Trolling Motor -Can You Attach To A Kayak?

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: July 3, 2020
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Attaching a trolling motor on a kayak is optional. However, it is beneficial, mainly when you are out fishing. A trolling motor is typically small in size and is generally operated by a quiet engine making it perfect for fishing because it doesn’t scare away fish. On the other hand, the motor is fast; thus, it allows you to access fish quickly.

Attaching a trolling motor on a kayak is simple though some vessels may present difficulties.  To deal with the problems, you can make up your mind and buy a mounting kit that comes with all the instructions for installing a trolling motor.

In this article, we will highlight for you all the details of a trolling motor, from how you can mount the motor on your kayak, how to maintain it, and even the considerations you should put in place when selecting a battery for your engine. You cannot afford to miss the details, so keep reading!

How Do You Attach An Electric Motor To A Kayak?

As you go on kayaking, you may find it tiresome to paddle, primarily when covering long distances.  Installing a trolling motor on your kayak will serve you a great deal by letting you maneuver the waters at a faster speed.

To attach a trolling motor on a kayak, you should have a mount.  A mount makes the motor installation easy and fast. Mounts come in two forms; off-the-shelf kits and homemade kits. Below we have discussed the two in detail to assist you in deciding on one.

A. Off-the-Shelf Kit

Just as the name is, the off-the-shelf kit is a mount that you buy from the store. The off-the-shelf kit is expensive more so when you compare it with the homemade one.  On another note, when it is installed properly, it makes the kayak long-lasting and easy to steer.

Before you can decide on buying an off-the-shelf kit, there are some factors you should consider so that you pay for a perfect mount. Below are the crucial factors, read through to familiarize y with them.

  • Shock Absorption

The mount you buy should absorb all the vibrations that are released by the motor. In case you experience vibration difficulty after installing a mount, it means the kayak will not run smoothly, so you should replace the mount. Proper shock absorption is significant, especially when you are attaching a powerful engine to your kayak.  

  • Construction Materials

The materials used to construct a mount greatly determine the mount’s durability. Therefore, you should buy a mount that is made up of rustproof and waterproof materials. The rustproof and waterproof features will lengthen the life of the motor, and you will not encounter several technical problems. 

  • Easy Installation

Consider buying a straightforward mount. On most occasions mount sellers don’t offer after-sale services of mounting, so you are the one who will install the mount.

  • Kayak Compatibility

Choose a mount that is compatible with your boat to avoid incurring extra costs of changing the mount’s dimensions in an attempt to fit it perfectly.  Incompatible mounts affect the performance of a trolling motor. For you to quickly buy a compatible mount, consult with mount sellers to get proper guidelines. In case you are buying online, consider checking the reviews from buyers of the mount you wish to buy so that you find out if they found the mount compatible.

B. Homemade Mounting Kits

Homemade mounting kits are simple to construct. However, you should have the DIY skills to design them well. You will require using most of the components of your boat; for instance, the rod holders will hold the mounting poles.  When creating a mount, the necessities for an off-the-shelf kit also apply.

The mount you build should be able to take up all the vibrations that are released by the motor. Moreover, make sure you use durable materials to create a mount that perfectly fit your kayak. If you encounter difficulties while constructing a mount at home, be sure to seek for assistance. You can call a mechanic to direct your work.

Given that it is optional to mount a trolling motor on a kayak, there are some safety tips you should consider for proper maintenance of the engine.

  • Never allow children or unauthorized persons to operate the motorized kayak because they can damage the electric outboard motor. 
  • Avoid submerging the entire kayak while kayaking because water damages the motor. If the kayak capsizes, you should disconnect the battery from the engine and leave it till it fully dries.
  • After you have installed the trolling motor, don’t try modifying it, for instance, by adding incompatible accessories because it damages the engine.  
  • When tightening the mounting bracket, avoid over-tightening because it can break the motor’s fiberglass shaft.
  • Whenever you are operating a motorized kayak, wear a personal floatation device, generally known as a life jacket. The tool helps to keep your head above the water if you happen to fall off as you kayak. The life jacket is very convenient during cold conditions since they keep you warm.

