Pontoon boats are making a fitting re-entrance into the fishing world. In the past, they were limited to pleasure cruising and recreational activities – even if they were still good value for fishing.
Now, with the series of trolling motors for pontoon flooding the market, pontoon boat is now a must-have for a dedicated angler. This is all thanks to the effective and silent dragging power of the trolling motor which leads to better catch.
In this article, we will walk you through the task of selecting the best trolling motor for your pontoon boat.
Best Trolling Motor For Pontoon Boat – Review
Best for Low Power Consumption
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Trolling Motor
Most Versatile and Durable
MinnKota Traxxis Transom Mount Trolling Motor
Best for All-day Angling
Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Freshwater Motor
Best for Easy Navigation
U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor
Best for Quiet Fishing
Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 36 Shaft Transom Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable
1. Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Trolling Motor – Best for Low Power Consumption
If you need an ultra-quiet and efficient saltwater trolling motor, you can hardly get one better than this machine. The Newport vessels trolling motor is a cool and highly durable motor that drags boats quietly on water all day long for effective fishing.
This machine has a 55lb thrust power, enough to transport you and your accessories for hours and long-term. It has a stainless steel housing that doesn’t overheat while also withstanding saltwater and its effects. The shaft is made of composite fiberglass, making it durable.
The Newport vessels have 8 speeds – 5 forward and 3 reverse – which give you total control of the motor movement. Also, the ergonomic extendable handle allows you to control the prop and motor effectively.
Add its 5-point LED battery meter and you have a modern motor suitable for fishing and cruising.
- 30-inches adjustable shaft.
- 2 year warranty.
- 55lb thrust power.
- Low power consumption.
- Quiet and smooth movement.
- Durable and easy to maneuver.
- A bit bulky.
2. MinnKota Traxxis Freshwater Trolling Motor – Most Versatile and Durable
The MinnKota Traxxis trolling motor is an easy to use motor designed to be durable and versatile. It has a simple design with lots of modern features, making it ideal for various boat types.
What make this machine is its indestructible composite shaft. This shaft is strong, flexes under pressure without breaking, corrode or kink. Also, it has a lifetime warranty, effective from the purchase date.
As of the ease of control, the MinnKota Traxxis mount has a 4:1 articulate steering that allows for more response with little effort. It possesses a digital minimizer that gives you total speed control. Also, this enables you to maximize the motor battery capacity.
These features added to its button control for ease of lowering and raising the motor, and you might have just come across the ideal modernized trolling motor.
- Lifetime warranty on shaft.
- 2-year motor warranty.
- Adjustable shaft within the length 36-42 inches.
- Versatile steering tension control.
- 55 lbs thrust power.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Easy to control.
- Versatile, strong durable.
- Water do leaks into the handle.
3. Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Freshwater Motor – Best for All-day Angling
Watersnake tracer trolling motor is a weedless designed machine that effortlessly drags boats on freshwater. This 30-pound thrust machine is compatible with a host of small watercrafts like canoes, Jon boats, kayaks, inflatables amongst others.
It has 7-speed settings – five forward speeds and two reverse speeds. This gives you complete control over the boat with precision to any spot you wish to set a bait. It also has a two-blade propeller that allows smooth movement through water and seaweeds.
The Watersnake tracer has a durable and non-corrosive steel 30-inch chrome-plated steel shaft. Also, it includes a 12V battery capable of withstanding long hours of use, making it ideal for all-day angling.
- 30-pound thrust power.
- 30 inch chrome plated steel shaft.
- 12V battery.
- Effective and smooth movement.
- Extremely quiet and vibration smooth.
- Durable battery life.
- Prop is made of thin plastic.
4. U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Trolling Motor – Best for Easy Navigation
Do you need a durable and watertight trolling motor for your pontoon boat? There are few better and more effective than U-BCOO electric trolling motor. A machine designed to suit saltwater use, it is made with high-quality corrosion and rust resistant materials.
The U-BCOO saltwater trolling motor has a stainless steel housing that can outstand saltwater and its effects. It is equipped with a strong and durable 28.5 inch composite glass fiber shaft. These features coupled with its high strength nylon bracket and durable die-cast aluminum head makes it one of the strongest trolling motors available.
