If you want to cover more ground and follow schools of fish over longer distances, you need one of the best fishing kayaks with a trolling motor. These kayaks make it super easy to get around and allow you to focus all of your energy on fishing, instead of paddling.
That being said, some models allow you to remove the trolling motor and use them more like a traditional kayak. Retaining that flexibility may be key for some buyers, and there are many other factors to think about when you are researching this type of kayak.
In this guide, we have selected 10 fishing kayaks that either come with, or can easily be equipped with, a trolling motor. We will also outline how your selection process for one of these kayaks will be different from the process you would use for selecting regular fishing kayaks.
To be clear, these kayaks are best suited to intermediate and experienced kayak anglers. So if you are looking to upgrade your kayak fishing setup, there are definitely a few kayak models worth consideration here!
Photo by Aekchai Doungdee on Shutterstock
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Fishing Kayaks With Trolling Motors
- 2 Jargon Buster
- 3 Buying Guide
- 4 Reviews of Fishing Kayaks with Trolling Motor
- 4.1 1. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 with Trolling Motor
- 4.2 2. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK12 Angler with Trolling Motor
- 4.3 3. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 Solo Fishing Kayak with Trolling Motor
- 4.4 4. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14 Tandem Fishing Kayak with Trolling Motor
- 4.5 5. Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136
- 4.6 6. Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120
- 4.7 7. Old Town Sportsman 106 Powered by Minn Kota
- 4.8 8. NuCanoe Pursuit Fishing Kayak
- 4.9 9. NuCanoe F10
- 4.10 10. NuCanoe Unlimited
- 5 Our Pick – BKC PK11
- 6 Enjoyed 10 Best Fishing Kayaks With Trolling Motor – 2021? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Kayakhelp journey.
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 with Trolling Motor
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK12 with Trolling Motor
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 with Trolling Motor
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14 Tandem with Trolling Motor
- Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136
- Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120
- Old Town Sportsman 106 Powered by Minn Kota
- NuCanoe Pursuit
- NuCanoe F10
- NuCanoe Unlimited
Photo by Bixpy LLC on Flickr
Because you will be shopping for a kayak and a trolling motor, there are a few additional terms you should be familiar with. So let’s start by providing a few brief, but clear, definitions of terms you will find throughout this guide.
Thrust is the main term used to describe the power of a trolling motor. The amount of thrust that your motor will need to supply depends on the combined weight of your kayak, your fishing gear, and your own body weight.
It is recommended that you have a minimum of two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of weight you need to move. For example, you would want a trolling motor with a minimum of six pounds of thrust if the fully-loaded weight of your kayak is 300 pounds.
A motor mount is an accessory that attaches your trolling motor to your kayak. Motor mounts come in different designs that allow you to mount your trolling motor at different locations on your kayak, such as either gunwale, at the bow or stern, or centrally at the front of the cockpit.
Your trolling motor’s shaft is what extends vertically down into the water and attaches to the propeller at the bottom. The shaft length determines how far your propeller sits down in the water when you are underway.
Ideally, your propeller should sit at least 12 inches below the surface of the water. Also, a shaft length that is too long comes with the added risk of striking obstacles or the bottom in shallow water.
The ideal shaft length for your kayak will depend on where your motor is mounted. Ideally, measure the distance from the mounting point to the waterline and then add 20 inches to get an estimate of the proper shaft length for your kayak.
Photo by Angie Carn on Shutterstock
The design of a fishing kayak will impact how you are able to use it in different conditions and on different types of waterways. Here are some factors you can use to select the best type of fishing kayak for your specific needs:
There are four main locations that trolling motors are mounted on fishing kayaks. You can find them mounted to either gunwale, mounted centrally inside the cockpit, or mounted at either the bow or stern of the kayak.
These locations have advantages and disadvantages. So let’s discuss a few pros and cons for each so you can decide which location will be best for you.
Kayaks with a trolling motor centrally mounted in the cockpit are generally easiest to use. The controls for the trolling motor are right in front of you and you don’t need any attachments or extensions to reach them.
Centrally mounted trolling motors also offer good propulsion and some can even be removed and replaced with a pedal drive down the line.
That being said, kayaks with a center-mounted trolling motor can be tougher to stand up inside if that is your preference. There is just more in the center of the kayak to trip or stumble over if you are standup fishing.
Plus, some anglers just don’t like having a motor in their way when they are casting from different angles.
Mounting a trolling motor at the front of your kayak turns it into the closest thing you can get to a personalized, single-person bass boat. It opens up the cockpit for standup fishing or for attaching other accessories like a kayak GPS or fishfinder.
However, controlling a bow-mounted trolling motor requires an extra extension or remote control (unless you want to crawl to the front of your kayak to use it). Plus, it can also cause the front of your kayak to ride lower in the water than you would like.
