What Is Trolling Motor?

What Is Trolling Motor?A trolling motor is a self-contained marine propulsion unit that includes an electric motor, propeller, and control system. It is 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. Trolling motors can be electric or gasoline-powered, with electric motors being more common.

Electric trolling motors are designed around 12-volt, 24-volt, or 36-volt brushed DC electric motors. They take advantage of deep cycle batteries specifically designed for marine use. The motor itself is sealed inside a watertight compartment at the end of the shaft, allowing it to be submerged during operation without risk of overheating. Gasoline-powered trolling motors, on the other hand, are often used as secondary motors on boats with larger engines that are not efficient or quiet at trolling speeds.

When choosing a trolling motor, it is important to consider factors such as the voltage and thrust ratings, battery requirements, shaft length, and steering options to ensure optimal performance. Trolling motors are an essential tool for anglers, providing quiet and precise maneuverability on the water.

Uses of Trolling Motors

Trolling motors serve various purposes in fishing, making them an essential tool for anglers. One of the primary uses of trolling motors is for trolling for game fish. These motors provide auxiliary power, allowing anglers to maintain a consistent speed and direction while trolling. The motors can be mounted on the transom alongside the primary outboard motor or on a specialized bracket, depending on the boat’s design.

Another important use of trolling motors is for precision maneuvering. Anglers can use the motors to navigate their boats with greater control, enabling them to position their baits precisely where the fish are located. Trolling motors designed for this purpose are typically mounted in the bow of the boat, providing better maneuverability and casting accuracy.

Overall, trolling motors offer anglers flexibility and versatility on the water. Whether it’s trolling for game fish or achieving precise maneuvering, these motors enhance the fishing experience and increase the chances of success.

Trolling Motor Uses Description
Trolling for game fish Trolling motors provide auxiliary power and maintain a consistent speed for trolling.
Precision maneuvering Trolling motors enable anglers to navigate their boats with greater control and accuracy.
Auxiliary power Trolling motors serve as a secondary means of propulsion, especially at low trolling speeds.
Mounted in the bow Trolling motors designed for precision maneuvering are typically Mounted in the bow of the boat.

History of Trolling Motors

The concept of a trolling motor dates back to the late 19th century when an article in Scientific American described a portable electric propeller for boats. However, it wasn’t until 1934 that the electric trolling motor, as we know it today, was invented. O.G. Schmidt, an engineer, took a starter motor from a Ford Model A and added a flexible shaft and propeller to create the first electric trolling motor. This innovation revolutionized the fishing industry and paved the way for the development of modern trolling motors.

O.G. Schmidt’s company, Minn Kota, quickly recognized the potential of his invention and became a major manufacturer of trolling motors. Over the years, Minn Kota has continued to innovate and improve their products, offering anglers reliable and efficient trolling motors. Today, Minn Kota is one of the most trusted brands in the industry and continues to be at the forefront of trolling motor technology.

Since the invention of the electric trolling motor, its popularity has only grown. Anglers rely on trolling motors for their quiet operation and precise control, allowing them to navigate and fish in shallow waters without disturbing the fish. Whether used for recreational fishing or professional angling, trolling motors have become an essential tool for anglers across the world, enhancing their fishing experience and increasing their chances of success.

Trolling Motor Brands
Brand Year Founded
Minn Kota 1934
MotorGuide 1960
Newport Vessels 2008
Watersnake 2016

Design of Trolling Motors – Electric

Modern electric trolling motors are designed around 12-volt, 24-volt, or 36-volt brushed DC electric motors. These motors provide reliable power for trolling applications and are commonly used in fishing boats. They are designed to run quietly and efficiently, allowing anglers to navigate through the water with minimal disturbance.

The motor itself is housed in a watertight compartment at the end of the shaft. This design ensures that the motor remains protected from water intrusion and allows for submerged operation without the risk of overheating. The watertight compartment also helps to reduce noise and vibration, contributing to a more enjoyable fishing experience.

Electric trolling motors can be controlled using different methods, depending on the model. Some motors feature hand controls, allowing users to adjust the speed and direction using a grip-style handle. Others have foot controls that offer hands-free operation, ideal for anglers who need to focus on casting or reeling in their catch. There are also wireless options available, where the motor can be controlled remotely using a handheld device.

