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9 Best Trolling Motors for Freshwater & Saltwater Fishing

By David Chavez / October 8, 2018
Best Trolling Motor

Fishing is something people have been doing since the beginning of time. Due to technology, there have been many improvements to help fishermen find the perfect catch. One of them is trolling motors.

What’s a trolling motor?

Trolling motors help anglers have more control, and move more quietly from one spot to another. This ultimately means more fish in your boat at the end of the day.

Trolling motors use battery power to propel a boat. The energy needed to move the boat through the water is called “pounds of thrust.” This is a rating usually common to all motors and is something to carefully look into when buying one. Without enough power, your boat might not be able to go through water, wind, weedy locations or high waves.

Freshwater or Saltwater Fishing Comparison Guide

Buying a trolling motor isn’t as easy, especially if this is your first time looking into one. There are many different models, and unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, you might end up making a bad purchase.

There’s a few things to consider before making a decision. One critical factor is the type of water you’re fishing, whether it’s saltwater of freshwater.

There’s a difference between the two, which is why there’s trolling motors for saltwater, freshwater, and even both.

This is where we can help. Continue reading to find one that fits your needs, and what you should consider before making a purchase.


Freshwater Fishing Reviews

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted

This is one of the most popular trolling motors for freshwater fishing on the market. Endura is a well-known name, and its C2 30 trolling motor offers excellent features that bring trolling to another level.

Its handle extends to 6 inches; it’s comfortable and easy to use. It serves primarily to control the direction of your boat, while it also has the on/off button, speed and forward/reverse controls.

This product has five speeds you can choose from for when you’re going forward. If you’re going reverse, you have three speeds to choose from.

The bracket has a quick release lever lock and ten easy positions adjustments. The entire thing is made of a reinforced composite material that’s tough, UV and warp resistant.

The Minn Kota is known to be quiet thanks to its battery as well as the unique bearing system that reduces the friction bringing noise to the minimum. The Power Prop at the bottom provides additional power for going through dense vegetation.

Check Latest Price On Amazin

Minn Kota Endura C2 40 Freshwater Transom Mounted

If you’re on a budget, this might be a good option to look into. The most important thing to remember is that it has only 40 pounds of thrust.

The Minn Kota Endura C2 40 has five speeds for going forward and three for reverse. It features an adjustable telescoping handle. The shaft is made of composite material that’s exceptionally durable and heavy-duty.

If you take some time to look into its customer reviews, you’ll notice many people who are more than pleased with the trolling motor. Many of them have had the Endure C2 40 for more than ten years.

Its battery is long-lasting and quiet. It lasts for hours and won’t scare away any of your fish. The motor is fast, well-built and easy to use.

Its excellent reviews and pleased customers speak of its quality and efficiency. There’s nothing complicated about it, which is why most anglers often recommend it if you’re buying your first trolling motor.

Check Latest Price On Amazon

Minn Kota Endura C2 45 Freshwater Transom Mounted

The Endure C2 45 is unique in its features and overall quality. Its built to last you a long time, while it’s also more efficient than many other models on the market.

It features large brushes that along with its windings and commutators produce less heat and noise. The device runs cooler, which means longer engine life and battery power. It allows for a longer time on the water, which is essentially what you’re looking for.

The trolling motor has a unique bearing system that produces low rpms, so it doesn’t make as much noise. Endure paid particular attention to this detail which is why their trolling motors don’t scare away the fish.

The device is made of a composite shaft that’s somewhat stronger than steel. It flexes on impact making it harder to break or corrode.

Its 6’’ telescopic handle is convenient, comfortable and easy to use. The engine also features a lever lock bracket that makes the mount stable and reliable.

Check Latest Price On Amazon


Saltwater Fishing Reviews

Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb Thrust Saltwater

If you want something built especially for saltwater, you should look into Newport Vessels. All their motors are high-quality and efficient, so the 36 lb. is no exception.

