If you’re an angler, equipping your boat with a trolling motor is one of the best decisions you can make. They eliminate the need for using an outboard and propel your vessel at a slow and steady pace. These motors got their name after a type of fishing (trolling), where fishing lines with bait are drawn behind the boat at a consistent speed.
When choosing the best trolling motor, the most important things to consider are thrust, shaft length, and construction quality. All of these play a huge role in the motor’s performance once you put it in the water. In our reviews, you’ll learn all about the best electric trolling motors available and find out how to pick the ideal one for your boat.
How To Choose A Trolling Motor – Buying Guide
The thrust is essentially the power your trolling motor has, and directly determines the ability of the motor to propel your vessel through the water. It’s usually measured in pounds, and a higher number of pounds means that it’s more powerful. While a bigger motor will give you a steadier performance, it’s also more expensive and heavier.
The longevity of your motor will depend on the materials used to make it. High-quality motors come with fiberglass shafts and plastic casings that won’t get damaged on impact. As for the hardware, make sure that it’s made of stainless steel if you’re going to use the motor in saltwater.
Trolling motors usually come with 8 fixed speeds (5 forward and 3 reverse) so that you can easily find a pace that fish like. Keep in mind that trolling motors are not designed for speed, but rather for reliable performance (their max speed is usually 5 to 8mph).
The length of the shaft greatly influences the overall performance. If your bow or transom is taller, you’ll need a longer shaft for the motor to perform well. After mounting the motor, the propeller should be submerged about 12 inches so it can do its job properly.
When it comes to the voltage of your trolling motor, there are three options – 12, 24, or 36 volts (1 to 3 batteries). Generally speaking, electric motors with more thrust require more power. Having only one battery is convenient and keeps the boat weight low, while a multi-battery system is more energy-efficient.
A trolling motor can be mounted in two positions on your boat – on the bow or the transom. The bow mount type (front of the boat) is better suited for medium and larger vessels and offers better maneuverability. On the other hand, the transom mount is more popular among trolling motor for kayaks because the person sitting inside can easily reach the control handle.
There are two basic types of controls – hand and foot controls. A hand-controlled trolling motor has a lever (handle) for steering and accelerating the boat. It’s very responsive but requires you to turn around and keep a hand on it while using it.
A foot-controlled trolling motor is more practical because it leaves your hands free for fishing or doing something else. However, it requires you to keep a pedal in the cockpit, and it isn’t as responsive. Perhaps the best solution is a handheld remote control, but these models tend to be very expensive.
In the previous paragraph, we’ve mentioned that some trolling motors for kayaks have wireless control that makes the use very convenient. One more feature we really enjoy seeing is a battery gauge so you can easily see when it’s time to recharge the battery.
Next, some trolling motors can be self-directed, meaning they can steer the vessel on their own by following the shoreline or a certain depth. Also, modern troll motors often come with digital displays that show the speed you are currently going at as well as the depth underneath you.
Q: How Do Trolling Motors Work?
Trolling motors use electricity to power the motor, which in turn moves the propeller and subsequently pushes (or pulls) the boat. The electricity comes from a battery that is connected to the motor.
The motor itself is located at the bottom end of the shaft, in a water-sealed compartment. Because it’s submerged, the chance of overheating is greatly reduced so it can work constantly for longer periods.
Q: What Are The Best Batteries For Trolling Motors?
The best trolling motor batteries are deep cycle marine batteries. These give you constant electrical discharge over long periods, which is perfect for the way a trolling motor works.
The battery directly determines the runtime of your trolling motor. While they often have the same voltage, the amperage can vary greatly. Higher ampere-hours mean more time on the water, but also extra weight that you need to carry.
Q: How Fast Will A 55 Lb Thrust Trolling Motor Go?
On average, a 55lb trolling motor can go up to 5 miles per hour. However, this is true if the conditions on the water are perfect. If it’s windy, the water is choppy, or you overload the boat, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to hit this speed.
Q: How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need?
The rule of thumb says that you need at least 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of weight on your boat. To give an example, let’s say your loaded kayak weighs 1000 pounds (with you and the gear inside).
For this calculation, the trolling motor will need at least 20lbs of thrust. Of course, this is only the minimum, and it’s recommended that you go a bit over so the motor can compensate for the conditions on the water.
Globo Surf Overview
Trolling motors eliminate the need for paddling and make fishing much easier. As you’ve had the chance to see, plenty of things go into choosing the best trolling motor. We hope that the information in our reviews was useful to you so that you can easily find the right one for your boat.
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- Crappie Bait
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Have you tried a trolling motor that made it onto our list? Which type and model did you get? How well did it perform on your vessel? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.