Are you a fishing enthusiast looking to enhance your pontoon boat experience? Look no further! Investing in a reliable trolling motor and a set of boat motor muffs can significantly amplify your ability to locate and stay with fish. However, navigating the world of trolling motors can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of selecting the ideal trolling motor for your pontoon boat.
Step 1: Finding the Right Brand
Before delving into the world of trolling motors, take a moment to think critically about your decision. Often, boaters make choices based on personal experiences or recommendations from fellow anglers. However, it’s essential to consider your unique needs before settling on a brand.
If you already have a fish finder on your pontoon boat, choosing a trolling motor brand that collaborates with fish finder manufacturers can be advantageous. This compatibility allows your fish finder to chart out plots for your trolling motor, providing precise control. For owners of Lowrance fish finders, Motor Guide trolling motors are an excellent choice. On the other hand, if you own a Humminbird fish finder, opt for a MinnKota trolling motor. Both brands continuously innovate and improve their products to match or surpass each other’s features.
Step 2: Selecting the Perfect Model
Determining the model that suits your needs starts with identifying where you’ll mount the trolling motor. You have three primary options: bow mount, transom (rear) mount, or engine mount. Each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.
If you plan on trolling (dragging your bait around the lake), a bow-mounted trolling motor is your best bet. Bow-mounted trolling motors offer superior control and maneuverability, making it easier to fine-tune your boat’s positioning. However, engine-mounted trolling motors offer convenience and are favored by anglers who prioritize ease of use.
It’s worth noting that installing a trolling motor on a pontoon boat can be a bit challenging due to the lack of a front lip. However, modifying the front gate allows for bow mounting, which is highly recommended for optimal control.
Choosing the correct shaft length is crucial for pontoon boats due to their high decks. While it’s typically easy to make the right choice for most boats, pontoon boats require special consideration. A 60-inch trolling motor shaft is generally suitable for most pontoon boats.
Trolling Motor Thrust for Pontoon Boats
Power is key when it comes to trolling motors for pontoon boats. Don’t compromise on thrust. Pontoon boats are larger and have different hydrodynamics compared to V-hull boats. To ensure optimal performance, aim for a higher thrust rating.
Traditionally, the recommended trolling motor thrust is calculated by dividing the total weight of your boat by 100 and then multiplying the result by two. However, for most pontoon boats, this calculation isn’t entirely suitable due to their unique hydrodynamics. It’s wise to opt for a 65, 70, or even 80-pound thrust trolling motor, coupled with a 24v or 26v battery system.
When considering a high-end trolling motor like the Motor Guide Xi5, be sure to explore other options as well. MinnKota, for instance, offers trolling motors with similar features and some fantastic technological tweaks. If the Xi5 catches your eye, check out the MinnKota Terrova with iPilot. The iPilot system is truly impressive.
Both the Terrova and Xi5 models come with a remote control on a lanyard, allowing you to control the trolling motor from anywhere on your boat. You can also operate the motor using the controls on the motor itself or even your fish finder if it’s compatible. The convenience and versatility provided by modern trolling motors are exceptional.
Step 3: Accessories and Mounting Options
Unlike your boat’s engine, trolling motors are battery-powered and require charging before each trip. To ensure a seamless charging process, you’ll need a few essential accessories.
When it comes to batteries, choosing the right type is crucial. For trolling motors, deep-cycle batteries are recommended, as they are designed for longer battery drains. Using your pontoon boat’s main engine battery for your trolling motor could drain it completely, leaving you unable to start the engine. Optima Blue Top is a popular choice amongst boaters, but there are other brands available to suit your personal preference.
To facilitate battery charging, a marine-grade charger is essential. Going for a “smart” charger is highly recommended to preserve the longevity of your batteries. Investing in a charger that matches the number of batteries you’ll be using is crucial. Don’t forget to consider the convenience factor, as climbing onto the pontoon each time to switch chargers can be quite cumbersome. Some highly recommended chargers include the NOCO Genius On-Board Battery Charger and the Minn Kota On-Board Digital Charger.
Choosing the perfect trolling motor for your pontoon boat can transform your fishing experiences. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be armed with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision. Take your time, consider your specific needs, and explore different brands and models. Remember, a reliable trolling motor will allow you to navigate with precision, enhancing your fishing adventures.
Ready to take the plunge? Visit East Coast Paddle Sports to explore a wide range of trolling motors and accessories for your pontoon boat. Happy fishing!