If you own a pontoon boat and love to fish, you may be asking yourself if you can put a trolling motor on a pontoon boat. Trolling motors are great little electric motors that can move a boat quietly through the water, which helps avoid spooking fish. This makes them great for all kinds of fishing enthusiasts, who need to continue to maneuver their vessel while casting lines. But, you might be wondering if a trolling motor is appropriate for your pontoon boat.
The good news is that, yes, you can, indeed put a trolling motor onto a pontoon boat. As long as you select the right shaft length and thrust (minimum 52 inches length and 55 lbs thrust), you should be good to go!
Trolling motors can be critical in your ability to lure in fish without scaring them away, and for staying on them. That being said, while a trolling motor can make a huge difference in your fishing day, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right motor for your boat.
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Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve got the key pieces of advice that you’ll need for putting a trolling motor on your pontoon boat, including what size motor you’ll need and if you’ll need to get a second battery, where you should mount the trolling motor, and whether or not you’ll need special batteries to do so.
Best Place to Mount a Trolling Motor
There are three main places to mount a trolling motor: bow, transom (rear), or engine. Each of these locations comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll look at here.
Bow mount trolling motors tend to be the most popular because they provide a significant amount of steering control when you’re moving through the water, especially when compared with a transom (rear) mount. This increased boat control is due to the fact that a bow-mounted trolling motor pulls the boat through the water as opposed to pushing it from behind.
That being said, bow-mounted trolling motors are often more expensive than alternative options and take up more room on your boat than a transom or engine mount would.
Transom mounts are quite popular among small boat owners because they are easier to install, take up less space, and are more affordable than bow-mounted trolling motors. To install a bow mount motor, you need to drill a plate onto the front of your boat. With a transom mount motor, on the other hand, you only need to clamp it onto the stern of your boat.
However, transom mounts offer less precision in maneuverability, which could be a problem, depending on where you’re using your boat.
Finally, there’s the engine-mount trolling motor. As you might suspect from the name, an engine mount trolling motor mounts right onto the engine itself – to the cavitation plate, to be specific. These trolling motors are incredibly convenient, as they don’t take up any space on your boat.
That being said, engine mount trolling motors tend to be more expensive than alternative options and can also be more difficult to control than a bow or transom mount trolling motor.
What Size of a Trolling Motor do I Need?
For trolling motors, more power is better. You’ll want to get the most powerful trolling motor you can afford as it’s better to have the extra power and not need it than to need it and not have it. As an absolute minimum, for every 400 pounds of weight on the boat, you’ll need about 5 pounds of thrust to move it forward.
Unlike your standard outboard engine, trolling motor power is measured in terms of pounds of thrust, rather than by horsepower. As you might imagine, the more pounds of thrust on a trolling motor, the more powerful it is.
However, trolling motors are also available in a variety of different voltages (12, 12/24, 24, and 36 volts), which can confuse matters a bit. The higher the voltage rating of a trolling motor, the more usable power at the propeller for moving your boat through the water.
Therefore, if you have a 36 volt trolling motor with 90 pounds of thrust, it’ll be much stronger than a 12 volt motor with 50 pounds of thrust.
Will I Need Special Mounting Brackets
You’ll only need special mounting brackets if you’re going to buy a bow-mounted trolling motor. This is because transom (rear) trolling motors simply clip on to the transom and engine-mount motors clip onto, well, the engine.
Thus, mounting brackets are only needed for bow-mounted trolling motors. Usually, these mounts come with your new trolling motor, but you’ll have to put some work in to get the motor ready for the water. Often, this involves drilling into the deck of your boat (a scary thought, we know) and mounting a special plate that the motor will connect to. This mount allows the motor to flip up and down into the water when you need it.
Even though it’s a bit more work to install, many boaters prefer the increased maneuverability of the bow mounted trolling motor over the ease of installation of the alternatives.
Does a Trolling Motor Need Its Own Battery
Since Trolling motors require electricity to generate power, they do, indeed, require batteries to operate. Although you could use the battery on your boat (which is really just used to start your outboard engine), doing so will quickly deplete its energy reserves and leave you with a boat that won’t start back up again after a day of fishing.
The solution? A deep-cycle battery installed specifically for your trolling motor. Especially if you are going to have a high voltage trolling motor, or you plan to use it for hours and hours during a day of fishing, you might even want to consider having multiple deep-cycle batteries on your boat to keep your trolling motor running.
VMAX 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Battery –Amazon (our favorite)
At the end of the day, trolling motors are great for anyone with a pontoon boat that loves to fish. Instead of scaring away all of the fish with the loud noise of your engine, a trolling motor allows you to maneuver easily through the water with minimal sound output. There are many different kinds of trolling motors, however, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.