Kayak fishing has become very popular in recent times. More and more anglers are switching over to kayaks and canoes for their definitive advantages over boats. But unfortunately, you need to paddle a lot, which in turn can tire you out. If you are paddling for the entire day, it will make your day even worse. Here is the best solution – trolling motors.
Now, if you are thinking that any kind of trolling motor would do, then think again. Just like the reels, lines, baits, and kayaks, even the motors play a significant role in determining the quality of your fishing experience. You need to consider many factors before finding the best trolling motors. In this article, we have put together our reviews on the top 5 best trolling motors for canoes and kayaks along with a buying guide. You will get all the information you need before making your next purchase.
Trolling motors have changed the dynamics of kayak fishing. You can travel more distances, the motors are easy to operate and low on maintenance, and finally, they eliminate the problem of noise. It is an excellent gift for any angler heading for making a great catch.
Electric Trolling Motor
These motors are propulsion units that can drive your kayak or canoe. Trolling motors are battery operated and can last for a whole day. The motor, propeller, and control form the essential parts of a trolling motor. With the speed control mechanism and reverse gear, you can easily control the speed and direction of the kayak. Typically, these motors mount on the stern of the kayak or canoe. Besides, being lightweight, you can easily lift and carry it once you finish fishing.
Parts of a Trolling Motor
Motors can come in different variations (12,24, or 36V). But, a 12V brushed motor would be sufficient for a kayak or canoe. The motor goes inside a watertight compartment and is entirely inside the water when in use. They are very compact in design and lightweight in nature.
The propeller remains to the motor. Power gets transferred from the motor to the propeller, which drives the kayak forward. These can come in a different number of blades, though most propellers have three blades.
Three are three types of motor controls
- Hand Operated Motors – In this case, you have to operate the motor with your hands. These are the least expensive ones and can be fitted in all the small kayaks as well. You still get one hand free for all fishing activities
- Foot Controlled Motors – You can use your foot to control these motors. They come with on/off features and gives you the freedom to use both your hands for fishing.
- Remote Operated Motors – You can control these by using a wireless remote. They are pretty expensive as compared to the other two but gives you a lot of flexibility and freedom to enjoy your fishing adventure.
Benefits of a Trolling Motor
Wondering how a trolling motor will benefit your fishing experience? Here are some reasons –
Trolling Motors Will Increase Your Effectiveness
With trolling motors, you can reach right on top of the fishes. The stealth advantage of these motors allows you to catch fishes more effectively. Climate change and pollution are changing the habitats and patterns of fishes. In such scenarios, getting closer to the fishes on a kayak gives a real upper hand to all anglers.
Hands-Free Fishing Experience
Now you can focus more on fishing instead of maneuvering the boat. Trolling motors frees your hands, allowing you to use them for casting and reeling.
Boats create all kinds of noise and vibrations in the water. This alerts the fishes, and they take shelter away from you. On the other hand, an electric trolling motor will take you silently up to fishing spots, without alerting the fishes.
More Time Spent On Casting
Installing electric trolling motors will take you from one location to another in no time. You can save a lot of time that you used to spend on paddling. This gives more opportunity for you to cast and reel. It increases the number of casts per trip.
Everything is perfect, yet if you get tired paddling all day long, then nothing worse than that. With trolling motors, you can save energy and spend more time fishing. Thus, you can fish for longer durations without getting tired.
Top 5 Best Trolling Motors for Canoes and Kayaks
1. Newport Vessels NV-Series Trolling Motor For Kayak
If you are planning to head out in the ocean to catch the big ones, then you must take a look at this motor. The Newport Vessels NV series will give your kayak the power it needs. It comes with a 55lbs thrust, which can easily maneuver your boat when it is completely loaded. The motor does come in other sizes.
It is well-suited for saltwater as it is corrosion-resistant. The shaft, handle, and all other hardware parts come from stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc. These materials make it resistant to corrosion and give you longevity. With five forwards and three reverse speeds, lightweight, stable, and easy to use, this trolling motor will take your experience to the next level.
You can use it all day without bothering about any heating issues. Additionally, the company offers a 2-year warranty and an excellent customer support service.
- The motor gives you a thrust of 55lbs. It is ultra-quiet and has no heating issues, ideally suited for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
- It comes with a 30inch long shaft made from fiberglass. You can adjust the position of the motor as per your need
- Ergonomic handle allows you to control your boat and ensure a smooth ride. The 6inch adjustable telescopic handle, along with the eight-speed levels, puts you in complete control of the kayak
- The motor runs on a 12V marine battery (need to purchase separately), and the 5-point meter gives you a perfect indication of the charge levels
- A company warranty of 2 years backs the excellent product. If you face any issue, you can always connect with customer support services
- Corrosion-resistant hardware
- Adjustable fiberglass shaft
- LED indicator for the battery levels
- Ample thrust options at your disposal
- Fantastic battery life
- A bit heavy as compared to other models
- Does not notify when switching speeds
- Blades cannot cut through the seaweeds
2. Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor
Minn Kota has always come up with excellent products, and this motor is not an exception. This motor is a full powerhouse designed for heavy-duty performance. With long battery life, easy to mount, stealth advantage, depth control, and excellent customer reviews, this is one of the best trolling motors in the market.
