Factors Determining a Good Trolling Motor


A Trolling motor is usually used in fishing. It is a self-contained unit containing an electric motor, controllers and propeller. Trolling motor gives an auxiliary power for boat maneuver, enabling the angler to cast bait to the fish containing location. It is also used as a means of propulsion in small watercrafts and the lakes where gasoline-powered engines are prohibited.

Before purchasing and attaching a trolling motor on the boat, one must have little knowledge of these certain factors in a trolling motor;

  • Thrust applied
  • Control type
  • Type of mount
  • Length of the shaft
  • Voltage, Batteries and Chargers

These are the important basic factors and one should always know the effects of these factors as it will directly affect the fishing game or business.

Thrust applied

Thrust is the most important factor; on how much thrust is actually required. It is usually measured on pounds, i.e. lbs; which is equal to the torque in an automobile engine. The heavier and larger is the boat, the more thrust have to be applied to acquire the desired result. One must never get a trolling motor with very less thrust. One would always require a minimum thrust of 2 lbs for every 100 lbs weight of the boat.

Though boat weight is considered the most important, but boat length is also important while assuming the thrust. It should be made sure that the highest possible weight of the boat is calculated including the weight of the passengers and things boarded on the boat.

Control type

Controlling is a major factor to be considered in a trolling motor. Possibly, there are three types of controls;

  • Wireless control; in which a wireless remote control is used to control the trolling motor.
  • Hand control; which always requires a sitting position and the shaft needs to be moved manually by hand via a handle.
  • Foot pedal control; in which the motor is controlled by operating a pedal with foot. It is of two types, cable and remote.

Comparing all the three, the best is the cable foot pedal type of control, as it is hand free and has no disadvantage of losing signal unlike the wireless remote control, though it’s more expensive.

Type of Mount

Most of the trolling motors are either mounted on the bow of the boat or on the transom. It is dependent on the purpose of the motor. It is another important factor;

  • Bow mount trolling motors are used mostly. These are used usually in medium boats and large boats, having flat decks. Commonly the bow mount trolling motor pulls the boat forward and thus increasing maneuverability providing a better control. If one has small boat, bow mount is a wrong choice.
  • Transom mount trolling motors are best used in small boats that doesn’t have enough space for bow mount. It can easily be attached to the stern of the boat, with a simple clamp with no necessary drilling or bolt plates being installed. Transom mount is not good for decked boats.

Length of the Shaft

Shaft length is one basic factor to keep in mind. One would prefer a trolling motor long shaft in order to make sure that the propeller is submerged in the conditions with rough water, but it should not prevent the boat from getting into shallow areas by touching the bottom.

Voltage, Batteries and chargers

The larger is the trolling motor, the more is the voltage required. All trolling motors need 12 volt system, but if one requires higher thrust, then more volts are necessary; either 24 volt system or may be 36 volt system. For fishing whole day will need the 24 or 36 volt system.

For a 12 volt system, only one battery is required; for 24 volt system, two batteries; and for 36 volt system, three batteries are needed. Each battery contains power of 12 volts. One should always prefer a high-quality battery.

Usually there are three ways to charging a trolling motor;

  • On-board AC charger; in which power of AC is used to charge the motor and is attached to the boat and is wired permanently to the battery of the trolling motor.
  • On-board DC charger; which uses power of DC through the alternator when the battery is being re-charged by the primary engine.
  • Portable charger; which also uses AC power and is hooked to the batteries for charging and removed after the charging is complete.

Number of banks should always be taken care of. One bank charger is capable to charge only one battery, so for 24 volt system, two banks are necessary. Amperage rating should be high for faster charging.

Good or bad trolling motor depends on the choice of selection while purchasing. It would take a long time to make sure, but good choice is worth it.