A successful kayak fishing expedition not only involves a whole lot of skill but also good quality equipment as well. If you’re an angler looking to take your kayak fishing to the next level, then you’ll definitely need excellent gear such as good fishing rods and efficient fish finders. However, what you’ll also need are trolling motors. A trolling motor is basically a self-contained unit with a propeller, an electric motor, and controls that is fixed to an angler’s boat at the stern or bow. Whether small or large electric ones, the best trolling motor options for kayak are indispensable in quietly and slowly holding your position. They’re also useful in slowly drifting against currents, waves, and winds, zig-zagging along weed beds, and trolling along weed lines and drop-offs.
Having a trolling motor on your kayak not only lets you put in very little effort in getting to the best fishing spots on the water but also greatly increases the range of water you’re able to fish in. Trolling motors might seem complex and tricky to understand, but they’re actually not. To help you decide, we’ve come up with not only a list of the best in the market but also a handy guide to help you decide which one to buy. To that end, here are the best trolling motors for your kayak, including small and large electric ones.
How To Choose The Best Trolling Motors For Kayak?
Just like you give a lot of thought to buying kayaks, you need to give a lot of thought to buying kayaking accessories as well, especially when it comes to fishing. Take the Best Kayaking Fish Finders, for instance, or even the Best Kayaking Fishing Nets or the Best Kayaking Fishing Rods. They all have specific considerations before you go about buying one. So, what are these aspects when it comes to trolling motors? Read on.
Composition and build
Good trolling motors featuring a well-designed build and made from high and premium-quality materials go a long way in ensuring its longevity. What’s more, they don’t get damaged easily and ensure that your motor works properly continuously, especially if you’re an avid angler who spends hours on the water every month. So, look for trolling motors that are made from aluminum or stainless steel alloy, which make for the most durable products. They might be heavier as compared to other motor models that are made from composite materials, but it ensures a smoother operation and longer life. If you feel it’s heavy, then try and look for a small trolling motor for kayak, which will serve you better.
The second most important aspect of a trolling motor is the battery power, which is a notch above even its features. If your motor isn’t connected to a good quality battery, then you won’t be able to extract the complete potential of the motor. Moreover, if you use cheap batteries, then you run the risk of lesser power or, worse, battery failure. Usually, most electric trolling motor for kayaks use a 12V battery, which is generally more than enough juice to get you anywhere you want to go kayak fishing. Also, be on the lookout for motors that offer an indication system as to how much battery life is left. It’ll not only help you keep track of when your battery will run out, but also help you avoid unforeseen situations and stuck-ups.
Mounting and shaft length
Having a great trolling motor isn’t enough – you need one that comes with an equally amazing universal mount or bracket too. While these tend to work with all kinds of kayaks, professional anglers prefer getting trolling motors that are properly mounted to their kayaks using a bracket system.
The next thing to pay attention to is the shaft length. When you’re shopping for kayaking motors, it’s best to stick to shaft lengths that are shorter. That’s because the longer your shaft, the riskier it is for your motor to run into underground debris, weed, etc., and get damaged. This happens because kayaks tend to have a profile lower than your regular-sized boats.
When looking for trolling motor for kayak saltwater perhaps poses the most danger to the unit, as it can get badly corroded. If you plan to fish in saltwater, then look for a motor that comes rated for use in saltwater. These kinds of motors are designed to withstand the corrosion levels that are a major part of saltwater usage and are usually made more carefully than only freshwater-only models.
Finally, we come to the thrust of the trolling motor, which most newbie anglers have a wrong notion about. According to them, motors with a larger thrust travel faster than those with lesser thrusts, but it’s not always true. That said, it’s best to go for trolling motors with larger thrusts if you’re using a heavier and larger kayak, and vice versa.
Why should you use a trolling motor?
There are multiple positives when it comes to using trolling motors. For one, they offer better water coverage as well as speed. It’s no secret that if you can fish more frequently and in more spots, you’re increasing your chances of landing a catch. That said, some water bodies are miles long and it takes all your time and energy to paddle from one end to the other. This is where kayak trolling motors come in, allowing you to cover more water quickly. At the same time, they allow you to do so quietly! Unlike gas motors, since trolling motors are electric, they’re almost silent, allowing you to stalk and sneak up on the fish without spooking or scaring them.
Watersnake FWDR44-48 Shadow Bow Mount Foot Controlled Motor
The Watersnake FWDR44-48 Shadow Bow Mount Foot Controlled Motor is the absolute best trolling motor for kayak because it’s a hands-free one. Nothing screams ‘convenience’ in kayak fishing more than a hands-free operating system, and this Watersnake motor does it. Thanks to its versatility and seamless foot-pedal operation, it’s amongst the favorite trolling motors currently in the market. It features a 48-inch-long shaft that might be slightly too long for a majority of the kayaks, but it does 44 lbs of thrust. That translates to excellent levels of power to propel it across any body of water. What’s more, it’s extremely quiet, which is a blessing when it comes to kayak fishing. Besides offering a satisfaction guarantee, the Watersnake motor also boasts a corrosion-resistant composite build, which makes it lightweight.
