How to Choose a Trolling Motor?

How to Choose a Trolling Motor?Trolling motors are essential for anglers who want to have control over their boat and easily move from spot to spot. When choosing a trolling motor, one of the most important factors to consider is the amount of thrust, which determines the power needed to move through the water. Factors such as boat weight, length, and fishing conditions should be taken into account when determining the minimum thrust required. Additionally, the voltage of the trolling motor should be considered, with higher voltages providing more power and longer run times.

Importance of Thrust to Move Through the Water

When it comes to choosing a trolling motor, one of the most critical factors to consider is the thrust. Thrust refers to the amount of power or strength needed to move a boat through the water. It is measured in pounds and plays a crucial role in determining the performance of the trolling motor.

Having sufficient thrust is essential for maneuverability, especially in adverse conditions such as wind, waves, or weedy areas. Insufficient thrust can make it difficult to navigate and control the boat effectively. To ensure optimum performance on the water, it is important to choose a trolling motor with enough thrust to meet the specific needs of your boat.

When determining the necessary power rating for your trolling motor, factors such as the size and weight of your boat, as well as any additional gear, passengers, or fishing conditions, should be taken into account. By considering these factors, you can select a trolling motor with the appropriate thrust to efficiently move through the water and have a more enjoyable boating and fishing experience.

Table: Comparison of Thrust Ratings

Trolling Motor Thrust Rating Boat Size Recommended Use
30-40 lbs Up to 14 feet Small boats, canoes, kayaks
45-55 lbs 14-16 feet Medium-sized boats, bass boats
65-80 lbs 16-20 feet Larger boats, pontoon boats
more than 80 lbs 20 feet and larger Heavy boats, boats with multiple passengers and gear

Trolling Motor Voltage & Batteries

When it comes to choosing a trolling motor, one important consideration is the voltage system and the type of batteries needed. Trolling motors are available in 12-volt, 24-volt, and 36-volt systems, each with its own advantages and considerations.

A 12-volt trolling motor is the most basic and affordable option. It requires a single 12-volt battery to operate. While it may lack the power and staying time of higher voltage systems, it can still be suitable for smaller boats and shorter excursions.

On the other hand, a 24-volt or 36-volt trolling motor offers increased power and longer run times. These systems require two or three 12-volt batteries respectively, which means extra expense and weight. However, they provide the necessary thrust and endurance for larger boats and extended fishing trips.

When selecting batteries for your trolling motor, it is crucial to choose high-quality deep-cycle marine batteries. Deep-cycle batteries are designed to provide a steady and reliable source of power over a longer period of time. They can handle the continuous discharge and recharge cycles required by trolling motors, ensuring maximum performance and longevity.

Battery Run Time

Understanding battery run time is vital for planning your fishing trips. The run time of a trolling motor will depend on various factors such as battery capacity, boat weight, speed settings, and environmental conditions. It’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations to estimate the run time of your trolling motor with the chosen battery setup.

Keep in mind that battery run time can be affected by factors like wind, current, and water temperature. It’s always a good idea to have a spare battery on board or to carry a portable battery charger to ensure you won’t be stranded in the middle of the water with a depleted battery.

Trolling Motor Voltage Number of Batteries Required
12-volt 1
24-volt 2
36-volt 3

Choosing the right trolling motor voltage and battery setup will ensure you have the necessary power and run time for your fishing adventures. Assess the size and weight of your boat, the duration of your trips, and the fishing conditions you expect to encounter to make an informed decision. Remember to invest in quality batteries to maximize the performance and longevity of your trolling motor system.

Bow Mount vs. Transom Mount Trolling Motor: Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing a trolling motor for your boat, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to opt for a bow mount or a transom mount. Both types of motors have their advantages and are suited to different types of boats and fishing styles. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision and ensure the best maneuverability on the water.