This saltwater trolling motor handle is made of stainless steel. This material makes it suitable for saltwater use. The 30’’ fiberglass allows the motor to work better in deep water while its mount is made of heavy-duty nylon mount.

It has eight different speeds, five for going forward and three for going reverse. It features a five-point LED battery meter and 36 lbs. of thrust. These are some of its best features that are more than enough to power kayaks and other small vessels.

However, keep in mind that this product is specially made for saltwater, you can also use it in freshwater. This makes it one of the most versatile trolling motors on the market of such quality.

Check Latest Price On Amazon

Newport Vessels NV-Series 46 lb Thrust Saltwater

Another highly popular trolling motor by Newport Vessels, the NV-Series 46lb. is a motor of choice for many fishermen, sailors and more. What stands out about the motor is its features, specifications, and overall quality.

It has 46 lbs. of thrust which is great for saltwater fishing. The fiberglass shaft is adjustable so you can set it up any way you like. The motor has eight speeds, 5 of which are for going forward and 3 for going reverse. All the speed variables are at the handle for easy approach and maneuver.

The motor features a 5-point LED battery meter that allows for easy battery level reading. It’s located at the head of the shaft for easy access.

The combination of stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc make the motor durable and reliable. Its qualities make it suitable for saltwater, resistant to warp and UV.

Check Latest Price On Amazon

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36 lb Thrust Saltwater

Offering a lifetime of dependable performance and quality, this trolling motor by Newport Vessels is suitable for saltwater, and is heavy-duty.

It features a 24-inch fiberglass shaft that allows for better depth placement. The motor features eight speeds; 5 for forward and 3 for reverse. It also has a telescopic handle that’s easy to maneuver with.

The motor head is made of aluminum with stainless steel hardware that makes the device suitable for rough saltwater.

The battery cables are long at 5’6’’. This allows versatile battery placement for better weight distribution.

This trolling motor is one of the few that’s suitable for kayak trolling thanks to its specifications and features. It’s versatile, durable and reliable. If you own a kayak and are looking for a trolling motor, this model is probably one of the best options to consider.

Check Latest Price On Amazon


Both Saltwater & Freshwater Fishing

Cloud Mountain Thrust Electric

Cloud Mountain’s trolling motors come in a different range from 36 to 86 lb. thrust that are 36, 40, 46, 50, 55, 60 and 86lb. They also come with different shaft lengths of 36 and 28 inches. The motors have five power levels.

There are motors with 8-speed levels, 5 of which are for forward and three are for reverse.

The head is made of aluminum with reinforced nylon bracket, telescopic handle, and fiberglass composite shaft. All models feature a LED battery indicator that tells you about the battery level.

All of these models are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater. The ability to handle both types of water make it one of the most versatile devices on the market.

Cloud Mountain offers a 1-year warranty along with its products and has a large number of pleased customers and positive reviews to back up its quality.

Check Latest Price On Amazon

Goplus Thrust Transom Mounted Electric

This sturdy and durable trolling motor is a motor of choice of many experienced anglers and fishers. It’s efficient and easy to maneuver with.

It features a 6’’ telescopic handle that’s fully adjustable and comfortable. The handle allows for easy control in freshwater and saltwater.

The motor features eight speeds, 5 for going forward and another 3 for going revere. These speed levels give you all the control for an entirely controlled and smooth ride.

The unique thing about this motor is its three-blade propeller that allows the smoothest movement through water, as well as grass and marsh.

It features a 10-point LED lights battery indicator that tells you about how much battery life you have left. With this, it’s impossible to be left without the battery in the middle of the water.

The reinforced nylon bracket provides strength, ablation resistance and stability. The device also features a fiberglass composite shaft that gives high tensile strength and warp resistance. Its head is made of aluminum for prolonged motor life.

