Steering System Suitable For Motorized Fishing Kayak?

Here’s a nice idea for an ergonomic steering system for a kayak’s motor:

Applying it to motorized W kayaks looks easy and convenient.

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  1. Pete

    Good catch. It’s simple, effective and ingenious.
    Since kayaks are narrower than the boat in the movie, this thing might probably require the tiller’s pivot to be attached on a fixed support that would come out from the kayak side. Not sure about this, though.

  2. admin

    There may be a way to further simplify this mechanism, by eliminating one hinge – the middle one.
    Instead, the tiller chould be bent to come around the back of the user, and it could be attached with a short rope or chain to the fixed part coming out of the motor shaft. This should give back to the system the freedom of movement it lost by the fact it has one less hinge.
    Just an idea – Things like that usually look different in the real world, for better or for worse 😉


  3. John Z

    As someone who has wrestled with the various gives and takes with designing a steering system for an actual kayak mounted trolling motor I have a couple of comments:
    The weight of this design might be able to be better absorbed in a larger craft than a kayak. I’m very sensitive to the weight that I add to my 500. Even if the square tubing could be reduced to say – 1/4″ jointed rods, I still think it may be too heavy for a kayak.
    This design may also be difficult to adapt to a ‘motor lifting’ function which is something that most kayak trolling motor conversions require when landing or encountering obstructions.
    I hate to sound negative, but I still believe Rox’s cross-mast/cable steering design gives the best weight/features advantages for the money.

  4. Marco

    Hey John,
    You have the unfair advantage of actually knowing what you’re talking about 😀

    This idea would require some adaptation work done before anyone can apply it to kayaks.

    I agree about the weight issue. It’s is a big concern in kayaks, from both convenience and safety standpoints. This is why steel tubing won’t work. How about using lighter, plastic tubing, maybe PVC?

    I also agree that the motor-lifting function is essential, of course.
    Couple of ideas:
    1. A simple, separate pull string, or cable: The user pulls on it, and that lifts the motor. A hook can keep the cable in the ‘pulled’ (up) position when the kayak is paddled.
    2. This one is a bit of a long shot: It may be possible to get the right leverage for lifting the motor by twisting (rotating) the tiller’s handle bar. It doesn’t look easy to design and build such a solution, and therefore I guess it should be left to those who seek special challenges 🙂


  5. Jeff McGovern

    Another interesting idea. Of course once the heavy battery issue is fixed it would open many options for electric power. We already have really cool hands free control options with foot and remote. Even more advanced with voice. Or as Yoav once commented we are nearly at the place in technology of thought control for trolling motors. Of course as with voice control you have to be careful what you say with thought control a random crazy idea may have the boat heading for parts unknown. I always enjoy seeing what the at home tinkerer can come up with, some of the best inventions ever came from humble simple ideas launched in a garage or basement.

  6. admin

    Hi Jeff,

    It may be possible to see a day where thought-controlled vehicles are commercially available.
    The question would then be who or what is going to control the driver’s thought?…
    On a second thought, I’m not entirely sure I’d like to ride a motorized kayak controlled by my own mind, knowing the tendency it has to go wandering 😀


  7. Rox

    That’s okay for a jon boat or small boat.
    But why add all that extra weight to the W’s?
    And all that extra work.

    My foot controlled steering with cables and rubber mats add very little weight, and keeps my hands free for battling my quarry!

    Tight lines

  8. Pete

    Rox’ foot steering turns the W into a true hands free kayak, in the full sense, unlike [those pedal drive SOT] yaks that aren’t hands free at all, since you have to steer them by hand.
    But not everybody wants to fish from their yaks, and many people just like to go paddling, or boating, or alternate between the two, and they may want to steer by hand rather than by foot.
    For those people, this kind of system could save the pain of having to turn backwards to hold the steering handle, as the guy who created it explains in his movie.
    Also, some people may want to stand up while trolling, and in such case steering by hand (with some extension to the steering handle) could be easier than by foot.


  9. Bluefish

    I’m not (yet?) into motorized kayak fishing myself, but I found this discussion interesting.

  10. Rox

    You don’t have to fish to enjoy the hands free steering.

    Its also very handy if you are just touring, or into photography, once again, your hands are free to snap pictures make movies, or just sitting back and motoring along!

    And I can stand and still steer with my feet, But I don’t recommend doing it.
    But if you don’t change speeds while standing it’s safe.
    Ask me I Know……..I went to adjust my speed while standing, gunned it, almost went for a swim!! 😀
    Man I would have loved to see that on video!! 😀

    I don’t always motor in my yak, I paddle 90% of the time in the W500.
    They are a joy to paddle, and that’s why they make anchors!! 🙂

    Happy paddling All!

  11. John Z

    One thing is a given: When you choose to add complexity to a pure and simple concept like kayaking, you invariably run into complex problems now and then. If you feel you are missing something by not having a motor powered kayak, take solace in that you haven’t added an additional 30 lbs of battery, plus motor, etc. weight that must be carried. There is also the motor hanging below your kayak that must be considered whenever an obstruction is encountered or when landing. Then there is always the spectre of the totally unknown failure that was never remotely ever considered in the experimental/design phase. Don’t ask me how I know.
    That is why I’ve never failed to take my paddle along.
    John Z

  12. admin

    I agree, John 🙂

    This comment that Rox made is saying a lot:
    -“I don’t always motor in my yak, I paddle 90% of the time in the W500.
    They are a joy to paddle…”

    However, certain applications as well as some people require a motor, eventually.
    I hope this discussion, as well as others on this blog and website are giving visitors a fuller perspective on both possibilities and limitations of motorized kayaking and kayak fishing.


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