Electric trolling motors provide many benefits to fishermen: They’re quieter, lighter in weight, and less expensive than gas-operated outboard motors. They save you the time and effort necessary to row or paddle to your destination. And these days they are quite powerful and don’t use as much battery power as their predecessors. But buying the right motor involves more than picking the most expensive one you can afford. Make sure you choose the right motor for your fishing by looking for the features outlined below.
1. A powerful, quiet motor
A rule of thumb is to have at least 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of gross boat weight—meaning the weight of the boat itself, plus everything and everyone in it. If you have a 1000-pound boat and you’ll have about 500 pounds of gear and people in the boat, you’ll need 30 pounds of thrust at the absolute minimum. Note that the more thrust you use, the more battery you will burn, so the bigger the battery you will need.
2. A tiller you can reach and use comfortably
It’s one thing to sit in the stern of a boat and turn the tiller this way and that on the way to your fishing spot. It’s another to be busy fishing and have to awkwardly reach back for the tiller to make minor adjustments in location or drift. Some motors have tillers that telescope out; others tilt and extend, allowing you to position the tiller where it’s easy to reach.
3. A breakaway mount
Fish like structure, and chances are you’ll be fishing around rocks or logs. But if your motor shaft encounters an obstruction, you may damage the trolling motor or even the boat’s transom on which it is mounted. A motor with a breakaway mount allows the shaft to lift out of the bracket and slide over whatever it hit.