Best Trolling Motors for Kayak Fishing: 2021 Buying Guide and Reviews

Kayaker anglers may find it difficult to fish in strong currents or long paddles.

Paddling to the top fishing spots, especially inshore and in tidal estuaries can be tiring. It can also prove dangerous when conditions are not ideal. A trolling motor is a great tool for when the weather suddenly changes and the winds pick up.

Trolling motors are not the only option. Trolling motors are designed for heavier, larger watercraft. Most trolling motors won’t work with kayaks due to the large batteries required.

We’re not saying that there aren’t great trolling motor options available for kayak anglers.

Here are reviews and buying guides for some of the top kayak trolling motors.

  • Watersnake-ASP T18 and T24 Pound Thrust Saltwater Trolling Motor, Transom, or Kayak Mount Best Kayak Trolling Motors For Calm Water
  • Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55 lb. Thrust Trolling Motors The Most Powerful Kayak Trolling Engine
  • Newport Vessels NV Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Mower
  • Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Trolling Motor –Best Freshwater Kayak Trolling Engine

The Best Kayak Trolling Motors – Reviewed

Watersnake ASP T18 and T24 Pound Thrust Saltwater Trolling Motors, Transoms or Kayak Mounts – Best Kayak Trolling Motors For Calm Water

Watersnake T18 ASP - 18 Pound Thrust 12v Electric Saltwater Trolling Motor with Transom Mount

Thrust:18 or 24 lb
Shaft Length:24
Weight:4.85 lbs (ASPT18)

Watersnake offers two sizes of trolling motors from it: the ASP T18 or ASP T24, which produce thrust equal to those numbers in pounds.

These motors are a relative newcomer in the trolling game. They offer impressive numbers. The shaft length is designed to fit around the low gunnels on a kayak. It also has very low thrust outputs. This makes the smaller motor weigh in at just below 5 pounds.

This is impressive and important information for kayak anglers who will be using a heavy battery on their kayak. It is important to keep excess weight in check as an excessive mass in the bow or stern can affect trim and handling.

The controls for both models are simple: Two switches on the engine can allow you to choose forward or reverse, as well as low or high speed.

These motors can be fitted with either a transom or bracket mount and are very adaptable.

The T18 can reach speeds up to 4 mph in high settings. These motors consume electricity and leave more than 2/3 of the battery juice untapped after a day of fishing.

Take this with a grain. These motors will drain batteries faster if they are used hard.

These Watersnake motors are built to last and have very few complaints.

These motors are not strong enough to withstand heavy currents and the wind that is common inshore fishing. You can expect to reach speeds in calm water but will be slowed down by a current of 2-3 knots.

These Watersnake trolling engines are an excellent choice for quiet lakes and small ponds.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Battery life is excellent
  • Ideal for kayaking: Short shaft
  • Freshwater/saltwater
  • Simple controls

Cons

  • These are not the strongest options available. It is best to stay in calm water.

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55 lb. Thrust Trolling Motor: The Most Powerful Kayak Trolling Mower

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (24' Shaft)

Thrust:55 lb
Shaft Length:24″ – Adjustable
Weight:23 lbs.

The Newport Vessels Kayak Series was specifically designed for kayakers. This motor has an impressive 55-pound thrust. That’s enough to power a 2700-pound boat and enough for any ‘yak.

It has a 24-inch adjustable shaft to transfer that energy to the motor. This is a useful length to consider when you begin your search for the best motor. This adjustability is a great feature and something to be aware of.

It comes with a 6-inch telescoping handle, eight speeds (five forward and three in reverse), and is similar to most of its rivals. Customers say that unlike older Newport Vessels models the new throttle positions make it easy to know when the motor is on or off. Important: Trolling motors can be left on accidentally at low speeds and drain the battery.

Newport Vessels uses a fiberglass shaft and the prop and head are made for saltwater. This is a good option if you plan to spend a lot of time near shore, estuaries, or marshes. The trolling motor can also be used in lakes, rivers, or creeks.

The battery life is excellent, particularly at lower speeds. Perhaps most important, customers have found excellent customer service when they have encountered a problem.

Newport Vessels recommends that you do not use this motor with a Lithium-Ion battery. They claim that the voltage output of this design will be greater than 12v.

Pros

Good battery life

  • Amazing customer service
  • Excellent transmission
  • Short, adjustable shaft
  • Freshwater/saltwater

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not suitable for lithium batteries

Newport Vessels NV Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Mower

Thrust:36 lbs.
Shaft Length:30″ – Adjustable
Weight:18 lbs.

The NV-Series, which provides 36 pounds of thrust, is the second Newport Vessels trolling engine. This motor is a great choice for kayak anglers who prefer a 30-inch shaft.

Newport Vessels created this trolling engine to meet the requirements of saltwater boating. It can be used with dinghies, inflatables, kayaks, and small boats.

It is built tough to resist saltwater corrosion and features high-end construction materials for the shaft and prop, the same 6-inch Telescoping handle and 8-speed transmission as the 55.

You can ensure a smooth ride and a low-emission throttle. For a kayak, 36 pounds is quite a lot of thrust. Speed in currents will not be an issue.

The NV-Series is comparable to the 55 in all aspects, except thrust output. However, it has a smaller motor and draws less battery power.

Pros

  • Amazing battery life
  • Excellent customer service
  • Excellent transmission
  • Adjustable shaft
  • Freshwater/saltwater

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not suitable for lithium batteries

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Trolling Motor– The Best Freshwater Kayak Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor (30' Shaft)

Thrust:30 lb.
Shaft Length:30″
Weight:17 lb.

