The Best Trolling Motor

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Our Top Pick for 2018: Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor
Read our full review.

Fishing is a sport that requires a lot of stealth and maneuverability when you are on a boat. You need to be able to quietly move from location to location in a slow manner so that the fish do not become frightened. Using stealthy rogue –like abilities to move across the water is a great way to get more fish in your boat, and this is where a trolling motor comes in. These small motors are the key for any angler who is trolling for a great fishing spot on the open water, but if you are new to this method of fishing, then you may not have all of the information that you need to purchase a new trolling motor. This guide is designed to help guide you along in the decision making process.


#1. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

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Minn Kota has been leading the way in trolling motor innovation since 1934. The Endura C2 30 is a great trolling motor for any fresh body of water that is loved by professional fishermen and hobbyists alike, so it is easy to see why we selected this model as our gold pick. The motor is a transom mounted system, so it is locked in place on the aft of your boat. The bracket can be locked in ten different positions, so it should be able to attach onto most boats. In addition, the lever lock features a quick release option that allows you to easily remove the unit when needed.

This 12 volt motor is designed to run with 30 pounds of thrust, so that is more than enough for a small boat, especially if you are fishing in still water. The shaft is about 30 inches long, and it is designed to be indestructible, which means that if it hits the bottom of the body of water that you are fishing in, it will not bend or break. To stand behind this statement, the manufacturer has decided to give the shaft on the motor a lifetime warranty. It is also designed to be corrosion resistant as well as UV resistant, so the motor will not fade from being in the sun as time progresses.

The Endura is designed with a telescope style handle that gives you that ability to easily control and maneuver the boat through the water. There are five speeds that you can utilize to go forward as well as three speeds that you can use in reverse. The unit has a powerful propeller that is designed to push through vegetation in shallow areas, which is where you will most likely find a lot of fish.

The motor is designed to run cool, which is a great way to extend the life of the battery as well as the life of the entire unit. Having a hot, overheated motor can cause irreversible damage overtime. The bearing system in this motor is also designed to reduce the friction, which will reduce the sound heard from the motor. This feature will make the motor so quiet that the fish will not hear your boat approaching them, which means more fish for your Friday night fish fry. In addition to the lifetime warranty on the shaft of this motor, the manufacturer has included a two year warranty on the entire motor.

Some reviewers have mentioned that this unit does not have a lot of power, but remember that the motor is designed for a small boat, as it only has 30 pounds of thrust. If you attach it to a larger boat, then it will not perform properly in the water. Those who attached this motor to smaller vessels had no issue with the thrust; in fact, most of those who were fishing on lakes agree that it is amazing.

#2. Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

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Newport Vessels is a company that has been manufacturing marine accessories since 2008, and they strive to distribute their products directly, which makes the units have a lower price point than similar units. This Newport Vessels trolling motor is built strong and designed to last, so it is a great selection as our silver pick. The transom mount is made from a tough nylon material that is capable of attaching to almost any small to medium sized boat.

The unit has a 30 inch fiberglass composite shaft that is designed to be tough enough to withstand anything it may encounter under the water. All of the moving parts that will come in contact with the water are comprised of stainless steel material. This motor is designed this way to enable the angler to spread his or her wings and explore salt water locations as well as fresh water ones without the fear of corrosion or rust occurring from the salt. The propeller features a three bladed design that is also made out of stainless steel. Above the surface of the water, the head of the motor is made from aluminum.

Control of your vessel will be maintained by using the six inch telescoping handle on the unit. It is easy to handle, and you can set the speed to any level you require to ensure that you can maneuver across the water. There are eight speeds that can be utilized in total; five of them are for when you are cruising along, and the other three are speeds that you can use in reverse.

