I have seen some great fittings fishermen use to install trolling motors for kayaks or canoes helping them to get the results they are looking for when going fishing. Because of the small space they have to work with these anglers and their crafts are usually pretty organised. The average length of their boats seems to be about 16 feet so they must be well balanced for maximum efficiency.
Never put all the weight, excluding the trolling motor, in the stern area. This may result in the bow sticking out above the water by about 2 feet which will then catch the wind and spin the boat around in ever tightening little cycles. As a spectator this is very funny to watch but frustrating for the canoeist who is eventually blown onto the opposite shore, empty handed. Try to fasten the battery amidships which will help to balance and trim the boat. This is also important for safety reasons.
Use Ties and Bungee Cord
I like the version that has the chilly bin lashed down with strong ties or bungee cord near the front of the canoe. It is very important that before setting off the chilly bin’s position passes the “easy to reach to get a cold one in one smooth easy manner” test. When a thirst strikes it has to be satisfied immediately and with very little effort. This is crucial to the success of the expedition which could then still get a 5 star rating even if no fish are caught.
Tie down most of your items because if you do accidentally capsize not much gear will be lost. Also keep items you use most often i.e., tackle box, anchors and paddles close at hand so that the noise factor is kept at a minimum while fishing and also helps to keep the boat steady.
A pretty cool feature I have seen is a homemade swivel pvc plastic 32-40mm pipe mounting for a camera. The one end slots into a fishing rod holder fixed in or tied against the side of canoe or kayak gunnel depending on the type of boat. A 90 degree bend is glued to the piece of vertical PVC pipe that slots into the rod holder at about eye height. Another pipe about 12-18 inches long with a small platform on one end where you fix your camera to, is glued into the other end of the bend.
So now if you want to take a picture of the fish you just caught you simply pull the pipe towards you ,”click” and then push it out of the way until it’s needed again. It had better be a waterproof camera or you won’t have it for long. There are many different types of camera mountings available in the market place for very reasonable prices but if you have no choice then this plastic pipe option is waiting.
Many guys have water proof fish finders fitted on a bracket that is fixed to the gunnel in front of them at a comfortable height and within easy reach.
At the back of the canoe or kayak a waterproof bag containing safety gear, spares, extra clothing etc. is stored.
Paddling can be tiring especially into the wind and this is where the guys have become very clever. By fixing a small transom to the boat an electric trolling motor for canoes and kayaks is then used to reach those distant places where one will normally not go. A 30 or 40 pound thrust motor is strong enough to push the boat without much hassle at a rate of 2 to 4 knots depending on the conditions. You will need a 12 volt 105 amp hour deep cycle sealed heavy duty marine battery which can be stored in an easy to handle and worthwhile low cost power centre to help operate the small and very lightweight trolling motor efficiently.
Some canoes and kayaks have a transom moulded into the stern so you can mount the motor there. If not then it is easy to construct your own with some 20mm plywood and 40 – 50 mm length of square timber or aluminium tube with a 3mm thick wall. This is fixed athwart ships with u bolts to the gunnel. There are many examples online of people’s innovative inventions as this picture shows as well as manufactured versions. The motor is then mounted on the side of the boat and easy to hand steer. If you have a kayak with a a rudder installed that you steer with foot pedals then all you do is clamp the motor so it is parallel with the fore and aft line of the kayak, set the speed , and off you go. If there is no rudder then you will have to hand steer.
Just remember to keep the motor perpendicular to the water giving you maximum forward drive. If the motor is in the water at an angle the result is poor forward performance because the motor is trying either to lift the nose or drive it downward.
Talking about performance you should try to keep the motor propeller submerged by about only a foot thereby reducing drag produced by the shaft. On most trolling motors you can set the depth of the propeller quite easily. This will also help in avoiding rocks on the bottom if cruising in shallow waters.
Going out on excursions with a well fitted out canoe or kayak on rivers, lakes and even calm seas whether fishing or exploring is a great way to spend time outdoors with nature. Always wear a life jacket and keep a cell phone in a waterproof bag in case of an emergency. Before setting out advise someone of your intentions just as a precaution in case a mishap occurs
What To Budget For When Starting Out With A Canoe Or Kayak And Trolling Motor:-
- Kayak or Canoe: this could be second hand as there are many good ones for sale at very reasonable prices.
- Any boating licences that may be applicable in your area.
- If starting from scratch, stuff like fishing equipment, safety gear (you may be required by law in your area to carry specified items), life jackets and boating items should be allowed for.
- When buying a trolling motor for canoes or kayaks you will also need at the least one12 volt heavy duty 105 amp hour battery, also either a power centre which includes a 60 amp circuit breaker or a 60 amp breaker on its own.
- Budget for a good battery charger.
- A transom mount if the boat has not got one.
- You may also need to purchase roof racks for your vehicle to transport the boat around.
- A good fishing book that will get you up to speed and catch great fish.
Sales figures show that more and more people are using electric trolling motors than ever before. Statistics suggest that in many areas out of every 5 outboard motors sold, 2 or more are electric motors.
Concerns about pollution and damage to the environment are some of the driving forces behind this wonderful new trend. Authorities worldwide are now prohibiting the use of gas powered outboards on many waterways and these restrictions will help contribute to a brighter future for the survival of these areas and their fish stocks. Using environment friendly trolling motors for canoes and kayaks allows us to continue enjoying our boating and fishing with minimum impact to these areas.
So get started and and get out on the water because when you do you will find yourself wondering… What took you so long?
Read also our article on – How to choose your trolling motor