- Optimal power.
- Smooth operation.
- Hands-free use.
- Not recommended for saltwater.
Seamax 12V PowerMax 2HP Brushless Trolling Motor
An excellent brushless electric trolling motor for kayak is the Seamax 12V PowerMax 2HP Brushless Trolling Motor. With a thrust of 65 lbs and an overall length of 35 inches, this motor is strong enough to get full-sized kayaks anywhere you want to go. Given its overall thrust and propeller strength, the motor is also surprisingly quiet. Moreover, it even features an extended handle allowing you greater control. And that too, without having to lift or steer the motor out of the water or twist and turn in your kayak. The extremely lightweight design allows an already fast kayak to have better control and speed with less drag, while its anti-corrosive build allows this to be used even in saltwater. Rounding up the features is the two-year warranty and the step-less speed control system that allows you to easily adjust speed levels.
- Extended handle.
- Battery life monitor.
- Slightly lower battery life.
Haswing Osapian Electric Kayak Trolling Motor
Yet another best trolling motor for kayak is the Haswing Osapian Electric Kayak Trolling Motor, which is particularly popular because it has an excellent battery life and is practically maintenance-free. With more service life and less motor usage when maintained properly, you’ll get many good years of use from this trolling motor. For starters, the motor is very easy to steer and adjust while moving, including a specific level of control and speed. This can go a long way in reducing the usage of power usage when you have to preserve battery life. Once it’s mounted, the adjustable Haswing motor can sit at a 100-degree angle and can even be lifted up easily for avoiding clashing with underwater debris or structures. Finally, the quick locking system, an adjustable shaft height of 24.4 inches, and 55 lbs of thrust make this motor a force to reckon with.
- Aluminum alloy shaft.
- Adjustable angle and height.
- Dial-up control and speed.
- Ergonomic handle.
- Slightly loud.
Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor
An excellent electric trolling motor for kayak is the Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor, which has a number of reasons to be much-loved by anglers. For one, it’s rated to be used in both saltwater and freshwater. Secondly, it comes with multiple premium features, including three reverse speeds and five different forward speed settings. What’s more, it even comes with thrust ratings ranging from 36 lbs to 86 lbs, which is more than enough for most kayaks. While it’s not the quietest, it sure is functional and comes with decent quality builds of both the shafts and mounting brackets. That said, it’s the Cloud Mountain 8 Speed’s overall control options and versatility that make it so appealing for anglers.
- Smooth operation.
- Great power and speed.
- Both freshwater and saltwater-rated.
- Some users mentioned that durability is an issue.
- Slightly on the noisier side.
Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor
One of the most compact best trolling motor for kayak is the Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor, which is lightweight and compact to boot. Weighing just less than 5 lbs, this trolling motor is extremely easy to transport, along with all your other kayaking and fishing gear. Despite offering just about 24 lbs of thrust, it boasts enough power to get most sized kayaks out and around any body of water with extreme ease. Thanks to its alloy shaft build, the motor is extremely durable too. Above all, the trolling motor lives up to its name since it’s extremely stealthy and quiet in the water, much like a water snake. It offers one reverse speed and both low and high forward speed settings. Rounding up the features is the extended ergonomic handle that makes it easy to steer as well as raise up out of the water for avoiding damage.
- Extremely quiet.
- Solid, durable build.
- Low speed.
Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Motor
Is the thrust and power of an electric trolling motor for kayak important for you? Then look no further than the Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounter Motor. This one is powerful enough to propel a kayak of any size for several hours without draining its battery. Possessing just 30 lbs of thrust, this one is perfect if you’re an angler less concerned about speed and more interested in the power and thrust dynamics. The motor features a propeller with a three-inch diameter that helps give it additional power despite having less thrust than its other peers on this list. Going further, the 30-inch shaft is easily adjustable and fits a wide variety of kayaks. That, combined with its three reverse speed and five forward speed settings and its stealth and quietness make this model an excellent buy.
- Six-inch telescoping tiller.
- Good battery life.
- Quiet operation.
- Lacks speed.
Newport Vessels 36-Pound Thrust 8-Speed Electric Motor
One of the most versatile best trolling motor for kayak options is the Newport Vessels 36-Pound Thrust 8-Speed Electric Motor. It’s rated for both freshwater and saltwater use, all while offering a thrust of as much as 36 lbs. Moreover, it even comes in different versions with thrust variants of 46 lbs, 55 lbs, 62 lbs, and even 86 lbs, making it perfect for larger kayaks too. The motor features three reverse and five standard forward speed settings, helping maintain consistent speeds. Plus, it’s lightweight too, thanks to its shaft made from composite fiberglass. The in-built battery life indicator is very helpful for keeping track of how fast your power is being used. Finally, the ergonomic six-inch telescoping handle is easy to grip, making it easy to carry this motor too.
- Quiet operation.
- Battery life indicator.
- The shaft isn’t made from aluminum.