Keep in mind that, in addition to the weight of your trolling motor, you would need to place the weight of a trolling motor battery in the front of your kayak. Unless you want to run power cables from the stern up to the bow, this setup will place a lot of added weight right at the front of your kayak, which can make you more susceptible to nose-diving or taking on water over the bow.
Having a kayak with a trolling motor mounted in the stern also frees up the space inside the cockpit for additional accessories of standup kayak fishing. But it comes with the same difficulty of controlling the motor as you will have with a bow-mounted setup.
If you have a kayak that is equipped with a stern rudder (or has the prep for a rudder installation), you can run wires from your trolling motor to the foot pedals inside the cockpit.
This allows you to steer the direction of your trolling motor with your feet, but you will still need another way to control the throttle. That is why most kayaks with stern-mounted trolling motors have a wired or remote control throttle that you can control while seated in the cockpit.
A stern mount setup also has the benefit of keeping your trolling motor and deep-cycle marine battery close to one another. This means you won’t have to run additional wiring to supply power to your trolling motor.
Mounting a trolling motor on the side of your kayak is the final option. If you are interested in this option, the most common location is just behind your kayak seat because it allows you to reach back and operate the motor from a seated position with relative ease.
There are universal mounts that are made to go across the width of your kayak and then extend outwards for your trolling motor to be mounted upon. Some folks also experiment with building their own kayak motor mount for gunwale mounted applications.
The main benefit of this mounting location is the ease with which you will be able to control the motor. Unlike a center-mounted motor (which is arguably the easiest to operate), this setup will also allow you to keep the cockpit open for fishing gear or for standup fishing.
Conversely, placing either a universal or DIY mount over the stern tankwell on your kayak can limit your overall storage space back there. If you only plan to use that area for your motor battery, however, you should still have plenty of space.
Fishing kayaks with trolling motors tend to be one of the heaviest types of kayaks out there. So, no matter the kayak you choose, we will start this section by recommending one of the best kayak carts or trolleys to help you roll your kayak from your vehicle down to the water.
Side Note: You can also read this article to learn how to make your own PVC kayak cart if you are handy.
In addition to transporting your kayak from your vehicle to the water’s edge, you will also need to think about how you will get it from your residence to your paddling destination. If you have a small sedan, we’ll be honest and let you know that it is going to be very difficult to transport one of these kayaks on your vehicle.
Even smaller SUVs will need a quality kayak roof rack with a minimum weight capacity of 100 pounds to handle these fishing kayaks. Of course, you can also transport a kayak in a truck bed if you have that type of vehicle.
All of that being said, it is really important to understand that owning a kayak means moving it around on land just as much (if not more) as you will be paddling it on the water. So you should be comfortable with your ability to move the weight of your fishing kayak before you finalize your selection.
Fortunately, most fishing kayaks are equipped with seats that are much more comfortable than the traditional seats in cheaper recreational kayaks. That said, there is still variation in seat design that you should pay attention to during your buying process.
The two variations that we would recommend paying the closest attention to are the number of seat positions and whether or not the seat can be removed. Let’s discuss the implications of each a bit further.
Some fishing kayaks come with seats that are fixed in a single position. Others can be adjusted to multiple positions depending on how you are actively using the kayak at the time.
In our opinion, a kayak with multiple seat positions offers more comfort and versatility than a kayak with a single seat position. Most commonly, kayaks with adjustable seats can be moved to one of three positions: low, high, or reclined.
The low position is best for when you are actually paddling (or, in this case, motoring) your kayak from your launching point to where you want to start fishing. It lowers your overall profile to reduce drag and makes moving your kayak more efficient.
The high position is meant for when you have found the spot you want to start fishing. You can move the seat up to a higher spot so that you have a better vantage point and it is easier to spot fish in the waters around your kayak.
Finally, the reclined position is purely meant for relaxation. When you want to drop anchor, set your fishing rod down, and crack open a cold beverage, you can move your seat to the reclined position to relax and unwind.
Some fishing kayaks also have seats that are permanently mounted to the deck of the kayak. Others allow you to remove the seat entirely to replace it with something else or simply free up additional space in the cockpit.
The benefit of a removable seat is that you can replace it with one of the best kayak coolers if you need more cold storage. Some folks that are really into standup kayak fishing also prefer removable seats because of the added space it creates in the cockpit.
That being said, these removable seats are still firmly mounted on your kayak when they are in place. So there are really no disadvantages of going with a kayak with a removable seat when compared to models with permanently installed seats.
The layout of the storage areas in a fishing kayak should also be considered because you are probably going to acquire more and more kayak fishing gear and tackle as you gain experience with the sport.
There are many different storage layouts among the best fishing kayaks with trolling motors. For our money, however, we would recommend finding a model with side rails or tracks on the gunwales or inside walls of the cockpit.
