Best Trolling Motor for Kayaks – Buying Guide

 

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Posted December 1, 2016 by

Ever wanted to take a break from paddling and stop wasting energy rowing your kayak to the fishing area? Modern Kayaking has reviewed some of the best kayak trolling motors on the market, from those trolling motors that are designed for stealth and sneaking up on the fish in the catchment area, to kayak trolling motors designed for performance and efficiency.

 

Each kayaker has differing needs, but ultimately every kayaker is looking for the most cost effective kayak motor system they can get, be it for their sit-on top kayak or a kayak trolling motor for a sit-inside kayak.

 

EDITORS PICK – MINN KOTA ENDURA C2 40

We’ve gone out and tested a couple of differing models of kayak troll motors and have chosen the Minn Kota Endura C2 40 trolling motor as the EDITORS PICK for the best kayak trolling motor for most kayak angler applications.

 

When choosing a a trolling motor for your kayak, you can either go the trolling motor DIY route (it has it’s benefits – cost is low but inorrect mounting could actually damage the kayak), or purchase a purpose-made kayak trolling motor for your specific rig. You can actually get an out-of-the-box kayak trolling motor cheap these days so we wouldn’t recommend the DIY option. However, there are some things to consider when purchasing a trolling motor for your kayak.

 

Mounting Location on the Kayak
Usage – where are you planning to use it?
Kayak weight, size and space vs Trolling motor size

 

Minn Kota Endura C2 40 trolling motor

There is no doubt that the Minn Kota C2 Endura range of trolling motors are one of the best trolling motors on the market for kayak anglers. You may have seen many Endura’s across countless transoms whilst angling, as the Minn Kota Endura trolling motor is built to last and is regarded as one of the most trusted brands in the kayaking world. Minn Kota Endura trolling motors are proven tough and the Minn Kota Endura C2 40 has been selected as the Editor’s Pick for the best kayak trolling motor for freshwater purposes, and we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why it was chosen as our Editor’s Pick.

So first off, what we really liked about the Endura C2 is how kayak anglers are easily able to steer and manage the trolling motor, as it comes with a 6” telescoping handle that provides the kayak with comfortable yet easy steering. The transom bracket is said to be twice as strong as conventional brackets, and Minn Kota market the Endura C2 range as providing an “indestructible composite shaft”. We must admit that in our tests the shaft certainly felt strong, and is supposedly twice as strong as any other competing steel shaft. The shaft (a 36” shaft on the Endura C2 40 versus a 30” shaft on the Endura C2 30 model) also flexes on impact and does not corrode. In fact, Minn Kota are so confident of the quality of their composite shafts, they guarantee them for life.

 

For the bracket, it comes with a quick-release level lock for easy adjustments and fitting the trolling motor to our test kayak was quickly done. The 10-position bracket allows for multiple positioning angles to cater for different types of kayaks as well. The bracket is also made from a reinforced composite material that will resist warping and UV damage.

Operating the Minn Kota Endura C2 trolling motor was super easy with its ergonomic handle, and the C2 Endura 40 was more than capable putting out 40lbs of thrust so powering to the fishing catchment area was quick and surprisingly quiet as well. Across the complete Endura C2 range, the C2 trolling motors offer 5 forward speed settings and 3 reverse speed settings. Choosing the speed setting was also intuitive and with such a large 5-speed range (especially for the forward speed settings) allowed for a nice gliding speed at the lower speed settings.

 

Newport NV Series 36lb thrust electric trolling motor

The Newport Vessels NV Series is a perfect option if you are looking for a low-cost transom-mounted trolling motor. Marketed as providing a “longer run-time without sacrificing reliability and performance”, the NV Series is definitely a contender for one of the better kayak trolling motors. It’s versatile enough to fit any inflatables or kayaks with a transom mount, and providing 36lb thrust, the NV Series will have enough thrust for most kayak anglers. What we really liked about the NV Series is the adjustable 30 inch fiberglass composite shaft, as well as the versatile 8 speed control system (featuring 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds). The 8 speed control system allows for incremental speed adjustments and makes for an extremely smooth ride.

The Newport NV Series 36lb thrust trolling motor is supplied with a 2 blade propeller (8.9 inch in diameter) and we found that the trolling motor coupled to the blade propeller was optimal for power conservation purposes. The NV Series is powered by 12-volt battery (which should be bought separately).

So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the Newport NV series 36 lb trolling motor makes the list of best trolling motors for kayaks.

The main reason – the Newport NV Series trolling motor is saltwater resistant. For most of the competing trolling motors in the same or similar price ranges, none of them are capable of trolling in saltwater and so if you are specifically looking for a dual purpose trolling motor (saltwater and freshwater compatibility), then the Newport NV Series is the stand-out trolling motor of the bunch. The saltwater resistance is due to the construction of the motor, with the NV Series motor being constructed from zinc and aluminum, as well as other stainless steel components that are saltwater resistant in nature. What we also liked about the motor is it’s easy to read battery life LED meter. The NV Series trolling motor has a 5-point LED meter that is built directly into the motor, and is bright enough to see even in direct sunlight. No need for push button control on the battery meter either, unlike some of the other trolling motors that we have reviewed.

 

Motorguide R3 Freshwater 40lb trolling motor

Motorguide’s catchline for their MotorGuide R3 series of transom mounted trolling motors is that the R3 trolling motor is the ultimate in strength, rigidity and durability. There is no doubt that the Motorguide brand may not be as well known or as well respected as other trolling motors on the market, however the R3 series, and specifically the 40lb thrust version, is certainly a strong contender in the best transom mounted trolling motor for kayaks category. With a peak thrust of 40lb, and a 36” aluminum shaft, the freshwater Motorguide R3 trolling motor is well suited for kayak anglers and other boating enthusiasts alike looking for a freshwater trolling motor.

 

What’s nice about the Motorguide R3 trolling motor is that it has a reversible motor head for bow or transom mount operation, so if you were to use it for another application other than on your kayak, you have the option to. There is a saltwater version in the R3 series, but that range starts at 45lb thrust and comes with the Machete III propeller. With a 7 speed control system (5 speeds forward and 2 reverse), the Motorguide has slightly less options than the competing trolling motors, but truthfully, the 2 reverse speed options should be sufficient for most applications. Controlling the motor is via ergonomic extending handle, so that you aren’t required to reach over every 5 minutes to adjust the trolling motor and controlling the motor is right at your fingertips. The extending handle also has a soft grip which offers maximum comfort and control, whilst the ergonomically-designed handle is easy to stow and deploy.

 

 

Newport Vessels NV Series 36lb

Newport 36lb NV Series Review

  • Saltwater Resistant
    Yes
  • Battery Meter
    5 Point LED Meter

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  • Battery
    12-Volt
  • Shaft
    30″ Fiberglass Composite
  • Speeds
    5 Forward, 3 Reverse
  • Steering
    6-Inch Telescoping Handle

Minn Kota Endura C2 40lb

Minn Kota Endura C2 Review

  • Saltwater Resistant
    No
  • Battery Meter
    None

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  • Battery
    12-Volt
  • Shaft
    36″ Composite Shaft
  • Speeds
    5 Forward, 3 Reverse
  • Steering
    6-Inch Telescoping Handle

Motorguide R3 Freshwater 40lb

R3 Motorguide trolling motor review

  • Saltwater Resistant
    No
  • Battery Meter
    None

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  • Battery
    12-Volt
  • Shaft
    36″ Aluminum Shaft
  • Speeds
    5 Forward, 2 Reverse
  • Steering
    Extendable

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