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Updated: 08/14/2014 08:00:00AM

The right trolling motor

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mechanical mojo • tony towns

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There are a lot of different trolling motor options on the market today. To choose the right one, you need to answer a few questions first: How big is the vessel this motor will need to propel? Are you going to mount it on the bow or transom? The answers will help you decide how much thrust (the way trolling motor power is measured) you need and how long the shaft will need to be. How often are you going to be using it? If you use your trolling motor a lot, you might want to look at a model that offers remote operation; if not, a simple hand-controlled model will be cheaper.

Once you’ve figured out all of that, it’s time to consider brand. There are two major brands — Minn Kota and MotorGuide. Both companies make good units, and most have similar features and power. The technology of the past couple years is really amazing. Minn Kota has a feature, the i-Pilot Link System, which allows the motor to communicate with a Humminbird fishfinder (and, in some cases, a GPS sytem). This means the trolling motor has the ability to follow depth contour lines or lay down tracks you like to fish, in some ways taking the guesswork out of fishing a shoreline. This is the type of thing you have to experience and see to completely appreciate how valuable it could be when fishing. It is “set it and forget it” kind of stuff. Recently MotorGuide introduced a similar product that links with a Lowrance fishfinder; however, we have not seen it yet. The Minn Kota also has an anchor feature that actually holds the boat in place with in a 5-foot radius. It will keep the boat in one spot while you continue to fish — very cool.

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