Home Egret Boats

Trolling motor tips

mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
Since I can't fish because my boat is awaiting repair, I thought I would share a couple of tips on best use of the trolling motor. I think I'm correct on these tips but if not, flaming away on my tips and any additional ones are appreciated.

1) Trim the main motor up most of the way to reduce drag but leave enough skeg / prop in the water that you still get some straight line tracking benefit.

2) Put the motor in forward gear just like when trailering (this is according to my Merc manual, can't say for other mfgs). This prevents the prop from spinning in neutral which will cause additional drag compared to a stopped prop. The other benefit of doing this is if you have line dragging (like a fly line) the prop isn't spinning so it can't wrap the line around the prop shaft and make a real mess!

3) MinnKota Ipilot remote can either make a lot of beeps (Mode 2) or not (Mode 1). I prefer no beeps. To change audio mode hold down + and - buttons for three seconds until the remote beeps. PDF manual here for details: http://www.trollingmotors.net/docs/Minn-Kota/Accessories/iPilot-Manual.pdf

4) I find the red and green lights on the MinnKota base that indicate operation to be blindingly bright at night when trying to sneak up on bridge snook and tarpon for close range Bob LeMay style sightfishing. I put a couple of pieces of white electrical tape over the lights so they still glow but aren't blinding. Maybe there's a way to dim them other than my crude method?

5) Keep your trolling motor prop clean of debris like fishing line. MinnKota sells a special inexpensive multi-tool just for field work on your TM. The engineer in me couldn't say no.

6) Keep your plug properly coated in dielectric grease.

7) Properly caulk the female side of the plug to the boat.

Here's a picture of my trolling motor after 2.5 years of being exposed to the most abusive, neglectful boater in the world:

20150208_171456.jpg

The lower unit has lost all the paint on the back section but I believe that is due to a badly prepared paint surface at the MinnKota factory. ALL the paint peeled off in one big piece. I didn't spend an Egret appropriate amount of time washing the front of the unit and none on the back, I just don't wash either of them. Something is either made for saltwater or it's not. In this case I think MinnKota needs to look at how it does coatings on the back sections and celebrate how well it does front sections.

Here's a shot of my trolling motor plug:
20150208_165825-1.jpg

When I had my boat at Master Repair to install the sharkeyes, Mike insisted on checking out the trolling motor and preventatively changing the seals (good mechanical maintenance). I had no troubles but I'm always in favor of preventative maintenance. Mike told me he had never seen a trolling motor plug in such good condition after 2 years of frequent boating as he knows I do. Guess who noticed the boat builder hadn't caulked the female side of the trolling motor plug on delivery, didn't even point it out to the builder and just got out his own tube of black caulk when he got the boat home and sealed it up: the most abusive, neglectful boater in the world. :) Same guy also applied some dielectric grease to the plug. Other than that the plug has never been maintained.

Hey Flatsboy, can you please post your tips on the Motorguide Xi5? I am seriously interested in it, IF I can ever kill this MinnKota. Did you get the custom Yellowfin style bow mounted GPS on a pogo stick like these guys? :)

FB_IMG_1423446331142.jpg

Replies

  • HeartNShoalHeartNShoal Posts: 937 Officer
    This is my 4-year old trolling motor taken off my CS and installed on the Egret. I fish with it 90% of the time. It gets grass wrapped, fly and mono line wrapped occasionally, and hits bottom on the regular, yet it looks like new compared to yours, Martin. Just a data point for all the observers out there.

    Do you have some kind of hatred for your equipment, Martin. Jesus.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423484511.117624.jpg
  • polepositionpoleposition Posts: 1,053 Officer
    Frank placed a Persian voo-doo curse on his stuff.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't even read his posts, just the responses...they are more entertaining.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    This is my 4-year old trolling motor taken off my CS and installed on the Egret. I fish with it 90% of the time. It gets grass wrapped, fly and mono line wrapped occasionally, and hits bottom on the regular, yet it looks like new compared to yours, Martin. Just a data point for all the observers out there.

