Having a trolling motor on your kayak greatly increases the range of water you’re able to fish and, best of all, you have to put very little effort in getting to the best fishing spots on any given lake or river.
Fishing from a kayak offers many advantages that anglers just can’t get from a full-size boat, but pairing your kayak with a trolling motor offers the best of both worlds. A good trolling motor allows you to travel farther, faster and for longer periods of time than you would by paddling your kayak.
If you want to get the optimal performance out of your trolling motor, you’ll need to have the best kayak trolling motor mount for your boat. We’ve compiled this guide to help you find a trolling motor mount that suits your kayak and your particular needs. We’ve also included a comprehensive buying guide that highlights some important points you’ll need to know before making your decision.
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Quick Answer: Best Trolling Motor Mount for Kayak
- Best Overall: RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount
- Best Stern Mount: Wilderness Systems Universal Transom
- Best for No-Drill Installation: Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount
- Best Trolling Motor + Motor Mount Combo: Newport Vessels Electric Kayak Trolling Motor with Kayak Mount Set
- Best for Watersnake Motors: Watersnake Kayak Motor Bracket
Comparison Table: Best Kayak Trolling Motor Mounts
|Model||Where to Buy|
RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount
Wilderness Systems Universal Transom
Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount
Newport Vessels Electric Kayak Trolling Motor with Kayak Mount Set
Watersnake Kayak Motor Bracket
Top Rated Trolling Motor Mounts for Kayaks
Finding the best kayak trolling motor mount comes down to understanding things like construction material, ease of installment, and other factors. Based on our research and experience, here are our selections for the best kayak trolling motor mounts available in today’s industry.
Best Overall: RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount
The RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount is our pick for best overall as it is versatile and capable of fitting as a standard stern mount or a custom mount. This one is designed using superior materials that include corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum, UV-stabilized reinforced plastic and stainless steel.
The RAILBLAZA comes with StarPort HD base mounts and can also be used with RailMount 32-41s, which makes it capable of being used with certain accessories like rod holders and camera mounts. It’s also lightweight, tipping the scales at just 4.8 lbs.
It’s best used with transom-mounted trolling motors and is recommended for trolling motors that have a 30-lb thrust capacity.
Best Stern Mount: Wilderness Systems Universal Transom
Coming in at a close-second on our list is the Wilderness Systems Universal Transom. This one is the best pick if you’re looking for a stern-mounted kayak trolling motor as it fits well onto virtually any transom stern thanks to its rectangular mounting hole pattern.
The Wilderness Systems Universal Transom is made out of heavy-duty 13-gauge stainless steel material and is suitable to be used with motors that offer up to 70 lbs of thrust. It also comes with a marine-board backing plate to help ensure that the mount stays clamped to the stern and won’t have any play or loosen over time from vibration.
RELATED: Wilderness Systems Kayaks in 2023: Full Model Lineup and Reviews
In addition, if your kayak is rudder-ready, the Wilderness Systems Universal Transom allows you to install a steering bracket and control the motor with a foot pedal system, which will completely free up your hands to allow you to fish at any time while using it.
Best for No-Drill Installation: Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount
It’s understandable that most anglers don’t want to drill any holes into their kayak. This is why the Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount is among our list of the best kayak trolling motors. It’s more expensive than most other options, but it has virtually every feature and characteristic you need for kayak trolling motors.
There’s no need to worry about whether or not the Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount will fit your kayak. This mount is designed to be configured to different mounting angles, hull lengths. It can be used by left- or right-handed anglers. All you need is two rod holders, which the Brocraft Fishing mount will slide into. Then you can simply tighten the clamps and secure the straps onto your kayak.
It’s also made of highly-durable marine-grade aluminum alloy material and nylon straps that are both corrosion-resistant for saltwater use. The Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount is recommended to be used with trolling motors that offer up to 35 lbs of thrust.
Best Trolling Motor + Motor Mount Combo: Newport Vessels Electric Kayak Trolling Motor with Kayak Mount Set
If you’re looking for a solid trolling motor that comes with its own mount, look no further than the Newport Vessels Electric Kayak Trolling Motor Combo Set. The Newport Vessels brand is one of the best when it comes to producing quality trolling motors that are specially designed to be used with kayaks.
It comes with one of the top electric trolling motors, the Newport Vessels 36-lb Electric Kayak Trolling Motor. This motor has a lightweight and durable 24” fiberglass composite shaft, as well as corrosion-resistant powder coating on the exterior for saltwater use. It mounts to your kayak using two StarPort HD base mounts and includes all the necessary hardware you’ll need for full installation of the motor mount and trolling motor.
