Looking to boost your boating speed and drag in the waters? Equipping your pontoon boat with the best trolling motor can make it more stable, faster, and easier to handle. Choosing a trolling motor that matches the size and build of your pontoon boat can be a complex affair. After all, there are tons of trolling motors that are appealing in design but fall short in functionality.
In this guide, we review the best trolling motors for a pontoon boat. We have based our reviews on our experiences and testimonies from trusted pontoon boat owners.
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Our Top Pick Overall
The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra is the best trolling motor for a pontoon boat. The innovatively designed Minn Kota Trolling Motor will revolutionize your fishing. Equipped with some high-end navigation features, this motor will enable you to stealthily approach fishing hotspots without alerting the prey.
Special Features of
The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra is among modern day trolling motors that come with a pre-installed i-Pilot navigation system. The feature doesn’t only make it easier to navigate to fishing grounds but also aids in retracing your way back to the shore.
Another key feature on this motor is a heel-toe pedal that allows you use your feet to control the boat as your hands hold the fishing line.
When it comes to changing depths, the Minn Kota trolling motor flaunts an automated Stow and Deploy feature so that you can move in and out of deep waters with ease.
A Digital Maximizer component regulates the amount of amperage drawn from the battery. It is rightly complemented by an integrated battery meter that keeps you posted on the amount battery juice remaining.
⦁ Since the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Trolling Motor is mounted on the bow, it’s quiet and easier to operate.
⦁ A durable composite shaft guarantees value for money
⦁ Two voltage models for medium to large sized pontoon boats
⦁ The weedless wedge propeller clears obstructions to save on your battery’s energy
⦁ Sacrificial anode safeguards the shaft from corrosion even when you fish in salty areas.
⦁ This Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra has a 54-inch shaft length, features 80 pounds of thrust (24 volts), and includes a heading sensor, mounting hardware and cabling, and i-Pilot GPS system.
⦁ It’s heavy and overly large for stowing
About the Company
The Mankato headquarters are right down from Fargo, North Dakota, where O.G. Schmidt invented the first gear-driven electric trolling motor in 1934. The idea took off with anglers looking for more boat control, and Schmidt named his growing company for the land he called home. In the heart of fishing country, on the MINNesota North DaKOTA border, Minn Kota was born.
At A Glance: Best Trolling Motors For A Pontoon Boat
Things to Consider When Choosing a Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat
Pontoon Trolling motors can be mounted on the transom, bow, or on the engine of the boat. Bow mounted trolling motors are quiet, easier to handle and can be used drag the fishing bait around the waters.
However, they are harder to install as they drilling.Trolling motors designed for mounting on the engine are easier to install and can make more acute moves. However, these motors are noisier and scare away fish.
If you’d want to control your boat from the back, then opt for Transom mounted trolling motors. These attach on your boat’s stern and do not require any modification.
Boat Weight & Length
The first step is to consider is your pontoon boats weight & length. Not sure of your boats weight? Check out this useful resource to determine your boat’s weight. You can use this thrust chart below as a guide.
Trolling Motor Thrust
A trolling motor should produce enough thrust to power your pontoon when it’s fully loaded. Often times, the assumption is a fully loaded pontoon weighs around 3500 pounds. To handle this weight, a trolling motor should produce a minimum of 70lbs of thrust power.
Motor Shaft Length
Shaft length determines how easy you can control the boat. Too short a shaft and the prop won’t be submerged enough for sufficient control. On the flip-side, controlling an extremely long shaft will be a challenge on shallows. An ideal length of the shaft is one that is proportional to your boat’s stern/bow height.
Indicates how much battery power your trolling motor requires. You’ll need 1 battery for every 12 volts in your trolling system. 55 lbs. of thrust or less = 12 volts, 1 battery 68-80 lbs. of thrust = 24 volts, 2 batteries 101-112 lbs. of thrust = 36 volts, 3 batteries
Some trolling motors have added features that make it easy to navigate the vessel through the waters. Some modern elements you’d want to check out include foot pedals, remote steering control, and GPS navigation system.
Here’s a demonstration of the GPS navigation system:
How To Install A Trolling Motor For a Pontoon Boat
Consider the following when purchasing a trolling motor for your pontoon boat:. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it:
Step One-To begin, decide where on the pontoon boat you want to place the trolling motor. The weight of the trolling motor and the location of the batteries are important considerations when making this decision. It’s time to begin installing the trolling motor after you’ve found the optimum spot.
