How To Balance A Motorized Canoe

Rigging a portable trolling motor on a canoe is a popular way to fish small ponds almost everywhere. The hard part is keeping the craft balanced from end to end--called fore-and-aft trim--so that it handles well without one end riding unduly high or low in the water. Since some deep-cycle trolling batteries can weigh 80 pounds or more, this is a real problem.

If you're fishing solo, sit in the bow seat facing the length of the canoe, which puts your weight a few inches closer to the center than if you were in the stern. Mount the motor right behind the bow (now your stern) seat. Put the battery on the floor at the far end to counterbalance your weight. To attach the motor to the battery, use high-quality jumper cables from your car or truck (good ones use heavy-gauge copper wire, which means you won't have a serious voltage drop and loss of power due to the long connection). If it's still riding too high, add a couple of shoreline rocks next to the battery for more ballast or use, as I do, an old cracked cylinder head from a 1971 small-block Chevy. --JOHN MERWIN