Best for Watersnake Motors: Watersnake Kayak Motor Bracket
For anglers who are a fan of the Watersnake Motors brand, the Watersnake Kayak Motor Bracket is all you need to mount your trolling motor to your kayak. It’s no secret that Watersnake Motors is among the top brands in the kayak industry and their products offer outstanding performance without the hefty price tag of competing brands.
It’s made with a universal-fitting design, which means it will fit just about any kayak in existence. Made of lightweight composite material, this mount is compatible with Watersnake motors that produce up to 24 lbs of thrust.
The Watersnake Kayak Motor Bracket attaches to any kayak using a simple four-screw base plate system and three-axle design that makes it one of the most adjustable mounts available in today’s market. It’s made to accommodate any shaft up to a 25-millimeter diameter and is perfectly-designed for Watersnake’s electric trolling motors.
Choosing a Trolling Motor Mount: Factors to Consider
There are some specific items you should consider before you begin your search for the best kayak trolling motor mount. This involves taking an assessment of your own kayak and carefully measuring specific areas, as well as choosing exactly where your mount will be positioned.
Here are some of the more crucial items you need to have an understanding of before getting started.
Is Your Kayak Compatible With a Motor?
Before you begin your quest to find the best kayak trolling motor mount, it’s important to determine whether your kayak is capable of being paired with a trolling motor at all. If it’s not, you might want to consider getting rid of it and going with a newer model that’s compatible with standard bow or stern-mounted trolling motors.
The vast majority of kayaks are compatible to be used with some kind of trolling motor. However, you can’t just mount any type of trolling motor to any kind of kayak. It’s fundamental that you make an assessment of your kayak and consider the types of motors that can be mounted on it.
Most kayaks, especially older models, are not designed to be powered by an electric or gas motor. Many hours of research and testing goes into the design and engineering of kayak models so that they perform in the way they are supposed to when propelled by a paddle.
Mounting a trolling motor to the bow or stern, or on the side, significantly changes the way it will track through the water, as well as other factors that combine for overall performance in the water. There are some older kayaks that have virtually the same agility, stability and tracking when powered by paddle or with a motor, but these kayaks are rare.
Thankfully, there are some newer brands and kayak models out there that are specially designed to be easily paired with a trolling motor. Brands are creating kayaks that have a squared stern transom which is meant to be comfortably matched with a quality trolling motor mount, or even a gas-powered motor if you choose.
In some cases, these new kayaks are relatively affordable and you might consider swapping your older kayak out with something like a Pelican Catch 100 PWR or a Jonny Boats Bass 100 Angler, which are both make to offer excellent stability and have stern transoms that make it easy to mount the motor of your choice.
NuCanoe is another prominent company that’s now designing most of their new kayaks with a stern transom that allows for pretty much any type of kayak trolling motor mount to be quickly installed with no trouble. These same kayaks are also engineered to be compatible with bow-mounted trolling motors, including the new, innovative versions that are specially equipped with the GPS-powered Spot-Lock feature.
It’s becoming more common for the top brands to craft their kayak designs in a way which they can be paired with a trolling motor, since this is becoming more popular for kayak fishing enthusiasts to do.
Size of Trolling Motor
Not all trolling motors are created equal. Some will obviously be too large or powerful to be mounted onto your kayak. Once you’ve determined that your kayak is capable of having a trolling motor mounted on it, you’ll need to figure out your limitations and what kind of trolling motor will work best.
It’s crucial to make sure your kayak trolling motor’s size will be suitable with the particular mount you’re considering. If you attempt to install a trolling motor that’s too large or heavy for the mount, you will create the potential for serious injury, as well as the motor failing and causing damage to your kayak.
Before we can adequately answer the question of “what is the best kayak trolling motor mount,” we will need to find out the motor’s thrust.
Thrust is a unit of measurement that’s used to describe propulsion capacity and is noted in units of weight or pounds. The higher the amount of thrust, the more capacity the motor will have to propel the kayak forward.
It’s generally accepted that you should have no less than 2 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight on your kayak. Thus, a higher thrust capacity usually means you’ll move at a faster pace on the water.
Look for the mount’s maximum thrust limit and make sure your trolling motor’s maximum thrust capacity doesn’t exceed the mount’s thrust limit.
Shaft length is another point that’s equally important as the thrust limit. You want to make sure your motor’s shaft is long enough so that your propellor is about 12 inches below the surface. If the prop is much more or less than 12 inches deep, you’ll lose quite a bit of power and will essentially waste your motor’s energy.
Having the right shaft length also affects the noise level your trolling motor creates. If it’s too close to the surface, you’re likely to have the propeller churn the water, which will alert any nearby fish to your presence.
