The Basics of Trolling Motors

Trolling is a fishing technique that is usually practiced by more experienced fishermen. But, if you are planning to try this technique then the most basic requirement is that you need to have bought a boat of some kind – and almost any one will do even a dinghy.

Once you have decided on the kind of craft you need, you may then want to enhance its capabilities by adding equipment such as fish finders, rod holders and, of course, a trolling motor. Although this equipment can be pricey, it can be very helpful and significantly increase your catch and, therefore, presumably enhance your enjoyment of the sport.

A trolling motor helps you to position your boat in the best fishing spots and lets you get the best angle to cast. Whats more, it can do this as quietly as possible to boost your chance of catching more fish.

History of Trolling Motors

The first trolling motors were launched (no pun intended) around 1934 by O.G. Schmidt and were described as a portable battery-operated motor with propeller. He is credited with having made the made the first electric trolling motor by modifying a starter motor.

The Main Component Parts

Trolling motors have three major components: the controller, the propeller and the actual motor itself. Ever model has these 3 basic components regardless of the actual design or feature set of the trolling motor in question. The differences in design are based on several factors. One of these factors is where the trolling motors will be mounted and the type of controller is yet another factor.

So, lets take a closer look at each one.

A. The Mounting Position


A trolling motor is usually mounted either at the bow or stern of a boat. For non-boaters, the bow is the boat’s front portion (the pointy bit !) and the stern is at the rear. Mounting a trolling motor on the transom means the same thing as installing it on the stern.

bow mounted trolling motor
Bow Mounted Trolling Motor



B. The Power Source


Most trolling motors use battery power although it is possible to find diesel or gas powered variants. Battery-operated trolling motors are further classified based on the voltage of the battery (12 volts, 24 volts and 36 volts). The low-power 12-volt batteries are the least expensive and, its also worth pointing out that the 24-volt and 36-volt batteries are more efficient and durable.



C. Control


Depending on the type of controller, trolling motors are also classified as foot-controlled, hand-controlled and remote controlled (wireless).

Foot controlled motors use a pedal attached to a foot switch while hand controlled uses a handle attached to the upper body of the motor. The advantage of foot-controlled trolling motors is that you can hold your rod and control the boat at the same time. 

Hand-controlled trolling motors, on the other hand (sorry!), are easier to operate than foot-controlled ones.

Wireless trolling motors are the most expensive type as they require extra hardware but are great for larger boats as they can be controlled from the bridge or, indeed, anywhere on the boat without you needing to be next to the motor.

Minn Kota Endura C2 40 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor (36" Shaft)
  • 36" Shaft, 12v, 40 lbs Thrust
  • Lever Lock Bracket: This solid 10-position bracket features a quick-release lever lock and reinforced composite material that resists flexing, warping, and UV damage
  • Telescoping Tiller: Get easy, comfortable, intuitive operation of your trolling motor with the six-inch telescoping tiller
  • 6 Fwd/3 Rev Speed Settings: Five speed settings for forward and three speed settings for reverse
  • Power Prop: For 3-1/4" motor diameters, this prop delivers extra power to push throw heavy vegetation. Includes prop pin, nut and washer

Suffice to say that each has it’s own advantage for your personal fishing preference.