Choosing a Trolling Motor – What Will You Consider?

When fishing on a boat, it is important to remain as quiet as possible. When you sail into a fishing hole in a river or your favorite fishing lake making all sorts noises and causing waves, it would be difficult to make any catch. Fish read danger through vibrations caused by the water.

Trolling motors has been a blessing to anglers as they replaced the old gasoline-powered motors that were too loud and could be sensed from a mile away. They have provided anglers with stability, stealthy approach, and most importantly maneuverability. It is more common to find the majority of fishing boats equipped with trolling motors.

Choosing a trolling motor can be a challenge of itself. It requires a certain knowledge and experience. When you go shopping for a trolling motor, it is critical that you pick the one that fits the size and the type of your boat. Some anglers will advise you to get the biggest trolling motor in the shop, but there is a lot of science involved in this process. If you are new to trolling motors, this guide will help you to choose the best trolling motor that will fit your needs and your vessel.

Choosing a Trolling Motor: Things You Need to Consider

Thrust is the most important aspect to consider when selecting a trolling motor. It is simply a measure of how much the motor can propel the boat through the water. It is usually measured in pounds, and more often you will hear anglers mentioning “pounds of thrust.”

When dealing with thrust, you need to apply basic physics; the bigger your boat, the more pounds of thrust it would require from the trolling motor propelling it. For this reason, Cabela’s proposed that for every additional 200 pounds of weight on your boat, you will need five additional pounds of thrust to propel and stabilize the boat.

If you want to get an estimate of how much thrust your boat will need, do a sum of the boat’s weight and its maximum weight capacity, divide the result by 200 and multiply by five. The result will show you an estimate of how much thrust you require from a trolling motor.

Example: Estimated weight of the boat: 1,500 pounds Maximum weight capacity of the boat: 1,200 pounds 1,500 + 1,200 /200 * 5 = 67.5

This is an estimate of thrust that you need to propel a boat that weighs 1,500 pounds effectively.

Voltage is a translation of how much power should be with a trolling motor. The size of the boat plays a major role in solving this problem. When you are out for shopping, you will realize that trolling motors come in three voltage categories: 12-volt, 24-volt and the 36-volt. The 12-volt motor runs on a 12-volt battery, the 24-volt uses two (2) 12-volt batteries, and the 36-volt motor is comfortably powered by three (3) 12-volt batteries.

If your boat is 16 feet long and you occasionally fish and for short periods, then you would only require a 24-volt system. If you plan to fish for a few hours during weekends and a few times throughout the year, a 12-volt system will suffice. If you are the type of a person that likes to push the limits and fish for long periods, going for a 36-volt system is the best choice to make. It all breaks down to performance and endurance.

Today, trolling motors are designed to handle a multi-battery system. The reason behind this is because anglers have a habit of pushing their trolling motors to perform for longer hours and at the highest level.

At the early age, anglers were forced to use the same battery that is used to start a motor vehicle. Today, however, you can choose to use “deep-cycle” batteries that include Dry cell and gel. To make it even interesting, you are advised to choose a top end deep-cycle battery because of its thicker cell plates as they are known for storing more electricity and takes only a short period to recharge. They are also ideal for marine use due to their environmental safety as they don’t spill acid, they don’t require maintenance, and are not affected by vibration, which has been known to cause battery failure.

Transom vs. Bow:
Trolling motors are designed in two categories; the bow which is mounted on the front of the boat and the transom which is installed on the stern.

Each of the two has its merits and demerits. However, the most important thing to note is this: Bow mounts offer the angler more maneuverability, but they are better used in large vessels. Transom mounts are more suited for smaller crafts, even though they can be used on any boat. However, they offer less maneuverability and control to the angler. That is why many fishermen prefer to use bow mounts.

New Technology:
The continuous quest of designing efficient and powerful motors has produced impressive results. MotorGuide, one of the leading trolling motor producers, has introduced a digital tool called Digital Guardia, which controls the speed of the motor while at the same time monitoring the vital motor components.

According to sources from the company, digital modules were chosen as they are not affected by the heat, corrosion, moisture, and shock. They also offer an easy replacement process without a need of rushing to the dealership. Digital motors are also known to run cooler, offer stealth, and are more efficient than analog motors. Analog motors were also affected by sonar which doesn’t affect the digital motors.

Minn Kota is also known for improving their technology. They use large brushes and commutators that help in reducing heat which extends the capacity of the battery. Their system has also helped to reduce noise hence offering a more stealthy approach. The Maximizer technology is also known to increase running time by five times on a single charge.

Shaft Length:
You should keep in mind the length of the shaft of the motor before committing to purchase. It is a widely known fact that longer boats require longer shaft, and shorter boats will need motors with a shorter shaft. According to Cabela’s, you have to effectively select the best trolling motor with the right shaft length, you need to do the following: for transom mount, and the boat is in the water, measure the length of the shaft from the waterline to the top of the transom. When using the bow mount, measure the distance from the waterline to the top of the bow.

When you are satisfied with the measurement, add 18 inches, and you will have the proper length that your trolling motor will require to fit your boat.

Speed & Control Direction:
Trolling motors comes with three control methods; foot pedals, hand, or remote units. Personal preferences determine which system suits you best. More anglers prefer the foot control as it frees their hands to handle other tasks on the deck. The problem with foot control system is that it is expensive and may take a huge space on the deck. They are also known for having a slow response time.

Hand controls are designed to work from the bow of the boat. The only drawback of this system is that it requires a hands-on approach. They are preferred by some anglers as they don’t take much space and are cheaper to install compared to the foot control system.

The remote units are advanced control systems that are deployed when the waters are rough making it difficult for anglers to stand up on the bow.

Whichever system you decide to adopt will have an impact on your fishing. It is best to try out these three control systems so as to know which one fits you best. The best ways to use them is by accompanying some of your fishing buddies on their fishing trips and ask them to let you use them. By doing this, you will be able to experience how to respond to all of them.

Salt & Freshwater:
Even though some trolling motors don’t differentiate between salt and fresh water, you are always advised to consider this factor. Saltwater aids in corrosion hence select a best saltwater trolling motor that is not covered in a lot of metal.

When planning to buy a trolling motor, it all boils down to your fishing specifications and your vessel. Having a huge trolling motor on a small boat might be seen as a great idea, but that boat might not be able to handle the maximum thrust of the trolling motor.

Fishing these days is a popular sport which has attracted a huge following. Find local fishing clubs and join them. You will get a first-hand experience of these people. You will be surprised how much information they are willing to give out. Their show-off contest should be a benefit to you as you will learn much from them. Hopefully, this guide will serve you well when you are purchasing your trolling motor.

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