What is a Trolling Motor

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2022)
What is a Trolling Motor

Trolling has long being a hobby for people who love to go fishing.

It’s a simple fishing technique that uses a fishing line that has bait fish or a lure, which is dragged through the water.

It should not be confused with trawling, which is a fishing technique that uses nets instead of fishing rods.

And it is typically used for commercial fishing while trolling is usually used for recreational fishing.

Trawling is mainly done in deep seas while trolling is done in lakes or rivers. And therefore they use different types of trolling motors.

What is a Trolling Motor?

A trolling motor is an electric motor used to control and maneuver a boat through water easily. They are not like outboard motors, which are loud and not ideal for troll fishing because they scare away the fish.

Trolling motors are quiet, which makes it easy for anglers to catch fish.

Both motors are designed differently. Trolling motors have electric motors, propellers, and controls. Outboard motors have engines, gearboxes, and propellers.

Trolling motors are usually installed at the stern or bow of a boat. And they come in three different configurations, 12 volts, 24 volts, and 36 volts. The more the voltage, the more the output and the bigger the motor.

The power output is rated in pounds of thrust. And the golden rule when choosing a trolling motor for your boat is that for every 100 pounds of weight, you need 2 pounds of thrust.


So you need to take the weight of your boat and divide it by 100 and then multiply the result with 2 to know how much power your boat needs to run efficiently. This calculation can help you figure out what size battery is most suitable for your boat

Types of Trolling Motors

Trolling motors come in different styles and sizes. Some are designed for saltwater and others for freshwater. And that is one consideration you should take into account when choosing a trolling motor for your boat.

To know more about differences read Saltwater vs Freshwater Trolling Motors Guide

The different types include bow trolling motors and transom trolling motors. A bow motor is best for large or medium-sized boats and it is usually attached on the bow of your boat.

The installation process is harder and takes more time compared to that of a transom motor. And they take up more space than transom motors.


Although they are more costly than transom motors, they do have certain advantages over their counterparts. Bow motors offer better control and precision than transom motors. So they are more efficient.  

Transom motors are best for small boats, and they are typically attached to your boat’s stern. They are easy to install and access. They are also easy to operate.

The downside is that they don’t have the extra features that bow mounts have to provide better control and precision steering. That is why they are less efficient than bow mounts.

Saltwater vs Freshwater

Troll fishing can be done in saltwater or freshwater. And deciding the trolling motor to buy, depends on whether you plan on fishing on freshwater or saltwater. The reason being is that they are trolling motors specifically designed for both.

Motors designed for saltwater come with components like stainless steel that are resistant to corrosion and rust.

How to Choose a Trolling Motor

Choosing a trolling motor depends on the size and weight of your boat. If you have a small boat, its best to get a transom motor. But if you have a large boat, a bow mount would be the best choice.

You can attach a transom motor on a large boat if you don’t want a bow motor for one reason or the other. But this highly depends on your fishing style and the fishing conditions.

If precision and control are of priority, then a bow motor would be more ideal. But if you are on a tight budget, then you should get a transom motor as they are cheaper.

The other factor to consider is the voltage. A 12v motor is less powerful than a 36v voltage. It all depends on the size of your boat. If you have a large boat, you need a motor that has a high voltage.

If you are looking for a motor that is easy to operate, you might want to get a transom motor instead of a bow motor. The reason being is that the former is hand controlled and the latter is foot controlled.

Hand controlled motors are more responsive than foot-controlled motors because they don’t have many moving parts for them to move.

The downside is that you can hold onto your fishing rod and maneuver the boat simultaneously. And this advantage of foot-controlled motors. You can operate your boat and fish at the same time.

Choosing which one to get depends on your personal preference. Some anglers find it easier to operate a bow motor than a transom motor and vice versa.

Another consideration is the batteries. Both types of motors use deep cycle batteries the difference is the size of the battery.

12v motors use one battery, 24v motors use two, and 36v motors use three batteries.

Buying more than one battery is more costly than buying one. But again it all depends on the type of motor you want to buy.

So, when choosing a trolling motor, it all depends on the size of your boat, fishing style, and what you can afford.

The Advantages of Trolling Motors

Trolling motors offer anglers more advantages than outboard motors. For one, they are quieter. Outboard motors tend to be loud and are therefore not the best for troll fishing as the loud noise they make scares away the fish.

Trolling motors are more efficient and less expensive to run since they use batteries instead of gas. The batteries can last for hours, so you can fish for as long as you want. And you can always carry extra batteries.

Lastly, trolling motors give you better control of your boat and you are also able to steer more precisely.

What is a Trolling Motor

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