The adjustable shaft allows you to fish in both deep and shallow waters, while the 30lbs thrust can take your kayak whenever you wish to go. You can control the motor with an adjustable handle and 8 eight transmission speed levels. Moreover, the motor is light and can fit into any kayak or boat. Boasting of battery life of 4 hours combines all the features a professional angler can desire.
- The shaft size is 30inch and is made from fiberglass, making it durable and sturdy. A 12V battery can power the motor with a thrust level of 30lbs
- You can easily mount it on any boat and fix it using the lever locks. The adjustable ergonomic handle (6inch telescopic) offers you rock-solid control
- It gives you the advantage of stealth. It eliminates all noises and silently takes you on top of the fishes. The long-lasting battery allows you to fish all day long
- It comes with eight-speed levels for transmission – 5 forwards speeds and 3 for reverse speed. This gives you room for easily maneuvering the boat back and forth
- The company provides 2-year warranty support on this motor
- Extremely low noise performance
- Light and easy to mount and control
- Ideal shaft length for kayak and canoes
- Indestructible fiberglass shaft
- Affordable and value for money product
- Not quite suited for saltwater fishing
- The reverse action is not as smooth as the forward transmission
- Servicing the motors can be a headache
3. Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Motor
Specially designed for kayaks, this Newport trolling motor is all set to surpass your expectations. It offers you a 55lbs thrust, which is sufficient enough to move a 2700lbs boat as well. The adjustable shaft, long battery wires, ergonomic handle, and corrosion-resistant hardware makes it well-suited for saltwater fishing.
This motor comes with a fantastic design ready for optimal performance on any kayak or canoe. Stainless steel and zinc go into the hardware. At the same time, the shaft comes from a fiberglass composite, and the propeller comes from a fiberglass reinforced. Best in class materials go in making this motor, you can throw anything at it, and it will withstand it all day long, year after year.
- The shaft is 24inch in length and is adjustable making it well-suited for different depths
- You can get different speeds as per your need – 8 transmission speeds with five forwards and three reverse speeds
- It comes with a 6inch telescopic handle which allows you to control the motor comfortably
- Motor blades are made from aluminum, while the rest of the hardware comes from zinc, stainless steel, and magnesium
- The extra-long cables (5’6″) gives you the freedom to distribute the weight as per your convenience
- Customer care service is always ready to serve the customers. If you have any complaints or queries, then always reach out to them via website or phone
- This motor comes with a 2-year warranty and high-quality replacement services
- 5 LED, blue battery life indicator
- Extra-long battery cables
- Suited for all kinds of kayaks
- Compatible for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
- Short and adjustable fiberglass shaft for ultimate performance
- Sleeves can slide out at times
- The unit is substantially heavy as compared to its competitors
4. SATURN 55lbs Short-Shaft Electric Tolling Motor
The Saturn Short Shaft motor is ideal for all types of inflatable boats – kayaks, canoes, and dinghies. It is lightweight and can fit into any boat to provide massive power for excellent maneuvering. Propelled by a Haswing engine, this motor is perfectly balanced for both salt and freshwater applications. But we recommend you to thoroughly rinse the motor in freshwater after every use to prevent rusting or corrosion.
The long and flexible shaft is adjustable as per your requirement. Similar to other models, it also has eight transmission modes (5 forward speeds and three reverse speed) along with a telescopic handle to provide easy control. Weighing only 17lbs, this motor would be an excellent choice for all kinds of anglers and fishers.
- The motor provides a huge 55lbs power thrust along with an adjustable angle handle. You need not worry about the position; you can control your boat from every angle
- It comes with a 50Amp 12V maximum draw and adjustable shaft length. The 26inch fiberglass composite shaft can adjust itself according to the depth of the waters
- Superb handle for excellent control. You can extend it up to 13.8inches for better control
- This motor has five speed control levels – 5 forward and 3 in reverse with an LED display to indicate the battery life
- The product comes with a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer. This motor measures 43 “x15″ x7” in dimension and comes with a package weight of 23lbs
- Best suited for all types of kayaks, and canoes
- Extremely lightweight
- Short Adjustable shaft
- Excellent battery life
- Anti-corrosion and low in maintenance
- The build quality is poor compared to other models
- The plastic motor mount is not durable
- Switches might give problems
5. Watersnake – ASP 18- and 24-Pound Thrust
If you are looking for a motor that would give you a stealth advantage in saltwater, check out this model. This 2 blade, 24inch shaft trolling motor will take you right up to where the fishes swim around. Do not go by the small size of the blades; the same size gives stealth and the ability to move quickly through weeds and sea vegetation.
