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

WetBanditWetBandit GreenhornPosts: 88 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?

Replies

  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Captain Posts: 1,830 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 Greenhorn Posts: 88 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 Admiral Destin, FlPosts: 8,146 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 Greenhorn Posts: 88 Greenhorn
  • ljkljk Greenhorn 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 Deckhand 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 Admiral Posts: 8,901 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 Greenhorn Posts: 89 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 Captain Posts: 1,830 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.
  • BarrellBarrell Officer Posts: 1,182 Officer
    Op rent or borrow a Hobie with foot propulsion. I think you will be supprised how easy an efficient it is without the need for a motor. I was the first Hobie dealer on the east coast and tested the first Toquedos.I  was involved in the production of the first plastic solo skiffs so Ive done and seen it all. iI personally have a solo with 4 hp suzuki but prefer to fish from my foot propelled Hobie Outback.
  • carvedtonescarvedtones Greenhorn ncPosts: 15 Greenhorn
    I paddle a SUP offshore to fish. I am less frequent than I would like to be FL visitor right now likely to make a move in ~ 3 years. So I am something of an interloper; I am in NC right now. We have some really calm days, but to get out frequently, you need to have a higher tolerance than 2'. I am going tomorrow with a group of yaks in what is predicted to be 2.3' with winds gusting to under 10 mph. This is considered prime conditions here. I use a 14' touring board designed for use in the open ocean with everything strapped down well enough to roll on the way out and in. I have all my gear up front going through the surf so I can move around freely on the tail.

    I have toyed with the idea of propulsion for calm conditions, but my board is a poor choice for that. A Live2Fish or BOTE would be a much better choice. But by the time they are tricked out for motorized fishing, they start looking a lot like that Solo Skiff except you sit on a cooler. I think at that point I would rather have the Solo Skiff.

    My point here is why get a SUP and then turn it into something else? 

    Yaks, OTOH, are much more amenable to adding motors. A few of the guys I paddle with have motors they use inshore, through a nearby "inlet" (very large river) or on really calm days off the beach. The mostly pedal when not using motors and can move a lot faster than me. I am lucky they like me; one or two will peel off and do a loop to loop on the way out to an artificial reef around 1.5 miles out or just troll slower to hang with me.

    Point here is that if you get a SUP, IMO it should be because you like paddling while standing and/or enjoy the challenge. Anther reason I do it is shoulder issues and choice of vehicle; I can load/unload a 32# SUP on a rooftop rack alone.

    The point to my ramblings is that if you want a motor, get a yak or something designed to motor. I love my SUP, but it's not a good candidate for a motor. BOTE makes one specifically for motoring, but it's kind of a stretch to call it a SUP.
  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Officer Posts: 524 Officer
    It starts off as a SUP.  You put a motor on it and you have a motorized SUP.  Take the motor off and you are back to a SUP.  For some reason naysayers have a firm belief that you permanently affix a motor onto your board or yak.  That once you do it, that is the only way it can be used.

    The key to fishing is adaptability.  The more flexibility that you have in your gear and your mentality, the better off your success.  

    But to be very specific, with a motor, without a motor, you aren't going to catch anything unless you learn how to catch.  What you sit or stand on makes no difference to the fish.  
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • mlangemlange Greenhorn Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    What are the costs of adding a motor to paddle craft regarding registration and required safety equipment?
  • mlangemlange Greenhorn Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    A Minnkota ipilot on the front of that solo skiff might be incredible!!
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Captain Posts: 1,830 Captain
    mlange said:
    What are the costs of adding a motor to paddle craft regarding registration and required safety equipment?
    Registration should be less than $50 year.  Safety requirements in most cases the same as a nonmotorized craft: Lifejacket, and light and distress flares if used during hours of darkness.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Captain Posts: 1,830 Captain
    mlange said:
    A Minnkota ipilot on the front of that solo skiff might be incredible!!
    An ipilot control on any craft would be incredible.  I look forward to the continued development of this type of technology.  Cost, Battery size and weight at this time are the biggest impediments.

  • kayakerinkeywestkayakerinkeywest Officer Posts: 524 Officer
    Registration=$13 in Monroe Country at least.
    Youtube - KEY WEST KAYAK FISHING https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w
    All About The Bait Store - http://www.allaboutthebait.com/
  • mlangemlange Greenhorn Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    Registration=$13 in Monroe Country at least.
    Is that for a kayak with out a motor?
  • carvedtonescarvedtones Greenhorn ncPosts: 15 Greenhorn
    It starts off as a SUP.  You put a motor on it and you have a motorized SUP.  Take the motor off and you are back to a SUP.  For some reason naysayers have a firm belief that you permanently affix a motor onto your board or yak.  That once you do it, that is the only way it can be used.
    I am something of a naysayer in the case of a SUP only because the better paddling SUPs are not well suited to motors and those that motor well are not great paddlers. You make a compromise. I paddle open ocean, so my POV is a probably a bit different than most though.
  • mjrudd1mjrudd1 Deckhand Posts: 276 Deckhand
    mlange said:
    A Minnkota ipilot on the front of that solo skiff might be incredible!!
    An ipilot control on any craft would be incredible.  I look forward to the continued development of this type of technology.  Cost, Battery size and weight at this time are the biggest impediments.

    An ipilot is incredible, under the right circumstances. Like a torn up knee and shoulder. I especially like it for holding in deep water & a current without dropping an anchor. I mounted mine on the back, so I can face & fish downcurrent. It doesn't go fast but it is easy. Regular deep cycle battery right behind the seat of my PA12 doesn't upset the balance.  
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Captain Posts: 1,830 Captain
    mjrudd1 said:
    mlange said:
    A Minnkota ipilot on the front of that solo skiff might be incredible!!
    An ipilot control on any craft would be incredible.  I look forward to the continued development of this type of technology.  Cost, Battery size and weight at this time are the biggest impediments.

    An ipilot is incredible, under the right circumstances. Like a torn up knee and shoulder. I especially like it for holding in deep water & a current without dropping an anchor. I mounted mine on the back, so I can face & fish downcurrent. It doesn't go fast but it is easy. Regular deep cycle battery right behind the seat of my PA12 doesn't upset the balance.  
    Nice Going, that looks awesome!  There are days when I would love to have that!  Any idea if ipilot only works with minkota?  or can it run any electric motor?  Now, all we need is a cheap 500ah lithium battery with a solar panel to keep it charging.
  • mlangemlange Greenhorn Posts: 75 Greenhorn
    Ipilot is the minnkota version. Some can be upgraded. All manufactures are offering some version of the gps motor control. Intresting to see a rear mounted motor. Do you use that only for spot lock or travel as well?
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