A trolling motor in simple terms refers to a small electric motor that is found on the bow or stern and sometimes on both. It is what keeps the fishing boat on the cruise through the water. The cruise is in a quiet mode so that the fish in the water are not spooked while fishing. There are several trolling motors on the market, and buying one which is best for your needs can be a daunting task. This is the reason why you need a trolling motor buying guide if you require one. 

There are several considerations one has to take into account when choosing a trolling motor. This is because there are a lot of trolling motors in the market today. The following are some of the critical factors to consider when buying one that is best for you.

Where Is The Motor Supposed To Be Mounted?

When buying a trolling motor, it is critical to consider where you are to mount the motor on your boat. There are different types of motors, and in this article of the trolling motor buying guide, we are going to look at three of them. They include the following:

Bow-mount motors

This type of motor is usually mounted to the front of the cruise boat and has several control options. It is generally attached with a boat that has a bolt-on bracket on the transom where a tiller operates it.

It is a great trolling motor, primarily if you use an open bow-rider or bass boat in fishing. This motor has a spring-loaded mount, which lets the motor swing away when there is an impact. This essentially helps minimize damage from groundings.

Transom Mount Motors

Transom motors have clamp-on brackets that are adjustable to different angles as well as heights. This is basically to allow the shaft of the motor to be immersed at the required depth. It also features a hand/tiller control, and it is suitable for canoes, dinghies, and smaller boats. They are ideal for standard trolling and general positioning.

Engine Mount

This type of trolling motor is usually mounted on the cavitations plate of the outboard. It is sometimes referred to as inboard/outboard motor, and it doesn’t require deploying or stowing. It is a great one, especially if you want to keep the decks clear.

trolling motor buying guide

What Motor Size Do You Need For Your Boat?

The size of the motor is another key feature that has to be considered when choosing the right trolling motor for your boat. There are bigger and smaller motor sizes, and there are also factors to consider when it comes to size. When sorting out the size of the motor when you want, consider the wind, current, and wave action. When it comes to the size in this trolling motor buying guide, the following should be considered:

Thrust

Trolling motors usually have their ratings in pounds of thrust, and thrust describes how powerful the motor can be. When deciding on which motor thrust you need, the weight of the boat is a determinant factor. The general rule of thumb is that you require at least 2 lbs. thrust for the 100 lbs of a boat that is fully loaded. This means the engine and people included.

If where you are fishing, there are significant factors like current and wind, a little extra thrust is a better option. In simple terms, size should be relative to weight and wind. The thrust of the trolling motor does not determine the speed of the boat. Thrust is all about strength and not speed. A trolling motor that has adequate thrust has the following achievements when installed on your boat:

  • Make the boat get on a plane with ease.
  • Cruise at approximately 3-4mph
  • With an active GPS, it should be capable of holding on a spot when in its anchor mode regardless of the nature of the current.
  • Cruise straight ahead without being swayed away from its course.

Volts

Volts is an indicator of the amount of power a trolling motor will require to meet the demands of the boat. For every 12 volts in the entire trolling system, one battery is all that you will need.

For 55 lbs. of thrust or lower than that is equivalent to 12 volts, which is essentially a single battery? But for 68-80 lbs. of thrust translates to 24 volts, which requires two batteries. 101-112 lbs. of thrust is equivalent to 36 volts, and it will require a total of 3 batteries.

Length of the shaft

The proper shaft length is an essential factor to consider because if the shaft isn’t long enough, then the propeller won’t be submerged well. The center of the motor part is required to at least be 12 inches in the water. The standard shaft length is usually 42” and to the right length that suits your boat, finds the measurement between the deck/transom and the water. For MotorGuide, you will add 16” while for Minn Kota, you will add 20”. 

Technology

New technology has played a massive role in the quest to have practical, efficient, and more powerful trolling motors. The trolling motor buying guide helps the buyer to choose a powerful motor that can navigate the boat through strong currents, wind, and vegetation. These three are big in battery sappers. Several technologies have been introduced on modern trolling motors for efficient fishing with your boat.

The Digital Guardia technology by MotorGuide is encased in a module that is the lower unit. Its principal function is to control the speed of the trolling motor and to monitor the vital components of the motor continuously. The right side of the digital is that the modules are resistant to heat, moisture, shock, and corrosion. Also, they are easily replaceable without the assistance of a dealer for guide and maintenance.

Digital motors are designed to run quietly, more cooling, and are incredibly efficient as opposed to analog counterparts. As a result, there is improved efficiency in battery life sustainability. Besides, as compared to analog, digital technology eliminates interference with sonar. The following are some of the features digital trolling motors have.

I-pilot

This is a feature that uses GPS to lock the fishing spots, to record and retrace the paths. It also commands the speed and the steering and many more features all through a wireless remote, and it features an LCD screen. 

