Note: you might need a remote-operated motor for this option.)
Side mounts are attached to either side of your kayak. With a side mount, you can position the motor on one side of your kayak, depending on your preference.
When you mount your motor to the side you’re able to customize your fishing experience and adapt to different conditions on the water.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Motor Mount
With your specific type of boat. You need the perfect mount for your kayak.
A stable mount will minimize vibrations for a smooth and controlled kayaking experience.
Opt for mounts that come with user-friendly installation instructions and require minimal tools or modifications to your kayak.
Step-by-Step Guide to Mounting a Trolling Motor on a Fishing Kayak
Preparing Your Kayak for Installation
First you need to prepare your kayak for the installation. Assess the kayak’s structure and stability and find a suitable location for the motor mount, which depends on what type of mount you want (see Different Types of Motor Mounts above).
Assessing the Kayak’s Structure
Look for any signs of damage or wear that could affect the mounting process.
Check the condition of the kayak’s hull, gunwales, and other components. It’s important to have a sturdy foundation for the motor mount.
Finding and Determining a Location for the Compatible Motor Mount
Consider factors like the kayak’s design, weight distribution, and your preferred fishing style. (See Motor Mount Compatibility above.)
Attaching the Propeller to the Motor (If Applicable)
If your trolling motor requires attaching a propeller, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely connect it to the motor shaft.
Make sure the propeller is aligned properly and securely fastened to prevent any issues during operation.
Proper attachment of the propeller is essential for the smooth and efficient functioning of the trolling motor.
Pro tip: have a backup propeller in case your installed propeller is damaged or becomes unusable, and bring the tools needed to switch your propeller with you on each outing.
Installing the Motor Mount
Now it’s time to install the motor mount on your kayak. This step involves attaching the mount securely to provide a stable base for the trolling motor.
How to Attach the Motor Mount to the Kayak
Position the mount in the chosen location on your kayak.
Depending on the type of mount, you may need to align it with specific attachment points or use clamps to secure it to the kayak.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions–the installation process may vary. (Most involve drilling holes through your kayak, using nuts and bolts to attach it, and using a liquid sealant to fill the holes.) Make sure the mount is level and secure to avoid any wobbling or shifting during operation.
Tips for a Secure Mount Installation
For a secure and stable installation, consider the following tips:
- The mount comes with hardware. Make sure it’s stainless steel to prevent corrosion.
- Tighten the mounting screws or clamps firmly, but be cautious not to overtighten and damage the kayak.
- Double-check the stability of the mount by gently shaking it after installation. If it feels loose or unstable, readjust and tighten the mounting hardware.
Attaching the Trolling Motor to the Mount
With the motor mount securely installed on your kayak, it’s time to attach the trolling motor.
Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Mount Your Trolling Motor
- Position the trolling motor on the mount: Align the motor’s mounting bracket with the mount on your kayak. Make sure the motor is facing the correct direction–this depends on your desired use and the type of mount.
- Secure the motor in place: This typically involves bolts, but every mounting system is different. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific motor and mount combination.
- Adjust the motor angle: Some trolling motors allow you to adjust the angle to optimize performance. Consult the manual to determine the appropriate angle for your fishing needs.
- Check for smooth movement: Test the motor’s movement by gently tilting and rotating it. Make sure it moves smoothly without any obstructions or resistance. If adjustments are needed, make them carefully to avoid damage to the motor or mount.
- Verify secure attachment: Give the mounted trolling motor a gentle tug to check for any shifting. It should be securely attached to the motor mount without any excessive movement.
Proper Alignment and Adjustment
The motor should be positioned so that the propeller can operate efficiently without hitting the kayak or causing any drag. Adjust the motor’s height, angle, and direction as needed to achieve.
Make Sure the Mount and Motor are Firmly In Place
Before hitting the water, double-check that the mount and motor are firmly secured.