The rails or tracks allow you to attach a wide variety of different kayak fishing accessories. They give you the foundation you will need to customize your fishing setup according to your preferences and continue to adapt that setup as you grow.
In addition to that, it is always useful to have a kayak with at least one sealed storage hatch. That will allow you to keep a small dry bag with extra clothing layers or rescue equipment stored in an area that is protected from water ingress and UV radiation.
This 10’6” fishing kayak features a center-mounted trolling motor and a comfortable mesh seat that adjusts to three different positions. It also includes a flat, open cockpit design that will allow you to fish from either a seated or standing position.
The weight capacity of this kayak is 420 pounds and the kayak itself weighs 68 pounds. The trolling motor in this kayak offers 36 pounds of thrust and includes a 24.8-inch shaft and nine-inch propeller.
This kayak also features multiple fishing rod holders and accessory mounting points on the gunwales. These mounting points are perfect for a fish finder or GPS unit and there is plenty of space underneath or behind the kayak seat for a marine battery to power the trolling motor.
All of the BKC kayaks that follow include the same Tracker trolling motor that we highlighted the basics specs for above. They all also feature a center-mounted trolling motor setup with an elevated seat that adjusts to high, low, or reclined positions.
The PK12 is simply the next model up for anglers looking for a slightly larger kayak. This model measures 12-feet long by 32.75 inches wide and it also boasts a weight capacity of 460 pounds and weighs 78 pounds.
Stepping up again, this is BKC’s largest fishing kayak with a trolling motor for single paddlers. It measures 13-feet long and weighs 88 pounds while offering a maximum weight capacity of 550 pounds.
As you might imagine, the longer dimensions of this kayak mean it boasts more storage for longer fishing trips. It is also a better selection for larger paddlers.
If you are looking for a tandem fishing kayak with a trolling motor, the PK14 is the only model on our list. It boasts the same Tracker trolling motor as the solo BKC fishing kayaks, but it actually comes with two motors set up in central locations in front of both seats.
This tandem also gives each paddler dedicated accessory mounting points and fishing rod holders. The PK14 boasts a maximum weight capacity of 670 pounds and the kayak itself weighs 103 pounds when empty, so it is definitely a model for which you would want a rolling kayak cart.
PC Old Town Canoe & Kayak
The largest Sportsman AutoPilot model measures 13’6” long and 37 inches wide. It boasts a maximum weight capacity of 502 pounds and weighs 152 pounds when empty.
The motor in this kayak offers 45 pounds of thrust and is built to withstand saltwater conditions. It can also be powered by either a lead-acid or lithium-ion battery and it features a wired remote for easier throttle operation.
PC Old Town Canoe & Kayak
If you don’t quite need that long of a kayak, the smaller model is just 12’ long, but it retains that 37-inch width for added stability. It also still includes that 12-volt Minn Kota trolling motor with 45 pounds of thrust.
This kayak offers a 406-pound weight capacity and still weighs 152 pounds. It also comes with a custom tackle box, an extra-large stern rudder, and lift assist to easily deploy and/or stow the propeller as needed.
PC Old Town Canoe & Kayak
For small paddlers, the Sportsman 106 measures 10’6” long, 37 inches wide, and weighs 104 pounds. It offers a maximum weight capacity of 404 pounds and is powered by the same motor as the two previous models.
The seat on this kayak is removable to make it easier to transport and it is equipped with foot-controlled steering for true, hands-free fishing. It also includes four separate 18” tracks that give you plenty of space for mounting fishing accessories.
All of NuCanoe’s kayaks can be equipped with one of the company’s bow-mounted, pedal-driven, electric, gas-powered, or Torqueedo trolling motors. They don’t come standard, but the benefit is choosing the right motor for your specific application.
The Pursuit is a great choice for competitive anglers. It offers horizontal fishing rod storage, a super comfortable seat, and a wide-open deck for ultimate customization.
9. NuCanoe F10
The F10 is one of NuCanoe’s smaller models and it is great for creek fishing or applications that require excellent maneuverability. It offers plenty of versatility for accessory attachments and is compatible with all of NuCanoe’s motor options.
As you can see, the Unlimited literally has everything. It is built for all types of water, unlimited accessory configurations, and, again, it is compatible with all NuCanoe pedal-driven and powered motors.
Our Pick – BKC PK11
Our top pick is the PK11 Angler because we place a high priority on ease of use. While some of the other models offer more amenities, higher-powered motors, and great customization, we can’t overstate how important it is to have a kayak that you can move around easily.
That is why our pick is the lightest and most compact model on our list. It is less than half the weight of some of the other models we reviewed and still offers plenty of storage, thrust, and fishing accessories for a great experience on the water.