Jump Ahead To:
BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR: INTRO
Do you like to go kayak fishing in the ocean? We certainly do! Kayak fishing in the ocean is a great form of variety and adventure, but you need to make sure you have the proper equipment. One particular consideration is whether your trolling motor is tolerant of saltwater conditions. We’ve uncovered the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor and this post contains a thorough review of its particulars.
Not familiar with trolling motors? You can quickly get up to speed by visiting KFC’s Kayak Trolling Motor Ultimate Guide! The Ultimate Guide will rapidly increase your knowledge of trolling motors and will allow you to determine whether you might be interested in adding a saltwater trolling motor to your collection of kayak fishing gear. We have even ranked The 5 Best Kayak Trolling Motors for you! Let’s dive in!
Best Saltwater Trolling Motor: Guide
First, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This article contains a thorough write up of all of the important details about the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor available on the market today! This post results from a combination of personal experience, market research and interviews with fellow kayak fishermen. We start by going over some of the basics about this particular saltwater trolling motor – What makes it different? How does it work? What kind of power does it generate? And so on.
After that, we have included a short “how to” instructional checklist that will take you through some of the highpoints of learning how to install and properly use this particular model of saltwater trolling motor. Recognizing that there are a number of quality saltwater trolling motors on the market, and that each is a little different than the next, we have written a summary of the top 3 most important features that you should look for when you are deciding which salt water trolling motor you might be interested in. We go into detail on each feature so that you can understand what they are and why they are so important.
We’ve also included a link to the product page for the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor so that you can find even more information on this awesome kayak fishing accessory. Finally, we’ve included a short story about our own experience with this particular model of saltwater trolling motor – hopefully you can learn from some of our successes and avoid some of our failures!
Parts of a Kayak Trolling Motor
Best Saltwater Trolling Motor: The Basics
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that we may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through our links.
Let’s talk basics. Kayak trolling motors are generally broken down into two categories. The first category includes “transom mount” trolling motors and the second includes “bow mount” trolling motors. Typically, you’ll see that transom mount trolling motors are located along the side of the kayak. Bow mount trolling motors are typically located on the bow (or front) of the kayak. A saltwater trolling motor can be either transom mount or bow mount. It is our experience that transom mounts are more common, however.
The type of kayak trolling motor that you need to buy will depend on the kind of kayak fishing destination that you intend to fish. After all, there are big differences between saltwater and freshwater. Often you will find that saltwater trolling motors can perform equally as well in freshwater, but the opposite is rarely the case. Why? Trolling motors have many parts that are made of metal (the propeller, housing and shaft, for example). The metal is susceptible to corrosion and rust due to the saltwater if you do not exercise proper maintenance (luckily, proper maintenance is often just a rinse of freshwater)!
Kayak hulls are made of many different materials, but if you have a kayak made of fiberglass, the hull of the kayak is much more likely to experience fading and scratching in saltwater environment. Again, a nice rinse off with freshwater after each outing will help mitigate these concerns. Also, you need to remember that some trolling motors have external wiring. Saltwater can be very harmful to the electrical wiring of the kayak (assuming, of course, that you aren’t using a trolling motor that has been built to tolerate the saltwater).
How to Use Properly
Ok, so now you realize why it is important to think about whether you will be freshwater or saltwater kayak fishing. This is only the beginning of the inquiry! What good is even the best saltwater trolling motor if you don’t know how to install and use it? Not very much!
The short checklist below will take you through some of the highlights of how to install and use your saltwater trolling motor. Remember, each trolling motor is just a little different from the next, so we’ve only included the most common steps that are applicable to most different types of saltwater trolling motor, regardless of manufacturer! Of course, your best source of information will be the included owner’s / user’s manual, so you should absolutely reference that material as well!
- Any time you are working with motorized equipment, like a trolling motor, you need begin by reading the user guide / manual.
- After you have done so, take the the trolling motor out of its box.
- We suggest that you do this indoors, believe it or not, so that any small pieces or parts that have come with the trolling motor don’t roll or blow away, as is possible when you are outdoors (and especially near the water’s edge).
- You’ll be happy to learn that many trolling motors (particularly those that are transom mounted) come nearly fully assembled.
- Often times, all you need to do is attach the head (the top piece) to the handle, then move to the next step.
- You should not grab hold of the handle and head and place these piece atop the shaft. This joining is very important and we always pull and twist the connection fairly roughly to ensure that it is sound.
- Now you can add the mounting bracket (the mounting bracket is the piece that will connect to the kayak motor mount) to the mid point of the shaft.
- Now you can attach the propeller to the metal casing.
- Take the now connected motor and propeller and connect to the bottom of the shaft.
- Now is the time to attach the mounting bracket to the motor mount.
- Adjust the height of the trolling motor so that it doesn’t sit too low into the water or too close to the surface. This is a particularly important step when kayak fishing in the ocean.
- It is our experience that a motor head between 2.5 and 3.5 feet below the surface of the water is ideal (ensures the best propulsion).
- Be sure to practice forward, reverse, and side to side maneuvering BEFORE you get out into difficult waters (especially the ocean)!
Best Saltwater Trolling Motor: Important Features
Because of the surge in popularity of kayak fishing, kayak trolling motors have become increasingly available on the market. This has extended to saltwater trolling motors, thankfully. Typically freshwater kayak fishing parts and accessories have been more widely available, so its nice to see that the saltwater side of this sport is gaining traction.
We want to go over the top three most important features that you need to look for when deciding upon which saltwater trolling motor you want to buy. Yes, there are far more than three important features, but the three that we touch on below are the most critical. We go into detail on each one of the features so that you know why it is so important for your saltwater kayak fishing experience!
