Lots of options with trolling motors

Over the past 30 years, one piece of boating equipment has become a staple for serious anglers: trolling motors.
Mounted on either the bow or the stern of the boat, trolling motors provide anglers with a silent motor that allows them to sneak up on fish and have much better boat control in many situations than they would have with a regular gas motor.
People ask me about trolling motors all the time, with frequent questions being what size do I need for my boat, should I get a bow- or rear-mounted model, and how long of a shaft do I need?
Trolling motors have advanced significantly over the years. Early models ran on 12-volt systems with 28- or 36-pound thrust power. Today, serious anglers run 24- or 36-volt systems that run off two or three deep cycle batteries.
The Minn Kota Fortrex motor on the front of my boat has 101 pounds of thrust, has a 62” shaft, and runs on a 36-volt system. I honestly can tell you that I can hold my boat in any kind of weather conditions and I have not had dead batteries in years because of the top-notch Optima D31 batteries I use.
On the rear of my boat I have a Minn Kota Vantage motor that runs like a tiller motor. It has 101 pounds of thrust, as well.
I use my bow-mount motor for most fishing situations I’m faced with. Anytime you are casting or working a section of shoreline, a bow-mounted motor allows you to easily follow the contour of shoreline and manoeuvre the boat around.
If I am guiding or fishing for walleyes on a hump in the middle of the lake, where we are fishing vertically under the boat, then I’ll use the stern-mounted motor because it is very effective at holding the boat in one position.
I also have Wave Wackers on the rear of my boat to stop waves from crashing over the back of the boat in rough conditions.
When it comes to choosing a motor for your boat, you always should try to buy the most powerful one you can afford.
Though not all boats are set up to handle a 36-volt system, which involves three batteries, it is the way to go if you are spending long days on the water in all types of conditions.
Although the raw power is not all that much greater than a 24-volt motor, you just have a lot more juice to last you for a long day with a 36-volt system.
The general rule is boats under 16 feet can run a 12-volt system, which runs on one battery. Boats between 16 and 19 feet should use a 24-volt system while boats 20 feet and greater should use a 36-volt system.
Since they come in a variety of lengths, you need to match the length of the motor to the style of boat you have. Low-profile bass boats, for instance, can get away with 42” models.
Larger profile, mid-sized boats should look at 52” models while the high-sided walleye-style boats should consider having 62” models.
I run a 62” model on my boat because I want to have the long shaft in case I’m fishing in windy conditions with big waves so that my motor is not bouncing out of the water.
One of the most recent advancements in technology that has come along related to trolling motors has been the Minn Kota i-Pilot with its spot-lock function.
Some of the Minn Kota bow-mount models have a GPS incorporated into them that allows anglers to hit a button on a remote and it will hold the boat in one spot—regardless of the weather conditions.
For a guide or angler who brings out several people on a trip and has to help with netting fish, taking fish off the hook, or baiting hooks (chores that take them away from the motor), this is a great function.
They also can be set up to troll along a shoreline and keep the boat in one depth. So if the walleyes are in 20 feet of water along a shoreline, you can set the motor to troll at a specific speed and stay in 20 feet of water, which is pretty neat.
A good trolling motor will make your fishing experiences more enjoyable and it will help you catch more fish.
So if it’s time to look for a new one, you probably can find some good end-of-the-season sales over the next couple of months.