U-BCOO 8-Speed Transom-Mounted Electric Trolling Motor
For anglers looking for an electric trolling motor for kayak with multiple speeds, the U-BCOO 8-Speed Transom-Mounted Electric Trolling Motor is perfect. The trolling motor boasts whopping eight speed settings, with three reverse and five forward ones. So, you have tons of options to scout around for your next fishing spot. Going further, the motor is also highly resistant to corrosion, since it’s rated for both freshwater and saltwater use. Hence, it’ll last you a good, long while. The best part? The motor comes with a 12V battery, but also with a range of different thrust values including 46 lbs, 55 lbs, 60 lbs, and 86 lbs, suiting a gamut of kayaks too. The best part is the affordable price, which makes this an excellent option for entry-level anglers who want to up the ante on their fishing game.
- Stainless-steel build.
- Telescoping tiller.
- Eight speeds and four thrust options.
- Some users weren’t happy with the durability.
Minn Kota 1358790 Powerdrive 45_BT Bowmount Trolling Motor
If maneuverability is what you want from the best trolling motor for kayak, then the Minn Kota 1358790 Powerdrive 45_BT Bowmount Trolling Motor is your best friend. Did you know that this trolling motor comes with an option for Bluetooth which can even be paired with a remote for easy use? Yes, you heard that right! If you like spending time fishing in smaller inlets and marshes, then this motor’s bow-mounted design goes a long way in improving maneuverability, especially in tighter spaces. What’s more, it gives you better control by being located right in front of you. Moreover, the motor even comes with a nifty foot pedal that allows you to steer without moving from your seat. The best part? It comes with three thrust options – 45 lbs, 55 lbs, and 70 lbs!
- Bluetooth for remote steering.
- A two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Three different thrust options.
- None, really.
MinnKota Fortrex 80 Bowmount Trolling Motor
If you’re looking for an electric trolling motor for kayak that’ll suit more than just one kayak, then the MinnKota Fortrex 80 Bowmount Trolling Motor is for you. This motor is meant for more than just kayaks and suits a wide range of canoes and boats. Considering that you need a thrust of 2 lbs for every 100 lbs of weight, the 80 lbs of thrust on this allows you to haul as much as 4,000 lbs of weight! A shaft length of 45 inches aside, the motor is also rated for both freshwater and saltwater use. So, you can rest assured that it won’t corrode. What you’ll also like is the bow-mounted design, which goes a long way in improving maneuverability, especially if you like fishing in spots that are narrow or smaller. Crafted from high-quality durable material, this compact and lightweight mount packs a solid punch.
- A two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- The foot pedal system makes steering easy.
- Mounting is easy and yet secure.
Newport Vessels NV-Series Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor
Yet another of the best trolling motor for kayak options is the Newport Vessels NV-Series Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor, which is particularly great for kayaking in the sea or the ocean. If you have a heavy fishing kayaking rig that you want to take out in the open waters of the ocean for trolling, then this is the motor companion for you. The motor features a heavy-duty coating that protects it from getting corroded in salt water which is highly corrosive. What’s more, the NV series motor will last you a good, long while without requiring any maintenance. The best part? It sports a variety of options for thrusts that include 36 lbs, 46 lbs, 55 lbs, 64 lbs, and even 86 lbs of thrust! So, you can use it right from relaxed fishing to more intense expeditions with plenty to haul and tons of gear.
- LED battery indicator.
- Five different thrust options are available.
- Three options for shaft length.
- Practically none.
MinnKota Edge Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor
Yet another budget electric trolling motor for kayak is the MinnKota Edge Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor. The motor features a 45-inch durable and long-lasting composite shaft that not only doesn’t corrode or break with extended use but also flexes on impact. Additionally, it even comes with an ergonomic foot pedal, allowing you to control the motor’s speed hands-free. Furthermore, it’s even fitted with a door mount and a latch for easy removal and for mounting and storing it safely. besides the anodized-aluminum arm, the motor boasts five forward speeds for ultra-responsive steering as well as flared blades in a swept-back design for unrelenting and reliable performance. Rounding up the features is the easy-to-read directional illuminated indicator that helps you focus on fishing.
- Super-strong and durable.
- Smooth operation.
- Mounts and dismounts with ease.
- Reliable and robust blades.
- Not suited for larger boats.
Intex Trolling Motor
Sitting atop the list of the best trolling motor for kayaks is the Intex Trolling Motor. This is perfect for anglers who have the Intex lineup of boats from the Seahawk, the Mariner, and even the Challenger and the Excursion range. Plus, the motor is also compatible with other inflatable kayaks that have in-built motor mount fittings. Featuring a thrust power of 40 lbs, the motor is as quiet as it gets, ensuring that the fish don’t scare away. Moreover, there’s even a digital control module and a cooling water system that ensure an efficient performance without overheating. To top that, there’s even a Soft Start function for allowing you to choose what speed you want for longer running times. It even has a weed escape mode!
Furthermore, the adjustable handle not only extends up to six inches but can even be tilted. It can be tilted 0 and 75 degrees downward as well as 0/15/30/45 degrees upward for additional comfort. Rounding up the features are the three reverse and five forward speeds.
- Tilt-lock lever for efficient mounting.
- Steering tension knob for better control.
- Adjustable mounting bracket for easy installing and removal.
- None, really.