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How to Mount a Trolling Motor to a Kayak: Four Easy Options

Written by: John B
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Mounting a trolling motor on a kayak provides much greater range, vastly improved speed, and often substantial cost savings from buying a ‘yak already equipped with a pedal or electric drive.

That range can get you to hot spots you can’t - or won’t - reach with a paddle. That speed cuts your trip time down, getting you fishing sooner. And given a tight economy and high inflation, saving hundreds to even thousands of bucks is always welcome.

We’ve reviewed some of the best trolling motors for kayaks before, explaining the ins and outs of what makes them different, as well as how to pick the right option for you.

If you want the full story, be sure to check out this article:

Best Trolling Motors for Kayak Fishing: 2022 Buying Guide and Reviews

Here at USAngler, we’re avid kayak anglers ourselves, and we know that mounting a trolling motor on your ‘yak might sound like a daunting task.

That’s why we’d like to help you get the job done.

If you want to know more about how to mount a trolling motor to your kayak, keep reading!

Also Read: Fishing Kayak Setup Made Easy: A Quick Rundown of the Essentials

Trolling Motor Mounting Options for Kayaks

The best general approach to mounting a trolling motor on a kayak is probably a transom mount near the stern - or tail - of your kayak. 

There are a few good options for accomplishing this.

Wilderness Systems Universal Transom Trolling Motor Mount

Wilderness Systems Transom Trolling Motor Mount for Kayaks

Amazon 

Many kayaks will provide space for Wilderness System’s universal transom mount, including Perception’sPilot and Outlaw as well as Wilderness Systems’ own RADAR 115/135 and ATAK 120/140.

I like this mount because it’s simple, sturdy, and in line with your kayak’s axis, making your ‘yak easy to steer and control. It’s perfect for trolling motors that weigh less than 45 pounds and that generate less than 70 pounds of thrust.

Wilderness Systems recommends that you back this mount if your motor is near the maximum recommended thrust.

Whether this mount will work for you depends on your kayak’s stern design. You’ll need a flat space that can accommodate a rectangular bolt pattern measuring 3.75” x 4.75”, as well as a total area for the bracket measuring (L) 8.59” x (W) 8.78”.

You’ll also want to ensure that you’ll be able to reach your trolling motor’s tiller handle from your seat.

Measure carefully.

If your kayak can fit this bracket, installation is simple, and of course, this mount comes with full instructions.

Basically, the process involves marking the hole positions, drilling four holes, mounting a backing plate if at all possible, and screwing the mount down securely.

All you’ll need are very basic tools like a Sharpie, drill, screwdriver, and adjustable wrench, and the whole process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Here’s an example of at-home installation:

YakGadget QuickMountMK

YakGadget offers a similar system that’s guaranteed to fit a wide range of kayaks, including models from Bonafide, Johnson, Hobie, Crescent, Kaku, Native, and Vibe.

Installation is functionally identical to the Wilderness Systems, but since it’s designed to fit kayaks with pre-drilled mounting holes for Power Pole inserts, you can put this mount in place by hand - no drilling and no tools required.

Like the Wilderness Systems transom mount, this places your motor directly in line with your kayak’s center line, making maneuvering easy.

Minn Kota transom-mounted trolling motors are guaranteed to mate perfectly with this mount, so you’ll be off on your fishing adventures in no time!

RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount

RAILBLAZA Kayak Motor Mount

Amazon 

RAILBLAZA offers an excellent alternative to a stern mount for kayaks that can’t accommodate products like the Wilderness Systems Universal Transom Trolling Motor Mount or YakGadget QuickMountMK.

And the good news is that this trolling motor mount will fit pretty much any kayak, though it does require some basic DIY skills.

This trolling motor mount uses two StarPort rail mounts that you attach to your kayak with a total of eight screws. Then, you simply mate the male-to-male adaptors and lock the mount in place.

The only tricky part is pre-positioning the rail mounts properly, marking the screw positions, and drilling the necessary holes.

Compatible with all transom-mount models of trolling motor offered by Minn Kota, MotorGuide, and Water Snake, it should work with Newport Vessel’s trolling motors as well.

Brocraft Universal Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount

Brocraft Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount Universal / Kayak Outboard Motor Bracket

Amazon 

If you’re DIY-challenged or just don’t like the idea of drilling holes in your kayak, there’s a no-hassle alternative to the mounts we’ve discussed above.

Brocraft’s Universal Fishing Kayak Trolling Motor Mount attaches directly to the rod holders behind the seat of your kayak, fitting any orientation and spacing. I’m not sure if this product is truly “universal,” but I’d bet that if you have two rod holders on the stern of your ‘yak, it’s going to work.

Expect a little flex and give with this design when you run the throttle at higher speeds. Users report some complaints about the overall rigidity and quality of this mount, too, with the trade-off that it’s very easy to install.

Newport Vessels warns that this mount should not be used with its 55-pound thrust models.

Make of that what you will, but I’d recommend lower thrust ratings and light motors be used with the Brocraft mount.

Final Thoughts

One of these mounting options is bound to be the right choice for your motor and kayak, and none of them require serious tools or advanced DIY skills to attach to a ‘yak.

As always, we’re here to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to leave a comment below!

Related articles: Best Kayak Trolling Motor Batteries

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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