Where To Mount A Trolling Motor? [Expert Tips and Guidelines]

The type of boat plays a fundamental role in where you should mount a trolling motor. So let’s begin by looking at where you can install your trolling motor.

At a Glance:
1️⃣ Transom mount motors are mounted to the stern and are usually used for smaller boats.

2️⃣ Bow-mount motors are mounted to the front of the boat and are usually used for bigger vessels.

3️⃣ Engine mount motors are mounted to the engine and are great if you want more space. They provide good boat control- though they may be more challenging to install and maintain compared to the other types of motors. 

The best place to mount your trolling motor depends on two main factors: The type of trolling motor mount you use and the type of boat you have. In this article, we dive into everything you need to know concerning where to mount a trolling motor.

🪛 Mounting Locations

There are three mounting options for electric trolling motors, each with its advantages and specific use cases, but before deciding where to mount your motor, it will be helpful to understand how these motors work.

Transom Mount

Trolling motors that attach to the transom or rear of the boat are a popular choice for smaller vessels and those with limited bow space. Their easy installation and removal make them a convenient option for occasional use. 

Typically more affordable than other types, they may offer less precise control compared to bow-mounted motors due to their positioning at the back of the vessel. To operate them, the angler usually positions themselves at the stern.


Trolling motors mounted on the bow offer anglers enhanced maneuverability and control. Often more powerful with advanced features such as foot or remote controls, they allow you to focus more on fishing than steering. 

They promote smoother and more efficient movement through the water, beneficial in windy or rough conditions. 

However, their installation can be more complex, potentially requiring additional equipment or boat modifications. This makes them more suitable for larger vessels or frequent use.

Engine Mount

Trolling motors mounted directly onto the boat’s main outboard engine save space, leaving both the bow and transom free for other uses. 

These engine-mount motors typically offer good boat control and are designed for seamless integration with the outboard steering system. However, their installation and maintenance can be more challenging compared to other mount types. 

Ensuring compatibility between the motor and the primary outboard engine is essential when opting for this mounting method.

🛥️ Mounting Trolling Motors on Different Boats

Pontoon Boats

For pontoon boats, it is common to mount electric trolling motors at the bow, as this enables better control and maneuverability. There are specific mounting brackets designed for pontoon boats, such as the bow mount and the quick-release bracket.

Consider factors such as access to the trolling motor controls, visibility while navigating, and whether the motor will interfere with docking, anchoring, or other boat activities before you settle on the mounting location.

Bass Boats

Bass boats typically have trolling motors mounted on the bow as well. There are a few different options for mounting (such as horizontal or vertical brackets), depending on your specific needs and the layout of your boat. 

Bow mounts provide optimal control for navigating shallow waters and cruising during fishing excursions on bass boats.

When choosing a spot to mount the motor, make sure that it allows for the proper reach of the motor while also not interfering with any other equipment, such as fish finders, GPS systems, or rod holders.


Kayaks can also be fitted with electric trolling motors, usually on the stern or transom. While smaller and lighter than those used on larger boats, these motors still provide an increased amount of efficiency and control.

To mount one of these on a kayak, you might need a specific mount or an adapter kit designed to work with your existing hardware. You’ll also need to consider where to put the trolling motor battery.

Pelican Transom Kayak Motor Mount
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  • Compatible with the Pelican Catch series
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When considering a trolling motor for your kayak, look for lightweight, versatile motors that are easy to control and disengage. It’s vital to ensure that the mounting system is compatible with the shape and size of your kayak.

Check out the different weights of electric trolling motors to make sure your choice is suitable for the size of your boat.

🛠️Installation and Mounting Tips

When installing a motor on your boat, there are several important considerations to ensure optimal performance and security.

Mounting Bolts and Clamps

Securely fastening the motor is essential for its longevity and overall effectiveness. Using the appropriate mounting bolts and clamps will prevent damage and potential accidents. When selecting mounting hardware, keep the following in mind:

  • Choose corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or brass, as they are better suited for the marine environment.
  • Ensure the bolts and clamps are compatible with your boat’s construction and the specific motor model.
  • Check the recommended torque settings for the bolts to avoid over-tightening and causing damage.


Proper positioning is crucial for maximizing the efficiency of your motor. There are several factors to consider:

  • Most trolling motors are either bow-mounted or transom-mounted.
  • A bow-mounted motor provides better boat control and maneuverability, while transom-mounted motors are simpler to install and suitable for smaller boats.
  • Ensure the motor does not interfere with the boat’s other functions and components, such as navigation lights, anchor systems, or other fishing equipment. This includes making sure that it is positioned so that your trolling motor battery won’t get wet, as this could be disastrous.

