John Zoltner’s Motorized W500 Fishing Kayak – New York

John drove all the way from upstate NY to Wavewalk (close to Boston, MA) to get his W500 fishing kayak. Being an experienced engineer, John took his time to inquire and think about trolling motors, steering systems etc., and came up with one of his own:

I’ve included some pics of my trolling motor adaptation which borrows from other W kayakers, and adds a unique steering method.

electric motorized fishing kayak - stern view

After some experimentation I decided to mount the motor at the very back using a 1/4″ aluminum plate, and added a crossbar to the top of a shortened TM shaft. So far this is Rox’s TM configuration. I then routed the steering cables thru 1/4″ brake tubes screwed to 2 strips of pine running the length of the seat.

electric motorized fishing kayak
Since I wanted the steering and motor speed control to be on the same handle, I mounted the TM head and a short section of shaft to a large plastic pulley and wrapped the steering cable around it. By doing so, I can now control the both the steering and speed from the common handle
electric motorized fishing kayak, stern view

I attached a piece of 1/4″ plywood to the top of the 2 pine strips and covered it with some foam and a piece of vinyl material. Since there is now a hollow space under the seat I was able to run the TM wires and also a rope to raise the motor via a smaller hand cranked pulley.
electric motorized fishing kayak, stern view

I also used the flip-over loading wheel concept that one of the clever W bloggers sent in.
flipping wheels for carrying fishing kayak

I’ve been out twice since the TM has been added and so far its working really well.

John Z


I’ve been out 3 or 4 times and only caught 2 small bass. I’m obviously still a much better engineer than an angler  🙂

I’ve also been fine-tuning my trolling motor concept: I crossed the cables between the TM cross shaft and where it enters the yak. What this does is give me steering that responds directly to the direction I push the control handle. I no longer have to reverse my direction logic when I choose to turn in either direction. I also wasn’t satisfied with my TM crank pulley, so I ripped it out and now have a horizontal reel crank that works much better. I also just installed a fish finder/depth sounder to help me in the fishing department. I just epoxied the transducer sending unit inside the starboard rear hull. I also want to try adding a rudder directly to the body of the trolling motor. I saw this concept advertised on a yak trolling motor web site.

John Z

More About John’s Motorized Fishing Kayak, and First Bass Caught!

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