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Trolling motors for boats consist of controls, a propeller, and an electric boat motor. Since they're powered by batteries instead of gasoline, and are generally much smaller and less powerful, they are commonly used for navigating more quietly as to not spook the nearby fish. This is a very useful tool for anglers of all experience levels, and a very worthwhile upgrade to consider.
Per a 1985 article in Scientific American: "Briefly described, it consists of a movable tube which is hinged at the stern of the boat, much as an oar is used in sculling. The tube contains a flexible shaft formed of three coils of phosphor bronz. This tube extends down and out into the water, where it carries a propeller, and at the inboard end an electric Motor is attached, which is itself driven by batteries."
The Minn Kota brand (Named after their proximity to Minnesota and North Dakota) has been making electric trolling motors since the 1930's.
Comparing Trolling Motors to Outbound Engines
The first difference is how their power is measured. While an outbound engine is measured in horsepower, a trolling motor uses a different unit of measurement called pounds of thrust. A higher amount of pounds of thrust means that the motor is more powerful. They come in a variety of different voltages, too, and once again - a higher number means its more powerful.
It's not a matter of one or the other, you can have both. They serve different purposes. A trolling motor isn't going to send you flying through the water, and isn't practical for travelling around at anything above slow speeds.
They're popular among anglers due to being quieter and causing less of a commotion in the water.
How Much Voltage Should Your Trolling Motor Have?
It really depends, but generally speaking it's a good idea to go with as much power as you can comfortably afford, even if you won't always be using it it's nice to know it's there for when you do need that extra push.
You may see 12v models, 24 volt models, 36 volt models, and even hybrids like a 12/24 volt trolling motor. Higher voltages allow for more power to reach the propellers, creating more pounds of thrust. More is better, but there are pros and cons. You'll need to make considerations when it comes to your batteries, for example, if you have a higher powered motor. We'll discuss that more in just a moment.
How To Steer a Trolling Motor
There are a number of different ways to steer, and it comes down to which one suits you the best.
There are models that you steer by hand, whereas others use foot controls. It comes down to what's comfortable for you, and if you want to have your hands free or if that isn't really a priority.
There are also remote-control trolling motors available.
The final frontier, at least for now, are ones that actually have an autopilot feature so you don't need to steer them yourself at all!
Information on Batteries
You should have an extra battery on board for running your trolling motor, rather than having just the one battery that you use to start the engine on your boat. More than one deep-cycle battery specifically for your motor is a pretty good idea, too, at least if you're going to be out on the water for longer periods of time, or even if you plan shorter trips but you're using a high voltage battery in your motor.
We aim to carry an assortment of these motors that can meet both your budget and your needs alike. We stand by the products that we sell, and look forward to the opportunity to help you make the most of your time out on the water. Creating memorable experiences happens whether you have the latest and great gear or not, but having motors and engines that you can count on can help minimize the negative experiences. When they help you catch more fish? Even better!