Kayak Trolling is becoming increasingly popular, portability and quality of trolling motors have increased and the prices have come down. So trolling for fish is no longer the sole arena of Wicked Tuna or off shore boats. Although it is not as good for the waist line there is nothing quite like being on calm, open waters, enjoying cooling breezes while anticipating a sizeable catch at the end of the day.
However, prior to strapping one on to the back of your kayak and setting off there are some important considerations you should think about first.
Trolling motors on kayaks should be powerful and fast enough to combat tides and currents, secure enough to not destabilize the kayak or unfasten and slide into the sea, reasonably priced and have a large enough battery capacity to ensure a full day of fishing.
We will look at four the most popular versions currently on the market today and highlight the benefits and drawbacks. These will especially address the main consideration of Kayak fishing, stability, power, voltage, thrust, and add ons. The kayak trolling motors need to be portable and lightweight enough to make sure you are on the water and fishing as soon as possible and corrosion resistant to give you a longer life in saltwater.
Fisher and Hunters – Our Top Choice:
If you are looking for our best choice which balances cost (kinda), hardiness and functionality we recommend the Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor is has the power to push up to 5 miles an hour ( like most!) , a battery life that will keep you on the water for at 4/5 hours.
If you are looking for the best budget offering to test the water then in our opinion the Aquos Haswing 20lb Trolling motor is the best bang for the buck you can get for saltwater trolling motors for kayaks. Unless you are going into really big seas then this is a great option for both inshore and inland fishing.
We have the budget and higher end options listed below with a guide to their advantages and disadvantages! You can jump straight to these reviews By pressing in the table below.
If you want to take a look at the ones that Amazon actually has in stock you can check stock and prices here. They tend to fluctuate quite frequently.
Clicking on the name in the table will jump to the relevant motor 🙂
|1) Minn Kota Riptide Saltwater Trolling Motor.||Power, battery life, made for saltwater. whisper quiet.||Pricey, Power (little large)||If you have the means the 45lb power is great.|
|2. Aquos Haswing 12v 20lb Trolling Motor||Price!!, battery indicator and life, designed for kayaks,||Not as robust, less controls, not so fast||A superb motor for kayaks, and such a fair price|
|3.WaterSnake 18/24 ASP Trolling Motor||Price, power, ease of fitting||Control / speed changes take practice||A little more power than the Haswing 20.|
|4. Newport NV 36lb Trolling Motor||Feature rich, powerful, great price||Needs a separate mount|
|Lots of bang for the buck, but less portable|
1) The Minn Kota Riptide Saltwater Trolling Motor.
- Power is more than enough
- Battery Life
- Good power range for kayaks
- 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds
- Whisper Quiet.
- Can be tricky to fit to some kayaks
- Customer service could be improved
Are Minn Kota Trolling Motors Powerful enough for Kayak Fishing?
The dilemma with saltwater Kayak trolling motors is that although there are a few purpose built models available they can be hard to come by. If you follow the rule of 2 pounds of thrust for each 100 pounds of weight you will soon see that a lot of trolling motors provide an amount of power that a kayaker will never need. So this 45/55 Pound thrust should be enough for 800-1000 pounds of load.
How Power Hungry are Minn Kota Trolling Motors?
That is where these Minn Kota Riptide range, and they have a few models, shine. They mainly run off a single 12 volt battery and can run for a good 4 -5 hours of running, and on an average sized Kayak even more. If you go for the larger 50lb thrust you may need to consider a 24 volt but you are likely to be over powering here.
How fast are Minn Kota Trolling Motors?
They are not the fastest, but will be fine against normal tides and river flows though of course the more work the motor has to do the quicker the battery will wear out, which is why it is worth considering the battery box we mention below. The point with these motors is not speed, most will max out at 5mph no matter what size you get.
What is the price of Minn Kota Motors?
The price of these is really competitive as you can see from above. Although it may be a strange thing to say don’t let that put you off. The majority of these motors are designed for Bass boats that carry a lot more weight, so as a paddler you just wont need that sort of grunt. Although if you are getting one to be more multi purpose they do have larger models as well.
Useful Add ons for Minn Kota Trolling Motors?
Although some models do have battery indicators, which at the price point in understandable, but if a model without and you carry a spare it might be worth considering getting a battery box which comes with a battery indicator as well. ( you will be getting it later anyway!) we have linked it below as well.
Best Budget Kayak Trolling Motor
AQUOS Haswing 12V 20LBS Bow Mount Trolling Motor
This is a great little starter saltwater trolling motor that both doesn’t break the bank and if you are packing medium to light it has enough power for kayaks and gear for a day, maybe just don’t try to bring back a goliath!
