Top 3 Best Trolling Motors

Top 3 Best Trolling Motors


Nothing beats trolling along the river or lake and helping unsuspecting fish get a good look at your bait. My buddies and I sometimes catch a dozen fish with a few keepers. Then suddenly, our motor craps out. Nothing is worse than going from bass and brews to dropping anchor in a terrible spot and doing emergency triage on a cheap motor. Once, my buddy fixed a leaking fuel line with a Doritos bag and some electrical tape, so we were no strangers to fixing things on the fly. 

The most common issues on an electric motor are usually battery failure, loose wires, circuit breaker issues, or faulty wire connections. The problem could also be due to a broken rotary switch or a fault in the propeller. Luckily, most of these can be fixed at home. For those of you whose motors are more piecemeal and cobbled together than Frankensteins Monster, I have compiled a list of the best trolling motors you can buy today. 

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best trolling motor

Best for Bass Fishing: Minn Kota Ultrex

The Ultrex electric trolling motor offers ultimate convenience. It allows easy stowing, deploying, and trimming through a remote or foot pedal. It offers spot lock, recording trolling paths, speed and steering adjustments, and autopilot navigation. The motor can also connect to some Humminbird fish finders for additional functionality, like following depth contours. The 36-volt version provides an impressive 112 pounds of thrust. While pricey, the Ultrex stands out for its unique and advanced features not found in many other trolling motors.

  • i-Pilot GPS Trolling System
  • Automatic motor raising and lowering
  • AutoPilot
best trolling motors

Best Budget: MotorGuide R3-30

The MotorGuide R3-30 hand-control trolling motor is popular for small freshwater boats, particularly Jon boat setups for fishing or waterfowling. It comes in two shaft lengths, 30-inch and 36-inch, offering excellent value for budget-conscious outdoor enthusiasts. With a single 12-volt battery, it delivers around 30 pounds of thrust for the 30-inch shaft and 40 pounds for the 36-inch version. It’s also suitable for occasional anglers who only go fishing a few times yearly.

  • Multiple thrust and shaft options
  • Multiple speeds (forward & reverse)
  • Extremely affordable
trolling motor

Best for Fresh Water Minn Kota Edge

This Minn Kota Edge has a 36″ shaft length, 12-volt battery, and 45 pounds of thrust. It features a Latch and door Bracket for secure stowing and easy removal, a Heel-Toe / Cable-Steer Foot Pedal for precise motor control, and speed control options. The foot pedal is made from durable, high-impact composite material. Additionally, the motor offers five-speed settings for trolling control and includes a Power Prop designed for motor diameters of 3-1/4″, delivering extra power to navigate through heavy vegetation. Prop pin, nuts, and washers are also included.

  • Ultra-responsive foot pedal
  • 5-Speed Settings
  • Impact-resistant composite head

Buying Guide

When choosing the best trolling motors, consider three key factors:

  • Boat Size: A motor with 30 pounds of thrust powered by a single 12-volt deep cycle battery is suitable for a canoe.
  • Boat Type: Pontoon boats can handle trolling motors with varying thrust levels, depending on your budget. These boats may use two parallel-wired deep cycle batteries for 24 volts or three batteries in parallel for 36 volts, providing more thrust and longer battery life.
  • Fishing Style: If you use your trolling motor continuously, especially in windy conditions or high speeds while casting (common among bass and walleye anglers), consider a powerful 36-volt motor to prevent battery drain.

Additionally, the motor’s shaft length is critical. It should be long enough to submerge the shaft and propeller sufficiently to avoid cavitation but not so long that it interferes with the mounting bracket. The suitable shaft length varies, typically ranging from 30 inches for kayaks, canoes, or small jon boats to 87 inches for saltwater fishing boats with high freeboards.

A hand-control motor is a practical choice for those who prefer to sit near the transom while operating a small boat. It can be used as a trolling motor or for maneuvering after using a gas-powered tiller outboard to reach your fishing spot, making it ideal for smaller bodies of water and serving as the primary “get-there” motor.

In conclusion, choosing the best trolling motors is crucial for an enjoyable and successful fishing experience. Whether you are a serious angler looking for advanced features or a budget-conscious occasional fisherman, options are available to suit your needs.

The Ultrex electric trolling motor is a top choice for bass fishing enthusiasts, offering cutting-edge features like GPS control, autopilot, and exceptional thrust. However, its higher price tag may only be suitable for some.

For those on a budget, the MotorGuide R3-30 provides affordability and versatility, making it a practical choice for small boats and occasional fishing trips.

Lastly, the best trolling motors designed for freshwater with its impact-resistant head, responsive foot pedal, and multiple speed settings offers a solid option for freshwater anglers, though durability may be a concern.

Remember, when selecting a trolling motor, consider factors like boat size, type, and fishing style to make the best choice. The right trolling motor can enhance your fishing adventures, whether you are trolling along the river or navigating your favorite fishing spots.

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