Trolling motors are one of those inventions that took boat fishing to a whole new level, and are one of the most popular accessories to buy for a boat. They are light, easy to handle, and make your life around the lake a lot easier. They help get your boat into tucked away corners and fingers of lakes, and since they are battery operated, they make hardly any noise at all, which can help you catch more fish.
When using a trolling motor, you would want to stop your engine a safe distance from where you want to fish, and ease into the spot slowly and as quietly as possible. Trolling motors also help us with keeping our boat off the shore and rocks with just a quick little foot pedal action, or by controlling it on the motor itself. Taking care of your trolling motor is very inexpensive, and can be done in your garage or driveway in no time at all.
Like every good mechanical item in this world, the life of your trolling motor is often completely in your hands. If you take care of your trolling motor, it can last for years with minimal wear and tear, and only costing you a few dollars out of pocket. If you do not take care of your motor, you could end up having to replace it every couple of years, or worse. The last thing you want is to get out to the water and have your motor not work, so with these simple tips, you will ensure the life of your trolling motor will last.
Six Things to Consider to Make Your Trolling Motor Last
- Motor Selection Before Buying
- Clean The Propeller
- Cleaning the Entire Motor
- Check Your Mounts
- Maintain Electrical Parts
- The Way You Store it
These simple things can keep the life and power of your trolling motor in tip top shape, and will make it so your motor runs like new every time you use it. Let’s look at these tips in more detail to get you started on bringing your old trolling motor back to life. Keep in mind that all of this maintenance can be done by you, and is really pretty simple, and easy to do, so you do not have to take it to the shop at all.
Trolling Motor Selection
First and foremost, selection is very critical when it comes to trolling motors, so please read guides and reviews carefully before making your decision. If you go out with no knowledge at all and come back with an off brand of motor, you may find yourself using a motor that is not suitable for the environments you will be using it in. Or, you may be out of luck when it comes to finding a replacement propeller, or any other pieces you might need. I am not saying you have to spend hundreds, or thousands of dollars, what I am saying is to do a little homework before you go buy it.
There are two brands that I highly recommend for trolling motors and that is the Newport Vessels found HERE, and the Minn Kota found HERE. Both motors have awesome ratings, and they both are very good quality name brands, that will make it easy to find parts and mounts for.
You really cannot go wrong with either of these two brands of motors, and they are built to last. Most trolling motors are all made the same, but parts may be seriously hard to find if you choose to go with a motor that has no name brand is not widely known, and most parts if you can find them will be special order meaning you will have to wait.
Keep The Propeller Clean
Always clean the propeller after every fishing trip, and make sure you check your propeller for any weed or debris that might have gotten tangled in, or around the prop. Every once in awhile you will want to remove the prop and clean it of debris that might be causing the motor to over work.
There are two reasons for this, one is that if you have weed or fishing line caught behind the propeller, it will make the motor over work and possible kill the motor. Second is that the harder your motor has to work, the faster your battery will get drained, so if you notice that your trolling motor is not lasting as long as it should, it is time to check the propeller. To take the propeller off, all you have to do is:
- Always disconnect first
- Remove the prop nut with pliers or a wrench
- Remove the drive pin
- Pull the prop off
- Clean and reassemble
This is a basic breakdown of removing a propeller for most trolling motors, but if you have an off brand that does not follow it, go to the manufacturers website and they should have a guide. It is also a good idea to grease up the seals and any other moving parts that you see so there is no friction that could potentially cause an issue.
Cleaning the Entire Trolling Motor
Less often, it is a good idea to clean the entire motor. Your trolling motor is going to have a lot of plastic and possible metal pieces that are going to get covered in dirt, dust, and grease from time to time, so it is important to give your motor a bath every once in awhile. A good way to do this is to make a mild soapy water solution, which can be done with a bucket of water and rag, or you can get spray bottle and mix a solution, but be careful that you don’t use too much soap so you don’t cover the motor in a film that is sticky and hard to clean off.
