DIY Kayak Trolling Motor (YAK Board)

Written by: roboguru

Picture of DIY Kayak Trolling Motor (YAK Board)

I've been kayaking for a few years now and enjoy it quite a bit, but sometimes (especially while I'm fishing) I don't feel like paddling.  There are plenty of kayaks out there that are setup for trolling motors but they usually cost a pretty penny so I decided to outfit my humble yak board with a removable trolling motor setup.

Step 1: What you need.

Picture of What you need.Picture of What you need.trolling motor.JPGbattery box.JPGcircuit breaker.JPGtoggle bolt.jpg

Here are the materials I used but they are by no means the only supplies that would get the job done.

YAK Board
Everstart 24 series Marine Battery
Plastic Battery box
Minn Kota® Endura™ 30 Transom-Mount Motor 
60 AMP Minn Kota Water Proof Circuit Breaker
2x4
2 1/4x3" toggle bolts

I already had the Yak board which runs about $300 and all the other materials were about $200. 
$500 isn't bad considering yaks designed for this run at least $1500.

Step 2: Assembly

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To get started setup the kayak on something about waist height so that you can mock everything up without the trolling motor hitting the ground. 

Put the battery in the battery box and set it on the storage space on the back of the kayak.  If you are using a YAK board the there is already a strap installed on the kayak that will hold the battery box in place. 

Then set the 2x4 between the seat and the battery box with the 4 inch side against the box.  

It's best to have someone hold the 2x4 in place while you mount the trolling motor to it.  At this point I marked the 2x4 at the edges of the battery box so I could line it back up later.

Once you have everything in the general layout that you think is going to work for you go ahead and take it all down to actually start putting it together.

As I typically do I just eyeballed where to drill the holes so I just set the 2x4 back on the box between the lines I made and went at it.  

After attaching the board to the box you will notice that the toggle bolts are sticking out to much inside the box and the battery will no longer fit.  I used a dremel to trim them down but I guess you could use one of those small hand hacksaws too.  Just make sure you make the cut even so you don't have a sharp edge going into the side of the battery.

Slip the battery back in to the box and lift it back on to the kayak (as always, lift with your legs) :)

You should now be able to attach the trolling motor without the 2x4 moving.  The wiring is very basic just run the black wire straight to the negative terminal, the red to the AUX pole on the circuit breaker and then a jumper from the BATT pole on the circuit breaker to the positive battery terminal. I mounted the circuit breaker to the top of the battery with some double sided 3M Tape  but as long as you keep it stationary it should be fine. 

And believe it or not that's it.  Take it to the water and give it a shot.  I recommend taking a paddle as well in case something isn't working correctly you aren't stranded. 

Step 3: Tweaks/Afterthoughts

After my maiden voyage I was having a little bit of trouble with the torque form the high speed settings shifting the battery  since it wasn't a perfect fit for the kayak.  To alleviate this, I cut a 9 inch 2x4 and attached it perpendicular to the other 2x4 with 3" wood screws. This filled the gap between the box and the side of the storage area, keeping the battery stationary.

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