I finally did it. I bought a canoe. It’s bigger than what I really wanted but since I wanted something for flatwater with the family, I broke down and bought an OT Discovery 174.
Among the things it came with was the side-saddle trolling motor mount and a 28lb thrust Minn Kota troling motor.
I’ve been in several canoes over the years but never tried putting a trolling motor on one and honestly the idea of hanging a several pound (haven’t weighted it) trolling motor off the side makes me a bit nervous. I guess it shouldn’t as the previous owner said he did it all the time.
The trolling motor is not something we plan on using often, but since I have it I just thought I would try to get any opinions on putting a trolling motor on this big-old-boat. So, any thoughts on how I should expect this to affect the handling?
Canoe with trolling motor
I used to have a 14 ft fiberglass canoe with a side mount transom that I built for it. I used a small trolling motor on this quite successfully. The motor pushed the boat around better than I thought it would. At the time my wife was not a good swimmer and was not comfortable on deeper water, so I built a set of outriggers for the canoe. They extended about 3 ft to each side and didn’t quite touch the water when the boat was level. The outriggers made the canoe almost impossible to capsize.
You’ll be okay
I was given a 15 lb thrust trolling motor on a 17ft Tripper. This is a very similar hull to what you have. The motor is hanging around the garage, unused. I used it a few times and found it to be more of a PITA than it was worth.
Your motor has more thrust and will move your boat pretty well, until the battery goes dead, and then it will be in the way.
You will need a good quality battery and then to follow the manufacturor’s instructions for care and charging, which might be the biggest PITA of all. The bats. are heavy. Where’s it gonna live when not in use? And you’ll need to charge it whether you use it much or not.
The boat will handle fine. My friends have a Disco 15 footer and often use a 30lb thrust motor on it with no problem. Potentially, if you cranked the motor 90 degrees at full thrust, you might have a problem. Don’t do that. Be gentle and get a feel for it, and you will be fine.
I do it most of the time
Got an OT Discover 169. Bought the OT motor mount too. The motor mount by OT is OK, but the main spar should be longer. It sits farther back than I like so requires more reaching to the motor. If you are into making stuff, look at the OT design and then lengthen the main aluminum spar about six inches. Then it can be mounted closer to the rear seat and make for more comfortable cruising. I got a 22 and 38 lb thrust motor. Both work great. Battery life for a deep cycle marine is about 6 to 10 hours depending on how fast you run.
Thanks for all the info. I really don’t plan on using it much. It wasn’t even something I was looking for, but did help sweeten the deal for buying the boat.
It may come in handy on some of those large ponds/small lakes when I go solo. I could put the battery towards the front for added weight up there. The mount is the Old Time Sidesaddle mount and I think I can move it up more beside me for more comfortable control. I actually haven’t attached it to the boat yet.
I really figure canoeing is a getaway for me where simplicity is a good thing. If I want to motor around much, that’s what the big lake and my “bass boat” is for. I really wanted the canoe for doing some small river fishing and large ponds/small lakes when we go camping. Those are the times I’m wanting to simplify life and get away from everyone. Probably not really going to want to fight with a trolling motor and battery, but it’s nice to know I have it and can use it if needed.
Here’s another question. I don’t plan on rolling the canoe, but I’ve done it before in a different boat on the river. Since then I’ve learned to tie things I don’t want to lose to the canoe. What about that battery? Geesh, that thing’s heavy. If it were tied to the boat, would the boat sink like a brick? I don’t have any added flotation. Extra flotation might be something I should consider if I’m going to tie a heavy battery to the boat. Glad I thought of that now instead of after the case. LOL
Tried a small gas motor
My buddy and I put a small gas motor on his dad’s Grumman. It moves real fast, actually a lot faster than a reasonable person wants to travel by canoe. As long as we hit the waves on the lake straight on, it was only mildly scarey but if we hit a wave at any other angle the boat would rock from side to side while hurtling forward. It kind of has a “rifling” effect and will make your butt grip the seat tight enuff to wrinkle the aluminum. Not sure if David still uses that motor but that is my one experience with motors on canoes.