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Trolling Motor Buying Guide

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Fishing has always been one of the most traditional hobbies in America, and it has indeed shown an impressive evolution too. We’re talking about the high-tech devices that have been launched in the market to make the fisher’s experience more enjoyable. One such innovative piece of equipment is the trolling motor. Now, trolling motors have been existing since the 1980s, but with time, incredible advancements have been made, causing a spike in demand.

With new models dropping every few months, it is getting more and more challenging to pick the right one. So, to help you with the same, in this write-up, we shall talk about the factors of consideration before buying a trolling motor, which will ultimately cause you to pick the perfect one! But before we get to that, let’s address some fundamental questions.

What is a trolling motor?

Trolling motor is an excellent electric device that allows fishers to move and maneuver their boats without making a loud motor sound, which usually causes the fish to swim away. These battery-based motors are typically mounted at the bow and can be operated in various ways. Some of them are controlled by peddling or hand, while some are remote controlled, which is much more accessible. Due to this, the user can reach the fish without making a sound allowing him/her to fetch efficiently.

Now that we know what a trolling motor is and how useful it is for an angler, let’s find out how you should buy it.

Which factors should you consider to buy the best trolling motor?

Thrust

Thrust is, by far, the most crucial point of consideration if you are planning to purchase a trolling motor. Thrust is what measures the power of a motor, and its unit of measurement is pounds (lbs). The requirement of thrust depends on your boat’s size- the larger the size, the greater will be the requirement of thrust. The thrust’s power depends on several factors like the coil’s size, system’s resistance, and so on. However, it is important to realize that more thrust does not mean greater speed; it is simply the motor’s ability to push the boat.

The trolling motor market is loaded with a wide range of thrust powers for all boat sizes. Some of them even offer other applications and specifications to improve their performance. The thrust ranges from 18 lbs to 112 lbs, which is quite a variety. But the most commonly purchased thrust is the one of 55 lb. Since thrust is the leading power supplier of the trolling motor, make sure you consider this factor before finalizing a model.

Type of Mount

The choice of mount for the trolling motor is a personal preference but an important one. There are majorly two types of mount- transom, and bow.

Transome mount:

Transom mounts are generally more cost-effective, and they are suitable for smaller and lighter boats. They are hand-operated but don’t have a very accurate steering ability compared to the other alternative. In this type, a board is positioned at the back of the boat; and other pieces of equipment, including the motor, are mounted there. A transom motor gets clamped to the boat’s stern and works with all styles of craft. If you have a smaller boat, transom mounts will probably work the best as these are designed for general positioning and improved applications.

Bow mount:

A bow mount provides a better manoeuver and more precise control, as it allows the fisher to fish comfortably and effectively. However, for installing a bow mount, there has to be enough space along with a bracket/plate to fix the housing. Besides, the boat should also be flat at the bottom to make the overall arrangement more feasible. Therefore, these mounts are generally preferred for large-sized boats. The bass boat trolling motor is one of the best ones as pedals can control it without engaging your hands. It is relatively more costly, but it offers accurate steering and robust features like the autopilot.

Make sure you consider both the types of mounts and pick the most suitable one as per your requirement and preference. For this, you may refer to the size and weight of your boat.

Shaft length

The trolling motor’s shaft length is one of the chief factors that differentiates motors. A shorter shaft is intended for boats that have a low waterline. On the other hand, a more elongate shaft is intended for large, hull watercraft like a speed boat, pontoon boat, sailboat, and so on. You are supposed to choose a shaft length that is suitable for the boat’s size, particularly if you have a bow mount. The gap within the transom mount and the waterline is usually equal for almost all the boats, but the distance greatly varies when it comes to bow mounts.

It is essential to know all these details before finalizing the shaft length because choosing the correct one will ensure that you receive the excellent performance expected from the trolling motor. If the shaft is too short, it may lead to a shallow prop arrangement, which causes excessive noise, surface disturbance, and minimized thrust. On the flip side, a highly elongated shaft would position the propeller extremely deep, which will cause an increase in the drag and lower the motor’s performance.

Battery

Well, an electric trolling motor comes in three different power capacities, i.e., 12 volts, 24 volts, and 36 volts. The basic 12-volt motor is the least expensive and most comfortable to operate. However, the absence of power and likewise thrust gives rise to the need for at least two batteries. On the other hand, the 24 and 36-volt battery allows the fisher to fish for a more extended period, as it draws fewer amps and provides an increase in thrust for extra power. Now, to make your choice simpler, know that for a 16 feet or smaller boat, 12 volts of battery backup will be enough. However, if the boat is larger/longer than that, there is no other way than opting for a 24 or 36-volt battery to ensure a stress-free fishing experience.

Make sure that you do not cut back on the battery’s budget because that is the one thing that will keep you and your boat going. Therefore, always invest in a high-quality marine battery as they are intended particularly for electric motors and will assure incredible power and life. The fact that you have enough battery backup will keep you stress-free as you would not have to worry about overheating or stranding in the lake.

Application: hand or foot?

Another highly essential factor that you should pay attention to is the application of the device. Trolling motors can be operated by hands or feet, and both have their own set of merits and demerits. For instance, a hand-controlled system offers a real-time response, but it can be operated only from the bow. Similarly, a foot-operated system may be easier to use, but the responses are relatively slower. The best way of finding the right pick is by actually trying both versions of your desired model. This will allow you to understand which type seems most comfortable regarding your body and state of mind. Make sure you make a thoughtful decision between the two, as you’re going to have to physically work with this system each time you use the trolling motor.

Conclusion

Well, these were the key factors that will guide you in picking the ideal trolling motor. But apart from these, you may also consider additional features like digital display, self-direction, smart remote control facility, and inbuilt battery gauge. These are all the high-tech features that are found in many of the newly launched models. So, make sure you check them out before investing in your trolling motor. Happy fishing!

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