How Long Does A Trolling Motor Last On A Kayak?

A kayak trolling motor is an essential component of a fishing boat and lasts longer, depending on how you maintain it. As with all electronic devices, frequent inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure durability. You can implement the following tips to keep your motor for years:

  • Regularly inspect the trolling motor

Regular inspections will help you identify any cracks or bends in the trolling engine that result from colliding with obstacles that are under the water as you steer the boat. When you encounter cracks and bends, replace the trolling props before they give you serious problems of reducing the performance of the motor.

You can do frequent inspections by detaching the mounting props for a thorough check. After you are done inspecting, be keen to return the accessories securely and avoid over tightening them.

  • Inspect the motor’s wires and cables

Always inspect the wires and cables of your trolling motor before operating the kayak. In case you come across cuts or frays, be sure to mend them immediately. Also, inspect the terminals of the battery and connections of the wires. For corroded terminals, use a battery wire brush to clean the corrosions. 

In case your motor has a transducer, do regular examinations for dirt and damage. Furthermore, make sure the transducer clamps are firm and secure. You can occasionally apply mild soap and water on a soft sponge and use it to wash the transducer.

  • Clean the trolling motor

Frequently clean the outer part of the trolling motor, mainly when you come back from fishing. By cleaning, you will limit the buildup of weeds. For efficient cleaning, utilize water and soap. As soon as the surface of the motor dries, coat it with silicon spray for proper up and down movement.

Nonetheless, for durability, utilize the trolling motor at temperatures that are below 105 degrees Celsius.

What Should I Look For In A Trolling Motor Battery?

A battery is a central element for the trolling motor to function. It powers the motor system, thus allowing proper kayak steering. You should aim at buying a good quality deep marine battery when you are sourcing for a trolling motor battery; for instance, it is highly recommended to purchase a cell with a high amp hour rating. The high amp hour rating gives you a longer run time. Nonetheless, never think of utilizing a car battery in your electric trolling motor system.

Deep cycle marine batteries can be recharged once they run out of power. To lengthen the life of the battery, you should recharge after every use. Be sure to give your battery a proper charging; otherwise, it will fail to serve you.  

For proper charging of the battery;

  1. Make sure you brush off any corrosion around the terminals before connecting it to a charger. Corrosions establish weak connections between the charger and the battery.
  2. Utilize a proper charger that is meant for charging a deep cycle battery. A proper charger works best in ensuring that the battery is fully recharged within a short period.
  3. While using a deep cycle battery, make sure you discharge it properly. As soon as you are done using the battery, charge it.

Just like any other device, maintenance is fundamental for the battery to last for years. The following are recommendations you should practice to lengthen the life of your deep cycle battery.

  • Disconnect the terminals of the battery whenever it is not in use.
  • Keep the battery’s terminals free from debris and corrosions.
  • Never leave the battery for long in discharged condition. Make it a habit to charge your battery as soon as you come back from kayaking.
  • When connecting several terminals, never connect old batteries to new ones. Old batteries will discharge the new one.
  • Whenever you are storing the deep cycle battery for extended periods, connect it to a trickle charger. The trickle charger will continually add a charge to the battery. Therefore, it will prevent the battery from staying discharged for long.
  • In case you are using an unsealed battery, be sure to take note of the water levels. Refill it to the mark using distilled water when it is needed. 

How to Install a Trolling Motor On a Kayak

Final Thoughts

Once you attach a trolling motor to your boat, steering will take to another level. You will get to enjoy the waters at different dimensions. You should give your engine a proper cleaning every time you come back from the shore. Moreover, you can read through all the maintenance tips we have highlighted to keep your motor up to a decade.

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