What Does a Trolling Motor Do?

What Does a Trolling Motor Do?A trolling motor is a self-contained marine propulsion unit that includes an electric motor, propeller, and control system. It is typically affixed to an angler’s boat, either at the bow or stern. The main function of trolling motors is to keep the boat running at a consistent, low speed suitable for trolling. They offer enhanced maneuverability and fishability, allowing anglers to move and maneuver their boats quietly without starting the loud outboard engine. Trolling motors also enable boats to stay in one spot when fighting against current or wind without deploying a physical anchor. They can be controlled via hand, foot pedal, or remote control.

Types of Trolling Motors

Trolling motors come in different types, each offering unique features and advantages to enhance your boating experience. Whether you prefer transom-mount, tiller steering, foot pedal steering, or bow-mounted trolling motors, there is a suitable option for every angler’s needs.

Transom-Mount Trolling Motors

Transom-mount trolling motors are designed to be mounted at the back of the boat, specifically on the transom. They are typically equipped with tiller steering, which allows for easy control and maneuverability. These motors are straightforward to install and remove, making them a popular choice for anglers who value convenience.

Bow-Mounted Trolling Motors

Bow-mounted trolling motors are positioned at the front of the boat, offering better precision and control. They are commonly used by anglers who prefer to navigate and fish from the bow. Bow-mounted motors often require a folding mounting bracket on the bow and can be controlled either by hand or foot pedals.

GPS-Controlled Trolling Motors

For anglers looking for advanced features and precise navigation, GPS-controlled trolling motors are an excellent choice. These motors use GPS technology to provide spot-lock functionality, allowing you to hold your position with ease. Additionally, they offer auto-pilot features, which enable you to navigate in a specific direction without manual input. These motors are typically preferred by experienced anglers who value convenience and precision.

Power and Batteries for Trolling Motors

When it comes to trolling motors, power and batteries are crucial factors to consider. The right power and battery setup can greatly enhance the performance and longevity of your trolling motor, ensuring a smooth and efficient boating experience.


One of the key considerations when choosing a trolling motor is voltage. Trolling motors are available in different voltage configurations, including 12-volt, 24-volt, and 36-volt options. The voltage determines the power output of the electric motor, which directly affects the performance of the trolling motor. Higher voltage motors generate more power at the propeller, resulting in increased thrust and stronger performance. It’s recommended to choose the highest voltage trolling motor that your boat can accommodate for optimal performance.

Pounds of Thrust

Another important aspect to consider is the pounds of thrust of the trolling motor. Thrust refers to the amount of force produced by the motor to propel the boat through the water. The higher the pounds of thrust, the more powerful the trolling motor. Choosing a trolling motor with a higher thrust rating ensures better maneuverability, especially in challenging conditions such as strong currents or windy environments.

Deep Cycle Batteries

Trolling motors require electricity to operate, and deep cycle batteries are the preferred power source. Deep cycle batteries are designed to provide a steady and sustained output of power over an extended period. They are built to withstand deep discharges and recharges without damaging the battery. It’s important to have dedicated deep cycle batteries for your trolling motor to avoid draining the starting battery, which is used for other boat functions. Higher voltage trolling motors and extended hours of use may require multiple deep-cycle batteries to ensure sufficient power for your boating needs.

Voltage Pounds of Thrust Recommended Battery Setup
12V 30-55 lbs Single 12V deep cycle battery
24V 55-80 lbs Two 12V deep cycle batteries connected in series
36V 80+ lbs Three 12V deep cycle batteries connected in series or a single 36V lithium battery

Choosing the right power and battery setup for your trolling motor is essential for maximizing its performance and ensuring a long-lasting boating experience. Consider the voltage, pounds of thrust, and select deep cycle batteries that can provide the required power for your specific needs. By investing in the right power and battery setup, you can enjoy a reliable and efficient trolling motor that enhances your boating adventures.

Shaft Length and Steering Options

Trolling motors offer various shaft lengths and steering options to cater to different boating needs. The length of the trolling motor’s shaft is an important consideration as it determines how effectively the motor is immersed in the water. Choosing the correct shaft length ensures optimal performance and maneuverability.

There are three common steering options available for trolling motors: tiller handle, foot pedal, and remote control. Tiller handle steering is a traditional method where the motor is controlled manually using a handle. This type of steering is often found in transom-mount motors and provides simplicity and ease of use.

Foot pedal steering, on the other hand, offers a hands-free experience, allowing anglers to control the trolling motor’s speed and direction with their feet. This type of steering is typically seen in bow-mounted motors and is favored by anglers who want to have more control over their boat while keeping their hands free for fishing.

For those who prefer a more advanced and convenient approach, remote control steering is an excellent choice. With a wireless device such as a foot pedal or key-fob transmitter, anglers can effortlessly control the trolling motor from a distance. This option provides enhanced flexibility and convenience, allowing anglers to navigate their boat with precision.

Steering Option Features
Tiller Handle Manual control using a handle
Foot Pedal Hands-free control with speed and direction adjustment
Remote Control Wireless control from a distance


Trolling motors play a vital role in enhancing the boating experience for anglers. With their ability to provide improved maneuverability and fishability, these motors have become indispensable tools for any fishing enthusiast. The convenience of spot-lock and autopilot features, combined with GPS control, allows for precise navigation and fishing, making trolling motors a must-have for anglers.

Whether you’re using a transom-mount motor for smaller boats or a bow-mounted motor for enhanced control, trolling motors offer significant benefits. They enable anglers to move their boats quietly and efficiently, ensuring they can reach prime fishing spots without disturbing the surrounding environment. The maneuverability provided by trolling motors allows for better control in tight spaces and around underwater structures, leading to a more successful fishing experience.

By utilizing the power of batteries and the strength of their thrust, trolling motors provide the necessary propulsion for trolling and maintaining position. This ensures that anglers can stay in the ideal fishing spots for longer periods, increasing their chances of a successful catch. Overall, trolling motors greatly enhance the boating experience by providing anglers with the tools they need to navigate and fish with precision and ease.

Richard Dodds

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