How to Choose The Best Electric Trolling Motor

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With absolute control you can now reach those previously inaccessible areas, silently, adding more enjoyment and fish for the adventurous angler. Get into the optimum position while having complete control of your boat.

Here’s what to look for when selecting your trolling motor, whether for fishing or leisure.

  • Saltwater or Freshwater

You can not use a fresh water motor in salt water conditions.

  • Bow Mount or Transom Mount

For canoes and boats less than 12ft in length a transom motor is what you need. These motors work great because that’s what they are designed for. Any boat over 14ft, a bow- mount motor is the correct way to go as it will give you superior maneuverability and control. Bow-mount motors pull your boat through the water as opposed to pushing with a transom mount motor.

Choose best trolling motor

Shaft length

  • The shaft length depends on the height of your boats bow or stern above the water. Also remember to allow for extra length if your boat has a deep v hull.
  • Keep in mind that if the shaft chosen is too long, shallow water can pose problems. Also if the shaft is to short it will struggle in choppy wave conditions ie. the propeller not getting enough bite in the water.
  • Let the motor submerge about 9” for a transom mount. Standard shaft lengths should fit any boat.
  • Bow mount motors require a little more attention. Measure the distance from the mounting surface to the water. Then add 5” for fishing in rough water or 12” if you steer a hand control while standing.

Transom Guide

Transom to Waterline in inches       Recommended Shaft Length in inches

0”-10”                                                     30”

10”-16”                                                   36”

16”-20”                                                  42”

Bow Guide

0”-10”                                                    36”

16”-22”                                                  42”

22”-28”                                                 48”- 52”

28”-34”                                                 54”- 62”

How much Thrust

Ask any professional what their advice would be when deciding what size motor to buy and they will most likely tell you “get the biggest motor you can afford’. However overpowering your boat also has its disadvantages so choose wisely. Factors that should influence your decision are, the weight and length of the boat, do you operate in rough water or windy conditions and also the number of people normally on boat.

A rough guide is that for a 12 foot boat –  30 pounds of thrust works great, and then working your way up to a 24 foot long boat –  100 pounds of thrust will be required.

Batteries Required

If you buy good quality deep-cycle marine batteries and look after them correctly they should last up to 5 years. For hassle free motoring get the best that you can afford. Deep cycle lead acid batteries have thicker plates to allow a steady low rate of discharge and recharge cycle, compared to a start battery which is made purely to deliver high current for a few seconds to start an engine. It is important to get a good quality Three Stage Charger for charging your battery to its full capacity.

marine batteries

The electric trolling motors come in 12, 24 and 36 volt models. You will need 2 x 12 volt batteries for a 24 volt power system and 3 x 12 volt batteries for a 36 volt system. I strongly recommend that you install a good quality circuit breaker in line to protect your wires from possible over heating thereby protecting your motor and boat from an electric fire. Before buying your battery go to a battery specialist in your area for some good advice.  Seeing the battery will help you decide where and how best to store them on your boat.

For boats that are less than 15 foot in length a 12 volt high thrust model will be more than adequate. For longer boats you should consider a 24 volt or even a 36 volt system.

Accessories

Depending on make and model, you can upgrade your motor with auto pilot, co pilot and i-Pilot GPS technology. These added features enhance the overall boating experience helping you to do what you do best – CATCH MORE FISH.

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