    Do you have some kind of hatred for your equipment, Martin. Jesus.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423484511.117624.jpg

    I don't have a hatred for it, I just appreciate equipment that's really well made mechanically. I believe the MinnKota is bulletproof with the exception of how the skeg collar was painted. If something is made for saltwater it can handle not getting washed every time. If you want to make it look pretty then you can detail it and all the original shine will come back.

    Here's the same shot as you with the defectively painted skeg cropped out. Does my motor really look any worse than yours? There is such a thing as a badly prepared surface which leads to adhesives completely letting go prematurely. Maybe they got a bad batch of aluminum from China for the skeg housing. The fact your motor is from a different year class just increases the chance there is a difference between our motors in the underlying quality of that part. I didn't put Vaseline on the lens of my camera to blur out all the imperfections like you did. :) Actually I think you're just out of focus in that shot. Can you please take a high-res in-focus pic and post? The black scuff marks on the top of the motor are from the black plastic forks on the motor and I can see similar scuffs through the Vaseline in your photo. I didn't know I should funnel a quart of Koolaid and slap a handful of sunscreen over my sunglasses before going out to the boat. :)

    2015-02-09%2008.42.11.jpg

    Your picture actually reminded me of a couple of more tips. Mike at Master Repair suggests putting shrink tubing over the lock. This is my original trolling motor lock that's withstood 9 years / 10,000 hrs on the water. I don't wash it, I just give it a little lithium grease: it's made for saltwater.
    2015-02-09%2008.40.20.jpg

    There is a label on the motor that describes how to properly use it. Whenever the motor is stowed for travel, the depth collar should always be pushed down to the base and tightened. That is the original factory sticker that's lasted 2.5 years. If I were MinnKota I'd void your warranty HeartnShoal because you obviously don't know how to mechanically take care of your equipment. :) j/k
    2015-02-09%2009.04.58.jpg

    Here's another good mechanical maintenance item for the TM: some sort of brace at the top end to prevent excessive bouncing / smashing into the deck which will destroy the electronics inside the top. You can get the MinnKota standard or I bought the combo rod / beverage holder / TM brace from Boat Outfitters. I took off the leader spool holder next to the deck and it makes a great brace. I also bought a second depth collar and installed above the first. The top depth collar is to set the depth and then I use the bottom depth collar to lock down the motor for travel or slide it up to the top collar and tighten up for use. I showed that double collar setup to Master Repair and Mike said "You're stealing all MY tricks" :)
    2015-02-09%2008.45.16.jpg

    Another view of the cup / rod holder brace combo at the deck:
    2015-02-09%2008.43.16.jpg
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    Frank placed a Persian voo-doo curse on his stuff.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't even read his posts, just the responses...they are more entertaining.

    Too long, didn't read. :)
  • Bad behaviorBad behavior Posts: 1,162 Officer
    http://vid.me/TsNm
    Pretty sure this is mbowers take on the situation
    *warning... Language!!
    Need a little time off...For Bad Behavior....

    2014 Egret 2011 /Yamaha 250 SHO - sold
    2019 Pathfinder 2500 hybrid 350 Verado
  • HeartNShoalHeartNShoal Posts: 937 Officer
    That RQ video is freaking hilarious. Martin probably already made his Frank mask.

    My pics are high res but it seems the Tapatalk app is altering them.

    Ok, I concede that if you digitally remove all the evidence of your neglect, the condition of yours will appear equal. Seems like a fatuous argument to me. BTW, all I do is hose mine down.

    Martin, if they made a reality show about your boat care and maintenance escapades, it would have "hoarders" in the title.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    http://vid.me/TsNm
    Pretty sure this is mbowers take on the situation
    *warning... Language!!

    :rotflmao :thumbsup

    Stay tuned though. :)
  • HeartNShoalHeartNShoal Posts: 937 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    If something is made for saltwater it can handle not getting washed every time.

