Now obviously being a 33-year-old bachelor, I’m not talking about saving my literal marriage. I’m talking about my marriage to kayak fishing. Though I could definitely see the advantages of coming home to your spouse not worn out from paddling all day.
“But babe, I had no choice once I paddled so far but to turn around and paddle back.” doesn’t sound like a great excuse for missing dinner reservations.
For me, it was more about longevity in this sport. If I wanted to commit to kayak fishing for the long haul, there had to be more than a paddle involved.
I like paddling. I like the exercise — and need it. But I can see a lot of joint pain and wear and tear on my body in the long run if I had to paddle every stroke of the way. In addition, competing in KBF events and other tournaments with just a paddle puts you at a massive disadvantage on some fisheries. For me, there needed to be some energy source for propulsion other than calories.
Kayak Motors | Adding a Motor… DIY Style
So, I decided to add a trolling motor to the Bonafide SS127 I borrowed from my buddy Scott Beutjer. My uncle just happened to have an old Minn Kota hand controlled trolling motor that would barely slip through the hole in the SS127 where the pod usually is.
I needed some way of mounting the trolling motor, so I screwed a couple of pieces of wood together to help keep it upright and then I was ready to shove off and test it out.
My biggest concern was not being able to steer the kayak well with the motor being towards the middle of the boat and not on the front or back where most motors are mounted.
I quickly found that, though the boat was harder to turn with the motor in the middle, I could still move it in the right direction by exaggerating the degree to which I turned it.
Having a motor definitely made the fishing more enjoyable. I only fished a couple of hours but quickly found a few benefits.
Kayak Motors | The Benefits of Having a Motor
Beating The Wind
I was able to combat the wind far better. Without a motor, I’d often have to stop fishing mid cast to pick up the paddle and turn or back the boat up to keep from getting on top of what I was trying to fish.
Pulled By Fish
The motor solved a similar problem that would occur when I’d hook a fish and be pulled by that fish into the cover. With the motor, I was able turn it on, with one hand still on the rod, and quickly move the other hand back to the rod.
That way I was backing away from the cover while I brought the fish out of it.
I also found that I was able to move around a lot more, although that ability could be a hindrance from time to time. One of the things I have liked most so far about kayak fishing is that you’re forced to slow down and fish what’s in front of you. Still, having the ability to quickly motor into a pocket to get out of the wind or skip a shady bank in pursuit of a sunny one is a definite advantage.
Kayak Motors | Some Final Thoughts
There were a couple of negatives that I also noticed. You lose a little bit of stealth due to the added noise, but you can always just pick the paddle back up in situations where you need to be a little quieter. You’re also not able to go quite as shallow due to the motor and prop below the boat and the added weight of the motor and battery.
But overall, I definitely enjoy having a motor on the kayak. I don’t see the need to take a motor with me on every outing, but having one in bigger water or windier conditions is a huge benefit.