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How To Choose The Right Trolling Motor For Your Boat


Fishing requires your full attention, time, and patience. It also demands stealth and quick decision-making power. One needs to know how vital position and equipment can be when it comes to making the next cast. It’s a quiet, tense moment. But expecting all anglers to be fully in control all the time is absurd. That is precisely why trolling motors exist and are so accepted.

A trolling motor gives the anglers a complete authority over the craft. It also reduces the effort they’re required into moving. Ultimately, a trolling motor results in catching more fish. They lend the perfect boat control and allow fishing in areas that were not previously accessible. Trolling motors also will enable you to lead with a silent approach, giving you room for experimentation.

‘Pounds of thrust’ refers to the strength that’s required for moving through the water. Trolling motors, also known as electric motors, function because of battery power, which allows them to drive the boat. While looking through the options available for motors, you’ll observe that they all have a common power rating. It’s essential to consider while choosing the appropriate unit for your specific requirements. You’ll need enough power to brave through tumultuous winds, waves, and weather. You must be prepared for all sorts of conditions. Keep the worst scenario in mind, weigh the pros and cons, and then choose.

It’s not uncommon to be confused about exactly how much power you need. For optimum performance, you may begin by considering the following factors.

  • The length of your boat.
  • The heaviness/weight of your boat.
  • Storage space -what do you plan on storing?
  • Are you fishing alone or with someone else?
  • What are the conditions you generally fish in? Are you likely to encounter strong winds and high waves?

In case your boat is heavy, or your gear and passenger weigh mode, it would be a friendly bet to choose more thrust.

While following the expert advice of purchasing the most affordable biggest motor can be useful, it’s wise to remember that too big a motor for your boat does more harm than good. It’ll likely dwarf the boat, and such disadvantages should not be overlooked while buying the motor. (Of course, the same line of thought applies less power -its insufficiency may cause too many problems.)

Which to Choose, Bow or Transom Trolling Motor?

Trolling motors come in two types.

  • Bow mount trolling motor
  • Transom trolling motor

While you’ll find a bow mount trolling motor installed at the boat’s front, the transom mount trolling motor is meant for the back. A bow mount motor will require an adequate room at the front, and a mounting plate for housing. And the bottom platform must be flat, or else the set up will not be feasible. On the other hand, a transom motor works with all sorts of craft, clamping onto the boat’s stern.

The advantages of a bow-mounted motor include the impressive ability of manoeuvrability that it gives along with control. This motor pulls the boat through the water, resulting in efficiency and more relaxed experience for the angler. It’s recommended to go for this option if you have a large ship. If it’s fourteen-foot or larger, choose a bow-mount.

Transom mount works best for smaller boats like canoes. Your dinghies and canoes will work wonderfully with transom mount as they’re intended to provide better positioning and trolling experience.

Do you Choose a Hand or Foot Control Trolling Motor?

The next confusion you’ll likely face is to decide between hand and foot control. This is for the buyers who have large boats and are buying bow mount motors.

Both the versions will have their pros and cons, and that can be a slightly tricky spot to be in. Experiencing how comfortably it works for you is the best way to go about it. The merits of foot control would include the ease and convenience it offers since you can use it anywhere, along with a hands-free experience. The shortcomings, however, would consist of the clutter it adds to the deck, plus slow responses and increased chances of parts breaking or malfunctioning.

Hands-control, on the other hand, gives the real-time response and you don’t have to worry about any clutter with it. But it certainly will not be as convenient since you cannot always have hands on the rod, and it’s meant to be used from the bow only.

Different users have different experiences and opinions on the versions. Still, one thing remains common -you’ll need to practice a lot and conclude whether it is comfortable for you or not.

Tip – for those planning to use foot-control pedals, pay extra attention to the cable length. Its length must be adequate for the craft’s size.

What Type of Trolling Motor Shaft Length is Right?

Another crucial consideration is the shaft length. For optimum control, an angler must choose the right shaft. It shouldn’t be too short as that spells trouble like submerging at the face of rougher conditions. It also shouldn’t be too long either, since that’s going to cause continuous long term problems in shallow water operation. Your safety, quality of experience, and peace of mind depend on the shaft length you choose.

The height of the boat or its stern will command the shaft length. You’ll need longer shafts for deep V boats. Canoes, on the other hand, will work best with the shortest length available.

Trolling Motor Features You Should Consider

Trolling motors are now available with various new and better features, thanks to the advancement in technology. Some features you may like to keep in mind include:

  • Built-in battery gauge – These days you can find models which have the battery gauges in the housing of the unit. Such a feature makes it easy for the angler to keep track of the power left. This way, anglers would know when they absolutely must use the charger. Estimating if there is enough time left to do some peaceful fishing also becomes easy, which provides a carefree and pleasant time.
  • Digital displays – these are slightly expensive picks. If you can afford these models with digital screens, you’ll discover an unprecedented speed and depth readout. This, of course, is a bonus if you’re looking forward to getting more fish.
  • Self directional motors – for complete hand-free and foot-free operation, this self directional feature works by following depth contours and shorelines. Interestingly, it also works well in cases of troublesome winds by steering you straight.

Details are important and should be deservedly weighed for coming to a satisfactory conclusion. For example, the shaft should preferably be of stainless steel, and not weak metals. The latter does not have much endurance. For the mount, look for something with minimum plastic. Ideally, it should be strong plus heavy duty. The prop must be weedless with blades for replacement available.

For a lasting trolling motor, understand the fundamentals. There are three power systems to keep in mind when we talk about electric motors – 12, 24, and 36. These are separate power systems. You’ll need one battery for running 12-volt, two for 24-volt, and three for 36 volts. Ensure that you’re buying superior quality batteries. Do not compromise on them if you wish to avoid long term problems. For maximum power and longevity, look for deep-cycle marine batteries.

There are many models of trolling or electric motors available on the market. Going through some tips about the power requirements, shaft length, hand and foot control, and other factors will clear some confusion. However, experience through testing will always help you get a perspective that’s suited to you and your craft.