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Trolling Motors - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Trolling Motors buying guide

Being an avid angler, you must know the importance of consistent speed and power while catching fish. Trolling motors present a simple solution to enjoy the activity and resolve this issue.

However, while purchasing any model, you have to look into all the key characteristics. Collecting information on these essential elements can become a strenuous task.

Referring to a buying guide allows you to access all the essential details on the product at a single stop. You save a lot of your valuable time and get correct answers to various questions and queries.

Let us begin with a quick introduction and then move further with this comprehensive guide.

What is Trolling Motors, and why should you opt them?

A trolling motor is an integral part of the boat used for fishing that comes small in size and self-contained.

If you use a trolling motor, you will not need to use an outboard, and you can continue propelling slowly but steadily.

Using a trolling motor has some advantages such as:

  1. Boat control

You can get excellent boat control, especially if you have a small vessel, using a trolling motor. With this simple marine equipment, you will be able to boat against strong currents, and you can also steer easily.

  1. Access

If you use a trolling motor on your boat, you can access some problematic areas. It is also possible to cover some specific lanes by using some motors. So, you can concentrate only on your fishing without any headache.

  1. Noise

These motors do not create much sound. They do not provide the same power as an outboard motor, but they reduce noise when you maneuver the boat. So, they do not frighten the fish away, and you can catch fish without any hassles.

  1. Extra security

You will not want your motor to stop working during your fishing activities as it is quite irritating and inconvenient. A trolling motor ensures a consistent performance so you can enjoy fishing trouble-free.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Trolling motors

Shaft Length

It is essential to check the shaft length before buying your trolling motor. The shaft length creates the differences between motors.

Shorter shafts can be the right choice for vessels working with the lower waterline. On the other hand, you can choose longer shafts for a giant hull, including speed boats, sailboats, etc.

For instance, a 24" shaft is appropriate for canoes and kayaks, where a 40" shaft can be ideal for sailboats.

Most of the boats work properly with 30" or 36" shafts, but you have the freedom to pick up the shaft length according to your needs.

Some manufacturers design the trolling motors precisely to fit in kayaks or pontoon boats.

Depth Placement

Depth placement of the motors largely depends on the shaft length, so if you fail to choose the right shaft length, it will be challenging to get the motors' expected performance.

If you choose a smaller shaft, it will provide shallower prop placement. But it creates cavitation bubbles, surface agitation, excessive noise, and also reduces thrust.

On the flip side, a longer shaft helps put the propeller deeper inside the water to create more drags. Besides, it reduces the performance of the motors.

This is why you need to be careful while choosing the shaft length so that the motor can perform efficiently in the water when fishing.

Thrust

Another crucial factor is the trolling motors' thrust or power to check before making your purchase. It is equally important as the shaft length to determine the performance of the motors.

Therefore, you should choose a good amount of thrust for the boat. Usually, these motors offer thrust within a range between 20lbs and 112lbs. So, you can quickly get a wide variety of options that you can choose to match your needs.

It is hard to understand that a smaller vessel will need less thrust, where you will need to choose more thrust for a bigger watercraft to move.

It will be better to choose the thrust between 36lbs and 86lbs to make sure your boat can operate well. Some manufactures also allow you to have customized solutions according to your needs.

Batteries

A marine battery can be a perfect choice to power up a trolling motor. Marine batteries are the deep cycle batteries which release the stored energy for a more extended period and thus power up the electronics slowly.

Thus, the devices can be discharged entirely and get recharged as well, without any damages.

Starter batteries are used to crank an engine. They release a tremendous amount of current for a shorter period, but they are not appropriate for the trolling motors. They have a terrible impact on the motor's lifespan.

There are two lead-acid battery types found in the market, such as sealed and wet cell batteries. Sealed batteries are costlier than wet cell batteries, and they are easy to maintain. Also, they have less chance of spillage.

For the wet cell batteries, you need to use distilled water to refill the battery cells occasionally. They are not resistant to vibration, so it will be better not to use wet cell batteries for your trolling motor.

Moreover, you can look for the lithium-ion batteries to charge up your trolling motor. They are lightweight and small, so you can consider them for kayak or other lower capacity boats.

Amperage-hours or Ah is used to determine the battery capacity. A battery with more Amp-hour can store more charge and power up the trolling motor for a long time.

For example, if you have a trolling motor with a 55lb thrust, you will need a 100 amp-hour battery to charge it efficiently.

Propellers

Propellers are one of the most vital parts of the trolling motors. Moreover, computer modeling increases its popularity to a great extent.

Pitch is used to measure the propeller's distance after a complete rotation through any solid surface. Pitch is measured in inches.

With a higher Pitch, you will have more speed, but it reduces the highest RPMs. Lower prop Pitch means you will have quicker acceleration.

