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Install trolling motor on kayak?


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Hey everyone,

i plan on getting an old town topwater 120 and frankly think that the autopilot and pedal versions are way too expensive. Has anyone had any luck mounting a trolling motor on their kayak? Preferably, leaving no damage to the kayak, but im ok with some drilling and whatnot if thats the best option. I plan to use in saltwater and fresh if that makes a difference, please post pics if you have any! 
i have seen people make mounts for the front and back, but i have also seen people use the pole holders in ghe back to make a mount that holds the motor on the side, but that just seems impractical. Any ideas are welcome

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G.  does that kayak have the four threaded inserts in the back for a powerpole?  if so, you can use a torqueedo type..or the newport vessels version.

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Might want to give the OneObjective folks a call and see what they offer or have to say.  Might be pricey, but if they do make one and you can find pics of it, might help with DIY.   They list one for the Sportsman 106 which seems to maybe be what the pic above is of?  You said topwater in  your post though, so I may be wrong.  Anyways, I just picked up one of their trolling motor bow mounts for my Pro Angler.  Based on reviews and videos it seemed to be the way to go. 

 

https://www.oneobjectivebf.com/store/c56/OldTown.html#/

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I meant the sportsman but i will fs try that. Do you know what kind of material i could use to reconstruct it? I actually watched one of their videos and it shows it up close

 

is it better to mount it to the front or back? Also, would the weight changes make a difference in floatability?

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If you want it just for propulsion you have options. The torqueedo and similar motors fit the rear. You can mount to the tracks and put a transom mount trolling motor near the seat. If you want spot lock though, the one objective mount and an xi3 kayak version is the solution and nothing else is close. If you do that, plan for the rudder add on pack for the paddle version. A rudder makes a big difference in tracking. 

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Looking to do it as budget as possible, and i know the rudder kit is almost 250!! And the xi3 is really expensive!! Id probably get a cheaper one, i dont need spot lock. I will put a 5 lb weight for an anchor if i need. The main thing that i need tips on is the mount, and where it should be on the kayak. 
as well as budget trolling motors

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i dont know how a transom mount would work, not much room for it. 

 

I cant put in a link, but its called “BEST WAYS TO MOUNT A KAYAK TROLLING MOTOR” by Casting with Cody on youtube. The forum wont let me put a screenshot, its bigger than the required size. He puts a custom mount on that has 4 screws that go into the kayak, connected to the mount. It has something so the motor can go up or down remotely, and it can be swung up. He bought it from a fb marketplace seller who no longer makes them. 

sorry for the long post ,

 

below is the transom mount that i think MIGHT work

the video that i saw is called “BEST WAYS TO MOUNT A KAYAK TROLLING MOTOR” by Casting with Cody on youtube.

the seller on facebook marketplace is 

Kevin Dismuke’s Kayak Motor Mounts

3A785938-643A-4BC9-AD76-DEFF11509E35.jpeg

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11 hours ago, Gregorym38 said:

I meant the sportsman but i will fs try that. Do you know what kind of material i could use to reconstruct it? I actually watched one of their videos and it shows it up close

 

is it better to mount it to the front or back? Also, would the weight changes make a difference in floatability?

The one objectives are some sort of plastic, maybe 3d printed.  I honestly have no boating experience so these are uneducated guesses loosely based on ideas I've found on the internet, but perhaps some marine grade board of sorts?  Or maybe a really thick plastic cutting board could be cut up and drilled? Maybe something along the lines of what people deck their boats with?

 

I initially thought for sure on the back/stern because that's where motors go, right? Then I learned spot lock trolling motors drag the boat around and should go on front.  So for my use case, it's going on the front.  The motorguide Xi3 kayak model weighs about 31lbs.  Outfitter told me it'll push the bow down a little, will need to counter with battery/fishing crate behind the seat.   In my searching I've seen lots of torqueedos or similar and tiller motors mounted on the stern.  For tillers there are extended handles and/or pully setups to assist with throttle and steering from your seat.  Possibilities are numerous, some require more creativity and ingenuity.  Forums and you YouTube searches provided a lot of ideas.

