Comparing Minn Kota Trolling Motors
Minn Kota History
For as long I can remember, Minn Kota has been creating products that have directly benefited the fishing community. An innovative company, Minn Kota has been introducing new products since they invented the first electric gear-driven motor in 1934. Today, Minn Kota focuses on trolling motors and offers multiple models. Some of these trolling motors have a simple design and are controlled by your hand, while others can operate themselves and follow a GPS fishing route. Because there are so many options available, the question that arises is "How do I choose a Minn Kota that is right for my fishing style?".
How to choose a Minn Kota Motor
To choose a Minn Kota motor for your boat, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
- Where do I want to mount the motor?
- How do I want to control the motor?
- What size of trolling motor do I need for my boat?
Where should I mount my trolling motor?
Figuring out where you would like to mount your motor is a good first step as choosing your mounting location will rule out some motor options. There are two primary trolling motor mounting locations, Bow mount (Front of boat) and Transom mount (Back of boat). Depending on what type of boat you have, you many only have the option to mount one of these two places. For example; if you have a rowboat, canoe, inflatable, or small aluminum fishing boat, you will probably only have room to mount the motor to the transom as there isn't space on the bow. Inversely, if you have a fish/ski boat that doesn't have room for a motor on the transom, the bow mount is the obvious choice. If you have the option of choosing either mounting location, I recommend bow mount motors as they pull the boat through the water and will give you more control.
How should I control my trolling motor?
There are three primary control methods for trolling motors, hand tiller, foot pedal, and wireless/GPS. All methods have pros, cons, and are suited for different fishermen.
- Hand Tiller - In the past all trolling motors were controlled by a hand tiller. This is still the primary control method for transom mount motors, such as the Minn Kota Endura or Traxxis, and gives you real time control over steering and speed. However, controlling your troll with a hand tiller will cause you to have to be near the motor, and limits the areas of the boat you can fish from. The hand control is ideal for fishermen who need a transom mount motor, but not for those who want to fish from other areas of the boat.
- Foot Pedal - Foot pedals are a very popular control tool for trolling motors. Most foot controlled motors are bow mounted, but there are some transom mount motors that have a foot pedal. Controlling the motor by foot will free your hands for fishing, and also allow you to move around the boat. There are two different makes of foot pedals, cable-driven and electric. Cable-driven foot pedals, which are found on the Minn Kota Maxxum or Fortrex, have steel cables that run from the pedal to the motor to control steering and speed. These pedals are heavy-duty and made to withstand hard use. Unfortunately, cable driven foot pedals have short cords, 4'-6', and require you to be close to the motor. Electric foot pedals, found on the Minn Kota Terrova or PowerDrive V2, have an 18' cord which allows you to move the pedal virtually anywhere on your fishing boat. While not as heavy-duty as the cable driven pedals, electric motors are also compatible with wireless motor controls, where cable-drive motors are not.
- Wireless/GPS remote - The newest trend in trolling is controlling your motor via wireless remote. The ultimate tool for fishing flexibility, Minn Kota's Co-pilot and GPS i-pilot remotes allow fishermen to cast from anywhere on the boat while easily controlling the speed and direction of their troll. For the ultimate control, Minn Kota's GPS i-pilot remote allows you to set GPS coordinates for your trolling motor to follow or anchor. Wireless remotes come standard on the Minn Kota's saltwater Riptide SP and Riptide ST trolling motors, and are also available for the Terrova and PowerDrive V2 freshwater models.
What size of trolling motor do I need for my boat?
Once you have determined where you want your trolling motor and how you are going to control it, you need to choose the correct motor size for your boat. To do this properly, you will need to know the size of your boat and its weight when fully loaded with people and gear. Once you have this information, you should consult the table below to determine how much thrust your Minn Kota motor should have. Trolling motor power is measured in pounds of thrust, the higher the length and weight of the boat, the more thrust you will need. Choosing the right size motor is very important as it will need to be large enough to push your boat through wind, waves, and current.
Trolling Motor Sizing Chart
Choosing your Motor
When choosing your trolling motor, you will see that it is less about choosing one motor over another, and more about choosing the motor that is designed for your boat and fishing style. In my experience, all Minn Kota motors are great quality, but not all will fit your boat. I recommend that you think about how you want to use your motor, and choose the motor that helps meet those goals.
While there are other motor manufactures, I wrote this article specifically about the Minn Kota model as I believe they are the best quality. If you have any questions about how to choose a Minn Kota motor, or the differences between the models, please leave a comment and I will try to quickly answer your question.