- Designed for kayaks and small boats
- Battery Life is good
- Short Shaft length
- Nice and Quiet
- Very Light Weight!
- 2 speed forward and reverse
- Not the fastest
- not as solid as higher priced models
Is the AQUOS Haswing 20 Powerful Enough for a Kayak?
Them great advantage of this, aside from the price, is its designed especially for Kayaks, which means it isn’t heavy or overpowered so shouldn’t throw off the stability of the yak. It comes in at about 6lbs, which means carrying it allow with your kayak is not going to be a problem. A great little motor for sea fishing in your kayak.
How Long Will A 12v Battery Last with the AQUOS Haswing 20lb
If you get a 12v deep cycle marine battery hooked up it will pair nicely with this motor. With the lower power demand a battery is going to see a good 3-4 hours use out of it continuous use at least.
What Speed will an AQUOS Haswing Go On A Kayak?
Realistically, you are not going to be jet skiing across the water, but it is a trolling motor and will get you to 3mph, and around 2 mph on a loaded Kayak. This is perfectly acceptable for this price point.
What is the price of the Aquos Haswing 20lb Trolling Motor.
Now this is the star selling point of the motor. For the price you can have this on your kayak and be off and about. That price point comes under the Watersnake motors although they do come with a little more power.
It is hard not to put this as our recommended Trolling motor, and the only reason we haven’t is that for some extra dollar you can get something that can be interchangeable with larger boats.
However if you are a kayak fishing solely and not in to large seas then this is a simply superb choice, You could even buy 2 for the price of some others!!
Watersnake T18/24 ASP Saltwater Trolling motor.
Another great entry level motor that comes with an optional kayak bracket. only 4.5 Kilos so wont weigh down or make the boat unstable. Priced reasonably it is one to consider if you need a little more power on your boat.
- Plenty powerful enough
- Can reach about 4 miles an hour
- very light weight
- Very Light Weight!
- 2 speed forward and reverse
- speed switches take practice
How Fast Can a Watersnake Asp Trolling Motor Go?
On a 12ft kayak it can go about 4 miles an hour inland, though of course it will depend on water, tide and conditions if you are heading out on the sea. It has two speed settings, that although are basic to use, require a little practice to use effectively.
One tip is to start on the slow setting before pushing it to max.
How long will a battery last with a Watersnake Asp Motor
on a 35amh battery you can get about 4 hours on low speed, of course the bigger the battery capacity the longer you will get, but 4 hours is a perfectly decent run to the spot and back!
What is the price of a Watersnake Asp
This is another low priced option kayak trolling motor, which in our humble opinion are better suited for kayaks in general due to our inherent stability issues! This motor is under 200 USD in most stores, and although it is fairly basic is a perfectly acceptable way to try trolling on kayaks.
What Speed Can You Go With A Watersnake Asp 18/24
As with all things “boaty” this will depend if you are going with wind, current and tide. However a rule of thumb is on clam waters it can reach about 4 miles an hour on high speed setting and about half that on low. Be aware high speed will cut the battery life quicker.
What Add Ons would be useful for a Watersnake ASP 24 Motor.
For piece of mind it would be of use to pick up a battery level indicator, for most trolling motors this is true. It is better to be safe than sorry and although running time is suggested there are so many variables that knowing how much power is left is always useful! You can pick these up pretty cheaply on Amazon. You can check out the price here.
Newport Vessels NV 36lb Saltwater Trolling Motor
If you have made it this far you are probably sensing a running theme. You can get a trolling motor for under 200 Dollars from the major brands, and if you don’t need the power and functionality of our top pick you certainly should. This one scales up the power again, and is a well respected brand in a better featured, slightly larger powered and weighted package.
- More Powerful
- Great Price Point
- Feature packed
- 8 Speeds
- Much heavier than others
- Often out of stock
- Will need to mount it on a kayak yourself.
Are The Extra Features on the Newport NV 36 Worth The Extra Weight?
This is a question that has to be answers by each of us individually. There is now doubt at all having the extra speed settings and battery indicator are useful, and actually save you money and effort by incorporating them into the pack. But adding extra weight can be a problem on a smaller kayak.
If you are in a tandem or larger boat then the extra power on top may outweigh any concerns about the additional weight however.
How Long Can A Newport NV 36 Trolling Motor Run For.
Newport are suggesting a 50amh deep cycle battery, which they state will run for 5 hours on speed setting 3 and XXXX on top speed. With the extra power it is likely you would not need top speed as often.
Does the NewPort Trolling Motor Come with a Kayak Mount.
