A trolling motor helps a lot when fishing for pike, perch, asp, approaching them as gently as possible without making excess waves, unlike when you’re rowing with the oars. A gas powered outboard engine… Let’s just say it’s not good for that and leave it at that.
An inflatable boat in combination with an electric motor is ideal for lakes, ponds, bays, small rivers. You save gas, and you get easy maintenance as well.
However, to get the most out of your trolling motor, you need the best one, one that suits your needs best.
Top 5 Best Trolling Motors in 2019
1Newport Vessels Motor — Most Silent Motor
Free hands are quite crucial for an angler. That said, a silent trolling motor is just as important, especially if you are planning to start fishing as soon as you arrive at your destination. And that is what this Newport Vessels Motor can give you. It has 55 pounds of thrust, which is more than enough for most boats, and it’s a silent motor on top of that
The engine is equipped with a 30-inch adjustable fiberglass shaft and a nylon transom mount. Thanks to that, it is incredibly lightweight and efficient, although it’s not as durable as its counterparts made of metals. If you are worried about overheating there is no reason to be worried at all, after all, this moto is perfectly protected from overheating.
It has 8 forward speeds and three reverse speeds. That’s average, but it’s not a bad thing at all.
- Silent. A silent motor even among electric motors
- Adjustable fiberglass shaft. You can use this motor at any depth.
- LED battery meter. Even if you don’t have any sort of indicator on your battery, the Newport Motor’s got your back.
- Corrosion resistant. Seawater compatible motor
- The head and handle are not water resistant. Submerging most motors entirely is a bad idea generally. With this motor, heavy rain could render it unusable
2Minn Kota Endura Motor — Best Overall
The very name of the brand says a lot to those who’ve heard about it. Indeed, Minn Kota is one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to trolling motors. Naturally, a motor made by them can’t be bad, right?
And it’s not. Reasonably powerful, responsive, and durable, the Minn Kota Endura Motor is one of the best freshwater motors. Controlling the depth of the propeller has never been easier. While there are many trolling motors with an adjustable shaft, the Minn Kota motor made it even simpler. All you have to do is push buttons, and the Endura motor will do the rest for you.
You don’t have to rotate the tiller all the way around to make the boat take a sharp turn. The Endura motor is super responsive. All it takes is 45 degree to reverse the propeller fully.
The shaft is hard to break. Thanks to the mounting system, the first thing to break in the event of an impact is the system itself. The shaft and the motor itself won’t be damaged, even if you hit some underwater obstacle at full speed. Combined with the sheer durability of the composite shaft and its flexibility, the Minn Kota once again proves they make the best trolling motors.
- Responsive tiller. You just have to turn it slightly for the shaft to rotate 180 degrees
- Adjustable shaft. You don’t have to re-mount anything. Just push a few buttons, and you’re done
- Corrosion resistant. The shaft is made of durable composite material that is corrosion resistant
- Break-away mounting systems. Little mishaps are hard to avoid when the pond or lake is littered with sunken tres and the like. If you hit the bottom or something else, the first thing to break is the mounting system, not the motor.
- For all of this motor’s benefits, they don’t come in cheap
3Goplus Motor — Most Powerful Trolling Motor
Electric trolling motors are not known for their power. After all, an electric motor powered by a 100AH battery—at best—can only perform so good. Any gas-powered engine has better torque and thrust. If you disregard the disadvantages, there’s nothing better than a traditional 4-stroke outboard motor that runs on gas when it comes to the horsepower.
However, this electric motor is at least two times as powerful as most other trolling motors, and even three times as powerful as the less powerful motors. 86 lbs of thrust surely sound like something you’d like to have onboard. I know I would.
You get a battery indicator, which is not a must-have, but it’s something that you would have rather than not. The telescopic tiller is also a nice feature, but these days, it’s more of an industry standard.
All in all, it’s a powerful trolling motor. Too bad it’s a power hog.
- Thrust. This motor is more powerful than many others.
- LED battery indicator. It always pleasant when you get to see how much energy you have left.
- Powerhog. This trolling motor is good, but it’s just as good at draining the battery dry
4Trophy Strike Motor — Best Bang for the Buck
If you need a reliable trolling motor between 36 and 60 lbs of thrust, why not try your luck with the Trophy Strike? I said ‘luck,’ but with how reliable it is, it’s more of a certainty.
It’s a typical 8-speed trolling motor with a 2-blade propeller. It also comes with a battery indicator and an adjustable 10-position tilt.
Basically, you get all the sweet stuff you would expect from the likes of Minn Kota, except a few minor features, but you pay a lot less than you’d have to otherwise.
Is this the best trolling motor? No, but it’s one of such motors. And if you’re looking for a good engine that is also inexpensive, this is it.
- LED battery indicator. Something you that you will enjoy.
- Reliable. A powerful motor is nice to have, but not if it breaks down. The Trophy Strike motor won’t fail you like that.
- Cheap. It's good enough, but it's not too expensive despite its other features.
- Not weed resistant. The propeller is vulnerable to aquatic vegetation. If you don’t watch where you go, you risk getting stuck.
5MotorGuide X3 Bow Mount — Best Freshwater Motors
As usual, it is now time for something less convenient. Controlling the trolling motor with a single hand is good and all, however, as an angler, you need your hands to be free to get that trophy fish. The X3 engine is pedal-controlled. All you have to do is to push your feet like you would hit the floor in your car, and the motor will respond with a burst of speed.
You get foot control, stainless steel mount, and even directional indicator. You don’t have to steer to keep the boat on the course. The X3 motor is also quiet.