Also, the U-BCOO trolling motor doesn’t fall short on the thrust power front with its 46lb thrust. This enables it to power through tough conditions and drags your pontoon boat with ease. In terms of comfort, this machine is built with a 5-inch telescopic handle. This allows you to easily control the motor and propeller.
- DC 12V battery.
- 8 speeds: 5 forward and 3 reverse.
- 1-10 level LED power display.
- Full copper motor.
- Easy to set up.
- Strong and durable.
- Easy to maneuver.
- Durable battery life.
- Prop is heavy on one side.
5. Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 36” Shaft Trolling Motor – Best for Quiet Fishing
The Black Hawsing transom mount trolling motor is a versatile and well-engineered motor for both saltwater and freshwater use. It is made with high quality materials built to propel small watercrafts like kayaks, fishing boats, Dinghies, inflatable boats and Tenders.
This machine has an adjustable Ospanian 50703 55 lbs 35.5 inch aluminum alloy shaft that allows you adjust the height requirements to your need. It has a 13-inch adjustable ergonomic handle that enable anglers steering to be more comfortable and convenient. More importantly, it is quiet and does not scare away fishes.
Also, the Black Hawsing trolling motor can be easily tilted in and out of the water depending on the depth and fishing condition. Thanks to the adjustment shaft height, it can be locked in just about any water.
- 55 lbs. thrust power.
- 35.5-inches adjustable shaft.
- Extensible ergonomic handle.
- 3-blade propeller.
- Powered by one 12V deep cycle battery.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Well-engineered and versatile.
- Powerful and easy to maneuver.
- A bit noisy but nothing to worry about.
What is a Trolling Motor?
A trolling motor is a self-contained unit made up of an electric motor, controls and propeller. It’s fixed on a boat either on the bow, stern, or transom. This helps propel a boat at a low speed without causing much impact on the water, making it ideal for fishing and baitcasting.
What to Consider in a Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat
With the plethora of trolling motor for pontoon boats available, the task of selecting the best for your boat might be daunting. As there are various models – with varying features and specs – in the market.
However, the basic features to consider are discussed below.
This is responsible for the smooth movement of the trolling motor. It must be considered carefully as pontoon boats have pretty high decks. A shaft of the required length must be able to go underwater from the edge of your pontoon boat.
For safety, you should add about 20 inches to the distance between your transom and waterline to get the appropriate shaft length. For instance, if the distance between the transom and the waterline is 16 inches, you get a shaft of about 36 inches. Besides, some models come with the required length as stated in the user’s manual.
Also, with the advancement in technology, many models of trolling motors are now offering adjustable shaft length. This allows you to adjust the length of the shaft as the need arises.
You should know the shaft is likely to always have contact with some objects in the water. So, it must be made of sturdy and durable material that can withstand impacts. Shafts made with fiberglass are the most durable as they don’t wear quickly.
The thrust power determines how well a trolling motor can pull your boat out of tough situations. A trolling engine with high thrust delivers more power and can outstand tough conditions. Thrust power is dependent on your pontoon size. The higher the size of your pontoon boat, the more thrust power you need from your boat.
The thrust power needed to power a pontoon boat is commonly calculated following these steps:
- Step 1: Divide the total weight of your pontoon boat by 100.
- Step 2: Multiply the answer of step 1 by two and you have the answer. So simple!
For instance, if the total weight of your boat is 3500 pound, then,
3500 / 100 = 35
35 x 2 = 70
This means that 70 lbs thrust power will effectively serve a pontoon of 3500 pounds weight.
Trolling motors are usually mounted on two parts of the pontoon boat; the transom or the bow. Transom mounted motors offer more balanced weight distribution. They are suitable for low-speed operations and an auxiliary power source.
The bow-mounted motor on the other hand is considered the best for anglers. This is because it offers more maneuverability and control. Also, it’s suitable for low-speed operations and has a low noise level, which is important when fishing.
The only downside to the bow-mounted motor is the need for more tools and the time it takes to install. But as an angler, it is well worth the time and stress.
The trolling motor is usually underwater for a long time and as such, prone to corrosion and rust. Therefore, you should get a motor with well-sealed housing and also of the right material. Most motors have water-tight housing to prevent water from finding its way into the machine.