Step Two-The next step is to remove the bow panel. This can be done by unscrewing the screws that hold it in place. Once the panel is off, you’ll have access to the battery compartment. Install the trolling motor mount in this area and use the provided screws to secure it in place.
Step Three-Now it’s time to connect the wiring for the trolling motor. There are three wires on most motors – black, red, and green. The black wire is for ground, red is for power, and green is for throttle. Connect each wire to its corresponding terminal on the trolling motor mount. Make sure all connections are tight before moving on to the next step.
Step Four-After that, use the same screws you used to remove the bow panel to reattach it. The trolling motor may be mounted to the mount once the panel is in place. Make sure the motor is correctly connected before proceeding.
Step Five-You may begin fishing as soon as the trolling motor’s power cable is attached to the battery. The quickest and most reliable way to accomplish this is using a marine-grade battery terminal. Assemble your trolling motor by connecting its positive and negative wires to the trolling motor’s wires.
Step Six-The final step is to test your work. Start by placing your pontoon boat in water and turn on the trolling motor. If everything is working properly, you should be able to move forward and backward without any issues. That’s it
Additional Equipment Required:
- Batteries – Between one & three 12v batteries, depending on the voltage of the trolling motor..
- Terminal Ends – You’ll need these – or some other type of battery connectors to attach the terminal ends on the motor power leads to your battery.
- Battery Charger – To refresh your trolling motor batteries after use. To learn about the different types of charges.
- Jumper Wire – If you have a 24v or 36v trolling motor you will need short lengths of wire to connect your trolling motor batteries in series.
- Make sure to buy the same gauge of wire as the rest of your trolling system and see our diagram below
Installation info & diagrams courtesy of TrollingMotors.net
- Circuit Breaker – Protects your trolling motor in the event that the prop becomes caught on an underwater obstacle.
- Trolling Motor Plug & Receptacle – Allows for a quick disconnect of trolling motor wiring which is recommended during charging.
- Quick Release Plate – For easy removal of your bow-mount trolling motor, whether for service, storage, trailering, family days, or boat cover.
- Extension Wiring – Since the power leads on trolling motors are only 3-5 feet, some installations will require additional lengths of wire to reach the batteries. Measure the distance from the trolling motor mounting location to the batteries and determine the length of wire needed. Once you have measured the length, see our rules for extending wiring to determine what gauge of wire you should use.
Connecting Your Battery Charger
Onboard chargers are equipped with positive and negative leads for each battery. Simply wire each bank of the charger to each battery accordingly.
To avoid shorts, it’s always a good idea to keep the positive terminals covered with protective shields or proper electrical tape to prevent them from coming in contact with stray wiring, metal objects or other battery connections.
|Newport Vessels NV-Series Electric Trolling Motor||. ⦁ 24V, 86Lb Thrust
⦁ 36-inch Shaft Length
⦁ 8 Gear Speeds
⦁ 3-Blade Propeller
⦁ 6-Inch Telescoping Handle
|⦁ Powerful thrust
⦁ Versatility: Usable in both fresh and salty water
⦁ Dependable Performance
|Minn Kota Maxxum Bowmount Trolling Motor with Hand/Foot Control||.⦁ 80 Lb Thrust
⦁ 60 Inch Shaft
⦁ I-Pilot GPS
⦁ Lift-Assist Design
⦁ Stow/Deploy Lever
⦁ Electric Foot Pedal
⦁ Durable Composite Shaft
|⦁ Powerful combination of i-Pilot and Electric Foot Pedals for spot-on navigation.
⦁ Flared blades for trusted props around the fishing spots
⦁ Digital Maximizer conserves battery power
|Caroute N300-24V 160LB Brushless Electric Boat Trolling Motor||⦁ 24V, 160 Lb Thrust
⦁ 42” Stainless Steel Shaft
⦁ Telescoping Hand Control
⦁ 304 Steel Shafts
⦁ Rugged Engineering
|⦁ Quality build that guarantees reliable performance
⦁ Trouble-free Saltwater Operation
⦁ Quiet operation
|Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor||⦁ 24V,86Lbs Thrust
⦁ Reinforced Nylon Build
⦁ 6” Telescoping Handle
⦁ 10-point Battery Indicator(LED)
|⦁ Suits both Salty and Fresh Water
⦁ Durable and Powerful
⦁ Easy Handling
Newport Vessels NV-Series Electric Trolling Motor
The redesigned Newport Vessels NV-Series Electric Trolling Motor is a major upgrade on past Newport trolling motor series.
