10 Best Trolling Motors | March 2017

We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. When pottering around on the water, it helps to have one of these trolling motors so you can save your energy for more important things, like fishing and drinking beer. They work well on canoes, inflatables and small sailing dinghies, and come with relatively affordable through to durable and long-lasting price tags. Skip to the best trolling motor on Amazon.
10 Best Trolling Motors | March 2017

Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 2
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The patented mounting system on the Sevylor U118BLK fits small inflatable boats designed to take an outboard or a sail kit, whether they have a motor mount or not. Unfortunately it comes with a flimsy plastic propeller. It's safe to use on Sevylor inflatables too.
The ALEKO TRM-L-60 has a fiber glass reinforced nylon mounting bracket with quick release capabilities, so you can get it on and off your boat quickly. It also has an all copper rotor in the motor head for a longer lifespan.
The Intex 68631E is compatible with most inflatable boats that have built-in motor mount fittings. It has a digital maximizer control module and water cooling system, which supplies only the necessary power to conserve battery life.
The Outsunny 12V is built for fresh and salt water, so you can enjoy yourself no matter where you are without worry of corrosion. It is strong enough to push 3 or 4 people in a 14 foot dinghy all day without draining a 12V battery.
  • lever lock bracket for easy mounting
  • surprisingly quiet at full speed
  • not very fast at just 4 mph
Brand Outsunny
Model A30-001
Weight 20.4 pounds
The Newport Vessels NV has a 30-inch composite fiberglass high-strength shaft with a heavy duty nylon mount. It has 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds, so you can approach at just the right pace and not scare away fish.
  • 5-point led battery meter
  • 6-inch telescoping handle
  • cannot reverse the head direction
Brand Newport Vessels
Model 23M1000205
Weight 20 pounds
The Minn Kota Endura C2 should be your go-to choice when looking for a balance of performance and cost. Its unique motor design makes minimal noise while maximizing battery life, and it costs right around $200.
  • comprehensive two-year warranty
  • six-inch telescoping handle
  • handle can't tilt for standing steering
Brand Minn Kota
Model 1352255
Weight 25.7 pounds
The rugged Motorguide R3 is made of a long lasting aluminum alloy, with a durable powder coated finish that can withstand daily sun exposure. It has a reversible motor head for bow or transom mount operation, and offers five forward speeds.
  • stainless steel hinge pins
  • 2 speed reverse capability
  • multi-position angle adjustment
Brand Motorguide
Model 940100020
Weight 22.7 pounds
The Newport Vessels Electric Troller offers the discerning angler an ideal combination of high-power performance and stylish construction in one unit. It is designed to be used in hard saltwater environments without corroding.
  • 40 inch composite fiberglass shaft
  • all-weather stainless zinc hardware
  • 8 speeds for ultimate control
Brand Newport Vessels
Model 23M1000098
Weight 26.5 pounds
The Watersnake Tracer is aimed at suiting the budget-minded angler while maintaining the versatility and performance of a top quality model. It has a 44-pound thrust when operating on a standard 12-volt battery.
  • great for inflatables and canoes
  • heavy-duty 3-blade weedless prop
  • transom and bow mounting capability
Brand Watersnake
Model 55177
Weight 27.2 pounds
The side-to-side foot pedal and precise speed control knob of the Minn Kota Powerdrive V2 give you complete control over your boat's speed and direction for accurate navigation to the best fishing holes.
  • strong thrust with minimal noise
  • unique bearing system reduces friction
  • quick motor release lever
Brand Minn Kota
Model 1358712
Weight 45.8 pounds

Trolling For Fish: The Basics

Just to be clear from the get-go, trolling is a style of fishing wherein a baited fishing line (or sometimes several lines) are drawn along through the water at a steady speed. The idea is to catch the attention of nearby fish, who will see the moving bait or lure as a live morsel of dinner and will pounce, hooking themselves in the process. This type of movement can be achieved by the deft arm of a fisherman, by walking along a bank, shoreline, or dock, but is most easily and frequently achieved by drawing a trolling line along beside or behind a moving boat.

And do keep in mind that trolling is entirely distinct from trawling, a method of fishing using a moving net designed to catch large numbers of fish at the same time. In fact, the two approaches, though similar in name, are almost opposite in approach. Trolling is the preferred fishing style of many recreational fishers, who find the activity both relaxing and rewarding.

With experience, patience, and the right gear, trolling for fish can land a fisherman plenty of great catches, and when practiced in placid lakes or slow-moving rivers, the most common spots for recreational trolling, it is a low-impact activity great for fishers of all ages and physical abilities.

The most important consideration when planning a trolling outing involves location: you can't catch fish in a river or lake not frequented by fish. Beyond that, you need to choose the right bait or lures for the fish at hand (troll fishing is usually geared toward catching pelagic fish, which is to say fish that swim well above the bottom of a body of water and tend to stay in the open water, as opposed to fish that stay on the bottom or among the warrens of a reef), you need a stable boat with a shallower draft (for most freshwater fishing, anyway), and you need to choose the right trolling motor.

When it comes to trolling for fish, the motor you choose is about more than simple propulsion; it's in fact one of the most important pieces of gear overall.

How To Choose The Right Trolling Motor

Trolling motors offer two major benefits over larger outboard (or even inboard) motors: they are quiet, and they are precise. The low noise and vibration and limited water disturbance of a trolling motor means less chance that fish will be scared away, and the deft control afforded by a trolling motor means easy navigation of even the narrowest, winding waterways of a stream or lakeshore.

Trolling motors also offer superb speed control (though of course they don't boast high speeds) so you can set the pace to counter or work with the flow of the river or to match the approximate swimming speed of the fish you hope to catch.

When considering a trolling motor, know that the price range of these units is a wide one; many are available for around two hundred dollars, but many cost double or triple that and more. In fact, you may well pay more for a trolling motor than for the canoe or other small watercraft to which it will be affixed.

Some trolling motors are easy to attach and remove, some swing up out of the way when not in use, and others stay affixed more permanently. The type of boat, the way you transport and store it, and the locations in which you fish all impact which motor mounting type is ideal for your situation.

And make sure you choose a trolling motor suitable for use in salt water if you ever fish in the sea, in estuaries, or in other salty or brackish waters.

A trolling motor can also serve as a helpful backup motor if a primary engine dies or runs out of gas, so you might want to consider a model powerful enough, and with a long enough battery life, to push your boat along for a good distance if ever needed in a pinch; spending a few more dollars now may save you from exhausting paddling or even a rescue tow later.

How To Use Your Trolling Motor

Trolling motors calibrate speed more accurately than large outboard motors, and thus many fisherman will use a larger motor to get to their chosen fishing spot, and will then drop their smaller trolling motor into the water once the actual fishing has begun.

A lure or baited hook is usually trolled through the water at speeds below 9 knots (which is around 10 miles per hour, for the record), and under some conditions and when fishing for certain species, speeds might be much slower.

Make sure you choose a motor that offers speed settings appropriate for the location and type of fish you'll be after, or that offers plenty of varied speed settings, because the speed at which the lure is pulled through the water directly impacts on the fishing success.

The optimum trolling speed varies with different species of fish. For example, a lake or river trout is used to a rather slow-paced swim and won't go for bait zipping past it. A salmon, on the other hand, is a faster swimmer, stalks faster bait, and may well chase after your baited hook even when it's moving at closer to 12 or 15 knots.

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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information