Minn Kota is a respected name in trolling motors and their Endura C230 30 should not disappoint. It has 30 pounds of thrust and plenty of power to propel a kayak. This motor is intended for freshwater use. If you plan to use your kayak on saltwater, it might be a good idea to let the motor rest. However, many people take the motor to places it isn’t intended. If you do decide to follow their lead, remember to rinse it off after each use and to prevent corrosion.

Telescoping tiller handles of 6-inch keep the controls easily reachable. Many users agree that the build quality is exceptional and that you can expect trouble-free operation.

The Endura transmits power through a 30-inch fiberglass shaft to the prop. It also features eight speeds, five forward, and three in reverse. Customers rave about the battery life at high speeds, and a simple twist of the tiller cranks it up. This is something you should keep in mind.

Minn Kota’s quality control and battery life are excellent as usual. This trolling motor weighs in at 17 pounds. That is an important factor when kayaking.

Pros

  • Battery life is excellent
  • Short shaft
  • Excellent build quality
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • For freshwater

How to Choose a Trolling Motor For a Kayak

What is a Trolling Engine?

A trolling motor, traditionally a bow-mounted engine used for steering larger boats during fishing, is a traditional type. They are useful for low-speed maneuvering in bass and crappie fishing.

Why would a Kayaker want one?

They are becoming more common on kayaks as the transom-mounted engine. They provide enough power to propel a kayak over longer distances at higher speeds than what you can paddle.

Speed and distance rolling motors are a great option for long trips. Motors can move your kayak at its maximum speed, usually around 7-10 knots.

This kayak angler’s favorite option is because it can keep that speed for hours, even if the battery has been well cared for.

Stealth – NAn electric trolling motor is as quiet as a paddle and won’t wake fish.

Power

Our reviews offer a range of thrust output options. You may be concerned that anything less than Newport Vessels 55 will be too weak.

Do not be ashamed!

  • The rule is 2 pounds for every 100 pounds of loaded weight. Trolling motors can turn large fiberglass bass boats at a fraction of the cost. Even smaller engines can provide enough power for your ‘yak. However, I recommend at least 20 pounds thrust to maintain calm and still water.
  • It won’t help to have more thrust. Your kayak is not designed to ride up or plane on the water, unlike a speedboat’s hull. This means its top speed is limited by physics and that more thrust won’t make it go faster.

Batteries

Trolling motors can be described as electric engines. They require power systems that are multiples of 12v: 24v, 36v, and 12v. To run more powerful trolling engines, you will need more electricity. A 24v system requires two 12v battery packs, while a 36v system needs three. However, due to the kayak’s thrust and weight, it is best to stick with 12v systems that only require one battery.

Most importantly, you will need a motor that consumes electricity to keep your battery charged for as long as possible.

Mounting System

Here is where things can get complicated.

Trolling motors are usually designed to be mounted on the bow of larger boats. To help anglers get into a launch, they can be lifted from the water by a huge hinge that bolts into the deck.

This design is not suitable for kayaks!

You’ll need a motor that can be mounted on a transom system. This will allow you to mount your motor behind the cockpit. These can be adjusted and serve as a solid base for mounting your new motor.

All models in our list can be used with a transom-mounted.

Shaft Length

Kayakers can also find this tricky.

Most trolling motors have a shaft between the engine and prop that is longer than 30 inches. Sometimes it can be quite a lot longer. This is to allow for the distance between deck and waterline on bass boats. Props should be kept at least one foot below the surface for quiet operation and maximum performance.

Kayaks have long shafts that can be a problem. In these reviews, we selected kayaks with the shortest shafts. There are some things you should keep in mind.

  • The propeller must be submerged. To prevent the prop from making noise and sucking air off the surface, it should be kept 12 inches below the water. This will reduce the prop’s performance.
    However, you shouldn’t allow it to go any deeper than this, as it will be more likely to hit obstructions such as logs, rocks, and the bottom.
  • It is important to measure carefully. Here are some things kayakers should know. Once you have attached your mount, measure the distance from the horizontal bar to the water surface. Add 12 inches to this measurement, then add 3-4 inches if you are going to be in rough waters. This is the length of your shaft.

You might consider adding 5-6 inches to your height if you live in very poor conditions.

Type of Control

A foot pedal controls a bow-mounted trolling motor, but it is ineffective on a ‘yak.

  • Foot pedals don’t help kayakers. Imagine yourself standing in a ‘yak with a trolling engine. This engine will provide enough thrust to propel a large boat. These electric motors provide an almost instant push. Even with you in the kayak, that’s too much energy to be able to maneuver and keep your feet on the ground. These cables are not designed for bow-mounted motors. They also don’t reach from the transom mount to the kayak’s footpegs.
  • A tiller handle is essential. Instead, you will want a tiller control that is long enough to allow you to steer from your seat.

All products that we reviewed offer this feature.

Weight

Your kayak’s maximum capacity is the point at which it will stop settling and start to take on water.

You might think that everything is fine as long as your gear and your battery do not exceed this limit.

However, this is not the truth.

Remember that weight distribution is important. Too much mass at the bow or in the stern can cause the trim to shift, submerging one side or forcing it to ride too low in the water.

Be mindful of your weight and choose the lightest option to meet your thrust requirements.

Legalities

Most states require that any boat with an engine be registered. This includes trolling motors. You can check with your local wildlife or fisheries agency to ensure you are following the law.

Last Thoughts

Kayak anglers have different needs depending on where and what they fish. There is no single trolling motor that will work in every situation.

You need to consider your fishing conditions and capacity, determine if you need to buck currents or tides, and then choose the motor that best suits your thrust requirements.

You can be sure that any one of the trolling motors reviewed here will be a great choice.

We’d love to know if this article helped you to choose your next trolling engine, or if there are any other suggestions.

Leave a comment below

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.