Boat Rigging Part 2: Trolling Motor Install

Trolling motor installation is a cinch with the right tools and understanding a few aspects of effective placement.

I would venture to say that about 90 percent of freshwater fishing boats have an electric trolling motor installed on the bow or stern. Bass anglers often use them to maneuver around docks or along the shoreline, and multi species anglers will use them to fish vertically in current and wind, or even as a primarily forward trolling motor.

From a rigging standpoint, the important factor is to make sure that the angle is right so the boat is pulled straight. Not to mention that the head of the motor doesn’t impede the boat cover from fitting properly. Having another person to help “mock up” before you drill improves accuracy and helps the motor deploy without hitting the boat.

I prefer to use a Minn-Kota removable plate instead of mounting directly to the boat for several reasons: A slide plate allows you to easily remove the motor for storage or switching motor types. A slide plate also allows you to move the entire trolling motor back a few inches and keep the head from hitting on the trailer when launching from a steep ramp.

Below are a few steps to consider before punching a few holes in your new boat.

  1. Layout the plate and confirm that the motor will not impede the cover or the trolling motor shaft will not hit the boat when deployed.
  2. Attach the top plate to the trolling motor per the directions.
  3. Mark the boat with a marker at the desired position of the bottom plate.
  4. Make sure that all power and breakers are shut off.
  5. Gain access through a compartment or hatch to make sure wires are clear before drilling.
  6. Place bolts and put a large fender washer or backing plate on the underside with a nyloc nut to secure.
  7. Slide the trolling motor onto the boat and attach the set screw that is designed to reduce slop between the bracket pieces.
  8. Connect the power leads to the boats power. Most boat manufactures have a pre run power line and breaker installed.
  9. Secure the connections with electrical tape.

The list is not meant to be a literal step-by-step instruction manual, rather to help you think through each necessary step before you take on the project.

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Capt. Ross Robertson

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