They don’t, they are sold separately, which seeing as we are all looking for trolling motor for a kayak is somewhat of a set back. On the plus side it means you can invest in a more sturdy mount and not have to rely on the manufacturers versions of sturdy!
What Speed Will a Newport 36lb Motor Reach on a Kayak?
As we have mentioned above this depends on all manner of variables, but 5-6 mph should be achievable due to the extra power this motor provides.
Do You Need A Trolling Motor For Your Kayak
Here we will address some of the Frequently asked Questions about Saltwater Kayak Fishing, it is important to know before you buy if they are suited to both your boat and your plans. If you are considering Kayak fishing you can check out out guides here for freshwater and saltwater.
- Is your Kayak Suitable for a trolling motor?
Although most sea / fishing kayaks are going to be similar there will be differences in length and weight between them. Unless you want your bow to be 90 degrees in the air by buying either to powerful or to heavy a motor it is worth checking the weight and size.
Remember however that you will also be sitting in the kayak along with flasks, fishing gear and hopefully fish!, which will add ballast. We don’t encourage drilling a trolling motor onto some rodeo kayak anytime soon, as amusing as the result may be!
- Do you need a saltwater or freshwater motor?
While it is possible to use a freshwater motor in saltwater you are going to have to clean it really well after each session (doing this with saltwater motors is also highly recommended) At least with alt water kayak trolling motors there are higher levels of corrosive protection in the parts and construction, which comes at an additional cost (of course)
- How much thrust / power do you need?
Thrust is the amount of power the kayak needs to get you through varying depths of water with speed and control. Choose the amount of thrust according to the amount of weight and length on the kayak.
The size of the trolling motor is a significant factor in ensuring you get the correct volume of power to keep the boat moving. Select a trolling motor depending on the amount of gear you’re using and the length of the vessel.
For example, a kayak around 19 feet long will need at least a 36 volt motor. Likewise, a kayak carrying at least 50 pounds may need at least 12 volts of power. Make sure you consult with your supplier to get the best possible size for your saltwater kayak fishing needs.
- How long a shaft do you need
Most, or the most easily found, trolling motors are designed for bass or even pontoon boats. These will have pretty long shafts. You will still want the propeller about 12 inches from the surface of the water, more if you fish in roughish seas. There are motors that tilt, which makes it easier in shallow water, or when landing the kayak but these come with added cost. As a rule, a little shorter will suit a kayaker better.
- Do you want a remote control?
There are three main ways to control the motor. Cheaper options will be manual with a tiller, the pricier options will come with a remote control. Foot operations are not idea for beginner use in a kayak and are likely to require some modifications. They are originally designed for larger boats when standing up is possible. If you have the means it is quite nice to have a remote control as an option.
- How big a battery do you need ?
Battery sizes include 12, 24, and 36 volts though lower power should be Ok with 12v. Check with your seller first! Select the type of voltage depending on the amount of gear on the kayak, including its weight. You’ll need maximum amh for fishing over extended periods. However as most of these motors are designed for much much larger boats scaling up should not be really that necessary unless you are carrying a bear around with you
- Will you need speed settings?
Most trolling motors have preset speeds, both forward and reverse. The more gears you have, the easier it will be to achieve the best speed for the water and weather conditions.
Cheaper trolling motors usually have fewer gears, which may mean you end up going too fast or too slow. Look for products with at least five forward and three reversing speeds to make sure you are not struggling against current or tides, or going to fast and find your self at best scaring fish, or worse being recruited by boatless water skiers!
- Do you need to register a Kayak with a trolling motor.
In most states, and countries even, a kayak will be classified as a powered vessel if you attach a trolling motor to it. So it will be required to be registered. In some cases that registration will have to be displayed on the sides of the boat as well.
More and more fisher folk are looking to motorize their kayaks. There is no doubt that it is fun to paddle, I spent plenty of time surfing and shooting rapids. I also spent plenty of time in a sea kayak on beautiful days looking up a the sky.
If I could have done that with a near silent electric motor pushing me along as I threw a lure over the side, ate lunch or chatted to my friends it would have made it all the more perfect. Not to take the work away, but to give the option of working when i choose!
In my part of the kayaking world they would give me more time on the water, more time fishing and more time enjoying what i am out here to do – Enjoy myself.
Hi I am Marc, when I am not in a classroom teaching you will find me, or more likely not find me, on a boat, trekking through the woods, sitting by a river or pier hoping for tight lines or a straight shot. I have been teaching Outdoor skills, fishing, archery, shooting, Kayaking, Climbing and more for over 30 years. Its about time I shared some of that with you all.