Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing

By Gary Thorberg


Fishermen have long known the benefits of having an electric trolling motor. Quiet, clean, and maneuverable, with instant on/off/reverse makes it the perfect choice for fishing. Until recently, the main drawbacks have been limited run-time and battery weight. Enter technology! Various electric trolling motor manufacturers have introduced a new generation of of motors that can offer 4 or 5 times the run-time of previous models! All prior models will drain the battery at a constant rate, regardless of how fast you are going. The new models allow for variable speed with a corresponding variable battery draw. This is very significant in terms of run-time.
Now, enter the lithium-ion battery. At a fraction of the weight and size of a conventional deep-cycle battery, it will provide full power for several times longer than it’s counterpart. Couple this with a Maximizer motor, and you can literally fish ALL DAY on a single charge!
The total weight of the motor and 40ah battery is 30lbs. (A Honda 2hp and a gallon of gas is about 33lbs. in comparison.) This particular motor costs $230, and the battery and charger about $700, for a total of under $1000 (same as the for-mentioned Honda).

Small yet powerful – a lithium-ion battery conveniently located at the bottom of the W kayak’s hull on the side opposite to the motor

A side-mount works well with electric motors. The weight is evenly distributed (battery on one side of the kayak, motor on the other). It is very convenient to have the controls at your side, allowing you to sit in the middle of the kayak, and not have to reach behind you.
I am not an advocate of either gas or electric, as I have both, and will use them for different applications. However, for a day of fishing, my choice is clearly electric!

New generation trolling motor side mounted on a W fishing kayak.

Click images to enlarge:



More northern kayak fishing insight from Gary »

5 thoughts on “Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing”

  1. Thanks Gary,

    Excellent article! Many W kayak anglers are contemplating motorizing their W kayaks, and they’re looking for optimal solutions.


  2. Gary, thanks for this informative article.
    The problem with electric motors is that the more powerful ones drain the battery much faster at full speed, so that unlimited power is still an advantage that only gas engines offer.

  3. Pete,
    Yes, that is true. For long distances, and faster speeds, there is no comparison. Many of the spots that I fish are very close to where I launch. (W’s can be launched almost anywhere!) It is this application in which an electric motor as I described can go all day on a single charge. I still like to paddle, so if there is a greater distance involved, I may paddle to the spot, and then use the motor for fishing. Motoring into the wind and paddling down wind also helps to conserve battery power.

  4. The higher the voltage the more efficient is the system.
    Go for a 36V trolling motor, you won’t need heavy batteries.
    I am on 24V but I have plans to test the 36V as well.
    24V give me a full speed of 9km/h and a range of 10-15km at trolling speed.
    2 batteries each of 6Kg.
    I do have 2Hp Honda for long exits (20km range) but my love is the electric.
    Have fun.

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