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For cheap and easy, you mount a piece of wood across the boat right behind your seat (I've seen variations that used the rod holders and used pipe) and have a wood pad hanging over the edge of the boat.  You then mount a small transom mount trolling motor to it.  You can get an old, used transom mount with ~30 lb of thrust for $50 most of the time on marketplace.  All in you're probably $75 including materials plus a little handiwork.  You'll need a battery too.  I would also recomend a rudder or even a fixed position rudder.  It will help with tracking a lot.  I never have my rudder up from launch to landing.

 

image.jpeg.832d4a042a01267cd4a8e725a476397e.jpeg

 

Also, before you get too far down the road of adding motors or other things, get the boat first and put some time in it.  You might find that for where you're fishing you can paddle to a shoreline you want to fish easily enough and then just let the wind gentle blow you down it.  I do that as often as I can as you're not on the trolling motor, you're not paddling, and you're just worrying about fishing.  Sometimes when there's no wind am I'm fishing a higher resistance bait like a chatterbait or big spinnerbait I can cast down the bank and the lure will pull the boat along at the perfect speed.

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As budget as possible?  Then do what I did!  A warning though, it took a long time and wasn't easy.

 

First, I installed foot pedal controllers.  That wasn't hard.  I just bought new ones and swapped them out for the old foot pedal braces.  I just had to drill out some old rivets and install new rivets.  Next I ran some control lines from the pedals to the rear.  That wasn't too hard, other than feeding the tube through the kayak, as I didn't have any access hatch in the rear.  I just tied some braided fishing line to a screw and guided it from the entrance hole to the exit with a strong magnet.  Then I used that line to feed a Teflon tube through and flared out the ends with a low watt soldering gun I use for plastic.  Next I fed some SS wire, also coated in teflon (used as a saltwater fishing leader) from the pedals to the rear.  

 

For the mount, I used some SS shelving brackets and wood.  I needed some extra support, so I created a SS metal bracket to mount the brackets on and soldered some bolts to it to keep them in place so I could secure nuts onto it from the outside and not have them free spin.  Then I got that into place using the braided line and magnet method.  

 

The rest was just piecing it all together.  It's probably more sturdy than most aftermarket setups, but not as pretty.  It probably ran me a bit under $1,000 to do all of that, if you include the price of the lithium battery and trolling motor.  The lithium battery alone was almost half the cost.  Oh, I also added a PWM speed controller, and have that in a waterproof box next to my seat. 

 

Anyway, that's the short version.  There are a lot of other steps I left out, but I could describe in more detail if you like. It took a couple of months to do it all, just working the occasional weekend.  I did it in stages.  Befire that I had the motor mounted beside me on a bracket, which was much cheaper to do, though no where near as convenient and with a side mounted motor, you lose some control and speed.  

 

 

212FC78B-463F-48B2-9FB9-E5ED2E0699C2.jpeg

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27 minutes ago, Bankc said:

As budget as possible?  Then do what I did!  A warning though, it took a long time and wasn't easy.

 

First, I installed foot pedal controllers.  That wasn't hard.  I just bought new ones and swapped them out for the old foot pedal braces.  I just had to drill out some old rivets and install new rivets.  Next I ran some control lines from the pedals to the rear.  That wasn't too hard, other than feeding the tube through the kayak, as I didn't have any access hatch in the rear.  I just tied some braided fishing line to a screw and guided it from the entrance hole to the exit with a strong magnet.  Then I used that line to feed a Teflon tube through and flared out the ends with a low watt soldering gun I use for plastic.  Next I fed some SS wire, also coated in teflon (used as a saltwater fishing leader) from the pedals to the rear.  

 

For the mount, I used some SS shelving brackets and wood.  I needed some extra support, so I created a SS metal bracket to mount the brackets on and soldered some bolts to it to keep them in place so I could secure nuts onto it from the outside and not have them free spin.  Then I got that into place using the braided line and magnet method.  

