Kayak fishing has exploded in the industry over the past 7 years. Of course, this sport has been around longer, but the appeal has grown tremendously over the recent years as the tournament scene has heated up and presented anglers with numerous options to get involved and compete. With growth in any industry, the parallel is always the development of new products to support the demands of consumers within that industry. I would love to talk about all the amazing products available for kayak anglers, but for the sake of this article we are going to look at how lithium batteries have changed the game for anglers, like me, fishing out of a 150 lb. kayak.
The number one consideration for kayak anglers adding any accessories to their boats is weight. Most kayaks are rated with lower maximum weight capacities vs. larger aluminum and fiberglass boats, so extra attention must be put on keeping weight low and evenly distributed. The accessories that you add to a kayak boil down to two main categories: motors and then everything else. These include depth finders, lights, and any other necessary needs. Let’s focus on motors.
Motors on kayaks are all electric and are typically powered by their own independent power source. These come in various 12V and 24V options with a couple 36V options beginning to make their debut. Regardless of which option an angler may choose they are adding quite a bit of weight to their kayak. For example, a bow mounted MotorGuide Xi3 will add roughly 45lbs and a Newport Vessels Nk180 stern mounted motor will add around 20 lbs. of additional weight.
From here the most important decision is made. Lead Acid or Lithium. Right off the top a good LiFePo4 option like the Battle Born Batteries 12V 100AH is only going to add an additional 31lbs. of weight compared to 60-80 lbs. for lead acid. You can immediately see the benefit there. Cutting the battery weight in half allows you to distribute the weight more evenly and even lends to keeping your vessel safer.
Generally, in aluminum or fiberglass boats, the boater will have a gas powered outboard to power the angler to their desired destination and once there they will deploy and use their trolling motor for boat position management. For kayak anglers, the motor serves more than one purpose. The single electric motor will provide a power source to get the angler to their desired destination more quickly and then provide boat position management once there. This is a good segway into the additional benefits of lithium over lead acid.
With lead acid, the user is likely to have access to 70-80% of the batteries’ available power. As the lead acid battery is used it will push out less amps ultimately reducing the power output of the motor throughout the single charge. With a LiFePo4 from Battle Born Batteries the user will gain consistent power output up until total depletion of the battery. The user will also appreciate access to the batteries’ full capacity giving the user the availability to go the extra distance. 20% less power may sound like a reasonable sacrifice to save some money going with lead acid, but in my experience my success in fishing has come down to that last 20%.
I tend to think most understand the value of lithium over lead acid, but typically the decision boils down to cost. Now, kayak anglers have a little leg up against big boat users simply because we only need one battery vs. 2-3. This lowers our financial investment drastically. Throw in the estimated 3000-5000 cycles on a single lithium battery, like the BB10012, you won’t be replacing a battery for a very long time making your investment well worth it and really a no brainer.
As a professional kayak angler competing in the big tournament circuits, I use both 12V and 24V motors for different purposes. For my 12V MotorGuide Xi3 I am using the BB10012 (12V 100AH) option. I have logged over 12 miles on a single charge in a single day and trust me I’m not going light on the throttle. This motor has anchor mode which uses GPS location positioning to hold my spot in current and wind which also adds to the power consumption. I primarily use this motor when I am fishing offshore. For my shallow water fishing or making long runs I reach for the 24V Newport Vessel NK180. This brushless motor is more efficient than the MotorGuide and excels in powering through vegetation. It also hosts a kick up feature which will kick up over stumps, rock, and any other obstacles I may encounter in the shallows. For this motor I use the BB1250 (24V 50AH). I have logged over 15 miles on a single charge over the course of two days in practice for a tournament.
Summing It Up
I have been involved in this sport long enough to see the trends come and go. Lead acid was initially a means of saving a few dollars, but ultimately determined that it has no place in kayak fishing. We need the most power out of a single battery with as little weight added as possible. The Battle Born Batteries LiFePo4 options have served me very well over the years and in fact have been a staple for me in locating and finding fish to land major successes out on the trail. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact the talented sales team at Battle Born. They will point you in the right direction for your needs. Stay safe. Get Out There and Stay Out There. Most importantly, have fun.