I-pilot link

This comprises of all features found i-Pilot and is capable of connecting the Minn Kota trolling motor to the Hummingbird fish finder motor. This is, in return, offers a fishing experience that is fully integrated.

Universal Sonar 2

This technology helps you to remain streamlined with a sonar performance that is free from interference. The transducer and the wiring go through the shaft of the motor where it is concealed and protected.

Autopilot

This type of technology that lets you remain on the course you want your boat to be. The trolling motor, on the other hand, automatically works to correct any effects of current, waves, and wind.

Digital Maximizer

A trolling motor fitted with Digital Maximizer gives it much-needed power, so no energy is wasted.

Built-in MEGA Down Imaging

With this feature, you are guaranteed to experience some of the best images of what is happening down. This is usually delivered straight away to the Hummingbird fish finder without cluttered wires and clamps but with a transducer that is fully protected.

What Style of Motor Suits Your Boat?

Motors come in three different styles, which include electric-steer motors, cable-steer motors and hand control motors. In this trolling motor buying guide, we give you a detailed review of each of the three.

Electric steer motors

The Electric-steer motor model is intuitive and innovative and has several options of control. It also features modern positioning technologies like i-Pilot and i-Pilot Link. 

This is aimed at reducing the time you spend on the boat and concentrate more on fishing.

Cable-steer motors

These are known for their ruggedness and responsiveness. With these models, the cable acts the direct link between the motor and the foot pedal. Bass fishers popularly use them. Besides, they can be used in shallow water effectively. They are designed to offer additional protection from stumps, weeds, and the likes while fishing.

Hand or foot control motors

The hand control motors have a tiller handle that is for responsive control. They feature a combination of the old type steering and the Minn Kota technology so that you get the precise control and ease in maneuvering.

It is also worth noting that there are foot control motors which are operated by foot. Both the hand and foot control trolling motors have their merits and demerits. When you are using foot control motors, you enjoy hands-free usage. They are also easy to use and can be used anywhere in the boat. The downside of them is that they have more clutter on the pedal (deck). Also, more parts can break or stop functioning, and some models show a slower response.

The advantage of using hand control motors is that they don’t have clutter on their decks, and they have a real-time response. The downside of them is that you don’t enjoy the best part of fishing experience as the hand is always on the pedal and not the fishing rod. Also, they can only be used from a bow. 

When choosing which one is the best for your fishing experience between hand and foot, it is good to speak to different users of both hands and feet. This way, you will have a concrete decision about choosing the right choice for your fishing experience.

What Are Your Fishing Areas?

There are two different fishing places you might find yourself using trolling motors on your boat. We have saltwater and freshwater. Both Freshwater and saltwater trolling motors are designed with advanced technologies and offer intuitive controls with unparalleled durability while fishing. However, saltwater trolling motors are specifically designed for the ultimate saltwater defense. They feature fully encapsulated electronics and advanced corrosion protection. This is a significant factor to consider in the trolling motor buying guide.

Maintenance Of Trolling Motor

When using a trolling motor on your boat, you don’t necessarily need a guide and maintenance. If there is maintenance required, it is not a lot, but as a precaution, it is better to check on it regularly. Below are some basics of maintaining your trolling motor for better performance and durability:

  • Remove all debris after using the trolling motor.
  • Use fresh water to rinse the trolling motor after use, especially for trolling motors designed for saltwater regardless of their enhanced protective features.
  • Check the propeller and clean it thoroughly after each use. The propeller is fond of picking fishing lines or weeds, and they can cause severe damage to the seals, which then will allow water to enter the motor.
  • For saltwater motors, check the anode and propeller nut on freshwater trolling motors for tightness. Also, make checks on prop blades for any abrasions or nicks and, if necessary, use a sandpaper to make them smooth.
  • The composite should be periodically cleaned and lubricated if necessary, using aqueous-based silicone sprays. This ensures there is smoothness in deployment as well as a retraction. Any part that is exposed should also be coated lightly with spray.
  • When storing the motor, make sure that you have disconnected the power. This should also be done when transporting it or not using it for extended periods. This is also a convenient time to check the terminals of the battery for corrosion or any dirt. If there is any corrosion or dirt, use fine-grain sandpaper or emery cloth to clean it.
  • After every use, make sure that the battery is fully charged. If it is stored for more extended periods, trickle charges the battery. The battery should be ideally fully charged at all times.
trolling motor buying guide

 Wrap up

All anglers always look for trolling motors that can control the boat without releasing smoke and noise. This is to have a great fishing experience besides other challenging decisions you will have to make when choosing the right motor suitable for your boat. Trolling motors are very confusing subject for any angler who is looking for one which suits his/her fishing needs. However, trolling motors are vital as they help to control your boat, and it is critical to get one that serves you better.