Can You Put A Motor On A Fishing Kayak? [Things to Consider]

Kayaking is a wonderful sport, but if you’re taking to the water, you might be looking to get a bit more power and speed, and if so, a motor is the way forward. 

Anyone who wants to spend a lot of time on the lake or coast and has places to be will benefit from adding a motor to their kayak, and fortunately, it’s not too hard to do.

Can You Put A Motor On A Fishing Kayak?

Kayaks are light, speedy boats, and adding a strong motor will make them impossible to control. Electric trolling motors tend to be the most suitable, but some people also add small gas motors. 

You need to do careful research into the motor you want to use before adding it to your kayak. You don’t want a lot of horsepower – no matter how fast you want to go! 

If you’ve been considering putting a motor on your kayak, this article will help you decide which type is best.

What Is A Trolling Motor?

A trolling motor is a small, usually electric motor that is powered by a battery. There are quite a few kinds of trolling motors, and they are designed to be attached to boats to provide propulsion and drive the boat through the water.

Many kayakers choose to attach trolling motors to their boats. There are plenty of reasons to want to go faster, including to arrive at a good fishing spot quickly or to get home after a long day. 

Motors might also help you to get out of trouble if something has gone wrong or bad weather is closing in.

Why Are Trolling Motors Suitable?

FlatBottomBoatWorld explores some of the reasons that trolling motors are very suitable for use on kayaks, and one of these is their size. Trolling motors are small, compact, self-contained units, so they can easily be added to a fishing kayak without taking up too much space or making the boat too heavy to paddle manually.

In addition, fishing kayaks don’t weigh as much as a regular boat. Therefore, you don’t want to put a motor with too many horsepowers.

You always need to think about weight when adding anything to your boat. Most electric trolling motors only weigh up to eighty pounds (sometimes a little more), and while this is a significant weight addition, it’s better than many other motors.

These motors are powerful enough to run a kayak at a reasonable speed. In addition, they don’t require you to carry fuel on the boat, which is a significant benefit, especially if you are short on space. 

Motors that depend on fuel rather than batteries will need you to carry an extra supply, adding weight and taking up valuable room.

It is usually easy to mount a trolling motor to your boat. Because these motors are designed for use by anglers. 

Find a motor that is easy to attach to your kayak, although you should always check the manufacturer’s compatibility advice before you purchase a motor.

Outdoorlife recommends mounting a tiller-controlled motor to the side of your kayak. This will allow you easy access. Alternatively, you can attach a remote-controlled motor to the kayak’s stern. But this will often be more expensive. However, it does offer better control when wired up to the attachment points on the kayak.

If you buy one of the more expensive trolling motors, you can also take advantage of some tremendous up-to-date technology. 

Things like course-plotting, the ability to keep your boat motionless in one place, GPS mapping, etc., are significant advantages to kayakers. 

Whether you’re fishing or just enjoying the trip, these can make your life a lot easier.

Another good thing about trolling motors is that they are reasonably quiet and eco-friendly. As a result, they don’t create a lot of noise, ruining the atmosphere out on the lake. 

This makes them better for the boating community as a whole and offers a particular advantage for anglers who want to arrive at fishing spots without a fanfare of engine noises.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Trolling Motors?

While these motors are probably the best available for kayaks, they aren’t perfect. They aren’t as efficient as electric outboard motors, and they won’t let you move as fast. 

However, what they fail to offer in this area is often made up for in maneuverability and compactness. Being nice and small is a major benefit on a little boat like a kayak.

Another disadvantage is that you will need to remove the batteries to recharge them. You can’t just bring fuel for the trip. You need to remember to take the battery home at the end of the day, put it on the charger, and then bring it back next time. This can be a nuisance.

However, both of these are relatively small payoffs for what electric trolling motors offer, and you will probably find that the addition to your boat makes an immense difference to your kayaking life!

What Is A Gas Motor?

A gas motor is any motor that uses gas for fuel. In the United States, this also includes petrol. You can buy gas motors specifically designed for use on boats (and you must do so if you plan to use the motor out on the water for safety reasons).

For kayaking, you will only need a very small gas motor. A large one will be too heavy and space-hungry for your kayak anyway, and you’ll find the boat hard to control if the motor is too powerful. 

Gas motors are rarely preferable to electric motors, but we’ll cover a few reasons that you might want to use them.

Why Are Gas Motors Suitable?

Gas motors can be a reasonable alternative to electric motors, especially if you are able to find a particularly light and portable model. Some stores sell kayaks with gas motors already attached, and these can have more horsepower than homemade versions as great care has gone into the design.

As long as you take the weight of both the gas and the extra fuel needed into account when choosing and installing a motor, a gas motor can make a reasonable alternative to an electric motor. 

However, more and more people are turning to electric for greater efficiency, quieter operation, and additional extras such as navigation functions.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Gas Motors?

There are quite a few disadvantages to gas motors.

For starters, to get a small enough motor and won’t need ridiculous amounts of fuel, you’ll have to limit yourself to about 2 HP. 

Most gas motors over this won’t be suitable for installing on a kayak because they are too big and heavy and need too much fuel for you to carry it in a kayak realistically.

Heavier gas motors may also create too much thrust for the kayak to cope with and could lead to you losing control. They also tend to be much nosier than electric motors, which may frighten away fish and cause a nuisance when out on the water.

Final Word

On the whole, electric trolling motors are superior to gas motors in every way, and they are the best kind of motor to fit your fishing kayak. 

While they do have some disadvantages in needing to carry batteries and not being very powerful, they are very suitable for fishing kayaks. Their benefits outweigh pretty much every other available motor.

A gas motor can be used on a fishing kayak, but an electric motor is better, and as the technology involved continues to improve, they are likely to become even more superior options.

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