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Selecting the Best Trolling Motor for Your Boat

Selecting the Best Trolling Motor for Your Boat

Posted by John Mitchell on Jun 12th 2019

Where do you want to Mount your Trolling Motor

BOW

Mounted to the front of the boat with a bolt-on bracket that pulls it through the water for better maneuverability. They are equipped with the most advanced features and a wide range of control options. Lots of fishermen opt to mount their motor here. These are usually mounted on bass boats that have a front deck. The fishermen usually want to use the foot control to move the boat, so they stand on the front deck of the boat so they can do that quite easily. The TM is also easily control with a hand control.

TRANSOM

Mounts to the back of the boat with a clamp-on bracket and features hand/tiller control. Ideal for smaller boats, dinghies and canoes. Great for general positioning and standard trolling. Some fishermen like the tiller control or they wish to use a foot pedal control from the back of the boat as a matter of preference.

ENGINE

Mounted to the cavitation plate of your outboard or inboard/outboard motor that keeps the deck clear. No stowing or deploying is required. Your trolling motor is permanently affixed so you don't have to stow it into the boat when you get ready to move to another location.

What is the Power Required from your Trolling Motor?

THRUST

This refers to how powerful the motor is. Boat weight and length are key when determining how much thrust you need to move your boat. General rule of thumb: you need at least 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100 lbs. of fully-loaded boat weight (people and gear included). If things like wind or current are major factors where you fish, you’ll want a little extra thrust.

Minimum Thrust Required
Boat Length in Feet Pounds of Thrust Required
12 30
13 30
14 32
15 36
16 40
17 50
18 55
19 65
20 74
21 74
22 101

The amount of power or strength needed to move through the water is described as "pounds of thrust." This power rating is common to all motors on the market, and is one of the most important aspects to consider when selecting the right motor to match your boat. If your trolling motor has insufficient power, working your boat through wind, high waves or weedy conditions can be all but impossible.

Because of possible adverse conditions, you should have a trolling motor that has more than the minimum thrust to meet your needs. First, find the length of your boat on the “Minimum Thrust Required” table. That is your starting point. Some would say that the length of the boat is the “most important” factor in determining the correct thrust for your trolling motor. That is NOT correct. Most important is the overall weight of the fully loaded boat. To find that weight, if you don't already know it, can be done by visiting the website at NADA Boat Directory site. Remember that this weight is for the boat only. You will need to factor in the weight of your outboard and its battery, any gear you carry in the boat, and the weight of passengers to get a more accurate overall weight that the trolling motor will be required to move. Some consideration should also be taken for possible adverse conditions that might be encountered. Once you have gathered these factors you should be able to select a trolling motor that will fit your needs very well. It is better to have a little more power for moving your boat than to have too little power, especially if you get in some high winds or rough water.

Electric trolling motors require either 12, 24 or 36 volts to run them. A 12-volt trolling motor usually has 55 lbs. of thrust or less and requires only one 12-volt marine battery to run it. A motor that has 68 to 80 lbs. of thrust is usually 24-volt and requires two 12 volt marine batteries to run it. A 36-volt motor that has from 101 to 112 lbs of thrust requires three 12 volt marine batteries.

A 12-volt trolling motor is the most inexpensive and easiest to run. It does, however, lack the staying power and thrust that the other two provide. A 24 or 36 volt system will allow you to fish longer periods, as they draw lower amps while providing increased thrust for more power.

If your boat is 16-foot or smaller, a high-thrust 12-volt model will be adequate for the conditions that you will face. If your boat is any longer, moving up to a 24 or 36 volt system is the only way to go for hassle-free boating. Having high quality marine batteries give you maximum power and longevity.

SHAFT LENGTH

BOW MOUNT

Waterline

Recommended Shaft Lengths for Bow Mounted Trolling Motors
Bow to Waterline Recommended Shaft Length
0” to 10” 36 inches
16” to 22” 42” to 45”
22” to 28” 48” to 52”
28” to 34” 54” to 62”
34” to 44” 72 inches

Choosing the proper shaft length is important—if it’s too short, the prop won’t be sufficiently submerged. It is recommended that the center of the motor section, where the prop is, be submerged at least 12 inches.

