Updated: October 14, 2016
Trolling Motor Reviews:Are you shopping for a trolling motor? The two big brand names are MotorGuide and Minn Kota trolling motors which are carried in most boating stores. Choosing the right fishing boat is not that easy but throw in all the differences you find in trolling motors and it can be even more difficult. Many consumers just go along with the salesmen but later find that they are disappointed in their purchase. We read dozens of reviews posted in bass fishing forums and reviewed plenty of owner comments about trolling motors on Cabelas.com and Amazon.com. The reason a trolling motor is so crucial to a successful fishing trip is because it allows you to move quietly and efficiently through the water giving you total control of the boat. Trolling motors, often referred to as electric positioning motors, use battery power, not gasoline, to maneuver and power the boat along. There are many variables like thrust, voltage of battery, bow mount or transom mount, shaft length, and foot or hand controls that go into buying a quality trolling motor.
The amount of thrust that you need to power your boat depends on things like weight of boat, # of passengers, amount of fishing gear, length of boat, etc. Generally, the more thrust the better, but there are times where too much can be a disadvantage in the water. Under normal fishing conditions, experts recommend that you go with about 36 pounds of thrust for a 15' boat and if you are on a 20 foot boat go with a 74 pounds of thrust trolling motor. If you are fishing an area with rough water or high winds then more thrust will probably be needed. When it comes to battery voltage there are 3 power systems available - 12, 24, and 36 volts. A 12 volt trolling motor only requires a single 12 volt marine battery while the 24 volt models require 2 and the 36 volt trolling motors need 3. The higher the voltage the longer you can potentially stay out on the water and achieve more thrusting power. When talking with the sales guy at our local fishing store he said that a 12 volt battery with high thrust should suffice for a 16' boat or smaller. Otherwise go with the 24v or 36v battery systems. The two types of trolling motors are transom mount or bow mount - both have their advantages and disadvantages. The bow mount trolling motors are positioned at the front of the boat and attached via a mounting bracket or plate. With a bow mount you get better maneuverability than a transom mount and superior control. The theory is that you can "pull" your boat through the water with a bow-mount easier than trying to "push" it with a transom mount which is installed on the back. Anglers generally agree that if your boat is larger than say 14' then go with a bow-mount trolling motor. The next factor to consider is foot or hand control with your trolling motor. Most fisherman will agree that a hands free experience is superior so that you can always be ready with your fishing rod and not having to switch your hands from the control of the trolling motor to the rod and reel. Foot controlled trolling motors may have a slower response than hand controlled variety and the pedal will leave more clutter on the boat deck. Hand control means you have to be up on the front of the boat (with bow mount) although you get real-time response. Talk with your fellow anglers and see what they prefer. It depends on the mount type and distance to waterline. Other features to consider are things like digital displays, battery gauges that are built in, and self-directional motors. We found some excellent trolling motor reviews on websites like Bassdozer.com, About.com in their fishing section, Basspro.com, and Sportfishingmag.com. All offered in depth articles and reviews on trolling motors from experts and avid anglers who posted them online. Amazon.com also has some excellent feedback on their website for trolling motors. You can browse the top selling trolling motors here.