Check Latest Price On Amazon

Black Haswing 12V 55 lbs Bow Mount Electric

Designed to deliver ultimate control, quiet operation, and durability, this trolling motor is ideal for both saltwater and freshwater. The motor has a wireless hand control and a quick release bracket. It’s also energy efficient with a long-lasting battery for long hours of trolling.

The motor features a Depth Collar that allows you to change depths quickly and with ease. It locks in tight once you find the perfect depth. When you want to move from there, you should tighten the Depth Collar down the bottom of the shaft. The motor has an eye-catching design combined with synchronized level wind system and 6-pin centrifugal brake for better control.

Its lift handle is ergonomically designed to carry the motor easily. The dual release pedals help with deploying and stowing with only one hand. With its technology and encapsulated electronics and stainless-steel hardware, this motor is one of the best saltwater/freshwater trolling motors on the market.

Check Latest Price On Amazon


Buyer’s Guide – Things To Consider

If you’ve never bought a trolling motor, the choice may be a bit trickier than you imagined. It’s because there are many different products on the market all delivering a large variety of features and specifications.

Here’s what you should consider deciding on the best model that would fit your needs:

electric boat

Bow or Transom Motor?

Regardless of what kind of motor you decide on, make sure to have enough room for it first. Don’t forget the mounting bracket for correct positioning, as well as a flat platform for easy setup.

Choose between the two types of motors depending on your boat, water you’re in and your overall preference. They serve the same purpose but work better in various specific cases, so it’s good to know which one would fit you better.

Transom goes on the stern of your boat and works with almost all vessels. It’s recommended you use it for small boats since they profoundly improve the positioning and overall trolling. A transom motor helps position your boat better in harsh climates.

Bow motors go in the front of your boat. They work better for large boats that are over 14 ft. because of the handling and speed. Unlike transoms that push the boat, bow motors pull it through the water.

Thrust Power

Thrust power is actually the strength needed to move a vessel through the water. The more thrust power, the better maneuverability around the sea.

Thrust power depends on the size of your boat. For boats under 12 ft. you would need about 30 pounds of thrust power. For vessel larger than 22 ft. you would need 101 pounds of thrust power.

Experienced anglers and fishers will tell you to buy the largest motor you can get within reason. A too large model could dwarf the size of your motor so make sure to choose wisely. Measure everything carefully before buying a trolling motor for your boat.

Without this, it would be much harder to move through rough areas and conditions such as high waves and dense vegetation. This is why it’s important to give the matter a good though before you make the final decision.

kayak trolling motor

Shaft Size

This is another crucial matter to consider. The shaft size determines how much control you’ll have over your boat. For best performance, it’s recommended you go for a stable balance between a long and short shift.

When the shift is short, it’s hard to submerge it during harsh conditions. Still, if the shift is too long, you’ll have many problems in shallow water. That’s why, for safe and enjoyable boating, you need to choose just the right shaft size.

To do this, you need to find the height of the bow or the stern. Boats that are deep V need a longer shaft, while small boats like canoes can work with a short shaft.

Look into this carefully because a thing like a shaft size can significantly affect how efficiently will your boat operate. Choosing the right size isn’t as hard as it may seem if it’s your first time looking into this.

Length

Shaft length of 42’’ is considered to be standard. Still, there’s a way to determine the length of your boat that you can do yourself.

Check the distance from where the shaft is mounted on the deck to the water. Now add from 16’’ to 20’’ and take the closest measurement.

Longer shafts are always recommended for rough water. This is because you want the prop to stay about 6’’ below the surface when your boat rolls and pitches.

Use the adjustment on the mount to fine-tune the vertical position of your motor. These little details will help the performance of your trolling motor and the overall boating experience.

Although it may seem hard, it’s not. Just take things with ease, measure everything several times before you make the decision and if needed, look for professional advice for your case precisely.

