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Trolling Motor Quick Guide

The Trolling Motor has become an important component for anglers who enjoy the stealthy movement from one area to the next while in search of their favorite fish. For others, the trolling motor may be the primary means by which the boat is propelled. Regardless of its main purpose, the battery power trolling motor has many benefits which often do not come to light until the need arises and the selection of the most adequate motor will enable an angler to get the most for the benefits.

Price will most likely be the final determining factor before purchasing a trolling motor but to ensure you get the most for your money other factors should be considered before price.

First, how much power is required for efficiently maneuvering the boat. The key words here are “power” and “efficiently maneuvering”. This power in terms of trolling motors is called Thrust, where the unit of measurement is pounds (lbs). The biggest mistake made by most boat owners when purchasing a trolling motor is sacrificing thrust to save money only to discover less efficiency means greater battery power consumption. This results in less maneuverability, more frequent battery charging, and shorter motor and battery life.

The chart below illustrates an estimate of the Minimum Thrust requirement to Boat Length and Weight as recommended by the contributors of Fishing-Tips-Bait-Tackle.com. Most contributors emphasized however, they preferred to have 5 to 10 pounds more thrust than the minimum to account for wind conditions, strong current flow, or the possibility of having to use the trolling motor to return to the boat ramp in case of engine failure.

thrust chart

The second part to efficiently maneuvering relates to the required battery power. Trolling motor manufacturers understand that motors over 55 pounds of thrust do not efficiently operate off of a 12 volts battery supply.

12 volt diagram


To provide the maximum performance, most trolling motors rated over 55 pounds will require a two battery configuration that supplies 24 volts to the motor.

24 volt diagram


Those over 80 pound generally require 3 batteries which generates 36 volts.

36 volt diagram


Here is a look at a typical 24 volt system with a 12 volt engine connection.

boat wiring diagram

Another factor to consider is where the trolling motor is to be mounted. Smaller boats with no flat fishing deck or platform at the bow (forward) generally require a transom (aft) mounted motor. One big advantage here is transom mounts are less expensive that bow mounted.



Of course, the disadvantage is that you must be seated in the back to operate the motor and all require a free hand to control.

For anglers that use the trolling motor for maneuvering while fishing off the front fishing deck, a bow mounted motor is best. These have two designs for controlling the motor, either by hand or foot. The foot control has the advantage of allowing both hand to free all the time but the disadvantage of having the foot pedal and its cable clutter the deck.



The next factor to be considered is often over looked until the last and that is shaft length. Unless regularly fishing in areas where choppy waters is a concern, such as off shore, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 20 to 24 inches of shaft below your boats water line. Keep in mind that most trolling motor mounting plates allow for shaft depth adjustments so, if using a hand control, remember to consider what length will provide a comfortable reach.

These are the basic factors when considering the purchase of a trolling motor and of course like all devices in today world, add-on features are available. Some examples are fishfinder transducer, autopilot systems, wireless remote control, and battery power consumption indicator. When considering these add-ons, we suggest you talk with a reliable dealer.

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