Can you add a trolling motor to any kayak? I would love the option to have that extra drive for longer trips or for relaxing while exploring. I would use it for kayak fishing as well of course.
You can add a trolling motor to almost any kayak. I doubt anyone makes a mount for whitewater kayaks yet but It wouldn't surprise me to see one. There is a trolling motor mount for almost any other style of kayak out there. If the kayak doesn't already have a trolling motor mount, the process may be a little more difficult and require some creativity but it is possible. I have seen people with lumber from the hardware store rigged up with bungee cords to adapt a trolling motor. One very important thing to note, at least in my area, once you add a trolling motor to a kayak, you need to register it as a motorized watercraft and make sure you have all the proper safety equipment on board.
All you need is a horizontal board in order to attach a trolling motor to a kayak. You can mount it to the top of the kayak behind your seat using nuts and bolts or you can actually ratchet strap it to some small strap mounts which you would bolt to the top of the hull in order to make it removable. It works great. Use stainless hardware and make sure to coat the wood or paint it.
I have a universal mount that I picked up at a flea market. It is made to cross the deck of my kayak and clamp down with industrial suction cups. The trolling motor attaches to that on my right side and plugs into a small battery that is attached to the aluminum plank. I extended the wiring and place the battery in my rear storage compartment because it lowers my center of gravity. I don't really use it anymore but it worked great and was a lot of fun. It actually handled really well. Much easier than I was expecting with the added weight and thrust of the trolling motor and battery.
I'm seeing a lot of universal kayak motor mounts out there but it looks like they drill into the top of the hull. That worries me a little.
@PortInAStorm76 I would say that you probably want a kayak that's at least 12' long if you plan on adapting a trolling motor to it. Anything shorter might have trouble tracking straight being so narrow. That being said I havnt tried it personally. My fishing kayak is 14' long with a trolling motor.
@PortInAStorm76 Check out this video I found on Youtube while researching the same thing. This guy uses a lot of pretty creative fabrication in order to adapt an electric motor to his kayak. Each kayak is different so this application won't work for everyone however it should provide a little inspiration at least. The first 10 minutes cover the fabrication and then he starts the actual testing process in the water. Top speed comes out to 11.5 mph which is absolutely ridiculous for a kayak. He runs into some issues adapting the electronics but walks you through any complications and eventually finds out a solution. Skip to minute 18 for the full working test. The results are awesome and this thing produces a serious wake because of the power. This is a little different than simply slapping on a trolling motor but the outcome is unlike anything bolt on's you'll find anywhere. He does state that 5 mph is more than enough speed for cruising. All trolling motors max out at 5mph so keep that in mind when trying to find a solution.
If you have a fishing specific kayak, it is going to be a little easier to create a mount for a trolling motor. With a little creativity you can attach a trolling motor to almost any kayak. A trolling motor clamps to a flat and sturdy surface board. You just need to figure out where to mount your board. You also need to decide if you are looking for a permanent mount or a removable trolling motor mount. Here are a couple DIY videos that simplify the process and offer a little inspiration. Remember that you need to register any watercraft with a motor.
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