Drilling Holes

Drilling holes for your trolling motor installation is a critical step, as incorrect drilling can lead to water leakage or weaken your boat’s structure. Keep the following tips in mind:

1️⃣ Before drilling, use a marker to indicate the locations of the holes based on the motor’s mounting template.

2️⃣ Use a drill size that corresponds to the required hole diameter indicated in the installation guide.

3️⃣ Apply a marine-grade sealant on the holes and mounting hardware to prevent water ingress and corrosion.

4️⃣ Inspect the drilled holes for any rough edges, and use a deburring tool or sandpaper to smooth them out if necessary.

5️⃣ For saltwater environments, ensure that you use Tefgel when securing any hardware to an aluminum hull.

By following these tips, you can ensure a proper installation and derive the best performance from your motor. The video below covers everything in the article to recap:

🕹️ Accessories and Features

Electric trolling motors come with various accessories and features that enhance their functionality and ease of use. Some of these should be factored in when considering the mounting location.

Foot Pedal

Another popular accessory for electric trolling motors is the foot pedal. A foot pedal allows you to control the speed and steering of the motor with your feet, leaving your hands free to cast and reel in fish.

So motors that have one are generally better suited for a bow-mounted installation. For example, a Jon Boat with decking on the bow will allow for placement of the foot pedal and also for you to operate it with ease.

Some foot pedals offer variable speed control, which enables anglers to adjust the speed of the boat precisely as needed. Additionally, many foot pedals come with an on/off switch, allowing you to easily stop and start the trolling motor without reaching for the control unit.

Quick Release Bracket

Installing and removing a trolling motor can be simplified with the use of a quick-release bracket. Quick-release brackets are especially useful for anglers with multiple boats or when storing the boat and motor separately.

These brackets are typically made of durable materials such as aluminum or stainless steel and come in various designs to fit different boat and motor types. 

To select the right quick-release bracket, it is essential to consider the specific trolling motor model and mounting location to ensure compatibility and ease of use.

✅Popular Brands and Models

When it comes to electric trolling motors, two of the most popular brands on the market are Minn Kota and MotorGuide. Both of these brands produce top-quality motors that cater to the different preferences and needs of anglers.

Minn Kota

Minn Kota is well-known for their wide range of trolling motors for various types of boats and fishing styles.

Some of their popular models include the Terrova, Ultrex, and Endura. Each offers different thrust levels, shaft lengths, and feature sets to accommodate the unique requirements of anglers.

Notable features of Minn Kota trolling motors include:

  • Advanced electronic controls for precise and easy-to-navigate steering.
  • Quiet and efficient operation to avoid spooking fish.
  • Built-in battery indicators to keep track of power levels.
  • Various mount options to fit a wide range of boats.


Another top choice for trolling motors is MotorGuide, which offers a variety of options for anglers.

Similar to Minn Kota, the MotorGuide Xi3 and the MotorGuide Xi5 provide varying thrust, voltage, and shaft lengths to target specific user applications.

Their trolling motors also come with a range of impressive features, such as:

  • Wireless control options for increased flexibility and convenience.
  • Pinpoint GPS integration for accurate navigation and positioning.
  • Variable speed controls to match varying conditions and boat sizes.
  • Corrosion-resistant materials for enhanced durability and longevity.

Both Minn Kota and MotorGuide offer top-of-the-line trolling motors for anglers looking to enhance their fishing experience. It’s essential to evaluate your specific needs, boat type, and preferences when choosing the right trolling motor for you.

🔑Key Takeaways

The type of boat often influences the positioning of the trolling motor. 

1️⃣ Generally, smaller vessels opt for transom-mount motors, while larger ones typically use bow-mount motors. Pontoon and bass boats usually position their motors at the bow. 

2️⃣ Kayaks, on the other hand, usually install motors on the stern or transom.

3️⃣ It’s crucial not to overlook your boat’s specifications and other factors, such as motor accessories.

These considerations are essential in ensuring the most efficient and effective use of your trolling motor, regardless of its positioning.

I’m the founder and chief editor here at Kite Ship. The electrification of boating is the most exciting thing to happen to the marine industry in a generation! Welcome, and I hope that we can provide the portal you need to dive into the world of electric propulsion and power.