You can compare it to a paddle. When you pull the paddle in the water, you will get little resistance. It happens because the edge of the blades can cut through the water very quickly.

A lower pitch angle works in the same way. You can start with a 90° angle that helps to push your boat forward. Then you can try a 45°angle to move some water.

However, it is recommended to stick to a medium pitch angle that provides better acceleration and top speed.

Style

  1. Electric-Steer Motors

These motors come with a very innovative design. With these intuitive models, you will have more control over your boat.

The best thing about these motors is that they feature advanced positioning technologies like i-Pilot and i-Pilot Link. It helps you to fish more effectively without messing with the boat.

  1. Cable-Steer Motors

Made with a rugged and rigid design, these motors are more responsive than the electric ones. These designs come with a cable that helps to connect between the motor and foot pedals.

Usually, they are preferred by the bass fishermen. You can also consider them for fishing in shallow water because they provide better protection from underwater weeds, stumps, etc.

  1. Hand Control Motors

As the name suggests, you will need to control these motors manually with your hands. You will find a tiller handle that helps in responsive control. Anglers are more likely to have these models because of the combination of traditional and advanced technologies. Therefore, these motors ensure precise control as well as better maneuverability.

Where are you mounting?

  1. Bow

If you want to mount your trolling motor on the bow, you will need the motor to be well-equipped with the latest features. Also, you should make sure that the motors have a wide variety of control options so that you can control your boat effortlessly.

Usually, these motors are to be mounted in front of the boats with a bolt-on bracket's help. It provides more control and maneuverability for the vessel when in the water.

  1. Transom

This is the most popular choice of mounting for the trolling motors. These motors can be mounted on the backside of the boats by using a clamp-on bracket.

Transom-mounted motors are generally available with tiller or hand control. If you have canoes, kayaks, or small boats, you should choose transom mounting because it excels at standard trolling and general positioning.

  1. Engine

In case you lack space on your deck to mount the motor, you can easily go for these engine mounting motors. They are practically mounted on the cavitation plate of the outboard or inboard motor. You will not require any stowing and deploying for this, so they are straightforward to mount.

Power Consumption/Volts

How much power you need to operate your trolling motor depends on several factors. At first, you need to consider the boat's size and then determine the battery capacity and charging facility before choosing the battery.

Therefore, you should check the Amp draw of the trolling motors before you buy them. If you have a 24V motor having 54lb of thrust, it will need not more than 28A.

On the contrary, a 12V motor with a thrust of 44lb will draw 36A. So, you should always choose more battery capacity for a larger motor.

If you plan to fish all day long with a longer boat, you should go for at least 24V. Having a motor with 36V will help you to maneuver your boat more efficiently.

You can also look for the Digital Maximizer that reduces the draining process of the battery, and you can have more run time.

Control

  1. Hand Tiller

A hand-controlled trolling motor is designed with an extended handle inwards found on the top of the motor.

This lever helps to steer and accelerate the boat. Hand-controlled motors are very responsive, but you will need to keep your hand on the motor when in use.

Usually, transom-mounted motors are designed as hand tillers that are very useful to change your direction quickly. But you should not turn the handle too fast; otherwise, you may lose control over the boat.

  1. Foot Pedal

It is more convenient to use a foot-controlled trolling motor because it will leave your hands free so you can use your hands for fishing or different other activities.

If you have a longer boat, you can keep the pedal in the cockpit, but these motors are available only on the bow mounting.

You can access GPS control with the foot pedal control system, but it is not as responsive as the hand-controlled one.

  1. Wireless

Remote control models are a little expensive, but bow-mounted motors mostly come wireless. However, you can control the unit manually with your hand.

Durability

You will invest a considerable amount of money in buying a higher-quality trolling motor to make sure that it will last for a more extended period, and you can use the motor without any replacement.

To ensure the durability of the trolling motors, you should check the quality of the materials used in designing the motors in the first place.

Generally, standard quality motors are built with fiberglass shafts, which are extremely strong and sturdy. Also, they have plastic casings that can prevent shocks and vibrations and thus protect the motors from getting damaged.

If you want to choose the motor for saltwater, you should go for stainless steel because it will keep the hardware resistant to corrosion and rust. Therefore, you can enhance the durability of the motors.

Speed

Another critical factor that must be taken into consideration while choosing your trolling motor is speed.

You should know that these motors have eight fixed speeds in which five are forward, and the other 3 are reverse. It helps you to find the pace according to your convenience.

Typically, trolling motors are renowned for their reliable performance, so you should not expect more motors' speed. Their speed limits vary between 5 and 8 mph.

When it comes to controlling the speed, there will be two options. You can have either opt for a fixed control or digital variable.

The digital variables can be a better choice for efficiency, so most of the anglers prefer them. But they come costlier than the gear-controlled units.

