Trolling Motor On Kayak: A Step-by-Step Mounting Process Guide

Anyone can use a trolling motor on Kayak for saltwater or freshwater. Kayak with trolling motor is surely an excellent fishing technique. However, if you want to troll your kayak properly, you have to mount a trolling motor on the kayak accurately. Then, the motor will power up your kayak fishing. 

Trolling motor is usually designed to suit boats of different kinds large and small. It has a self-contained value with a controller and propeller. To get the best out of your kayak, you have to know how to put a trolling motor on a kayak fishing faultlessly as well as what factors you should consider before you buy a trolling motor. And, this is where we’ll guide you step by step. Keep Going!

Can A Trolling Motor Be Used On A Kayak

Wondering can a trolling motor be used on a kayak fishing? Of course, a trolling motor can be used on a kayak. The trolling motors are manufactured to be used on the transom, bow, or bracket. For Kayak, you can use a 12-volt battery which includes 55 lbs thrust and 24 to 36 inches shaft. It is the best size trolling motor for Kayak. 

Therefore, you can easily troll from a kayak. But trolling from a paddle kayak is much easier. Move your boat ahead while working on the lure or adjusting the line  and it will lead you to troll the kayak precisely and effectively. So, there shouldn’t be any questions like: can you troll from a Kayak?

How Do I Choose A Kayak Trolling Motor Mount

There are always some factors to consider while purchasing a trolling motor for kayaking. Most of the kayak motors aren’t available with pre-installed features. For that reason, here are a few matters to focus on to get the right fit for your kayak. 

Kayak Size

The primary concern should be what size trolling motor for a kayak is suitable.  You must determine the size of your kayak to get an accurate size of trolling motor. Determining your kayak size will help you understand the appropriate amount of battery power and thrust you need.

Usually, the kayak trolling motors are featured in 3 different measurements, for example, 36 volts, 24 volts, and 12 volts. Here’s what size of kayak is for which volts motor-

Kayak SizeMotor Size
16 ft 12 Volts
17 ft24 Volts
18 -19 ft36 volts


The most common measurement to buy an appropriate trolling motor is the amount of thrust. The thrust of a trolling motor is generally, calculated in pounds.  You need 2 pounds of thrust for each of the 100 pounds weight of the kayak.

However, the larger the trolling motor the maximum the amount of thrust. Make sure the motor is well capable to move the kayak in terms of the total weight of the boat and its loads. 

Here’s how you can calculate the amount of thrust you need for your kayak- Suppose you have a 4000 lbs kayak along with its remaining loads. Since 2 pounds of thrust is required for every 100 pounds of kayak weight, the calculation will be like- 4000/100✖ 2= 80 lbs of thrust. It means, you need 80 lbs thrust for that 4000 lbs load.

Freshwater/ Saltwater

Decide where to troll your kayak before buying the trolling motor. Whether it’s saltwater or freshwater. If it’s about saltwater, you ought to buy a trolling motor that is saltwater compatible.

In the case of saltwater fishing, the anti-rush trolling motors are perfect as they are efficient and long-lasting. Purchase Newport Vessels Saltwater Electric Motor to attain a good experience of trolling on saltwater. If you want a freshwater trolling motor, you can purchase Minn Kota Freshwater trolling motor.

Numbers of Battery

Not all kayak trolling motors are designed for the same number of batteries. Check out the number of batteries the motor necessitates before you buy. Because your kayak fishing should have that space for additional batteries. Usually, the electrical battery connector motor comes with 1 or 2. In that case, choosing an e-motor requirement for your small-size kayak can be an ideal decision. 

Where to Mount

It’s very important to decide where you’ll mount the motor. Considering the mounting position, mounting trolling motor kayak on the bow, transom, or gunwales. For small-size transom-mounted kayaks, the electrical motors are perfect because they are easy to mount and also take little time. For bow-mounted kayaks, trolling motors with high-tech features are suitable. But, they cost higher than the transom-mounted motor.  

Trolling Motor On Kayak: Step-by-Step Mounting Process

Trolling motors come in different designs and installation processes. There are some trolling motors that require additional wiring kits and hardware to allocate before you install them. However, some of the trolling motors are available with ready-to-install traits which means you can install them right after purchasing following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Unfortunately, you can hardly find a trolling motor that is ready-to-install. It means you need to buy a battery, motor mount, and mounting hardware if it’s not a ready-to-install trolling motor.  So, follow the given steps to mount your trolling motor on a kayak in a perfect way-

Determine the Location Where to Mount

Knowing or determining the mounting spare parts of your kayak is essential even when you go for buying a motor. Considering this, you must decide where to mount the trolling motor for your kayak. You can install a trolling motor on either gunwales, bow, or transom of your kayak.

If you install the motor on kayak gunwales, you will get easier access. But, installing the motor on gunwales can create navigation problems sometimes. On the other hand, installing your motor on the kayak’s bow or transom will require a remote control operation so that you can connect the foot braces while you’re on the water. Determine your best fit.

