A successful day of fishing from a boat comes down to teamwork. Your outboard can get you from the shore to the hot spot, but it falls short in maneuvering the boat to where the fish are biting.
That’s when a trolling motor joins the team for the score. Electric trolling motors enable you to avoid spooking fish, while holding the boat on the spot. You can make the perfect cast into the strike zone, or ease closer for more effective lure presentations.
They might look similar but not all trolling motors are created equal. Choosing the best motor for your boat comes down to several factors, including your boat type and size. The trolling motor needs to be matched to your boat, so that both perform at their best. It’s no different than choosing a balanced rod and reel for the best lure presentation.
Trolling motors of today also do more than just stealthily maneuver the boat. Some have techy features like GPS integration and more. That adds even more to consider when choosing a trolling motor.
If the time has come to upgrade, or you want to add a trolling motor to your boat, you have come to the right place. Read more about how to choose the right trolling motor for you and your boat.
Think of trolling motor thrust as you do horsepower for your outboard. Instead of MPH, it’s calculated by the pounds of water “thrust” or pushed by the motor. Boat weight is key when determining how much thrust you need. As a general rule, your boat needs at least 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of fully loaded boat weight, including people and gear. If wind or current are major factors where you fish, you’ll want a little extra thrust.
Think of volts like engine displacement on your outboard. Volts indicate how much battery power your trolling motor requires. More is better, especially for saltwater boats prone to maneuvering in strong tides or offshore rollers. You’ll need one battery for every 12 volts in your trolling motor system. Here are some examples.
55 lbs. of thrust or less = 12 volts or one battery
68-80 lbs. of thrust = 24 volts or two batteries
101-112 lbs. of thrust = 36 volts or three batteries
That said, you will need to consider adding batteries based on the needed thrust. Keep in mind that boats designed for multiple batteries usually have mounting space available for rigging.
Choosing the right shaft length is important. If too short, the prop won’t be sufficiently submerged. The motor section should be submerged at least 12 inches below the surface of the water.
Depending on budget, you can choose trolling motors that become highly effective fishing tools. Examples are the Minn Kota i-Pilot feature that uses GPS to lock into fishing spots, record and retrace paths, command speed and steering and more—all of it done from a wireless remote with an LCD screen. With a touch of a button, the Spot Lock feature keeps the boat in position while you fight a fish, unhook it or retie a lure. The Garmin Force trolling motor has wireless chartplotter integration with a Garmin fishfinder, along with autopilot steering. The Lowrance Ghost has Lowrance sonar integration, GPS anchoring and more.
Got questions about which motor is best for you and your boat? Get the answers at your nearest Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Boating Center. With 130 locations, there is one near you. Even better, the friendly consultants are boaters, many are anglers, and all have the experience to help you. And best of all, you can have the motor mounted there, regardless of the brand of your boat.