    Martin, double check your assumptions. Not sure you are following best practices.

    http://evergladesboats.com/maintenance.cfm
  • Bad behaviorBad behavior Posts: 1,162 Officer
    mbowers wrote: »
    I don't have a hatred for it, I just appreciate equipment that's really well made mechanically. I believe the MinnKota is bulletproof with the exception of how the skeg collar was painted. If something is made for saltwater it can handle not getting washed every time. If you want to make it look pretty then you can detail it and all the original shine will come back.

    Here's the same shot as you with the defectively painted skeg cropped out. Does my motor really look any worse than yours? There is such a thing as a badly prepared surface which leads to adhesives completely letting go prematurely. Maybe they got a bad batch of aluminum from China for the skeg housing. The fact your motor is from a different year class just increases the chance there is a difference between our motors in the underlying quality of that part. I didn't put Vaseline on the lens of my camera to blur out all the imperfections like you did. :) Actually I think you're just out of focus in that shot. Can you please take a high-res in-focus pic and post? The black scuff marks on the top of the motor are from the black plastic forks on the motor and I can see similar scuffs through the Vaseline in your photo. I didn't know I should funnel a quart of Koolaid and slap a handful of sunscreen over my sunglasses before going out to the boat. :)

    2015-02-09%2008.42.11.jpg

    Your picture actually reminded me of a couple of more tips. Mike at Master Repair suggests putting shrink tubing over the lock. This is my original trolling motor lock that's withstood 9 years / 10,000 hrs on the water. I don't wash it, I just give it a little lithium grease: it's made for saltwater.
    2015-02-09%2008.40.20.jpg

    There is a label on the motor that describes how to properly use it. Whenever the motor is stowed for travel, the depth collar should always be pushed down to the base and tightened. That is the original factory sticker that's lasted 2.5 years. If I were MinnKota I'd void your warranty HeartnShoal because you obviously don't know how to mechanically take care of your equipment. :) j/k
    2015-02-09%2009.04.58.jpg

    Here's another good mechanical maintenance item for the TM: some sort of brace at the top end to prevent excessive bouncing / smashing into the deck which will destroy the electronics inside the top. You can get the MinnKota standard or I bought the combo rod / beverage holder / TM brace from Boat Outfitters. I took off the leader spool holder next to the deck and it makes a great brace. I also bought a second depth collar and installed above the first. The top depth collar is to set the depth and then I use the bottom depth collar to lock down the motor for travel or slide it up to the top collar and tighten up for use. I showed that double collar setup to Master Repair and Mike said "You're stealing all MY tricks" :)
    2015-02-09%2008.45.16.jpg

    Another view of the cup / rod holder brace combo at the deck:
    2015-02-09%2008.43.16.jpg

    i will give props to ya on this one. Thats a sweet idea with the rod holder and the beverage holder on the TM. thats also the best maintained piece of the boat ive seen. Takes a good captain to know his priorities and keep the beverage holders free of mold and debris!!:rotflmao
    Need a little time off...For Bad Behavior....

    2014 Egret 2011 /Yamaha 250 SHO - sold
    2019 Pathfinder 2500 hybrid 350 Verado
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 555 Officer
    Where did you find that cup/rod holder brace? I like that. Just curious though, would the brace bouncing and smacking the deck on the highway and rough seas be harder on the head of the motor than it bouncing and vibrating free in the air? It's a serious question, I don't know which is better for the motor.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    Just curious though, would the brace bouncing and smacking the deck on the highway and rough seas be harder on the head of the motor than it bouncing and vibrating free in the air?

    The less movement on a vibration the less energy in the system available to do damage. Without the brace there is nothing to stop the bouncing shaft until it hits the deck. Try pushing down on the head and see how little force it takes to touch the head to the deck, but imagine how fast the head is moving by the time it gets to the deck. With the brace in place, yes the brace hits the deck many times, but it's so close to the deck that it can't accelerate up to a high speed and therefore there's less energy in the system. If you never bounce the boat enough for the head to hit the deck then maybe the brace isn't for you, but if you've ever seen / heard the head touch the deck then the brace is definitely for you.