Take a Motor Mount

To hold the trolling motor in its exact place, you need a motor mount. You’ll get a number of motor mounts available on the market. These motor mounts are of different designs, for example, some are designed to fit for transom, some are for gunwales, or bow, etc. Make sure the motor mount is the right fit for your trolling motor and kayak. Here’s how you can choose a compatible motor mount-

  • When you want to install the motor on the kayak’s side, ensure the motor mount comes with the fixed and required width of your kayak.
  • When you want to install the trolling motor on the bow or transom, ensure the bolts or mounting clamps are fit for the bow/transom design of your kayak.

Tie Up the Propeller 

In maximum cases, you won’t get an attached propeller to the trolling motor. It is because of preventing damages to the propeller during product sailing time. If the propeller is attached, your installation process will be straightforward. At that time, all you need to do is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to complete the entire process. But, when the model of the motor doesn’t have an attached propeller, you have to buy it separately. 

Attaching a propeller to your trolling motor doesn’t mean your kayak will be propelled at a faster speed. However, a propeller is able to increase the amount of overall thrust of the trolling motor. 

NB: We recommend you keep an additional propeller as backup on your deck. And, if the existing propeller is damaged due to saltwater trolling, you can use the additional one.

Mounting Trolling Motor on Kayak

While finished fixing the top three factors, you are ready to install the trolling motor on your kayak. Drill holes and secure the clamps of the motor mount to the gunwales of the kayak so that it can hold the mount tightly in its place. Remember,

you have to secure the clamps of the motor mount no matter whether the motor mount is gunwales, bow, or transom compatible.

Tighten all the bolts and nuts properly and secure the motor to your suitable mounting place. Add some liquid sealant or rubber gasket to block each of the holes. It will ensure the drilled holes have no leakage.

If the motor mount is attached appropriately, you can now install the trolling motor. Use all the accurate bolts, nuts, and pins to tighten and install the motor in the right place of your kayak.  

If you’ve chosen the gunwale location because you can steer the motor with your hands without steering linkages, your trolling motor on the is ready to run. But, if the location is for bow or transom mounting, go for 2 more steps given below-

  1. Build the Steering Linkage

You’ll have to build a perfect steering linkage as mounting the motor on the stern or bow comes with handyman free operation. Attaching the steering linkage to the motor will allow you to control the motor through foot pedals. And, this is why you need to build the steering linkage.

  1. Connect the Motor to Marine Battery

Once you finish attaching the steering linkages on the kayak, you have to connect the motor to a deep-cycle marine battery. The connection of the motor to the marine battery is not that hazy, so you can connect it trouble-free. Connect the motor to the marine battery following the given process-

  • Remove the cap of the motor
  • Expose the necessary e-components and cables
  • Use the cables according to their colors, they vary as per their color. 
  • There are two different colors of cables red and black. Usually, the red cable is for hot lead and the black one is for ground. 
  • Connect the cables according to their functionality. Once the cables are connected, double-check whether the cables are connected properly and functioning well. 

NB: To make the proper use of colored cables, go through the manufacturer’s instructions one more time before wiring them. And, find out which color is for what functions in case you’re perplexed. 


How fast will a trolling motor push a kayak?

A trolling motor can push a kayak at 5mph the highest speed. But, if the motor has heavier thrust, it can make the speed even faster.

How long will a trolling motor last on a kayak?

Well, the trolling motor for the kayak requires minimum maintenance. Therefore, you can use a trolling motor for your kayak for approximately 3 years. 

How fast will a 40 lb thrust trolling motor go on a kayak?

A trolling motor with 40 lb thrust can go about 4 mph. But, the speed level varies depending on the water type, weight, shape of kayak, wind, etc. 

Can I put a trolling motor on a Pelican kayak?

Yes, you can mount a trolling motor on your Pelican kayak. Pelican is one of the top leading companies that you can rely on for kayaks, pedal boats, canoes, and other charming fishing boats. 

Where does the trolling motor battery go on a kayak?

Usually, the trolling motors have got the design to fit on the bow, transom, or on gunwales of the kayak. So, it differs depending on your preference. If you want to mount the motor on the kayak’s bow, you can. Again, if you want to install it on the transom or on the gunwales of your kayak, still you have the option. It’s not fixed.

Do I need registration for kayaking with a trolling motor?

Of course, you have to. Fortunately, not all states require registration for kayaking with a trolling motor. In this case, you’ve to check out whether you’re permitted in the state for kayaking before you plan to kayak there. 

Final Thoughts

Mounting a trolling motor on kayak will facilitate you in many ways. A kayak with a compatible trolling motor will allow you to fish for a long time. Also, it will save time from anchoring, paddling, setting up, or moving to a suitable spot for fishing. What’s more, a trolling motor is a way to cover a large area to move on your entire fishing trip. 

As a result, finding the exact spot available with a school of fish will be easier for you, and you can catch more fish afterward. So, don’t miss out on a trolling motor for kayak.

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones

Anthony is an expert in fishing and trolling motor equipment, based in Austin. In his free time, he can often be found out on the water, perfecting his fishing techniques and testing out the latest gear.

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