Advantages of Electric Trolling Motors:

  • Quiet operation
  • Efficient power delivery
  • Easy control options (hand, foot, wireless)
  • Watertight compartment for protection
  • Low maintenance
Voltage Motor Power Recommended Boat Size
12-volt Varies depending on model Small to medium-sized boats
24-volt Varies depending on model Medium-sized boats
36-volt Varies depending on model Large-sized boats

Design of Trolling Motors – Gasoline-powered

Gasoline-powered trolling motors offer a viable alternative to electric motors and provide a different set of features and capabilities. These motors are commonly used as secondary engines on boats equipped with larger engines that may not be efficient or quiet at trolling speeds. One of the key distinguishing features of gasoline-powered trolling motors is the manual pull start system, which allows anglers to easily start the motor with a simple pull cord.

Tiller steering is another prominent feature of gasoline-powered trolling motors. With tiller steering, the angler can control the direction of the motor by directly manipulating the tiller handle, which is typically mounted on the motor body. Additionally, these motors come equipped with throttle and gearshift controls conveniently located on the motor itself, providing the angler with easy access to adjust the speed and select the appropriate gear.

Gasoline-powered trolling motors are connected to the boat’s steering mechanism and are controlled via tiller steering. This allows for precise maneuvering and navigation on the water. These motors offer anglers the flexibility to adjust the speed and direction of the boat as needed, providing optimal control during fishing trips.

Gasoline-powered Trolling Motor Specifications

Feature Description
Power Source Gasoline
Start System Manual pull start
Steering Tiller steering
Controls Throttle and gearshift controls
Secondary Engine Used alongside larger engines

Table: Specifications of Gasoline-powered Trolling Motors.

Gasoline-powered trolling motors offer anglers a reliable and powerful option for their fishing needs. The manual pull start, tiller steering, and throttle and gearshift controls provide ease of use and control. Whether used as a primary or secondary engine, gasoline-powered trolling motors are a valuable tool for anglers seeking quiet and precise maneuverability on the water.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Trolling Motor

Choosing the right trolling motor for your boat requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are the key aspects to keep in mind:

Voltage and Thrust Ratings

When selecting a trolling motor, it’s important to pay attention to its voltage and thrust ratings. Higher voltage and thrust ratings provide more power and better performance, allowing you to navigate through various water conditions and currents with ease.

Battery Requirements

Trolling motors require deep cycle batteries separate from the boat’s starting battery. Consider the battery capacity and compatibility with the motor’s voltage requirements to ensure optimal functionality. It’s advisable to choose a battery that offers sufficient power for your desired usage time.

Shaft Length

The shaft length of the trolling motor is another crucial factor. It should be appropriate for the size and design of your boat. A shaft that is too short may not effectively reach the water, causing performance issues, while a shaft that is too long may create unnecessary drag.

Steering Options

There are different steering options available for trolling motors. Hand control models provide manual steering, foot control models allow for hands-free operation, and there are also remote control options available. Consider your preference and convenience when choosing the steering mechanism that best suits your needs.

Factor Considerations
Voltage and Thrust Ratings Higher ratings provide more power and better performance
Battery Requirements Select a deep cycle battery compatible with the motor’s voltage requirements
Shaft Length Choose an appropriate shaft length for your boat
Steering Options Consider hand control, foot control, or remote control models


When choosing a trolling motor, take into account the voltage and thrust ratings for optimal power and performance. Ensure the battery requirements are met, and consider the correct shaft length for your boat. Additionally, choose the steering option that best suits your preferences and needs. Keeping these factors in mind will help you select a trolling motor that enhances your fishing experience.


Trolling motors are an essential tool for anglers, providing quiet and precise maneuverability on the water. They are available in electric and gasoline-powered options, with various designs and features to suit different boating needs.

When choosing a trolling motor, it is important to consider factors such as power, battery requirements, shaft length, and steering options to ensure optimal performance. The power of the motor, determined by voltage and thrust ratings, directly impacts its performance. Additionally, considering the battery requirements and ensuring the appropriate shaft length for your boat is crucial for a seamless fishing experience.

Whether you are using a trolling motor for trolling for game fish or for precision maneuvering, it plays a crucial role in enhancing the fishing experience. Its quiet operation and precise control allow anglers to navigate and position their boats effectively, giving them an edge in catching fish. So, choose a trolling motor that meets your specific needs and enjoy the benefits it brings to your fishing adventures.

Richard Dodds

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