How to put a trolling motor on a kayak? (2021 Guide)

Like me, if you are a fan of kayak fishing and want a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, then going to a serene and peaceful kayak fishing might be the right idea.

Suppose you’ve got your kayak and everything else ready and the only thing standing between you having a pleasant fishing experience is the lack of a trolling motor. The long hours of continuous paddling will tire you out for sure, and you won’t find as much fun in fishing as you thought it would be.

Well, in that case, a trolling motor is the perfect solution. To help you further, I will explain how you can put the trolling motor on a kayak by yourself in no time.

Can you put a trolling motor on any kayak?

Yes, you can definitely put a trolling motor to any kayak. You can do it by yourself by following the steps we mention in this article. We’re sure that once you’ve installed the trolling motor, you will have a much smoother experience kayaking, and you can even go out for long hours in the water. Say goodbye to paddling all the way and enjoy the newfound peace you get with a trolling motor.

Tools needed to put the trolling motor on a kayak

  • Nuts and bolts
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Wires
  • Wire cover
  • Gloves for protection

How to make a trolling motor mount for a kayak?

Before attaching a trolling motor to your kayak, we need a mount for the trolling motor to be attached.

Mounts can be found either as off-the-shelf kits or homemade mounting kits. Off-the-shelf mounts are the easiest since you can simply purchase them and attach them to your kayak without much effort. However, they tend to be quite expensive, and due to this, many people prefer making mounts at home themselves.

Steps to make the trolling motor mount.

1. Choose the right location for your mount

Decide whether you want your trolling motor to be on the sides or on the stern part itself. You can also place your trolling motor as a bow mount design. Bow or stern mounts usually need a remote-controlled operation. They are also considerably safer since they are much less likely to get caught in the propeller. On the other hand, if you go for a side mount, the handle is easier to access when you’re sitting on the kayak.

2. Primary material of the mount

Once you’ve decided on the location of where your mount will go, next, you need to choose the primary material that will go into its making. Common materials used for trolling motor mounts include aluminum, nylon, PVC pipes, wood, etc. In DIY mounts, wood and PVC pipes are the most preferred. If your trolling motor is quite heavy, you should go for a wood material as PVC does not offer the same strength as wood. However, some people also choose PVC over wood since the former is waterproof while the latter, especially untreated wood, gets damaged over time due to its exposure to water.

3. Mounting holes

Some kayaks come with in-built mounting locations. In such cases, you can use these positions instead of having to choose a location. However, for kayaks without any mounting holes, you can just drill some in your preferred location. To ensure that the mount stays tight and in place, ensure that your holes are a little smaller than the screws or bolts you will be using. After this, you can easily construct your motor mount also.

4. Attach the mount to the kayak

Once the motor mount is ready, you can now attach your mount to the kayak with some bolts. Secure the bolts, tighten them, and your mount is ready.

Steps to put a trolling motor on a kayak

1. Attach propeller to the motor

Since trolling motors don’t come with the propeller already attached to them, the first step you should do is to attach the propeller to the motor. Check for instructions from the motor manufacturer and then attach it. Otherwise, you can attach it by yourself also.

2. Attach motor the mount

Now that the mount, propeller, and everything else is in place, it is relatively easy to attach the motor to the mount. You’ll just need some nuts and bolts. Secure them to the mount, and half the job is done. If your mount is on the side of your kayak, you can easily steer the boat with your hands. However, for bow or stern mounts, you will need additional steering linkages that help you control and navigate the kayak better.

3. Connect battery

Next, we need to connect the motor to the battery to ensure that the motor is smooth and running. Once this is done, make sure all the wires are watertight, and no loose connections are in place. And with that, your trolling motor is attached to your kayak.

Things to look for when buying a trolling motor for your kayak

Here is an essential buying guide when you are purchasing a trolling motor.


The first thing you need to look for is the size of the trolling motor. Essentially, with a bigger size, you are also offered a bigger thrust, and higher thrust means higher efficiency when the kayak is being moved around. A minimum of at least two pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of loaded weight is recommended.

Type of mounting

Next, we look at which type of mounting is required. Depending on the size and capacity of the trolling motor, the mount may be a bow mount, stern mount, or a side mount. Transom mounting is best for most kayaks since they are easily adjustable, fit most models of kayaks, and provide a solid space to mount a new motor. Transom mounts also fit well behind the cockpit.

Motor weight

It’s important to consider the weight of the trolling motor because you don’t want to feel like you’re dragging the kayak across the water. A lightweight motor often gives the smoothest rides. You should also check your battery and the maximum capacity of the kayak when deciding the motor weight.

Power type

Since most trolling motors run on electricity, you’ll want to ensure that a backup battery is available so that you don’t get stranded when the power goes off. For heavier trolling motors, more power will be needed to move the trolling motor; hence for a 24-volt system, you will need at least two 12 volt batteries.


Adding a trolling motor to your kayak has several advantages that you don’t want to miss out on. It will make your entire fishing experience a lot easier and help those who want to enjoy fishing but may not have the strength to paddle the entire way.

You can easily attach a mount to your kayak with the above-listed steps, as well as put a trolling motor on the kayak. Let us know about your experiences while doing so.

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