    MinnKota sells their version, Master Repair has another version, every engineer I know with a flats boat (3) has one. One engineer who runs $100 million jet engine design programs for the military had an old remote control TM that failed on his first trip out from the head whacking the deck: he ditched it for a manual after trip one and said he'd never buy another. Only after seeing the brace on mine and the 2.5 years of trouble free operation I've had, did I finally talk him into an Ipilot (with Master Repair brace).

    I've run my boat through enough seas to get a quart of saltwater down the vent and break three pushpoles but I have not had ONE repair to that trolling motor and it's been there the whole time. Just some facts, engineering and from experience, you reach your own conclusion. :)

    I got mine at Boat Outfitters which I thought was mentioned, but there's a lot of extra flak in this topic I was actually trying to keep confined to just one topic from now on. Trying to keep this topic for serious internet foruming. :) If posts are going to be deleted some day, I'd rather keep it to just one topic.

    I like black because I have to wash it even less than white and black doesn't show stains :) Same place has those closely clustered black plastic rod holders that are fly rod friendly. Lots of cool gadgets all over the website.
    http://www.boatoutfitters.com/Misc-Products/Teak-Isle-Trolling-Motor-Drink-Gear-Holder-Black-13770-51714-871.html

    I took off the leader spool screw so it's just bare starboard when it hits the deck. You could screw on a crutch tip for extra protection if you want. There is the tiniest bit of wear in the non skid at that part (starboard is much softer than nonskid), you can see more wear in the nonskid in front of the brace from people walking around on the deck when the TM is up.

    20150210_150419-1.jpg

    The key is to watch how people stow the TM and always stow it with the cup / rod holder brace to the deck. Either that or rotate the cup holder around to the deck side but I find it easier to just stow the motor the same way everytime.

    Here's the extra depth collar with I think the part number on it for 36V MinnKota. You never know when it will break and it gets used a lot more frequently than on a manual TM IF you use it when stowing the motor. Why not have a spare ON the TM when it helps you keep your favorite depth present and then if your primary collar breaks, the backup is ALREADY installed in place: just rip off the broken primary and GO!

    20150210_145149.jpg

    I have a friend that can be mechanically abusive even though he details the snot out of his boat. He is always tightening down set screws like the collar as tight as he can and he's a strong guy so they strip out the soft plastic holding the nut. An engineer knows you just tighten it enough to not slip on the shaft and then a hair more. He had stripped the collar on the TM so I went up to Master Repair and got another one. First trip out, first minute on the flat, he jumped up front to deploy the TM and I wasn't watching him: BOOM stripped collar again! That's abuse IMHO, not bad product design but it was the reason I was always carrying a spare collar around. When I got the Ipilot, I figured why not just install the backup before it's even needed. :)
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 555 Officer
    Good tips, thanks. I'm almost 100% sure I've never had my trolling motor slam down on my deck while on the water. But it wouldn't suprise me if it has on some of the massive potholes and rough bridges on I-95.
  • mbowersmbowers Posts: 496 Deckhand
    91tiger wrote: »
    Good tips, thanks. I'm almost 100% sure I've never had my trolling motor slam down on my deck while on the water. But it wouldn't suprise me if it has on some of the massive potholes and rough bridges on I-95.

    How long is the TM shaft? Mine is 60" from top of lower unit to bottom of head. It's a 36V so not sure if the head is any heavier or it's the same weight on the end as 24V.
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 555 Officer
    Mine is a 60 inch 36 volt as well. But it is is incredibly rare for me to run over 4200 RPM's and I don't fish the Atlantic like you do. All my saltwater fishing is out of Flamingo or the Keys. I run very long distances but it's mostly protected other than rounding Cape Sable with the wind bucking the tide. Sure, I will run out 10 miles to a wreck but I really pick my days to do that.
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