However, the housing materials are of different types with varying efficiency. Motors with stainless steel housing offer great corrosion and rust protection albeit with an increase in weight. On the other hand, motors with aluminum housing offer corrosion and rust protection while also boasting relatively low weight.
Also, the housing material shouldn’t cause much vibration that can startle your fishing spot.
The common speed in trolling motors usually 8-speed levels with 5 available for forward movement and 3 for reverse. Due to the nature of the pontoon boat – as a leisure and fishing boat rather than a speed boat – the above speed levels should get the job done.
Note: In most trolling motors for pontoon boats, you mightn’t be able to exceed 10 MPH. This is because the trolling motors are only designed to provide a decent amount of speed and cruise sailing.
The prop is another part of the motor that stays underwater and acts as an enabler for its movement. It is usually of two or three blades and cuts any underwater grass or line it comes across. This allows the motor and consequently the pontoon blade to move and accelerate with relative ease.
The common number of blades in props is two with the more advanced types having curved edges. These curved edges allow for more functionality and prevent them from getting easily stuck.
Trolling motors for pontoon boats are either designed to work in saltwater or freshwater. The saltwater motors have more versatility as the majority of them can work in freshwater.
The freshwater motors in their basic design cannot work in saltwater. This is because motors designed for saltwater have advanced engineering and more protective features absent in freshwater motors. So, you should check the description of a trolling motor to know its suitability to the water type you intend to use it for.
This might look like a feature that isn’t important but, if you need to be out on the water all-day, you’ll feel its use. This is because long hours of fishing with a pontoon boat require lots of steering work. With the right motor handle, you’ll be able to direct your boat to any direction you want with ease.
The handle also helps with the movement of the prop. The more comfortable the handle, the easier it is to move the prop. For comfort and ease of control, you should go for motors with ergonomic handles.
The amount of battery voltage needed depends on the thrust power. The more the thrust power, the higher the battery capacity needed. Trolling motor batteries are usually of three voltage ranges – 12V, 24V and 36V.
The 12V battery with a low-duty task should move a pontoon effectively for a long period. However, in the case of more thrusts and heavy-duty tasks, a battery of 24V or 36V should get the job done. As a precaution, you should get extra battery packs in case of battery failure.
Apart from the basic features discussed above, there are also additional features that enhance the ease of use of a trolling motor. Although these added features come at a price, lots of models are now built to allow future upgrades and customization. With this, users can get a device with accessories that suit their needs and upgrade as the need arises in the future.
Some of the added features include improve reverse or forward speeds, LED battery monitor, remote operation like handheld units and foot pedal, and integrated GPS. Another is the connectivity between your phone and the motor via an app.
This app allows you to monitor the temperature, position, battery life and other necessary parameters of the trolling motor.
The size of your pocket determines what you can get. The price of a trolling motor for a pontoon boat is largely dependent on quality, model and the added features and accessories.
The better the trolling motor, the higher the price in most cases. You should get the best motor available even if it costs a bit more. With this, you’ll get a durable device and meet your needs for the long-term.
FAQs on Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat
The trolling motor doesn’t go deep underwater. Ideally, it should be submerged about 12-inches underwater.
Intense water conditions like waves and currents are damning for even the strongest of motors. The majority of trolling motors for pontoon out there cannot handle these conditions as they don’t have the power. To handle these conditions, you should get an electric engine.
Trolling motors for pontoon boats are designed to enable boats to move forward and reverse slowly without causing much impact on the water. This is why it is ideal for fishing and recreational water activities. As a result, you should not expect a trolling motor to provide more than 4-10 MPH speed on average.
As earlier stated, the ideal shaft length is dependent on the distance between the waterline and the boat transom. Some manufacturers give recommendations in the user’s manual – be sure to go through it. However, the common shaft length required by most pontoon boat – especially the bow-mounted motors – is 60 inches.
The trolling motor like most motors makes some noise. However, this noise shouldn’t be loud enough to scare away fishes or people around. An ideal trolling motor has a well-sealed housing that protects all the metal parts of the motor and also conceals the noise.
We have come to the end of this buying guide. In this piece, we have taken you through everything you need to consider when buying the best trolling motor for a pontoon boat. We also handpicked and reviewed five of the best products available. This should aid your selection process and enable you to approach the market confidently.