Where are you fishing?

  1. Freshwater

Freshwater motors are designed for freshwater fishing, and you should not use them in saltwater. These motors are appropriate for any freshwater boats.

Having a freshwater trolling motor means you will have better control over the boat. Moreover, these motors are built with advanced technologies that help them to perform smoothly in the water. They are also extremely durable.

  1. Saltwater

Saltwater motors should be more durable because they are exposed to the saltwater for an extended period. Usually, they are made of high-quality materials that are resistant to corrosion. Also, they are fully encapsulated so that they can get proper protection from the saltwater.

Technology

All thanks to the advanced technology to come along with the more efficient and powerful trolling motors.

You must search for the maximum power of a trolling motor to deal with strong currents, weeds, vegetation, winds, etc. in a significant way.

You will find different new technologies are to be used on the modern motors to fish efficiently with the boat.

Digital motors are an excellent choice for fishing quietly with more cooling and better efficiency. So, their battery life is better compared to analog technology. Also, digital technology reduces unnecessary interference of the sonar waves.

Some of the standard features of a digital trolling motor are given below:

  1. I-Pilot

It helps fix particular fishing spots, record, and retrace the ways to reach the site using GPS. It can control the speed as well as steering. Moreover, it comes with an LCD screen, a wireless remote for better performance.

  1. I-Pilot Link

All the features that I-Pilot have can be found in this. It can connect some special motors to the Hummingbird fish finder motors, and this is how you can get a fully integrated fishing experience.

  1. Universal Sonar 2

This technology helps to cut down the interference of sonar. Both the wiring and the transducer go through the motor's shaft to make sure they are protected and concealed.

  1. Autopilot

This technology helps the motors to deal with the waves, winds, and currents automatically.

Additional Features

There are several additional features found on the trolling motors, and you can choose any or all of them, depending on your choice and requirements.

The first thing you should look for is wireless control. If you see the trolling motor for kayaks, you can have the remote-controlled motors, which are very convenient to use.

Many motors come with a battery gauge. It helps you understand how much power is left, and you can determine to recharge the battery accordingly, so you never run out of power when fishing.

Some manufacturers are designing their motors to be self-directed. It means the motors can steer the boat automatically up to a certain depth.

The digital display of modern motors can show you the present speed and the depth of water to perform more efficiently.

Autopilot features help the motor store the route of your favorite fishing spot where you can get a good catch, and you will be guided toward that particular direction effectively.

You can find some motors designed with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to control the motors and their features from your smartphone.

How to maintain Trolling Motors?

You can maintain your trolling motor easily, and it does not require any special treatment.

There are some basic rules given below that you can follow to enhance the durability and performance of your trolling motor without putting any extra effort:

  1. You must remove all dirt and debris from the trolling motor after every use.
  2. You should make sure that you clean the motor properly after using it. To rinse the motor, you need to use some freshwater, especially if you are using a saltwater trolling motor. It will help to increase their protective features.
  3. It will be better to pay attention to the propellers after using them each time. Usually, the propellers are prone to collect fishing lines, weeds, etc. which may weaken the seal very quickly. So, if you want to prevent water from getting inside the motor, you must consider cleaning the propellers.
  4. You should check the tightness of the anode and the propeller nut of the saltwater trolling motor. Moreover, you should clean the blades to protect them from abrasions. You can use the sandpaper so that the blades become smoother.
  5. It is essential to take care of the composite. You should clean the product at a frequent interval. Also, you should check whether they need to be lubricated or not. Generally, water-based silicone sprays are used for lubrication, which provides smoother deploying and retraction. If there is any exposed part, you should coat it with the spray lightly.
  6. Another very crucial point you must follow to maintain your trolling motor in the correct way is to disconnect the power before storing it. You should also follow the same when you are transporting the motor or not being used for an extended period. You should check the battery terminals to remove dirt and corrosion. You can use emery cloth or sandpaper to clean the dirt and rust if any.
  7. You should keep the battery fully charged when you store the motor. You can consider the trickle charging of the battery if you hold the motor for an extended period.

FAQs

  1. How can I mount the product on the vessel?

There are two mounting types, namely bow mounting and transom mounting. The bow mount is an excellent mention for larger vessels, and the transom one is suited for kayaks.

  1. How can I select the size of the motor for my boat?

There is a simple rule to follow while selecting the size of the motor. The rule is that for every 100 pounds weight of your vessel, you require 2 pounds of thrust. So, do the calculations and purchase the right product.

  1. What batteries are the best for the product?

Deep cycle marine batteries are an excellent choice to opt when dealing with trolling motors.

Final Verdict

With all the information under your possession, all you need is to find the best model. Here in this guide, you will get all the pointers that define the usability and performance of the product.

Go through the guide and make an informed purchase for your vessel

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