Bow Mount Trolling Motor

  • Installed at the front of the boat
  • Superior maneuverability and control
  • Ideal for larger boats
  • Makes it easier to navigate through obstacles and tight spaces
  • Allows for precise boat positioning and adjustments

Transom Mount Trolling Motor

  • Clamped onto the stern of the boat
  • Suitable for smaller boats, dinghies, and canoes
  • Works well for general positioning and trolling
  • Better suited for open water and less crowded areas
  • Offers simplified installation and removal

When deciding between a bow mount and a transom mount trolling motor, consider the size and design of your boat, as well as your fishing preferences. If you have a larger boat and require precise maneuverability, a bow mount motor may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you have a smaller boat and prioritize ease of installation and general positioning, a transom mount motor may be more suitable.

Ultimately, the decision between a bow mount and a transom mount trolling motor should be based on your specific boating needs and fishing style. To make the most informed decision, take into account factors such as the size of your boat, the type of water you’ll be fishing in, and the level of control and maneuverability you desire. With the right motor, you’ll be able to navigate the waters with confidence and enjoy a more enjoyable fishing experience.

Bow Mount Trolling Motor Transom Mount Trolling Motor
Installation Front of the boat Stern of the boat
Maneuverability Superior Good
Suitability Larger boats Smaller boats, dinghies, canoes
Precise Positioning Yes No
Ease of Installation More complex Simple

Do You Choose a Hand or Foot Control Trolling Motor?

When deciding between a hand control or foot control trolling motor, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and desired maneuverability. Both options offer their own advantages and can enhance your fishing experience.

Hand Control Trolling Motor:

A hand control trolling motor allows for precise control over your boat’s movement. With a simple twist of the handle, you can adjust the speed and direction of the motor. This type of control is intuitive and easy to use, making it a popular choice among anglers. It also provides a hands-on experience, allowing you to feel connected to the motor and the water.

One of the key benefits of a hand control trolling motor is its ability to provide immediate and precise adjustments. This can be particularly useful when navigating through tight spaces or fishing in areas with a lot of cover. The hand control design also eliminates the need for a foot pedal, which some anglers find cumbersome or restrictive.

Foot Control Trolling Motor:

If you prefer a hands-free fishing experience, a foot control trolling motor might be the right choice for you. With a foot pedal, you can control the speed and direction of the motor using your feet, while keeping your hands free to focus on fishing. This allows for greater mobility and versatility on the water.

Foot control trolling motors are especially useful when you need to make frequent adjustments or navigate through changing fishing conditions. By using your feet to control the motor, you can quickly respond to changes in wind direction, water depth, or fishing patterns. This type of control can also reduce fatigue during long days on the water, as it takes the strain off your arms and hands.

Choosing the Right Control Method:

To determine which control method is best for you, it is recommended to try both hand control and foot control trolling motors before making a decision. Consider factors such as comfort, ease of use, and the specific fishing scenarios you commonly encounter. Practice on the water is essential to become familiar with the chosen motor and maximize its benefits. Ultimately, the control method that feels most natural and convenient to you will greatly enhance your overall fishing experience.

Hand Control Trolling Motor Foot Control Trolling Motor
Precise control over boat’s movement Hands-free fishing experience
Immediate and precise adjustments Quick response to changing fishing conditions
Intuitive and easy to use Reduced fatigue during long fishing trips
No foot pedal required Greater mobility and versatility


Choosing the right trolling motor is essential for anglers who want to have control and maneuverability on the water. Consider the amount of thrust required, taking into account factors such as boat weight, length, and fishing conditions. The voltage of the trolling motor is also important, with higher voltages providing more power and longer run times. Whether you opt for a bow mount or transom mount trolling motor depends on the size and design of your boat as well as personal preference.

When deciding between hand control and foot control models, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each. Hand control models offer precise control and ease of use, while foot control models provide a hands-free fishing experience. It’s recommended to test both and choose the one that feels most comfortable and convenient for you. Practice on the water to become familiar with your chosen motor and maximize its benefits.

To ensure the right trolling motor for your needs, shop around, conduct research, and test different models. Consider additional features like built-in battery gauges and digital displays, and choose high-quality batteries for maximum power and longevity. Remember, buying the biggest motor you can afford, within reason, is often a wise choice. By following these guidelines and considering all the necessary factors, you can confidently choose the right trolling motor for an enhanced boating experience.

Richard Dodds

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