 

The rest was just piecing it all together.  It's probably more sturdy than most aftermarket setups, but not as pretty.  It probably ran me a bit under $1,000 to do all of that, if you include the price of the lithium battery and trolling motor.  The lithium battery alone was almost half the cost.  Oh, I also added a PWM speed controller, and have that in a waterproof box next to my seat. 

 

Anyway, that's the short version.  There are a lot of other steps I left out, but I could describe in more detail if you like. It took a couple of months to do it all, just working the occasional weekend.  I did it in stages.  Befire that I had the motor mounted beside me on a bracket, which was much cheaper to do, though no where near as convenient and with a side mounted motor, you lose some control and speed.  

 

 

212FC78B-463F-48B2-9FB9-E5ED2E0699C2.jpeg

 

 

$1000 is your budget option?  I thought I was good at spending money on my boat...

 

Just a small thing, you may want to put a closing hook or hook retainer on the top orange strap.  If anything were to fail and the motor+ bracket falls in the water I suspect the steering cables might not be enough to hold it.  the orange rope will, but not if the hook falls off.  A rubber strip across the base of the hook and the top of the hook should do it.

 

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Just a word of advice too. Some states will require you to register it and title it once putting a trolling motor on it. They consider it a powered vessel then. In PA when I added a trolling motor to my Coleman scanoe I needed to do that as well. Then the laws of nav lights come into play as well. There is nothing cheap, easy, or free in the fishing/boating world 

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2 hours ago, Darnold335 said:

In PA when I added a trolling motor to my Coleman scanoe I needed to do that as well.

MN you have to register it period - if it's powered, you have to display the reg number on the vessel like below.

946408386_2-BeautyShot-1.thumb.jpg.1c765245f8d0f002fdeae4740c2cd953.jpg

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Buy a NuCanoe F10 or 12, you can mount a motor right on the back. Get the optional mount to protect the hull. It's a great combo!

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7 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

MN you have to register it period - if it's powered, you have to display the reg number on the vessel like below.

946408386_2-BeautyShot-1.thumb.jpg.1c765245f8d0f002fdeae4740c2cd953.jpg

Exactly how it is here if powered. They consider it a xx size boat.

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2 hours ago, casts_by_fly said:

 

 

$1000 is your budget option?  I thought I was good at spending money on my boat...

 

Just a small thing, you may want to put a closing hook or hook retainer on the top orange strap.  If anything were to fail and the motor+ bracket falls in the water I suspect the steering cables might not be enough to hold it.  the orange rope will, but not if the hook falls off.  A rubber strip across the base of the hook and the top of the hook should do it.

 

Yeah, $100 for the motor.  $300 for the lithium battery.  Another $50 for the lithium battery charger.  The shelf brackets were like $30.  SS Cables and teflon tubes were another $50.  The PWM motor controller and box were around $60.  The 8 guage battery cables and connectors were another $50.  The quick release connectors to the control cables were around $30.  The foot pedal controllers were around $60, and the backing brace was around $30.  And the control arm for the trolling motor was around $20.  Plus a few other doodads I'm probably leaving out.  And taxes.  Always taxes.   

 

A side mounted trolling motor is much cheaper because you don't have to mess with all of the controlling mechanisms.  But you're still looking at around $400 bucks for the motor, battery, charger, mount and connectors.  And you've got a system that is inherently unstable and difficult to control.  But I had that kind of setup for a year, and it's fine for a start.  That's part of the beauty of doing it this way.  You don't have to buy everything up front.  You can spread it out over the course of several years if you like, while you slowly add to it, just upgrading one thing at a time.  

 

And no, that motors not falling off into the water.   Both the mount and its attachment to the mount are rock solid.  Even if it did somehow get loose, those two control cables are rated at something like 350 lbs each.  The whole system may not look pretty, but it is WAY overbuilt.  

