Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Choosing A Trolling Motor And Battery

Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island Fishing Report, February 2010

Troll Motor and Battery Choice

After six weeks of doing with out a boat my new Pathfinder has arrived. It is beautiful cobalt blue, powered by a Yamaha 150 four-stroke. It came with a PowerPole installed. I have a few basic things to do before it’s like I want it for fishing, but not much. Today I will install a Minn Kota 80 pound thrust remote control troll motor. I have already installed two AGM Optima Deep cycle batteries for the motor and one Optima starting battery for the other electrical systems. All three batteries fit in the console and help balance the boat with weight in the middle instead of the back. It jumps out of the hole with ease.

OPTIMA battery

I am a believer in Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. I have had them before and that is why I chose this technology again. OPTIMA® BlueTop® high-performance AGM batteries in your boat gives you more running time for your troll motor and up to 3 times more recharges than what you’d get out of a traditional battery.

Since all the electrolyte (acid) is contained in the glass mats, the Optima Batteries do not spill, even if broken. We don’t worry about it in Florida, but there is no liquid to freeze and expand, so there is no worry about freezing damage. Optima’s also provide weight savings and outstanding vibration resistance.

My last Pathfinder had AGM batteries and they were still in the boat when I sold it in 2009. They were working just like they were in 2004 when the boat was new. They are definitely worth the added cost. In fact, I think they are cheaper in the long-run.

With an on-board charger all I have to do is plug it in when I finish my fishing day and there is no more worry about the batteries. The picture below shows all three batteries under the center consol. Great weight distribution results in a great hole shot.

I am installing the Minn Kota troll motor with a quick release mount for easy removal when I don’t want it on the bow and for security when on the road. You can easily detach the motor and take in the motel room with you at night.

With the threadable backing plate that Pathfinder installs in the bow for mounting the troll motor, the installation is simple. You simply drill 4 holes and use a ¼ inch tap to cut threads in the backing plate. Then, fasten the quick release mount by inserting four bolts through the mount and into the tapped holes and tightened from the top. There is no need to reach up under the bow and get your back out of whack trying to hold a bolt on the underside. It’s a snap. The picture below shows the template in place for drilling the 4 holes.

trolling motor template

I choose the Minnkota with remote control and auto pilot because of the type of fishing I do. You can run it from anywhere in the boat using the remote control. When fishing the edge of a flat or a shoreline you can set the auto pilot to guide you in a straight line without having to steer it again. You just spend all your time fishing. This next picture shows the installed Minnkota.

bow mounted trolling motor

My next installation will be a Humminbird Side Image Sonar/GPS combo. The new version, which also gives you a picture under the boat, is scheduled to ship in March, so I will have to wait on that. In the meantime I will have to fish the old-fashion way, using personal history and intuition.

That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’.


I will be in Ft. Walton Beach February 20 and 21 so come by and see me. I was in Ft. Myers at the Florida Sportsman Show last weekend and it was great. I hope it is a sign of an up-tick for the fishing industry.

March 5th, 6th and 7th are the dates for the annual Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo and Boat Show hosted by Frank Sargeant. I will be there in the FGA booth on Friday and Sunday so come on by if you are in the area.

Captain Ron Presley

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