This motor is great for medium sized boats, as it has a thrust of 55 pounds that will push them along with ease. This motor functions on 12 volt deep cycle batteries, and as with any batteries, you want to ensure that the battery life does not get too low, so the unit features a LED battery monitor that has ten different points when it will inform you how much battery life is remaining. In addition, the manufacturer has included a one year warranty with the purchase of this device to cover any costs that may arise in the first 12 months of ownership.

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Many users have found that this unit is easy to mount and easy to control while on the water, but they have also found that it tends to rattle and make a lot of noise, which can be counterintuitive if the motor scares the fish away. It seems that using this motor on smaller boats tends to make a lot less commotion, so that may be a factor you want to consider with this device.


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#3. Outsunny 12V Transom Mounted 50-Pound Thrust Electric Fishing Boat Trolling Motor

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Our bronze pick is manufactured from Outsunny, which is a company that is dedicated to making quality marine devices that will last. Their 12 volt trolling motor is designed to be great for small to medium sized fishing boats. It can be used in both fresh and salt water, and as a way to help prevent corrosion in the motor itself, some of the parts have been crafted from stainless steel. If you want to ensure that the motor does not become damaged from being used in salt water, it is a good idea to flush the motor out with fresh water after every use.

This transom mounted motor is the perfect size for most boats, as it has a ten position locking system that helps you attach the unit to any shaped boat. The shaft is about 35 inches long, and it is connected to a three blade propeller that is designed to push the boat through the water. The motor has a thrust of 50 pounds, so it will have plenty of power as you maneuver through the water using the six inch adjustable telescoping handle. If you need more control, you can always adjust your speed, as there are eight different speeds to select from. Three of the speeds are only usable when you are traveling in reverse, but there are still five that you can use as you travel forward.

The motor does feature a battery gauge that has ten different points to inform you the exact amount of life that remains in the battery. This information is critical, as it is the only way you know when to head back to shore. The unit is designed to be durable, so it does come with a warranty, but that warranty covers a lot smaller of a time period than our top two picks; in fact, it only covers the first 90 days that you own the motor.

Many reviewers have stated that this motor is very quiet, which makes it great for trolling. The only complaint is that the speeds do not seem to be appropriately spaced, as the first two gear’s options are very similar, but this is not really an issue unless you prefer to troll at a speed that is between the level of the first two speeds and the level of the third. If you do find yourself purchasing this boat, make sure to test out the speeds and make sure that they are to your liking before the 90 day warranty is void.

#4. Coleman 12V Electric Trolling Motor

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Tolling motors can be a pricy investment, but they will also be built to be durable and possible to use in both salt and fresh water. If you are ballin’ on a budget, there are plenty of options to consider on the market, but a lower price point in this situation may mean a less durable product. With the Coleman trolling motor you can expect a durable construction, but it is not made from stainless steel, so that means that it is not recommended that the motor is used in salt water. If you must take it in a body of water that is not fresh water, then make sure to flush the motor out thoroughly afterwards.

This unit is a 12 volt motor that is designed for smaller boats to use, as it only has a thrust of 18 pounds. This means that it is perfect for fishing on an inflatable boat. This device is a transom mounted motor, but it is also able to mount onto the eyelets of small boats if that is an option on your vessel. The shaft is 19 inches long, and it connects to a propeller that features a two blade design. The motor is capable of performing at four different speeds; two of which can be used as you propel forward, and two that can be used in reverse. Unfortunately, one of the features that you sacrifice on this budget friendly option is the warranty, so make sure that this is the unit you want before you purchase it.

Some of the customers who gave this Coleman motor a review have expressed the desire to have more speed functionality, so if you like to travel at a fast rate of speed, remember that this motor only has two options. Those who have used this unit to actually fish in a lake are satisfied with the speed of the boat, especially since traveling to quickly can scare the fish. If the area that you fish in is shallow, you may want to take this motor to slightly deeper water, as the propeller is made from a durable plastic, but it is possible to damage it, especially if the blades hit a rock.