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12 hours ago, casts_by_fly said:

For cheap and easy, you mount a piece of wood across the boat right behind your seat (I've seen variations that used the rod holders and used pipe) and have a wood pad hanging over the edge of the boat.  You then mount a small transom mount trolling motor to it.  You can get an old, used transom mount with ~30 lb of thrust for $50 most of the time on marketplace.  All in you're probably $75 including materials plus a little handiwork.  You'll need a battery too.  I would also recomend a rudder or even a fixed position rudder.  It will help with tracking a lot.  I never have my rudder up from launch to landing.

 

image.jpeg.832d4a042a01267cd4a8e725a476397e.jpeg

 

Also, before you get too far down the road of adding motors or other things, get the boat first and put some time in it.  You might find that for where you're fishing you can paddle to a shoreline you want to fish easily enough and then just let the wind gentle blow you down it.  I do that as often as I can as you're not on the trolling motor, you're not paddling, and you're just worrying about fishing.  Sometimes when there's no wind am I'm fishing a higher resistance bait like a chatterbait or big spinnerbait I can cast down the bank and the lure will pull the boat along at the perfect speed.

Do you notice that the boat drives any differently? I was considering doing it this way as its cheap and easy, plus no damage, but it just doesnt seem right for its off center placement

 

8 hours ago, casts_by_fly said:

For NJ, any motor or power means registration.  if it is over 12' then it gets titled.  Exactly 12' does not get a title.

Is it difficult to register? And about how much would it cost? 

 

8 hours ago, waymont said:

Buy a NuCanoe F10 or 12, you can mount a motor right on the back. Get the optional mount to protect the hull. It's a great combo!

Why is the nucanoe easier to mount? Is it better than the sportsman 120? They seem to be at the same price range. 
 

 

i probably wont buy the kayak for another month or two, should i get pdl and skip the trolling motor, or get paddle, and possibly add a motor later on. My worry is that the kayak will be extra heavy from the weight of the fishing kayak to my gear, (i will pack light), but the kayak is still like 70-80 pounds

i plan to use ij fresh and saltwater

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Before you do anything, total the weight of your trolling motor setup, yourself, and everything else you plan to carry and make sure you are not exceeding the weight limit of your kayak. I mean everything like all of your gear, coolers, bottles of water, dry bags, fish finders, safety flags, rod holders, crates, tackle, anchors,  batteries, and especially your own body weight.

 

Depending upon your kayak, you may find you run up on that weight limit number rather quickly and either need to pare down what you take on each outing or rethink your plan.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gregorym38 said:

Why is the nucanoe easier to mount? Is it better than the sportsman 120? They seem to be at the same price range. 

The stern is square and they sell a $30 mount that works great with a standard trolling motor. I use a 45lb Minn Kota and Dakota lithium battery and the thing can go all day, and is super comfortable.

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46 minutes ago, waymont said:

The stern is square and they sell a $30 mount that works great with a standard trolling motor. I use a 45lb Minn Kota and Dakota lithium battery and the thing can go all day, and is super comfortable.

What trolling motor? And does it use a transom mount?

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8 hours ago, Gregorym38 said:

Do you notice that the boat drives any differently? I was considering doing it this way as its cheap and easy, plus no damage, but it just doesnt seem right for its off center placement

 

Is it difficult to register? And about how much would it cost? 


registration is easy, just a couple documents and a dmv appointment. $60 initial registration. $12 a year after. 
 

I’ve not put a motor on the side so can’t say.  However that’s been a common mount for canoes for a long time and enough guys do it on kayaks that I don’t see it being a problem. 

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7 hours ago, Gregorym38 said:

What trolling motor? And does it use a transom mount?

Yes on the flat stern/transom. It's a standard trolling motor with the handle control like an outboard motor.

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you can go as cheap or as expensive as you want to and same goes for simple or complex.  I have a NK180s motor on my kayak and use a stick steer set up rather than foot steering.  

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