Do you remember when kayaks were nothing more than a simple but reliable hunk of plastic powered by nothing more than sheer determination and a paddle?
You might. You also might remember aching muscles, frustration and the inevitable feeling of embarrassment upon realizing you were getting into more than you bargained for with a kayak. A lot more than you bargained for.
Kayaks in 2020 have come a long way from the days of paddles and pulled muscles. Motorized saltwater kayaks are a great example.They can allow you all the fresh air and excitement of saltwater kayaking without the need for manual paddling. And as anyone who’s had to exert themselves far beyond their physical limits just to kayak will tell you, they can make a tremendous difference. But what just is a kayak trolling motor? Is it at all different from a regular motor? And what’s the best one to choose?
What Is A Kayak Trolling Motor?
A kayak trolling motor is an attachment to your kayak (typically on the transom, also known as the stern) which contains the motors, controls and propeller in a centralized, one piece unit. They were initially designed with anglers in mind; since kayak trolling motors are relatively quiet compared to other saltwater motors, there’s less disturbance in the waters and subsequently less disturbance for fish. And if you plan on using your kayak for recreational fishing, you’ll find a trolling motor to be an incredibly useful add-on. But even if you’re not looking to land a great catch, a kayak trolling motor can help make the most out of your outdoors excursion.
What Should I Look For In A Kayak Trolling Motor?
There are some trolling motors which come complete with a foot pedal. While this can be great exercise, you might find that the process of pedalling can be awkward. It can definitely take some time to adjust to, and you’ll need a healthy sense of balance in order to pedal effectively. But may also find it can be an indispensable feature that helps steer your kayak more precisely and efficiently.
Technological advancements in motors are nothing new, and some of the more recent kayak trolling motor models come with an array of add-ons that may surprise you. Remote controls, GPS, Autopilot and customized programmable features are fairly commonplace in trolling motors in 2020. But that doesn’t mean their price tags are. Much like any other motor, you’re eventually going to wind up paying more for convenience. But it may be a minor price considering the advantage.
Tips For Choosing A Saltwater Kayak Trolling Motor
- Ensure your motor has at least two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of your kayak’s cargo. Don’t worry about calculating this; all models will state their thrust level clearly in their product description.
- The larger the boat, the higher the voltage of the battery. Since kayaks are relatively lightweight, a 12 volt battery should be sufficient.
- Ensure the top of your motor can be submerged at least 12 inches underwater for optimal performance.
- Always ensure your trolling motor is compatible with saltwater kayaking! While you can frequently find that most models can handle both fresh and saltwater kayaking, there’s still quite a few that can only accommodate the former.
The 5 Best Saltwater Kayak Trolling Motor Models For 2020
One of the key features about this trolling motor from Newport Vessels is the fact that it’s remarkably smooth and quiet—particularly for a 55 pound thrust steel motor. With a durable 30 inch composite shaft capable of meeting most water depths and an LED level meter, it’s an 8-speed model that can put you in complete control of your kayak no matter how choppy the waves.
Probably the ultimate in high tech kayak trolling motors, this is one model that combines convenience, efficiency and state of the art design. The Riptide Terrova’s deploy lever is a lightweight, easy to use feature that helps your kayak stop or start on a dime, while the Bluetooth-powered GPS iPilot lets you record paths, control steering and keep track of your speed with smartphone connectivity for optimal control.
If you’re new to motorized kayaking, you may be wondering what models are available which can combine technology without unnecessary add-ons and gadgets. And the Attwood Wireless Control model from MotorGuide is an excellent answer. With wireless remote control, a secure step deployment system and an LED dashboard, the Attwood is up to 40 percent quieter than competitor models—allowing you all the convenience and efficacy you need to land the perfect catch on your next fishing adventure.
Maybe you need a little bit more power from your trolling motor; something capable of navigating even the toughest waters? MotorGuide’s Xi3 is your solution. A wireless control lets you operate the motor from anywhere on your kayak, while the 70 pound peak thrust motor and three-blade propellor provide maximum power yet all the necessary smoothness you need. Best of all, the pinpoint GPS is one of the most precise navigational tools in the industry, giving you all the control you need for your perfect anchor point.
The Riptide combines affordability, precision and control in one convenient trolling motor. With digitally controlled variable speed capable of holding up to five times longer run time on a single charge and a six inch telescoping handle ergonomically designed for ideal comfort, the Riptide provides all the power and advantage you’ve come to expect from Minn Kota—one of the most consistently innovative manufacturers on the market today.