In order to choose the right shaft length, you’ll want to measure the distance from the transom mount to the waterline. Here are a few rules of thumb that most kayak anglers use when installing a trolling motor with the right shaft length:
- If the distance from the water to the transom mount is less than 10 inches, you’ll need a shaft length of around 30 inches
- If the distance from the water to the transom mount is between 10 and 16 inches, you’ll need a shaft length of 36 inches
- If the distance from the water to the transom mount is 16 to 20 inches, you’ll need a shaft length of 42 inches or more
In most cases, a 30 inch shaft will be enough for a kayak.
Where Will You Mount It? Stern Mount vs. Side Mount vs. Bow Mount
There are three types of trolling motor mount positions that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Where you position your trolling motor will be determined by whether your kayak is capable of having a trolling motor mounted in the position, as well as your own choice between which mount is best depending on your needs.
A bow mount places the trolling motor on the bow, or front, of your kayak. This is often the most popular choice with anglers who want to have the most control over their kayak with the trolling motor.
Since the trolling motor is positioned on the bow, it’s pulling the kayak through the water instead of pushing it along. However, the bow-mounted trolling motor will usually affect the tracking of your kayak quite a bit. With a bow mount, you’ll also have to deal with less space on the deck of your kayak.
The overall design of the bow-mounted trolling motor is also a poor utilization of power for your motor as it isn’t necessarily designed to pull, but to push a watercraft through the water. It’s known to create fast, jerky movements that can draw you off course quickly if you don’t have a good grasp on the power level of your trolling motor.
Side mounts are much more popular than bow mounts for a few reasons, mostly related to the ease with which you can control your kayak’s direction. A side mount allows you to easily reach the tiller handle, but it does come with some drawbacks for anglers.
First, a side-mounted trolling motor will have a significant impact on the tracking of your kayak as it will directly work against the hull design in most cases. This might not bother some kayak users, but if you’re interested in getting the best performance out of your trolling motor and kayak, a side mount will waste quite a bit of energy.
If you’re going to use a side-mounted trolling motor, you’ll certainly need a rudder to combat any drag or tracking issues you’ll create. Also, the side mount will be an obstacle you’ll have to get around if you’re trying to land a fish on this side of your kayak. It poses a major risk of getting tangled around the propeller.
The stern or transom mount is, by far, the most efficient of the three positions you can have for your trolling motor. It’s obviously a bit more difficult to control as you might need a manipulated tiller handle, but the benefits of the stern mount clearly outweigh the downsides.
A stern mount allows your kayak’s hull design to work more efficiently, which doesn’t create drag or waste energy in the same way a bow or side mount will. It also maximizes the propeller’s motion and creates much smoother movements when turning. In addition to this, a stern mount is best for tracking as well.
RELAED: 9 Best Motorized Kayaks in 2023: Your Guide to Motor Powered Fishing Kayaks (Electric and Gas)
Most anglers prefer a stern mount as it keeps the motor and propeller behind them, which allows them to freely cast and reel fish up to both sides of their kayak without worrying about obstacles.
The quality of your kayak trolling motor mount plays a major role in both the performance and durability of your trolling motor itself. If you’re going to invest the extra money to purchase the best kayak trolling motor, it’s equally worth the cost to purchase a solid motor mount.
Many anglers make the mistake of getting a cheap trolling motor mount so they can save money, which allows them to purchase a better trolling motor, but this is a major error. Going with a low-cost trolling motor mount poses a serious risk to yourself, your kayak and your trolling motor.
If the kayak trolling motor mount fails or breaks, you risk having the motor fall into the water. In addition, motor mounts that are constructed from weak material might also have issues handling the vibration from the motor, as well as the weight or thrust of the motor.
If you’re going to be using your kayak and trolling motor in saltwater, it’s crucial that you have a trolling motor mount that’s made with corrosion-resistant material. Some of the more popular corrosion-resistant materials used in motor mounts are anodized aluminum and fiberglass, but these are often a bit more expensive.
Installation and Required Hardware
Installing a kayak trolling motor mount is often not as difficult as many people expect it to be. It’s important to purchase the best trolling motor mount for your specific kayak, which means you might want to ask the dealer you bought it from, or even contact the manufacturer to inquire which one is most suitable.
Before purchasing the particular kayak motor mount, it’s a good idea to consider which part of the kayak you’ll install it on. If your kayak has a transom mount that’s designed to accommodate most standard motor mounts, you’re in luck. However, if your kayak doesn’t have one and you’re forced to install it on the bow or side, it’s important that you double-check to make sure you’re going to be able to do that without any issues.
One of the most overlooked aspects of purchasing and installing a kayak trolling motor mount is whether or not you have the required hardware and tools for the installation. Many newer kayak models are designed to accept motor mounts installed in the bow or stern, but some might require a bit of ingenuity.
In most cases, you can track down the manufacturer’s product manual online and browse it to check for the specific tools and items you might need for installation. The last thing you want is to get halfway into installing your kayak trolling motor mount only to realize you don’t have a certain tool or piece of hardware.
