Three Features You Need in a Transom-Mounted Trolling Motor

A trolling motor that fits on the back of your boat can be a huge asset, especially if you fish alone.

While bow-mounted trolling motors are undoubtedly the most suitable configuration for modern bass boats and even saltwater center-console or flats boats, there is a whole category of smaller craft for which a traditional transom-mounted motor is the best or only option. From john boats to small vee-hulls and even kayaks and canoes, a stern-mounted trolling motor is a time-honored way of powering small vessels. Although they don’t have the same turning sensitivity as a bow-mounted motor, they are less expensive, usually with a no-nonsense tiller drive, and can effectively power practically any vessel under about 16 to 18 feet. Here are a few things to consider before you purchase.

Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor
This model has a 10-position bracket and quick-release lever lock.Minn Kota

There are many factors influencing how much thrust you need in a trolling motor. For example, all other things being equal, an angler plying the moving waters of a river needs more thrust than someone fishing on a placid lake. The same holds true for windy coastal conditions versus protected inland waters. But a good rule of thumb is to have two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of fully loaded and fueled boat weight. Ultimately, it’s better to have a too much power than not enough, with the caveat that any extra thrust comes with additional motor weight, which can quickly reach a point of diminishing returns for small vessels.

Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor
This product uses stainless-steel hardware to prevent corrosion.Newport Vessels

Saltwater is pretty much the most corrosive environment on the planet. As such, it is inadvisable to use anything but a saltwater-rated trolling motor in the brine. There are steps one can take to treat the vital components of a freshwater motor for service in the salt, but if you plan to fish inshore more often than not, the best option is to invest in a true saltwater motor.

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor
This model can be fitted to a kayak.Newport Vessels

The boat itself, and usually the transom height, will dictate how long of a shaft you need. Measure the freeboard (height of boat sides above the waterline) at the transom and allow for another 10 to 15 inches in shaft length to make sure the prop will be adequately submerged to power the boat. Short-shaft motors are best suited for kayaks and canoes.

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