One way to get the right shaft length for your boat is to measure from the point where the shaft is mounted on the boat deck or transom to the water level. Then for a Minn Kota motor add 20 inches and for a MotorGuide motor add 16 inches. This is a measurement for normal smooth water operation, so that the prop is at an appropriate depth. You should add a factor for keeping the prop below the water depth in adverse conditions as well.

TRANSOM MOUNT

Waterline2

Recommended Shaft Lengths for Transom Mounted Trolling Motors
Transom to Waterline Recommended Shaft Length
0” to 10” 30 inches
10” to 16” 42 inches
16” to 20” 46 inches
Over 22” Consult Manufacturer

ENGINE MOUNT

Minimum clearance required from spine of outboard to end of cavitation plate

Cavitation plate to waterline 13" (minimum)

What Technologies do you want with your Trolling Motor?

You will definitely make your fishing much more fun and successful by having these technologies with you to aid in controlling the boat and finding fish.

I-PILOT

Uses GPS to lock onto fishing spots, record and retrace paths, command speed and steering, and more—all from a wireless remote with an LCD screen. Spot Lock is the ability of i-Pilot to keep you boat on the spot where you are currently fishing. You can jog it to right, left, which ever way you want to go, even the distance to spot tells you how far you are from your spot. Store your paths in iTracks so you can retrace your previous path by recalling it in i-Pilot. Set the direction you want to go then set Autopilot to keep your boat going that way. You can use cruise control to keep a steady speed in 0.1 mph increments or use copilot to control speed.

I-PILOT LINK

Gives you all the features of i-Pilot, plus the ability to connect your trolling motor to your Humminbird Fish Finder for a fully-integrated fishing experience. Circle Mode makes your boat circle around a spot if you have cast there and you want to stay the same distance from that spot. Follow allows you you to link with LakeMaster or AutoChart Live data to keep you close to predefined fishing spots. Use Flow Offset to keep your boat the proper distance from where the fishing hot spot is. Using BackTrack you can go back over the paths you made for the last 2 miles and hit hot spots again. If you brought waypoints and routes over from Contour Elite or you set waypoints in LakeMaster you can string them together to create a custom route.

UNIVERSAL SONAR 2

Get streamlined, interference-free sonar performance as the transducer and wiring run through the motor shaft to stay completely concealed and protected. High quality, hig resolution images from many Helix and Solix models.

AUTOPILOT

Allows you to stay on any heading you choose and your boat stays on course while your motor automatically corrects for wind, waves and current.

DIGITAL MAXIMIZER

Motors with Digital Maximizer draw only as much power as you need, so they don’t waste any energy.

What Style of Trolling Motor do you want?

ELECTRIC STEER MOTORS

Innovative and intuitive, these models offer more control options, along with positioning technologies such as i-Pilot and i-Pilot Link that let you spend less time messing with your boat and more time fishing.

CABLE STEER MOTORS

Rugged and responsive, these models rely on a cable as the direct link between the foot pedal and the motor. Popular with bass fisherman, they also excel in shallow water by providing extra protection from things like weeds and stumps.

HAND CONTROL MOTORS

Equipped with a tiller handle for responsive control, these models combine traditional steering with industry-leading Minn Kota technology to give you precise control and maneuverability. 

I hope my words here will give you some help in deciding what kind of trolling motor you need to get for your boat.  I know just having a trolling motor will increase the joy of fishing by a great amount.  You can add all kinds of technology to your motor that will make fishing even more pleasurable. I hope you have great success when you go fishing!

Marine Motors is a family business

Marine Motors is a family business. We have been in love with fishing for a very long time. When I was a young boy my father taught me how to find the enjoyment in fishing. He and I would go to the lake for a day's fishing on one or two weekends each month. The weather in Louisiana where we lived allowed us to do this almost all year. Back in those days we did not have a trolling motor to help with positioning the boat where the fish were to make it easier to fish. There was some work involved with getting the boat into a location where the fish were and more work keeping it there.

Now days technology has improved so much that fishing can be fully enjoyed using the power of a high tech trolling motor. At Marine Motors we are interested in supplying the most technologically advanced trolling motors in the world today. Minn Kota and MotorGuide offer trolling motors with the benefits of GPS, Spot Location, Bluetooth, and other advances. We are dedicated to giving you a selection of trolling motors that will make your fishing trip as enjoyable as possible. You can get next day shipping on your order and shipping is always free.

Buy a trolling motor from Marine Motors and go out and enjoy fishing! - John Mitchell