Marine batteries come in many shapes and sizes, and powered boats of every variety require at least one or more of these critical components. At the smaller end of the scale, many anglers prefer small, sit-on-top kayaks for recreational fishing on ponds, lakes, and protected bays. These boats offer many advantages, including low initial and ongoing costs, versatility, and transportability.
Of course, not every angler is interested in spending time paddling, which is where trolling motors come into play. Fishing kayaks often contain mounting points for small electric trolling engines, providing an easy and quick way to reach fishing spots with minimal effort. If you're using one of these motors on your boat, selecting an appropriate battery is critical for optimum performance.
What Type of Battery Do You Need?
As a general rule, you should always select a deep cycle battery to power an electric trolling motor. Batteries typically come in deep cycle, starting, and hybrid varieties. Starting batteries provide a quick burst of energy, but you can damage their internal cells by running the charge down too far. Hybrid batteries don't have this disadvantage, but electric trolling motors don't need their starting power.
Instead, you want a battery that you can safely discharge while you're on the water. Since you won't have a gas engine to recharge the battery, you'll need to make use of its total charging capacity. The design of deep cycle batteries specifically accommodates this use case, although you can still extend their lifespan by avoiding extremely deep discharges.
How Can You Choose the Right Deep Cycle Battery?
It's a relatively safe bet that any 12-volt deep-cycle marine battery will work with your electric trolling motor. However, that doesn't mean that the battery you select doesn't matter. When selecting a battery, you'll need to consider three related factors: battery type, amperage hour rating, and weight. Each can significantly impact your performance on the water.
The most common and affordable types of marine batteries are lead-acid and AGM (absorbed glass mat). Lead-acid batteries are cheaper but require more maintenance and tend to last for shorter periods. AGM batteries typically cost more, but the extra cash will buy you a maintenance-free battery that should last somewhat longer than a traditional lead-acid option.
A battery's amperage-hour rating is another essential factor. The higher your battery's rating, the more time you can spend on the water without fully discharging it. Buying a battery with a higher capacity than you expect to need can also be valuable since it'll be fewer deep discharge cycles and a longer lifespan.
Finally, don't ignore the battery's weight. Small boats such as fishing kayaks don't have much space, and trolling motors tend to be relatively weak. As a result, a heavy battery can mean less performance and comfort on the water. By balancing a battery's weight and size against its performance, you should be able to find the perfect battery for your fishing adventures.