CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION What is a trolling motor?


What is a trolling motor?

Trolling refers to moving a boat slowly on the water at a very slow speed. It has a baited line trailing from behind the boat. It lets the bait to swiftly swim through the water, which makes it appear more lifelike and real.

A small trolling motor is powered with electricity. While a large boat requires engines powered with gas for trolling.

A trolling motor is a unit that contains an electric motor, controls and propeller. All of these are fixed to the angler’s boat, at the stern or bow. An outboard powered by gasoline is used for trolling. If it is not the major source of propulsion, then it is often referred as a trolling motor. When a boat is operated in water, the trolling motor is lifted. As a result the water drag is reduced. 

The power of the electric motors comes from the 24 volt and 12 volt batteries. Often 36 volt batteries are also used. There is a choice among the mount on the front and back of the trolling motors. The front mount motor offers more maneuverability and control. It gives the advantage to the front wheel car driver.

Trolling motors are widely available in different control models. There is a choice in both foot and hand control models. The hand control is more responsive. There are no pedals or cables. Therefore; it clears up a lot of space on the boat. On the hand, the foot control models make the hands free for fishing. It helps to troll more effectively and smoothly. The choice between the two control models is up to the user. Whatever; suits you best, to move through the water quietly.

Trolling motor helps to catch more fish

A number of times, many large boats scare fishes present in the water. All the fishes distance themselves from the boat. This happens because of large motor boats. In such situations, there are special kinds of motors called the trolling motors. These outboard motors are quiet and small in size. Trolling motors let the boat move on the water silently and slowly without scaring the fishes away.

The saltwater trolling motor or electric power of the trolling motor limits the output of the noise on the boat. The virtual silence of the boat becomes apparent when the boat floats through quiet waters. However; there is a trade off. The trolling motors provide less power as compared to gas powered motors. Therefore; it is often difficult to move through water with small trolling motors.

 The majority of the experts believe that salt water trolling motor is the most powerful motor to purchase. It is also within a budget.

Main Gears of purchasing a Trolling Motor

There are six main areas which are specifically considered while purchasing freshwater trolling motor.

Shaft or Tube Length

The motor’s tube must be completely submerged to at least one foot in the water. If the motor is attached to the bow and the boat is moving through the waves, then it is suggested that the prop must be submerged in water. It helps to keep the boat under control. The long shaft interferes with the number of things on the boat in a case if the shaft is too long on the boat. The rod holders, front seat and electronics are impeded when the motor is stowed on the board.

To get the shaft’s length right, you can refer to the manufacturer sale’s catalogue for a better idea. Another way to measure the length of the shaft is by measuring a boat of the same size. It will give a much clearer idea about the length of the motor for installation.


When you purchase a trolling motor, make sure that the unit has the highest output. It is better to keep an extra power when it is not required in order to use this extra power when there is a need.In general, every 400 pounds of the weight of the boat need 5 pounds of thrust from the motor in order to make it move.



A trolling motor uses electricity to generate power. The electricity comes from these batteries. The boat’s engine starts with a plan for a single deep cycle battery for your trolling motor.

You should not use the same battery to provide power to the motor and start the engine. What happens if you use the same batteries?  The trolling motors will drain all the power of the battery after a long day of fishing. When the engine will turn back on again, it will not start because the battery will be all drained.

If you use a trolling motor with higher voltage or if you use the motor for hours, you should consider multiple deep- cycle batteries to feed the motor’s electrical appetite.



Most of the electric motors are available in 12 to 24 volts. It depends on how many 12 volt batteries are wired in a series to get the desired voltage. The voltage depends on the size of the motor. One battery of 12 volts is equal to 12 volts. Two batteries of 12 volts are equal to 24 volts.

The higher the voltage, the more power you can use through the motor. The running time of the batteries increases with the voltage of the batteries.

The 12 volt batteries are wired by attaching the positive red wire from the motor to the positive post of the battery. The negative end of the black wire connects to the negative post of the battery.

However; the positive red wire of the 24 volt system is attached to the positive post of the 1st battery. The black negative wire is attached to the negative post of the 2nd battery. A short jumper wire is also attached between the 1st and 2nd battery. The wire connection flows from the negative end of the 1st battery to the positive end of the 2nd battery.

Pounds of Thrust

Pounds of thrust are associated with the amount of power you will get from the electric motor. The power can either pull or push the boat forward, through the water. While considering the pounds of thrust, the wind, current and the boat’s weight are all important elements to look into. All these elements will determine the pounds of thrust required in the fishing situation.

The available voltage will determine the pounds of thrust as it is directly related to the amount of voltage. Systems having 12 volts need approximately 55 lb of thrust and the system with 24volts requires a thrust of 80 lb, approximately. The systems with 24 volts develop a thrust of about 105 lb.

If the boat is 14’ to 16’ lighter, the thrust of 40 to 50# will work perfectly.  If the fishing boat is 14’ to 16’ heavier than the thrust will be 20 to 80#. The boats over 18’ require a thrust above 105#.

The amount of space on the boat is considered in order to store the batteries on the boat. Some large fishing boats use about 5 batteries of 12 volts for the electric motors and other electronics as well.

Mounting the motor

Stern Mount

The electric motor must be mounted on the back of the boat when it is used as a primary or trolling motor. It will enable you to control the motor by your hand. Such models are known as transom model. They are controlled and can run very easily like an outboard motor.

Bow Mount

Most of the applications in fishing involve mounting the motor to the bow. It is more efficient and simpler to pull the boat on the water and then push it as well. It provides a maximum control of the boat. Over steering is minimized and underwater obstacles (e.g. rocks and stumps) are easily seen when fishing from the boat’s front. It is easy to control the boat when you pull rather than pushing it.



There are three methods to control the boat:

  • Hand control
  • Cable steering
  • Power drive


  1. 1.     Hand Control

Hand control gives the advantage to steer and speed change. It helps to respond to the objects present in water. The hand control only allows the motor to run from the boat only. The shaft needs to be longer to reach the handle control without bending.

  1. 2.     Cable Control

Cable control provides faster steering. The bracket for mounting is built to withhold from running into underwater objects. The motor relies on mechanical steering rather than electrical steering. As a result; there are less service issues. It is best for fishing where you can catch the fish from the boat’s front. However; the cable control has some limitations. It only allows the control of the motor when the foot pedal is mounted. 

  1. 3.     Power Drives

These models are controlled by foot pedal. The foot pedals are connected to the trolling motor by a cord. The cord is flexible and thus reaches to all the places on the boat. It allows you to control all the functions of the trolling motor.

The power drives are very popular in situations when there is a need to control the boat from any part of the boat. It helps to catch larger fishes in various fishing situations.