Whether it is the primary or secondary form of propulsion on an angler’s boat, a trolling motor is a self-contained unit that can be lifted up out of the water when not in use. Sometimes it’s attached to the bow and sometimes to the stern. It has several different uses. When used as a secondary form of propulsion, it’s used for trolling for game fish and usually mounted on the transom next to the primary motor. It allows for more precise positioning of the boat so that the person fishing can cast the bait where the fish are located
Trolling motors are generally designed with a DC electric motor that uses 12-volt deep cycle batteries for power. The motors are sealed into a watertight container at the end of a shaft and are submerged when operating. Tiller steering is most common, with speed control normally located on the top of the unit. Trolling motors controlled by hand attach to the boat with clamps.
For smaller watercraft like canoes and kayaks, trolling motors may be used as a primary source of automatic propulsion. Minn Kota, a company based in Racine, Wisconsin, is one brand of trolling motors. The company makes both fresh water and salt water motors in over a dozen different models, all of which have engine shafts made of composite materials designed for long wear. Minn Kota trolling motors for salt water are made with materials that resist salt water corrosion.
Minn Kota also makes the i-Pilot, which is a GPS-based control system for some of its trolling motors. It utilizes GPS technology for navigation and positioning that doesn’t require hands-on operation. Available on certain Terrova and Riptide models, it has cruise control and a feature that allows fishermen to record a fishing track of up to two miles and store it in memory so that it can be precisely retraced on a later fishing trip.
The Riptide series of trolling motors are saltwater trolling motors made for the harsh conditions of saltwater immersion. Any metal-on-metal interfaces feature composite bushings for isolation, which reduces wear and makes the motor very quiet. The tiller steering system is fully customizable in terms of tilt angle and length. And they offer the Lift-Assist gas-charged spring which is built-in with the bow mount, which makes it easier to lift the motor in and out of the water.
The Traxxis is a transom-mounted freshwater motor from Minn Kota, with features designed to assist in deploying, stowing, steering, and depth adjustment. Transom motors have somewhat of a reputation for being difficult to operate, but the Traxxis is designed for one-hand stowing with no push buttons or release levers. Like the Riptide models, the tiller steering is customizable in terms of handle angle and length. It also has a cam lock depth adjustment which is unlike the more typical tension knob depth control. It offers the Traxxis’ depth to be fixed precisely, with no slipping.
A high quality trolling motor like those made by Minn Kota can make the difference between a successful day on the water and a disappointing one. By allowing fishermen to accurately and quietly maneuver to where the fish are, the motors make angling a more precise and enjoyable pastime.