All in all, it’s a perfect trolling motor, but it’s not protected from seawater well enough.
- Foot-control. With the X3, the words 'hands-free' have never rung truer.
- Silent. It’s one of the most silent electric trolling motors, even compared to other trolling motors.
- Durable. With stainless steel used in the construction of this motor, there’s no way it could be not durable enough.
Advantages of Electric MotorsAlthough some electric motors are better than others, all of them share the same advantages most of the time. Here, you can find some of the most prominent benefits of an electric trolling motor, regardless of the manufacturer or the exact parameters. As long as the motor is okay, it’s going to have these features.
- Low noise. Compared to combustion engines, at any rate. There are no miniature explosions, after all.
- Smooth operation. It’s an entirely natural feature that originates from the utterly different principle of work. There is no sophisticated mechanical transmission that the motor will have to rely on. That is why electric motors are smooth in any mode and provide stable speed, which is very useful when the water is moving at a minimum speed.
- Weight. Thanks to less complicated transmission, production of electric motors utilize fewer parts, and that is why such engines can boast smaller weight. That weight facilitates transporting the watercraft.
- Reliability. The life cycle of an electric motor is longer than that of a combustion engine due to fewer parts. There is less wear, it’s that simple.
- Easy setup. Electric models are very straightforward. They allow you to control the boat easily.
- Environmental friendliness. No fuel to speak of means eco-friendliness. It the game changer and the sole reason many people choose to buy an electric motor at all. Preserving the environment is no longer a concern of just organizations like WWF or Greenpeace. It’s something all of us are responsible for.
- Easy maintenance. I don’t just mean repairs, which is more comfortable, again, thanks to the fewer number of parts. Charging the batteries that power the engine is more convenient than acquiring the fuel for a gas powered motor. And let’s not forget that some of those motors need a mixture of machine oil and gas itself for a refuel, so you are free from that, too
- Affordable cost. Easy production means a lesser price.
Disadvantages of Electric MotorsI might have made electric motors sound like they are the epitome of boat engines, but they’re not, unfortunately. They have their own downsides and cons. Not as much as the advantages, however, there are still there:
- Less power. If you want an electric boat motor, that’s just something that you have to deal with. The power of any electric motor is insufficient compared to the power of any combustion engine. The relatively small size of a trolling motor limits its power output. Calling a boat propelled forward by an electric trolling motor slow wouldn’t be right. However, it will still lag behind any its counterpart driven by a gas powered engine.
- Limited autonomy. Fuel is more energy efficient than an electric charge. A good boat battery can only last you from 3 to 5 hours. Even if you buy a very advanced battery that is designed for more than just powering a boat, for example, a backup battery, it will still be only good for up to 10 hours, and that’s if you’re lucky.
- No refueling. I guess you can always bring a spare battery with you. However, batteries cannot hold an electric charge for a long time, it slowly degenerates even if you are not using the battery at all. Besides, compared to a fuel tank, a boat battery is massive, and it’s also costly. You can buy as many batteries as you like, however, I wouldn’t call it a wise, or at least economical. Doesn’t matter if you have one battery or two. You can’t just recharge a battery away from civilization. This disadvantage of trolling motors is the most convenient for anglers. When it comes to something like that, gas-powered engines win. If you get a fuel bladder or a bigger fuel tank, you gain even more freedom.
Design FeaturesRegardless of the manufacturer, but all electric trolling motors are going to have a few standard design features. Then, most of them are going to share more features, while others will be more peculiar.Most trolling motors feature an electric control circuit combined with a shaft. The shaft is typically equipped with a telescopic handle so that it is more convenient to make adjustments and control the motor without effort. Electric boat motors can generally offer you between 4 and 5-speed settings and 2 or 3 settings for the reverse mode.The engine itself goes under the water. This design makes a trolling motor a simple design that does not need any mechanical transmission parts subject to wear during operation. With a trolling motor, if worst comes to worst, you only have to replace a single component.An electric boat motor connected to a shaft, adjustable in depth, has an advantage over conventional outboard motors when moving through shallow water. They also have other benefits, such as special alloys used in their construction, both durable and flexible. That prevents the propeller blade from being damaged too much when colliding with underwater obstacles.Electric boat motors are easy to start. All you have to do is press the button, that’s nothing compared to starting any combustion engine. Since controlling any trolling motor always boils down to directly sending the right electric signals, you can do that by utilizing the handle or pedals—or even wirelessly. Anyways, using pedals to control the trolling motor is a little bit more interesting for an angler, because an angler always needs his hands to be free. I suppose you can get by if they aren’t, but it doesn’t mean it would be more convenient.
Waterproof clothes seem like reasonable protection against rain, but that’s just appearances. I don’t know if your jacket is waterproof and how good it is, but there’s this thing called waterproof ratings. Most of the regular clothes, even those designed for fishing, have a limit waterproof rating, often less than 5,000 mm. That may be enough for light rain for a brief time, but nothing above that. Textile waterproof gear tends to be quite low on the waterproof rating spectrum unless it’s also lined with membranes, and even the best textile clothing can only hold out for so long.
So even if your regular jacket is waterproof, I recommend having a good rain suit on hand, because if you expect to be in the rain all day long (which you will if you regularly spend your time casting the bait) or in icy conditions, you are going to want that protection. Besides, it feels quite nice to throw on that extra layer on the outside. It’s going to give you a complete blockage of water and wind. As you can guess, it will instantly make you comfortable, no matter how cold and wet it is out.