Designed for Saltwater. This is the most important feature! Perhaps you thought this was obvious, but you would be surprised to learn that there are many kayak fisherman who are “tricked” into buying a freshwater model because the manufacturer included pictures of the trolling motor in the ocean. These pictures made the kayak fisherman think that the motor was saltwater friendly when in fact it was not.
Look for a kayak trolling motor that protects its electronics by using a water tight and fully encapsulated design. Even the smallest leak can allow for saltwater to seep into sensitive parts of the motor. A fully encapsulated model, however, will prevent this seepage from occurring. You’ll also want to see that the manufacturer has taken other types of advanced protection against corrosion. Remember, corrosion is what you are trying to avoid at all costs. The corrosive power of saltwater upon the metals in your electronics is not to be understated!
Proper Power. When you are kayak fishing in the ocean, you will oftentimes (if not most of the times) be fighting against waves and currents that are far in excess of what you would experience in most freshwater settings. Because of this, the best saltwater trolling motor will be the one that delivers at least 55 pounds of thrust (we suggest going much higher, even to the 80 pound range).
This extra power is an important feature that will aid you in navigating your kayak against the waves and currents. Even on a relatively still day, the extra power will help you “out run” your fellow kayak fishing competitors so that you can get to the fish first! Oh, and we suggest that the saltwater trolling motor be powered by a 24 volt (instead of 12 volt) kayak trolling motor battery.
Customization. When you are kayak fishing in the ocean, you need to remember that you will be going from the shallows to the depths and then back again. You may also run across varying depths if you are kayak fishing near or around sandbars. Try to find a saltwater trolling motor that provided an easy means of depth adjustment (sometimes marketed as a “quick adjust”).
We like models that have lift-assist, allowing you to deploy the trolling motor into the water with just the push of the button, or allow for you to adjust its angle to at least 5 different settings with ease. Adjusting your saltwater trolling motor’s angle should not be difficult – you don’t have time to mess around with this while on the ocean. Look for a model that can tilt at least 35 degrees and can be extended at least 4 feet. The customization of tilt and length can result in endless degrees of customization – critical for an ocean oriented piece of kayak fishing gear!
Buy the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor
While there are a number of high performing saltwater trolling motors, we thought that you might like to learn our opinion about the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor that money can buy. We have included an image of it above and have added a link so that you can check out its product page to learn more.
Remember that you need to consider that kayak fishing in the ocean will likely subject you to more rigors that will freshwater kayak fishing (waves and currents). Because of this, we feel comfortable recommending this trolling motor’s whopping 80 pounds of thrust. This is more than enough to power you through waves and currents with ease. You’ll want to power the motor with the Best Kayak Trolling Motor Battery. Be sure to get the 24 volt (not the 12 volt) model, as achieving 80 pounds of thrust requires a larger size of battery!
This model can tilt to 45 degrees and can extend to 6 feet in length. This is great for kayak fishing shallow waters near the shore or even in sandbars because you can raise the motor to a shorter length. Then, when you are ready to head to deeper waters, you can lower the motor deeper into the water to ensure that it always stays below the surface when you are moving from crest to crest on the waves! We also like that it has a “quick release”. You just push it forward and it raises up and out of the water then, once you are ready to deploy, you are only one push of a button away from dropping the shaft and propeller down into the water. No manual adjustment or cumbersome tools needed!
I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know that a freshwater trolling motor couldn’t be used in the ocean. I simply though that these kinds of motors could stand up to all different kinds of conditions. It only took me 1.5 days of ocean based kayak fishing to find out I was wrong – expensive mistake! My freshwater trolling motor was damaged beyond repair!
I quickly set out to research which kind of kayak trolling motors had been built for use in the ocean. Actually, a lot of the research served as the foundation for this article! I have used what we have deemed the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor for 3 seasons now. It is performing just as well this season as it did when I first took it out of the box! Even though these motors are designed for use in the saltwater, I still find that I get peace of mind from washing the motor down with saltwater after each use. It doesn’t take much time.
If you are considering kayak fishing in the ocean, be sure to try out the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor and let us know how it performs for you!
BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR: CONCLUSION
We hope this post has helped you develop a greater understanding of the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor. While it’s tough to cover “everything” in just one article, we are certain that nearly all of the important details have been discussed. Saltwater trolling motors are somewhat unique in the kayak fishing world because of the technology that has been included with them. After all, saltwater presents a pretty harsh environment, especially on machinery, electronics and metals (three components in any saltwater trolling motor)!
If you have made it to this point in the article and find that you still have questions about this particular kind of trolling motor, we’d like to direct you to the Comments board below. KFC’s Comments board is seen by thousands of your fellow kayak fishing enthusiasts. It is a great place to post questions (and answers) to all things kayak fishing related. Check it out!
By the way, if you are going to be spending a lot of time kayak fishing in the ocean, we would suggest that you invest in a Kayak Stabilizer that is built for just such an outing! They even have inflatable kayak stabilizers that are great in stabilizing your kayak in the currents of the ocean. And you don’t have to experience the ocean alone – take a look at the Best Tandem Sea Kayak!
Do you like to go kayak fishing in the ocean? What has your experience been like? Have you ever tried using a non-saltwater trolling motor in the ocean? How quickly did it fail on you? What has your experience been with a saltwater trolling motor? Did you find that it allowed you to navigate along the ocean’s currents and waves with greater ease and efficiency? Did you find that its design allowed it to perform equally as well in saltwater conditions as it does in freshwater? Please post below and share your story with us! We fostering an environment of communication with the kayak fishing community!