Wipe your motor down with the soap and go back and wipe everything down with a damp wet rag, and then dry it off with a clean towel. After you are done washing the motor down, spray a coating of silicon over the shaft and then wipe it down so it is not dripping. This will help keep all moving parts working freely and without a ton of friction.
Check Those Mounts
Motor mounts are especially important to think about because if they come loose and you turn your motor all the way up, your motor will fall off your boat and end up on the bottom of the lake. I would suggest checking your mounts every time you go out on the water, and even better is to remove your trolling motor from the boat unless you are storing it in the garage.
Inspect each mount before you go out and make sure that they are all tight and nothing is loose before you turn your motor on. Depending on what type of mounts you use and where you are fishing, you might have to replace these mounts due to corrosion. There are different types of mounts for trolling motors so be sure that you understand how yours mounts to you boat and that you can securely fastened to your boat.
Because you are going to be out where there is floating debris, sand and dirt, you always have to make sure all the electrical connections are clean. Even when you are towing a boat, dirt is flying all around, and could get inside all the electrical components. Dirt, sand, and other debris can short out circuits and make your trolling motor quit unexpectedly, and will cost you hours of trouble shooting while on on the water.
If you have loose connections, water can get in and do even more damage, so it is important to inspect your trolling motor before every use. Make sure that all the connections are clean and free of debris, and also that all the connections are sealed up so any water from splashing, or motoring to your destination cannot get in. it is a good idea to disconnect all wires and wipe them down every few months depending on how often you use your boat to make sure everything is in tip top shape. If you have a front mount transducer for your motor, check all the cables that run to it and make sure there are no loose connections.
It is good to keep your battery charged, and check the water levels of it, so you do not have a dead battery when you go out to the lake. It is always a good idea to do a test run on the trolling motor before you leave for the lake, even if your batter charger says it is full. Every time you use or charge the battery, some water boils out of the cells, so it is extremely important to always check the water levels.
Deep cycle batteries are much different than a regular car battery, and can be much more expensive to replace if you don’t maintain it properly. It is also good to replace any ropes or extra parts that can wear out every few seasons so you don’t have anything break while you are on the water.
Storage of the Boat
Depending on how you store your boat will depend on if you should leave your trolling motor attached to your boat, or if you should take it off after every use. If you have an enclosed storage space for your boat like a storage unit or a garage, there is really no need to remove your trolling motor, so you should be just fine to let it stay attached to your boat at all times, but make sure to check the mounts before you drop it in the water.
If you do not have a garage, or storage, and leave your boat on your property, even if you have a cover, it might be a good idea to remove your trolling motor and store it in your garage or shed until you use your boat again. The sun wreaks havoc on your boat and anything attached to it, as well as the heat, so if you leave it out, your propeller and motor cover plastic can become brittle, and easily crack. If this happens, your plastic will start to chip, so if you hit any debris in the water, your propeller will break and not work correctly at all.
If you get a chip or crack in your prop, it could shake and ruin the mounts, and possibly your boat finish. The same thing goes for rain and cold weather conditions, so it is important to keep your trolling motor out of the rain, snow and ice. Save the life of your motor, and keep it stored safe and out of the heat and weather.
Like all mechanical equipment, trolling motors need to be cared for to ensure they last. Take some of the tips above to care for the investment you have made into your trolling motor. If you are ever unsure about how to care for, service, or repair your trolling motor, take it to a boat shop to ensure it gets what it needs.
How Fast Can Trolling Motors Go?
Trolling motors are only designed to push your boat at a maximum of 5 mph, so it depends on what type of boat you have to choose the right motor. Trolling motors are not designed for speed, they are designed for thrust, so you have to take your boat into consideration.
Most trolling motors will come in a thrust level 30 or 50, so if you have a smaller boat, you will only need a 30 to get you to maximum speed. If you have a huge boat, you may have to get two trolling motors to push the boat to 5 mph, but this is highly uncommon, and probably bigger than your normal fishing boat. Only buy what you need because you will burn your batter levels up before the fishing day is over, if you over buy on thrust.