How to Choose a Trolling Motor

An Extremely Useful Guide on How to Choose a Trolling Motor

If you have decided to get into the trolling business, first you need to set up a boat with a trolling motor. In this article, I share some essential tips on choosing a trolling motor, which can let you scour the waters silently.
WheelZine Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
The success of hunting techniques, which include fishing are all based on deception and element of surprise. Fishing is all about patience, right technique and setting up the right bait. For most of the fishing techniques, including trolling to work, the fish must take the bait offered to them. A normal gas powered motor makes too much noise that can scare away fish and make catching them impossible. Ergo, one needs a low noise motor, called a trolling motor to drive the boat silently and gently over the water surface, without scaring the fish. So if you are planning to start a trolling business, the first item on your shopping list should be the trolling motor. This Buzzle article is a short guide explaining how to choose a trolling motor effectively to catch pelagic fish like Mackerel, Salmon, Bass and Tuna.

What is a Trolling Motor?

A trolling motor is an outboard electric motor fitted on a boat. The reason why they are exclusively preferred over gasoline based motors, when it comes to trolling, is the comparatively low noise they make. These motors are used by boats engaged in freshwater as well as saltwater fishing. Powered by rechargeable batteries, like the ones used in cars, the thrust provided by these motors is low compared to conventional gasoline powered motors, but they are ideal to maintain the element of surprise while angling for fish using hook lines. They are sold as a self contained unit consisting of the electric motor mechanism, propellers, battery units and control mechanism. These motors are used as subsidiary driving mechanisms installed on either bow or stern side of the boat.

Batteries used on such boats range from 12 V, 24 V to 36 V systems. The motor may come with hand or foot control mechanism and stays submerged, as it's installed behind the propeller, in a watertight enclosure. This helps keep the motor cool. Besides the low noise during operation, another advantage of a trolling motor is that it's emission free. Other than fishing applications, trolling motors also find application in powering canoes and kayaks. Let us see what are the factors that need to be taken into consideration while choosing trolling motors.

How to Choose a Trolling Motor?

Before you go shopping for a trolling motor, you need to study your boat's dimensions and measure its weight when fully loaded with equipment and personnel. This will help you decide what size of trolling motor will be appropriate for your boat.

Thrust Specification
The most vital specification of a trolling motor is the thrust (in lbs) that it provides. It defines the maximum driving force that the motor can provide, to propel the boat in a desired direction. A general rule that is followed while choosing the thrust specification is as follows.

Measure the total weight of the boat in pounds, when it's loaded with all equipment and divide the figure by 70. The figure you arrive at, after division is roughly the thrust value that you should be looking for, in your trolling motor. For example, if the total weight of the boat is 4200 pounds, the right thrust value for the boat will be around 4200 lbs / 70 = 60 lbs.

Battery Power Specification
The second most important specification is the battery power value of the boat. According to the thrust value required by the motor, the battery specification must be determined. Generally, a 12 V battery is enough for small size boats, but longer boats might require more than 24 V of power. It is better to go for a battery with higher voltage rating.

Trolling Motor Shaft Length
The motor shaft, which has the motor attached, has to be submerged under the water line. Hence it's essential that you measure the maximum length between the bow or stern and the water line. Choosing the right shaft length will ensure that the propeller is submerged at the right depth to power the boat forward.

Hand Control or Foot Control
You may choose from among a hand controlled or foot controlled trolling motor, according to your convenience. Remote-controlled motors are also available nowadays, making it easier to navigate the boat.

Thrust and battery power are the two most important factors, that need to be taken into consideration while choosing a trolling motor. Know your boat length and weight to estimate the propulsion power it requires. This will help you choose the right size trolling motor. Decide whether a foot controlled or hand controlled mechanism will be more convenient for you and calculate the battery power you will need, for the operation, before choosing a trolling motor. Happy trolling!