Kayak fishing has taken center stage in the past couple of years in the fishing world, and with it the technology to make this type of fishing easier has came a long way. What started as a simple way to fish with one rod and a paddle has now become a way for skilled fishermen and women to up the ante and take on a bit more of a challenge in a confined space. Kayaks, electronics, paddles, and even tournaments have adapted to this trend. Now, we look at the idea of motorizing your personal kayak.
First, lets begin with those of you who read this headline and immediately thought “If I wanted a motor I’d just get a boat” or “It’s not a kayak if it has a motor”. While there is no argument that original kayak fishing started without motors, the argument could be also made that it started without electronic fishfinders, batteries, rod holders, pedals, or anything else that enhances the ease of fishing out of one of these vessels. A motor really isn’t any different than these other accessories in that it’s a tool kayak anglers can use to make themselves more efficient and effective. In this case, It simply enhances your control while fishing, sometimes greatly with autopilot, and allows anglers to spend more time doing what they want to do: fish.
Motors have adapted with the kayak movement as well. You can mount a motor at virtually any spot on your yak, and with almost any level of power that you desire. These motors can allow for speeds up to almost 10 mph and give kayak anglers the ability to travel 5 to 10 times as far as they used to be able to. Some can even allow for a more forgiving trip with the ability to anchor on the spot or run an autopilot route. Just as other additions, motors can give more freedom to the kayak angler.
The first type of motor that is exclusively for kayaks are the console type motors that fit right between anglers legs. These motors take up a very limited amount of space as they are tucked right between your legs and have a relatively low profile. They travel at a relatively decent pace and can give power to the angler. These motors work great for getting from point A to point B, however don’t allow much control for more fine movements and steering can be an issue. Some have steering on the console, while others require the use of foot pedals. One downside to this motor style is that it is only available on a few brands of kayaks, and a console style is needed for this addition. Also, if you enjoy standing up while fishing, don’t plan on actively using this style of motor as it can be very difficult to continue to bend down and make adjustments.
Transom Style Mounted Motors
There are a few types of these motors, but the main concept is the same. This motor mounts similar to that of a traditional boat, and allows for propulsion from the rear of the vessel. These motors are available in many different types, and allow for many different speed options. If you are a part of any kayak fishing group on FaceBook, or are on any kayak fishing forums, you may have seen a multitude of rigging styles for these types of motors, some a little more … creative … than others.
One of the more popular brands is the Torqeedo line of motors. These motors allow for many different mounting options and are generally steered by pedals or a pulley system. These motors allow for some of the highest horsepower options and can get your kayak going at a pretty decent clip. Once again, these motors are great for getting from point A to point B, however fine motor movements are still lacking with these options.
There are also a few yakers out there who have created some interesting mounts with a more traditional transom mounted trolling motor. These motors offer a varying range of control as well as speed. This option is certainly one of the more complex additions to a kayak, as mounting this style of motor can be difficult and time consuming. What is given up in ease of mounting and control may be gained back in savings as these options are generally more affordable, so long as you are a DIY expert and can find a cheaper way to mount the motor.
Bow Mounted Options
A bow mounted trolling motor is one of the most exciting ways to add a trolling motor to a kayak, but it is also one that is seldom seen. Bow mount motors are mounted similar to that of a bass or walleye boat and allow for control from the front of the kayak. Historically, these motors have been mounted using a DIY method, however many kayak manufacturers are now offering packages that simplify the mounting process. NuCanoe offers one of the more popular systems (view HERE) that allows for easy mounting as well as electronics management within the kayak. Many companies, including ProNav, will even help to engineer a mounting solution for individual users.
With a bow mounted set-up, anglers can gain both speed and control as the kayak can be positioned much easier and with far better accuracy as the motor can “pull” a kayak into a position. This option also will allow for more fine movements when an angler is actually fishing, similar to that in a bass boat, as opposed to just getting to the fishing location. Additionally, with the ability to cut motor shafts to custom lengths, these motors have the capability of working in the low water level conditions that kayakers are known to fish.
So why do you need a motor on your kayak?
Motorizing your kayak will change the way you fish and anglers who currently use a motor on their kayak will attest to this. “Having the ability to easily and effectively maneuver my kayak without taking my eyes off of the water has changed my approach to my time on the water.” said Scott Niska, an avid kayak angler from northern Michigan.
With most tournaments opening up the rules and allowing motors, anglers can now fish much more water in a shorter period of time. They can fish further from their launch location and travel throughout the course of the tournament from spot to spot. They are no longer limited by paddle distance or wind conditions, as now traveling can be done without taxing your body and without losing vital fishing spots due to wind direction. With travel speeds up to 7mph, these locations can be reached quickly and anglers can spend more time fishing.
With the addition of a bow mounted trolling motor, anglers can even make fine adjustments hands free while in their kayak. No more “half stroke” paddles between casts to fight the wind, current, or tide. Anglers can now make adjustments with a foot pedal or remote control and stay on the fish much longer and squeeze in far more casts than ever done before. Casting docks or working fish on their beds becomes much easier as fine adjustments can be done without setting down the pole or stopping the action of your lure or bait. “Quick adjustments with my ProNav Remote have allowed me to increase my casts every time I’m out on the water. Quickly adjusting for wind is so much easier now.” Niska mentioned.
With the final addition of an autopilot bow mounted motor, like the ProNav Angler, kayak fishing becomes more versatile than ever. Kayak fisherman can now hold a spot with a GPS anchor in extreme currents or wind, opening up more fishing locations than ever. Not only can your kayak hold a location, but it can also run routes along drop offs or structure without ever touching your paddle or putting down your fishing pole. Anglers will never miss a fish again due to paddling or setting down a rod.
Fine adjustments with a remote control can also make kayak fishing much easier and, with advancements in motion technology, anglers can do this by simply pointing where they want to go. The ProNav Handheld Motion Controller now allows kayak anglers to simply point in the direction they would like to go, and the motor paired with ProNav will take you there. This allows even finer adjustments to be made in less than a second and allows anglers to never even have to take a look at where the motor is facing.
The challenge of kayak fishing has caused many anglers to jump on these smaller vessels and take on the water. Technology advancements have went along with this change and anglers are now able to compete at the highest level on these small boats. From bluegill to sharks to catfish, kayak anglers everywhere are realizing that when they want to focus on fishing, a motor with a GPS autopilot helps them stay in the zone!
If you’re ready up your kayak fishing game, check out the ProNav Angler Kayak Motor Bundle!