This motor comes with a two-speed option, and you can have both forward and backward transmission. The paint is corrosion resistant, and the moto consumes less energy as compared to its other counterparts. Besides, it is affordable and comes with many positive reviews on the same.
- The motor weighs 4.85lbs only, which makes it light and easy to carry. You can mount it on any kayak or inflatable boat
- It comes with a 24inch adjustable shaft and a long handle to control the motor. The motor has a 2-blade weedless propeller for high impact
- There are two switches for forwarding and backward transmission while two-speed modes for faster maneuvering
- You can choose from either the 18lbs or 24lbs thrust versions. Both operate on a 12V electric rechargeable battery (not included with motor)
- The motor has a versatile and compact design. You need not spend much time and energy mounting it as it comes along with an adjustable mount fitting
- The company guarantees complete satisfaction. These motors are crafted and designed by professional anglers for fellow anglers. If you have any complaints, you can contact your distributor immediately
- Extremely lightweight
- Gives you stealth advantage
- Pocket friendly and easy to operate the motor
- Good battery life
- No heating issues in the long run
- Bolts securing the brackets become loose after some usage
- Does not perform well against the current
Buying Guide for the Best Trolling Motors for Canoes and Kayaks
Choosing the best trolling motor is a challenging task. Each motor comes with multiple features, and it can easily confuse you. The question is how to select the best one? Before making your decision consider these factors as they would determine the quality of your trolling motor.
The choice of the motor would depend on whether you want to fish in freshwater or saltwater. If you select the freshwater model, stick to that and do not use the motor in saltwater. Saltwater motors come with specialized stainless-steel hardware, which is corrosion-resistant. You can always use saltwater motors in freshwater. Still, we recommend that you rinse the motor in fresh water after every use for greater longevity.
The size and weight of your kayak is an essential deciding factor. You should consider your weight and the weight of the gears along with the kayak weight. This would determine the power of the motor. Generally, you can choose between 35lbs and 55lbs for your kayaks. It is sufficient to drive any kayaks loaded with fishes.
You may choose to go for the heavier ones, but remember, they have their downsides. The heavy ones will surely give you extra speed but will make maneuvering difficult. It would put additional pressure on the stern and might topple the vessel as well.
The speed setting will determine how easily and effectively, you will reach your destination. Forward and backward transmissions allow you to maneuver your kayak smoothly and comfortably. Go for the ones with eight-speed modes (5 forward modes and 3 reverse modes). In case you want to small weedless ones, then you have to settle for two-speed styles only. The speed offered by a motor depends on the build and weight of the trolling motor. In general, most motors have an average speed of 10mph.
This is a very crucial factor while choosing your trolling motors. The shaft length should be proper so that the motor gets submerged inside the water. Too short ones will keep the motor floating, creating noise and disturbances. Simultaneously, too long can increase the probability of hitting rocks or the bottom surface. The ones we have mentioned come with adjustable shafts to adjust the size as per the depth of the water.
The design and construct of the propeller blades are essential in measuring motor efficiency. Most propellers have two or three blades. These allow you to smoothly move through the waters and reach your fishing spot with ease. Check the material of the blades, they must be resistant to corrosion and strong enough to withstand minor impacts. You can also check the weed-less blades in case you want to fish in ponds or lakes. It would be best if the manufacturer gives you a replacement warranty on the propeller blades.
The handle of the motor must have an ergonomic design so that you can easily reach out without straining yourself. You can also choose to control the motor with a wireless remote device. Most recent models also have an LED indicator to display battery life. You must ensure that you can operate the motor with the utmost comfort.
The most common mount type is the transom mount. Here the motor is behind you, mounted on the stern. It pushes the water back and propels the boat forward. It is very convenient and easy to control the motor. Another type of mount is the bow mount. It would be difficult for you to reach out to the handle and operate the motor. But some professionals prefer this for movement in narrow regions.
Smaller motors can use a simple 12V battery, while the bigger ones need 24 or 36V batteries. The battery compartment does not come along with the motor. You have to place it somewhere in the kayak. Next, you decide the tradeoff between capacity and weight. A battery with high power will be heavy and difficult to carry in the kayak, while lighter ones cannot power the motor for a long time.
Your trolling motor should be in line with your kayak, fishing environment, and other requirements. Additionally, you must be able to operate it with ease, comes with sturdiness and durability, and spend minimal on maintenance. We hope that our guide will help you in narrowing down your options and select the best model. Fish effortlessly and more effectively by installing trolling motors on your kayaks and canoes.