One of the most valuable pieces of equipment on any boat is an electric trolling motor. Although they can be used to troll with, their main purpose is for boat positioning, or for working structure.
When looking to buy an electric trolling motor, there are a few things to consider. The first of which is size/power. You will want to ensure that your electric trolling motor is not undersized… oversized in this case would be better.
Keep in mind that fibreglass boats are heavier than aluminum. Thus on a typical 17 ½ foot fibreglass boat, an electric motor with 60 lbs of thrust (or more) would be ideal – but for a 17 ½ foot aluminum boat, 50 lbs of thrust (or more) would do.
Some other factors to consider when deciding on which size electric motor would be best, would be to consider the type of fishing you will be doing. If you are using your electric motor in river conditions with heavy current – or in tidal conditions or heavy wind conditions, you will want a strong electric motor in order to fight the current.
Another very important feature to consider is the length of your shaft on your electric trolling motor. If your shaft length is to short, as soon as you encounter some wind and wavy conditions, your prop will be constantly bouncing in and out of the water, with each wave. (assuming your electric motor is a bow mount)
Not only is this bad for your electric motor (i.e. it is not recommended that your electric motor be operated out of water) but you will also be loosing boat control.
An electric motor with a longer shaft may be more cumbersome to lift & retrieve, but it sure does have many advantages.
How high the bow of your boat will be above water, must also be taken into account. The bow of a bass boat will sit very close to the water, so a shorter shaft size on your electric motor may be o.k.
Where as a “deep V” boat, like a walleye boat, will sit higher on the water and a long shafted electric trolling motor is almost essential.
If you have a choice between a 24 volt and 12 volt electric trolling motor, the edge should always go to the 24 volt model.
The difference between the 2 models is that the 12 volt model will use 1 deep cycle battery, whereas the 24 volt model will use 2 deep cycle batteries.
The biggest advantage of a 24 volt electric trolling motor besides offering more power, is the simple fact that it will last at least twice as long.
There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of electric power half way through your day of fishing – especially if you are fishing a tournament!
I’ll have more tips to share with you in part 2, so until next time, good luck and good fishing!