Batteries and Voltage

salwater motorAll electric trolling motors come in three different power systems:
• 12 volts
• 24 volts
• 36 volts

To simple things up, a 36-volt motor would need three 12-volt batteries in order to work. A 12-volt motor would use only one 12-volt battery while a 24-volt motor would use two of those.

The cheapest option would be the 12-volt battery. It’s also the one that’s easiest to operate. Still, it doesn’t offer nearly as much power as the other two batteries. A 24-volt and 36-volt batteries give you more time to spend in your boat. These are the batteries you choose for increasing thrust power and smoother ride.

For boats up to 16 ft. long, a 12-volt battery will do a fair job. It will push your boat through harsh conditions with enough ease. However, if you have a larger boat, opt for a 24-volt or 36-volt battery for a better experience.

Battery indicators

A battery indicator is a useful thing to have and luckily, most trolling motors feature it in the head of the device. This indicator gauge shows how much power is left in the battery.

It’s recommended you don’t pass on this feature because it’s always good to know when you should think about charging your battery.

Maintenance

Trolling motors are quite heavy-duty, but still, they need a bit maintenance now and then. If you don’t look after your trolling motor on a regular basis, it will perform less than well and eventually break down. Luckily, these aren’t hard to maintain.

The exterior is the easiest to fix. Check the bolts and screws and tighten them when needed. Make sure to also remove all weeds from them. Cleaning the exterior of your trolling motor will help with better performance and clean and polish look.

bow mount

While you’re at it, check the shaft. Sometimes, this part can become sticky. To get rid of this, apply some Armor All or anything similar to it and the problem is gone.

Now check if there’s any damage on the prop. Use fine sandpaper for treating any scratches you find. This isn’t the most crucial thing, but some significant scratches can affect your boat’s performance.

Replace all wires that are worn or frayed and check connections for corrosion. If you come across loose connections, make sure to replace them.

Brush the battery with extra caution while it’s not connected to anything in the process.


Laws To Be Aware Of When Buying

There are some laws you should be mindful of that depend on the state you live in. The rules are also different depending on the body of water, so make sure to check on all the regulations before you head out for fishing.

Still, here are some common regulations that apply almost everywhere:
• All vessels must be registered and titled. Also, you’re obligated to carry the registration card at all times when using the vessel.
• Another thing you have to carry at all times are flares and other distress signals. This law is especially important for coastal waters under USCG jurisdiction.
• You must have some navigational lights, though a simple hand torch can serve the purpose, too.
• You should always carry a sound-producing device along with you in case of some emergency. If this is required where you are, carry a whistle on-board.
• One of the stricter rules is that you have to wear a PFD. If you have a child with you that’s under 13 years old; it must wear it at all times. Still, the rule often doesn’t apply to canoes and kayaks.


newport vessels

FAQ

Is there a wireless option available?

For someone looking for extra convenience and ease of use, a wireless option is an excellent choice. It’s a thing to consider for not only your fishing boat but a pontoon, too.

If you want to lay back and enjoy the ride while waiting for some fish, why not have remote control option. Look into it if you think you’d like to have control from anywhere on your boat.

Where is the best place to buy?

Amazon is definitely the best website to visit if you’re looking to buy one. Not only it offers a wide range of different models, but it also provides all the information on features, specifications, customer reviews and ratings.


Final Verdict

Now that you came this far, you’ve probably decided on which one of these best trolling motors would fit your needs the best. As you can tell, these are all high-quality and packed with useful features so it’s just a matter of which would work the best for you.

If you can’t make up your mind, consider the Goplus Thrust Transom Mounted Electric. This model is one of the best that the market has to offer. It’s often a trolling motor of choice for many anglers because it’s versatile and operates smoothly in both freshwater and saltwater.

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About the author

    David Chavez

    I love blogging anything and everything related to fishing!. Much of my background comes from Freshwater fishing, but I'm also pretty decent when out in the ocean. My goal is to help other anglers better their skill-sets with proper guides, and just have fun doing so.

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