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Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

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Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby fishTheBend » May 12th, 2020, 7:54 pm

I'm looking to upgrade the trolling motor for salt water and wanted to ping everyone for their opinion on brands and options. Especially models with blue-tooth remote controls and i-pilots - are they worth the green for the bells and whistles?

Thanks and feel free to leave some of your favorite numbers for fishing spots as well. LOL.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby STMU » May 13th, 2020, 7:03 am

I think it totally depends on your need, and what you're willing to pay. Those I-pilots are pretty sweet, and that spot lock feature could be my favorite thing offshore. However, on my small inshore boat I have the Riptide edge 55lb thrust, which is just hand-steer. One battery cuts down on weight and cost of having to buy and replace two. I don't need the co-pilot/i-pilot features, at least not enough to pay the insane upfront cost and all the repairs when they break (which they will). For me...keeping it basic was my goal. I also hated how slow they turned, and realized I was holding the remote more than I would have to hold the hand-steer to adjust its direction. That just meant I would be standing at the bow, which is perfectly fine with me...my cooler of beer is always up there! One thing I would definitely recommend if you go with a lower model...go with variable speed and do not get the 5-speed, they will fail.

I've had 2 co-pilots and too many 5-speeds to count and they all have issues. I've had the variable speed for 5 years now without much issue. I did have to replace the shaft, but that could happen with any model. The board also went out while replacing the shaft while at TM Repair Center in Tally, but they said that it was pretty common. However, they replaced that for free (so another shout out to TM, they are great), but even then, it doesn't cost much to replace that board, unlike the I-pilot.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby dropaline » May 13th, 2020, 7:49 am

I pilot is great
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby Srbenda » May 13th, 2020, 8:09 am

Another for i-pilot. The remote is fantastic, especially if you are offshore and need to check your bottom machine.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby Steve Stinson » May 13th, 2020, 8:20 am

In my opinion, both the Motor Guides and the Minn Kota's with all the electronic boards are not worth what you pay for them. I have about 4 Minn Kota's stacked in the corner of my boat shed. They worked for a short time, then the boards began to go out. I replaced the boards for as long as the parts were available, which was a relatively short time. Once the company quits making the parts, you stack it in the corner or try to find used parts, which don't last long either.

At the advice of Rick at the trolling motor repair shop up in Georgia, I want back to the variable speed hand controlled Minn Kota and purchased it brand new from West Marine because they had the longest extended warranty available and were within a few $ of Bass Pro Shops price. So far so good with this motor (it's probably a little over 2 years into a 4 yr warranty). No bells, no whistles.

I will also add that Steve Hobbs at Skeeterbite Fishing Charters has the newest Minn Kota with all the electronics on his boat. He keeps a second one in the corner of his garage so that when one goes out, he can swap it over and keep running his business. This swap has already happened several times.

As these motors have become far more expensive with more options, they have become extremely unreliable. We are suckers for paying what the manufacturers want for them.

I have not tried the new Garmin or Lowrance motors, but I hope they hold up better and at least give Minn Kota some motivation to improve their product.

I will add that my boat is a 2072 SeaArk aluminum which rides rough in rough water, so these motors can take a beating at times. I also wash it after each used and store it inside.

Good luck in your search and buy that extended warranty.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby silverking » May 13th, 2020, 9:40 am

With the exception of an initial warranty issue and replacing a remote, my Motor Guide Xi5 has worked very well. I do not have the GPS function with anchor mode. It helps fishing solo in creeks, but I did remove it this winter because I was targeting super skinny water. I have the 55-pound thrust, 12-volt model on a technical poling skiff and someone could almost water ski behind it at WOT.

I use a solar panel charger system and have never run the battery down below full charge indicator with it. It works great, but I do isolate the motor circuit while charging the battery (circuit breaker). I have read that helps extend the life of the mother board and so far so good on mine.

I also ordered a shaft support that really minimizes the vibration/pounding while running the boat. It's quick and easy to deploy and wasn't expensive ($49). I bought mine from shallowwatersolutions.com. He can make supports at any length and for various shaft diameters. Here's a shot of mine.

A gentleman in Alabama also makes a very rugged fixed support. Here is that one:
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby bbb » May 13th, 2020, 10:08 am

I’ve had the Minn Kota Terrova iPilots on 3 different boats. Never had the 1st problem other than the gps spot lock loosing its hold from time to time. Not a problem though, you just press the anchor button again.

Definitely a necessity for fishing offshore. Useful inshore. Haven’t touched an anchor in 4 years.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby doomtrpr_z71 » May 13th, 2020, 10:54 am

I have had much better luck with minn kota than motorguide, the new garmin and lowrance units are a bit out of my price range. I have thought about getting a Rhodan on my next boat.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby FishWithChris » May 13th, 2020, 10:59 am

I run a 24v 80lb MK Terrova, iPilot/Spotlock. I cannot imagine having any features less than what this provides.

Previously, I had a 24v 70lb MK Riptide that was just a basic bluetooth diretional control (no hand control).

There ARE times that I wish I had a hand control for quicker engagement and responses by the motor, but the ease of use and quality spotlock features are just fantastic.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby Juan » May 13th, 2020, 11:44 am

I'll throw in my 2¢.
I've had several makes and models on various boats over the years and they've all worked as intended. As already said, the model you pick depends a lot on how you'll use it.
I currently have a Minn Kota 55 hand steer on the river boat that I had to change the bearings in because the previous owner didn't check the prop and it was full of monofilament fishing line. It was an easy fix. I've had a Minn Kota Riptide 24 volt 80 Ulterra on the bay boat for about 3 years now and I love it. No issues except I had to replace the drive belt once. ($12 part and simple to replace). The self deploy and stow are my favorite functions and have saved my back and allows me to deploy and stow the trolling motor from the console seat. The spot lock is a must have for the way I fish. Hit the spot lock and it will keep your boat anchored within 3 feet of where you were when the button was pushed then you can jog 3 feet in any direction at the touch of a button. I also like being able to record and save my tracks for fishing creeks and areas I fish frequently. You can record a track and the trolling motor will follow that track, keeping you free to fish without operating the trolling motor. (I think up to 2 miles).
I can control it from my remote or from an app on my phone and I if you get the iPilot Link, I think you can operate it from a Humminbird or Garmin chartplotter. The auto pilot is another useful feature that compensates for wind and current and keeps you on your heading. I don't use the cruise control but it's intended to keep the boat's speed constant at the speed you set.
SO in short.. if you want or can use the features on an iPilot motor, it's worth every penny of the investment imo.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby Old Dog » May 13th, 2020, 1:46 pm

I have the Minn Kota Riptide 24 volt 80 Ulterra on my Key West 20' Skiff, and I wouldn't do without it. (And with that motor no need for a Power Pole). And I agree with what Juan said.
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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby Red Beard » May 13th, 2020, 10:27 pm

I have been using a 45lb thrust Minn-Kota riptide tiller control past few years. It does the job, nothing fancy about it. I don’t have a lot invested into it and it’s gotten it’s share of abuse, which is a plus for me.

I’d love a new hands free set up but I’m not wanting to drop the money right now. Hopefully a successful season can help upgrade the gray ghost.

Good luck with your future purchase.

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Re: Salt Water Trolling Motor Recommendations

Postby fishTheBend » May 15th, 2020, 7:28 am

Thank you Red Beard, Old Dog, Juan, Chris, Doomtrpr_z71, bbb, Silverking, Steve, SRBenda, DropALine, and STMU! Very much appreciated!
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