If you’re looking for the best kayak trolling motor mount, consider whether or not the product includes such things as rod holders, steering arm extension, gear tracks or mounts for cameras or GPS units and other accessories. These aren’t completely necessary, but do make a big difference if you’re concerned with maximizing the space you have on your kayak for potential use.
DIY Options: Can I Make My Own Trolling Motor Mount?
Many kayak anglers prefer to create their own kayak trolling motor mount using DIY techniques and tips they’ve discovered on Youtube or elsewhere. This is certainly possible, but it’s a good idea to make absolutely sure your plan is going to work for your kayak. If you’re going to take this route, try to find a DIY instructional video or other resources, like this useful manual, for creating a trolling motor mount for your particular model kayak.
In some cases, you may have a kayak that requires you to create your own kayak trolling motor mount. If this is the case, you should carefully plan this process and make absolutely sure that you have all of the necessary tools and materials for the job.
You’ll find that it’s relatively easy to create your own kayak trolling motor mount in some cases and it might work out better, especially if you’re a person who’s interested in customizing your kayak to the fullest extent. Just remember that you can create major issues by drilling holes or cutting into a kayak in the wrong areas, so be careful in any DIY efforts.
What Trolling Motor Battery Should You Choose?
Another key part of selecting the best kayak trolling motor mount is choosing a battery that’s both compatible with your trolling motor and suitable to fit comfortably inside your kayak. Trolling motors use quite a lot of battery power, so it’s important for you to consider the type of battery your motor will need and whether it will be sufficient to power the motor.
Most trolling motors used for kayaks operate using a 12V battery, which can usually fit in the bow compartment or console, as well as in the stern well. A 12V deep cycle trolling motor battery has an Amp-hour rating of roughly 70 to 120 Ah in most cases.
It is crucial that you consider the extra weight that the battery will bring to your kayak in addition to the trolling motor itself. This is why many anglers prefer to place them in the stern section of their kayak, but some models have a specialized battery story compartment or box. Regardless of where you position your battery, make sure that it’s always secured in case your kayak does happen to capsize.
There is some question as to whether it’s better to use a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery or deep cycle lead-acid battery for your kayak trolling motor. The difference between the two is almost like comparing a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to a single-engine Cessna 120. While the LiFePO4 is capable of providing much greater energy and weighs less than half that of a lead-acid battery, it’s also more expensive.
RELATED: Read our overview of the best trolling motor batteries here.
If you’re serious about having the best quality storage case for your battery, consider something like the Newport Vessels Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box Power Center, or a similar product.
Are Trolling Motors Safe on Kayaks?
There are some dangers that you should be aware of when it comes to installing a trolling motor on your kayak. It’s important that you have the trolling motor well-positioned and that it’s not too powerful for your kayak.
The most significant risks are related to having an electric or gas-powered motor that allows you to travel too fast. This is obviously risky as you’re usually sitting lower to the water in a kayak and can’t always see obstacles in the water in time to avoid them. Some users also might take a turn too sharply, which results in flipping the kayak over.
It’s crucial that you always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) when kayaking, but especially if you’re going to be using a motor to increase the speed of your boat.
It’s a good idea to check and make sure the battery and trolling motor won’t overload one side of your kayak and expose you to more risk of capsizing. You should always take into consideration the weight and positioning of anything you install in your kayak before you ever put it in the water to test whether it will function properly.
If you properly position your kayak trolling motor, as well as the battery, you can enjoy having the ability to safely travel exponentially further and faster than ever before with little to no physical exertion.
Is it legal to put a trolling motor on a kayak?
Yes, it’s perfectly legal to put a trolling motor on a kayak in the United States and other countries. Currently, there are no laws or regulations prohibiting you from having a trolling motor on your kayak, even if it’s a high-powered trolling motor that’s probably going to be too much thrust for your vessel.
Do I need to register a kayak with a trolling motor?
Depending on which state you live in or where you’ll be using your kayak, yes. Most states do require that you register any vessel with a trolling motor, so it’s important that you double-check the laws and regulations in your state to be sure and that you register your kayak before putting it in the water.
How long will a trolling motor battery last?
There are several factors that might affect your kayak trolling motor’s battery life, as well as your power usage and speed. Each battery comes in its own amperage hour (Ah) rating, which is usually indicated on the side of the battery.
Most 12V batteries that are used for kayak trolling motors have roughly 1.5 to 2 hours of life if you were to run it at maximum power, continually. This is based on the average amp hour battery of 50 divided by average amps drawn, which is roughly 20 in most 12V batteries used for kayak trolling motors.
You can prolong your battery life by reducing your speed, or lightening the total amount of weight in your kayak. Some anglers have created a system that gives them more power by connecting their kayak trolling motor to two batteries, but this is usually not necessary unless you’re planning to cover an exceptional amount of water.