What Are Trolling Motors and How Are They Used for Fishing?

There are about 50 million Americans who like to go fishing. That’s nearly 15% of the country.

Fishing is an incredible pastime, as it gets people outside into nature, and provides them with fresh, healthy meals, should they keep their catch. Plus, the purchase of fishing licenses supports conservation efforts across the country, protecting our waters and fish populations.

But for many people, fishing is limited to land. Most people aren’t able to get in a boat and actually go to where the majority of the fish are.

Boats with trolling motors, that are able to quietly navigate into areas with tons of fish without spooking them, are worth the investment if you’re a serious angler.

Not only can you catch more fish, but you can get away from the crowds and find your own solitude.

But what exactly are trolling motors, and why are they great for fishing? Read on below to find out now.

Types of Boat Motors

First off, let’s discuss the different types of boat motors. Most fishermen will buy small fishing boats, such as a center console boat, capable of holding around four to six people at a time.

These types of boats are typically powered by an outboard motor. Outboard motors (or outboard engines) are mounted on the rear of the boat, hanging into the water, outside of the hull. They are self-contained.

Inside is the gearbox, propeller, and motor itself. Boaters love outboard engines because they are very accessible for cleaning and maintenance.

Outboard motors propel the boat from point A to point B and get moving very fast. They use a ton of fuel and are very loud. They do a great job of scaring fish away.

Inboard motors are mounted inside the hull, in the middle of the boat. They can be more powerful and are great for watersports. But because they are inside the hull, maintenance is more difficult.

A smaller number of boats use either a sterndrive motor or a jet propulsion motor. And then there’s the trolling motor.

Trolling motors are small, light, and self-contained like an outboard motor. But they don’t use fuel; they are powered by electricity.

Trolling motors aren’t used as a primary means for propulsion, which is why you usually still have an outboard motor. Rather, these are used to skirt around a fishing area quietly, without disturbing fish.

Benefits of a Trolling Motor

If you have a small, lightweight boat, such as a Jon boat or a dinghy, then a trolling motor might be all you need to power your boating experience. The going won’t be fast, but it will be quiet and smooth.

And you don’t have to deal with the noise, the smell of burning fuel, or the maintenance that comes with a standard outboard motor.

But trolling motors are most commonly used alongside an outboard motor as a means for fishing. Outboard motors will quickly get you to your fishing grounds. But fish can be hard to find, so once on location, you can use your trolling motor to swiftly move about.

Trolling motors are very quiet and don’t create as much disturbance in the water. They aren’t going to scare away the very fish you are trying to catch.

And since they are powered by a trolling motor battery, rather than gasoline, you don’t have to carry extra fuel, weighing down your boat.

They are also easier to steer. So if you are navigating tight spots, such as the mangroves off the Florida coast, or shallow water filled with sandbars, trolling motors off the more nimble steering experience.

And if you’re in a spot where there’s a steady current pushing you in one direction, a trolling motor can be deployed to keep you in one spot, without the hassle of deploying in anchor. That way, you can fish a spot methodically, without constantly being pushed around.

Where to Use Trolling Motors

Almost any consumer-grade boat can be powered by a trolling motor. Of course, they are more effective on smaller boats, where the electric motor can more easily maneuver the watercraft.

They are commonly used on small fishing boats, like Jon boats, bass boats, and center consoles. Those who enjoy the serenity offered by paddling can get a small kayak trolling motor, to make it even easier to spend a day on the water with a focus on fishing rather than paddling.

From the warm, tropical waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, to the frigid waters of the north where the salmon run, trolling motors are used in all conditions, for all types of fishing. You can find out how to catch your favorite cold water fish using a trolling motor here.

Finding a Trolling Motor for Sale

You can find affordable trolling motors from almost any outdoor retailer. Trolling motors are small and light, so they are easier to stock.

Trolling motors can range in price from $100 to over $1,000, and depends on the size of the boat you are looking to power. You can’t go wrong with a reliable Motorguide trolling motor.

Along with choosing a motor, you’ll want to select the best trolling motor battery to go along with it. Your selection here is crucial, since the motor is completely powered by this battery.

You want a battery with enough juice to power your boat for an entire day. And make sure to get one that can handle the weather conditions that you frequent, whether that’s intense sunlight and saltwater in the south or ice-cold fresh water in the north.

Trolling Motors for the Serious Angler

If you’re a serious angler, then you’re eventually going to get some type of watercraft, be it a kayak, a dingy, or a proper fishing boat so you can go to where the fish actually hide.

And when you get a watercraft, it’s essential that you use trolling motors, so you can get close to fish in their natural habitat without scaring them away.

When you can do that, you can avoid getting skunked every single time.

Looking for more fishing tips and tricks? Head over to our blog now to keep reading.