How to Power a Trolling Motor
Most people use a deep-cycle marine battery to power their motor. Unlike standard automotive batteries, deep-cycle batteries provide sustained power over longer periods.
Deep-cycle marine batteries come in different sizes and capacities. The size you choose depends on the weight of your kayak, the power requirements of your motor, and the duration of your trips.
Tips for Safely Connecting the Battery
For a safe and reliable connection between the battery and the trolling motor, follow these tips:
- Remove the cap and access the wiring.
- Read through the user’s manual and identify:
- Where to find the wires you need to attach to your battery (the ground and hot lead), and . . .
- How to attach these wires.
Then, attach the wires according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you do this correctly! Reverse polarity can damage the motor.
Additional Considerations and Tips
Maintenance and Care for the Trolling Motor
Take care of your motor and your motor will take care of you! Here are some maintenance tips:
- After each use, rinse the motor with freshwater to remove any salt, debris, or contaminants.
- Inspect the propeller and shaft regularly for damage and replace any damaged components promptly.
- Lubricate the motor’s moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce friction and prolong the motor’s life.
- Store in a dry and secure location.
- Clean before storage–remove dirt and debris.
To mount a trolling motor on your kayak, you need to:
- Assess your kayak’s structure and stability.
- Determine a suitable location for the motor mount based on your kayak’s design.
- Install the motor mount.
- Attach the trolling motor to the mount.
- Power the motor.
Trust us, it gets easier every time you do it!
I’ve been using a trolling motor for thirty years. They’re incredible additions to any kayak if you mount them properly and maintain them.
With any luck, after reading this article you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proper trolling motor aficionado. Well done!
Have fun out there!
How do I mount a trolling motor on a kayak?
You’ll need a compatible motor mount that attaches to your kayak. Once you have the mount, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure it to the gunwales of your kayak (or wherever is most appropriate for you). Then, attach your trolling motor to the mount and make sure it’s securely in place before use.
Can I mount a trolling motor on the side of my kayak?
Sure, but it’s more common to mount your motor on the bow or stern of the kayak for better maneuverability.
What is the best trolling motor for a kayak?
This depends on the size of your kayak, the type of fishing you’ll be doing, and your budget. Some popular options for trolling motors for kayaks include transom mount kayak motors and electric trolling motors designed specifically for kayaks.
Do I need a special mount to put a trolling motor to a kayak?
You’ll need a compatible motor mount. There are various types of mounts available, such as bow mounts and stern mounts, so make sure to choose one that fits your kayak and motor.
What are the benefits of buying a trolling motor and using a trolling motor on a kayak?
It allows for increased mobility and the ability to cover larger distances, especially in windy conditions. It also frees up the angler’s hands, making it easier to fish while moving.
Can I fish from a kayak without a trolling motor?
Sure, many kayak anglers prefer to paddle or pedal their kayaks to reach fishing spots and enjoy the quieter and more peaceful experience. You don’t need a trolling motor. But many people use the trolling motor to cover more water or fish in challenging conditions.
What if I want to mount two motors? What if my kayak requires two motors?
First of all, no kayak requires a motor. Most people use them with a paddle. Mounting two motors on a kayak is possible, but you need a compatible kayak.
Are there any downsides to adding a trolling motor to your kayak for kayak fishing?
The added weight of the motor and mount can affect your speed and maneuverability, especially in smaller kayaks. Also they require a power source, like a deep-cycle marine battery, which adds weight and maintenance. Noise generated by the motor can potentially disturb fish in calm waters.
What is the best kayak for fishing and will it fit a motor mount?
There is no one best fishing kayak, but we can recommend the Old Town Sportsman 106, which is a great candidate for a trolling motor.
Is a bow mount or a stern mount best?
This is a personal choice and depends on many factors–some people think a bow mount offers better maneuverability and a stern mount provides easier access, but it’s all pretty subjective.
Photo 1 by the US Department of Agriculture (Preston Keres)
Photo 2 by Thomas & Dianne Jones
Photo 3 by David Wagner