help me understand the limitations of trolling motors on kayaks and paddleboards

WetBanditWetBandit Posts: 78 Greenhorn
I really like the idea of paddleboard fishing, especially with some propulsion involved.  However, I'm a bit short on boating knowledge.

What I am wondering is - what are the limitations of a trolling motor on a paddlecraft?  How much wind or current can you maneuver in effectively.

For example, could you launch from the sand and troll along the second bar off a typical beach in panhandle as long as the surf wasn't rough?  

I am very seriously considering making a purchase in the next couple weeks but I haven't really gotten a good idea of what the best application of a set-up like that is.  Or, at what point would the weather or conditions dictate that I shouldn't launch such a craft.  Do any experienced kayak/paddleboard fisherman have a good rule of thumb to go by?


  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,817 Captain
    Yes you can -- to the example you gave.  Electric power is clean, but one is limited by the capacity of the battery.  A salesman will argue that the battery can last for hours if run at slow speeds.  That might be fine for a lake, but when I am on the ocean I want full speed, and imo the cost of a good lithium-ion battery that will run all day is still too expensive to make it worthwhile.  This leaves gas power.  I have yet to try it, but a number of other offshore yakers have been using it for years without incident.  Technically most polypropylene kayaks are only rated to about 400watts of power that equates to about 1/2hp.  The lightest name brand gas engines(Honda and Suzuki) are 2.1 and 2.5hp respectively.  Thus technically one is overpowering their yak by 4-5 times it's rated power.  There are some paddleboards that are rated for higher engine hp's, but they look very uncomfortable for prolong use when compared to some of the chairs that premium kayaks offer.   The solo skiff is another option, which is rated for higher hp, but looks uncomfortable.  As far as weather conditions, white caps start to show at 10mph winds.  I try to avoid any day with more than 12mph wind.  Aside from wind is size of surf, I will avoid anything bigger than 2ft.  I would recommend taking the board/yak stripped down with nothing of value on it and deliberately capsizing it.  Get familiar with the craft and the best methods for recovery.
  • WetBanditWetBandit Posts: 78 Greenhorn
    Hey John, thanks for the pointed reply.  That was very helpful.  I have considered gas motors but the way my current vehicle and living situation is, I'm placing a high emphasis on portability and ease of maintenance.  I'm looking at getting an inflatable something with a trolling motor just to be able to range a little farther and fish deeper than I can wade for now.  That's why I was considering a paddleboard over a yak, as the inflatable models seem to be a little more appealing as opposed to an inflatable kayak.  I agree that the solo skiff looks uncomfortable.  If the keystone of such a system is spending $250 on a top-tier battery I can live with that for now.  I'll most likely go to a gas motor and more seaworthy craft in the next couple years.  I just wanted to get an idea of if I went the route I am currently thinking about, will it be worthwhile or not.  If I can run up and down the second bar on a nice day, cruise some backwaters, and maybe even do an early season/warm weather duck hunt I'll be a happy man.
  • SpineymanSpineyman Posts: 8,128 Admiral
    Lets put it this way. I fish with a guy who has a 1.5 Torqeedo on his PA14. He has a battery that cost him 900 bucks. But he can run for 4 days without recharging it. He also threw me a rope and drug me across the Bayou we were fishing against a 12 mph SE wind. Dead into the teeth, and we managed 5.5 mph towing me across for about a mile and a half. So yes a trolling motor will handle what you want no problem.
    Kayak Rookie...and loving it.
    Fishing beautiful Destin / Ft Walton Beach area!

    II Chronicles 7:14
    if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

  • WetBanditWetBandit Posts: 78 Greenhorn
  • ljkljk Posts: 89 Greenhorn
    I would do a lot of due diligence if you are considering a Torqueedo. 

    I have been warned away from them by 2 highly reliable sources, one of them being a dealer!  The other source was a charter operator who had several of them on tenders.  They were very unreliable as of 2 years ago.  I have no current knowledge as to whether they have improved the product.
  • JW_YakAnglerJW_YakAngler NaplesPosts: 171 Deckhand
    Have you considered trying a kayak or paddleboard without a motor for a while? You might find that you enjoy human powered propulsion. The hassle of setting up a motor, charging batteries, cleaning, and maintenance can suck the fun out of it. I sold my small boat and got into kayak fishing for that very reason. I can get home when it is dark and either just throw my kayak out of the truck or leave it loaded up for the next morning. Nothing to rinse off except my rods and reels.

  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 8,568 Admiral
    What is uncomfortable looking about the seats made for solo skiffs?
    I know they come unadorned, by design. But I'd rather be off the deck and out of the bucket to the extent possible.
    Those old kayak seats especially felt constrictive.

    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • Lake-LinkerLake-Linker Posts: 83 Greenhorn
    I just saw this thread and thought I'd surf youtube to see what's shown up recently in regards to a motorized kayak. I watched several videos where the creator credited Steve/KWKF for the original idea for his motorized Hobie….I believe in one of his vids Steve credited someone from NCKA with giving HIM the idea.

    It's also what I've got - a Hobie revo 13 with AI outrigger and a 2.5HP Suzuki. It stores and transports easily. It's a very stable,reliable and versatile craft. I've round-tripped over 30 miles in a day and ALL my energy went into fishing/snorkeling and none into paddling or pedaling....It's got some drawbacks - for one I could buy a decent little skiff for that I paid to put mine together - but if you need a cartopper (or truck bed) that can handle rough water and has a great operating range,this is a great option.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,817 Captain
    What is uncomfortable looking about the seats made for solo skiffs?
    I know they come unadorned, by design. But I'd rather be off the deck and out of the bucket to the extent possible.
    Those old kayak seats especially felt constrictive.

    Nothing.  Nicely tricked out with Marinemat, Seat, Fishfinder, Torquedo, and Gas engine.     I am sure it is great for lakes and protected waters, but offshore a seat-mounted flush to the deck would be a better choice for stability.  The Skiff is 14.5ft long and has only a 400lb capacity.  Most the motorized kayaks are under 14ft, ie no trailer required, and have a  capacity up to 600lbs and a lower center of gravity seat without having to buy and mount one.  Different strokes for different folks.
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