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Pre-purchase considerations


Thrust is probably the most important consideration that you need to make when purchasing a new trolling motor. If your motor does not have enough thrust, then you will have a hard time maneuvering through rough waters and high winds. If you have too much thrust, you may be wasting your money on a feature that you will never use. Thrust is typically measured in pounds, and one of the best ways to know how many pounds of thrust you need is to consider the weight of your boat. Typically, a boat that is 100 pounds should have a motor that has two pounds of thrust. This amount can change if you travel across fast moving water a lot, but in a lake or relatively still water, this is sufficient.

Let’s say your boat weighs 2,000 pounds. To calculate the amount of thrust that you need, you need to make sure to add in any passengers that may be on the boat as well as the weight of your gear. For example, if your boat seats four people, so you will want to average 200 pounds per person or more if you prefer, and 200 pounds for your gear. For the ease of calculations, let’s say that extra weight that you are calculating is 1,000 pounds. Add that to the weight of the boat, which totals 3,000 pounds, divide that amount by 100, and then multiply by two. In this scenario, you will need a motor that has a thrust of 60 pounds, more if you want to travel in strong wind or waves.

Mount Location

These types of motors can be mounted in two locations; the back of the boat or the bow. Both of these mount styles have advantages and disadvantages to them, so it is best to take them both into consideration before making a purchase. Here is a breakdown of the two mounting locations that you can choose between:

• Transom mounted motored are designed to be used on the back or the rear end of your boat. These motors are ideal for small boats, as they are typically operated by hand. They are often the cheaper option of the two, and they tend to offer less precise steering since the motor will be pushing the boat through the water.

• Bow mounted motors are installed on boats that have a flat bow. They are a bit more expensive, but it is also capable of precision steering as the boat is pulled through the water. This method is also operated by your feet, so your hands are free for fishing, but the pedal can make the deck of the boat feel more cluttered.

Shaft Length

The shaft length on this type of motor refers to the shaft that is located below the motor head to the end of the propeller. You need to make sure that the shaft is the appropriate length for your boat, as a short shaft will not be able to be fully submerged in the water, which will cause performance issues. On the other hand, a shaft that is too long may scrap against the bottom of the lake or body of water, which will cause issues for you when you want to travel into shallow areas. A transom motor should have 20 to 25 inches of the shaft submerged in the water, and a bow motor should have 25 to 30 inches under the water; knowing this makes it easy to calculate the length of the shaft you need. You simply need to add this amount to the distance from the bow or the stern to the water.

Control Type

There are three main ways that you can control your motor. If you decide to select a motor that is mounted on the back of your boat, you will most likely be operating it by hand, but the bow mounted motors have more options. You can also choose a foot operated motor, or if you prefer, you can even find some motors that can be controlled wirelessly, which would even give you more space on the deck with a bow mounted motor. None of these control methods are better per say than the next; you simply need to consider which one you prefer to accommodate your style of fishing and your boat.

Additional Features

When you are looking to purchase a new motor for trolling the water for fish, there are a few additional features that you may find important to have. Here are a few of them that you should consider before making a purchase:

• A built-in battery gauge to let you know how much power you have left, which will give you an idea how much longer you can spend on the water.

• Digital displays that let you know the depth of the water and the speed at which you are traveling.

• Auto pilot to let you fish freely while the boat follows the shoreline at a certain depth. You can also set it to go in a straight line, but the depth meter will keep you from going into water that is too shallow. Some models even utilize GPS technology to allow you to chart a fishing course that the auto pilot will follow as you fish.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Trolling is a technique that is often done in large bodies of water that does not have a lot of current. Now that you are dabbling in this creative type of fishing, it is time to purchase a trolling motor for your fishing boat. Hopefully this guide has helped you determine what features you need in a trolling motor. Maybe we have even helped you choose one that meets your needs. If our picks are not your ideal for you, then use the information in this guide to help you make a decision. Once you pinpoint the perfect trolling motor for your fishing boat, you will be having a delicious fish fry in no time.