How To Pick a Trolling Motor

As you probably know by now, a trolling motor is an electric powered outboard engine that is attached to the bow of a small boat to provide a secondary mode of propulsion.

It consists of an engine enclosed in a waterproof casing attached to a prop shaft that, when submerged, prevents the engine from overheating. A propeller is attached to the other end of the shaft.

Trolling motors offer several advantages for fishermen that larger gasoline powered engines cannot provide such as precise control of the craft and quiet running. They allow the helmsman or fisherman to maneuver their craft precisely so that an angler can cast a fishing line and bait to an exact (and often inaccessible) location.

For example, if you are fishing and notice heavy insect activity near the surface of a lake, it can indicate fish activity. With the help of a trolling motor, you can guide the boat into that area in the hope of capitalizing on the feeding frenzy.

As well as enhanced maneuverability, other advantages of trolling motors include their relatively small size compared to other types of outboard and their clean and quiet operation thanks to the electric motor. One major advantage is that trolling motors don’t have the loud rumble of a 75hp engine, and so they won’t scare off the fish on your arrival, especially when running along shallow areas of a lake or riverbed.

So, the bottom line is that trolling motors improve your ability to both control the boat and remain silent, and, as such, increases the potential of you catching a lot of fish.

Types of Trolling Motors

By picking the right trolling motor, you can ensure that your fishing expeditions are successful. You will need to know where it will be used and what type of water they plan on crossing before making a decision about which kind is best for them.

A good place to start when thinking about purchasing an electric or gas powered trolling engine would be deciding whether you want one geared toward freshwater use or saltwater use respectively. There’s more than meets the eye when choosing between these two types because each has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of versatility as well as functionality


Mode of steering


They can be controlled and steered in one of three different ways: by hand, by foot or by wireless remote. The correct steering method comes down to personal preference.


Hand Controlled trolling motors-Hand-Controlled trolling motors are motors attached next to a larger gasoline-powered outboard motor. They can also provide the primary means of propulsion for canoes and very small boats. They are equipped with an extendable tiller and twist handle for controlling thrust.


Foot controlled trolling motors-Foot controlled trolling motors clamp onto the deck at the bow and provide a foot control allowing the fisherman to steer, thrust up, down or stop. The foot pedal is attached to the bow mounted motor via cable. This configuration provides certain advantages for a freshwater or saltwater fisherman. It allows the fisherman to sit in a chair at the bow of a boat and dedicate both hands to operating the rod and tackle box while steering the boat simultaneously. Because the motor pulls from the bow versus pushing from the stern, the fisherman can often position the boat more accurately so he can cast the line in a precise location.

Minn Kota i-Pilot Link Replacement Remote
Minn Kota i-Pilot Link Replacement Remot…

only $285.97Wireless remotes-Wireless remotes are offered on higher end models and allow a fisherman to move freely on the boat and still be in a position to steer, and accelerate/decelerate. You can record a successful fishing path and replay that path later not having to worry about course correction due to currents or wind. This is particularly useful for fishermen who seek to run along bass migration paths from deep water to shallow water.

Choosing The Right Trolling Motor

As we have discussed, there are several different types of trolling motors and so it’s important to choose the one which best suits your needs. Depending on the type of fishing you do most often you will need to make a choice between a hand controlled (transom mounted) or foot controlled (bow mounted) motor, remote motor, freshwater trolling motor and saltwater trolling motor.

And, there’s more – because the size of your boat your boat size and the water characteristics (salinity, depth, open sea vs lagoon vs lake vs river etc) will also play a part in determining which trolling motor you should buy.

One golden rule though – the greater the distance between the water line to the mounting deck, the longer the required shaft length.