With Stainless steel hardware, this trolling motor will allow you to switch to different fishing grounds without about corrosions.
Design and Features
If you are searching for a durable and powerful trolling motor ideal for salty water fishing, the Newport NV-series is the piece to install on your pontoon. Its rugged body is made from a composite material that incorporates zinc, stainless steel, and aluminum which cannot be corroded by salty water.
A 5-point battery meter keeps you updated on the remaining charge. The blue light on the LED indicator allows you to see the charge meter even at night.
To complement the 86lb thrust, the Newport NV-series model offers 8-speed levels for smooth, controlled rides. The three propeller whacks weed of the way saving your boats battery charge. And if the propeller is struck by small stones or entangled on fishing lines, the 50 amp circuit breaker cuts off power to prevent further damage on your trolling motor.
⦁ The motor is smooth and quiet whilst in operation
⦁ The trolling motor is light thus easy to stow
⦁ 8-speed levels to choose from
⦁ The trolling motor has a versatile design and can be used on different water vessels
⦁ The LED indicator displays battery charge in real time
⦁ The trolling motor doesn’t perform at optimal levels in turbulent waters
Minn Kota Maxxum Bowmount Trolling Motor
The Minn Kota Maxxum Bowmount Trolling Motor is an enviable blend of features, affordability, and performance. The simplistic design of this trolling motor makes for a smooth steering and hassle free fishing.
Design and Features
The Minn Kota Maxxum trolling motor is designed for bow-mount on your boat. This, placement allows the motor’s shaft to kick right under your vessels bow thus absorbing any impact that could affect your control on the steering handle.
The steel steering arm is pretty rugged and will withstand moderately rough water paths. A foot pedal made of high-impact composite material takes some steering pressure of your hands.
The shaft is made of composite material and can thus withstand brutal fishing conditions and salty water.
⦁ Top quality and reliable design
⦁ Smooth and quiet steering
⦁ Sufficient power for high winds
⦁ Lighted directional indicator
⦁ Weedless Wedge prop helps wade through weed
⦁ The black foot pedal becomes hot and uncomfortable in sunny weather
Caroute N300-24V 160LB Brushless Electric Boat Trolling Motor
The Caroute N300 Boat Trolling Motor is designed for pontoons boats that have weights of around 3 tons. Since it uses unique brushless technology, this trolling motor doesn’t generate unnecessary heat that leads to wear and tear.
Design and Features
The trolling motor is sealed with a sacrificial anode to safeguard it against corrosion from fishing salty zones. It’s also equipped with a speed controller to cushion the motor against overheating, reverse polarity, sudden start, and low voltage.
The motor’s 42” shaft is made of steel to withstand the rigors of boating through rough waters or controlling a fully loaded boat.
Unlike its competitors, this trolling motor has a 10-point battery indicator (LED) which notifies you when the battery falls to critical levels
⦁ Powerful thrust ideal for powering fully loaded pontoons
⦁ Transom mounted motor is easy to control from the back of the boat
⦁ Ideal for both salty and fresh water use
⦁ Rugged design translates to a longer service span.
⦁ Adjustable shaft to making it ideal for both shallow and deep water boating
⦁ Its mounting location may not protect the boat from under water impact
Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor
With eight speed levels, Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor is the right tool to power your pontoon boat.
This trolling motor incorporates a reinforced nylon bracket that can withstand ablation and saline conditions.
Design and Features
This trolling motor is equipped with a 28-inch made of a composite material. It can withstand plenty of abuse on the fishing grounds.
A LED Battery indicator keeps you posted on the amount of charge still remaining on your battery. The Telescoping handle is designed such that you can adjust it to your convenience. Couple this a 8 speed level and you have a near perfect steering control on your boat.
⦁ Responsive thus saves on battery power
⦁ The adjustable shaft means you can fish at any water depths
⦁ Sturdy, corrosion resistant construction
⦁ Salt-water compatible hardware
⦁ 28 inch shaft length is not ideal one for a 24 foot is short on some pontoon boats
How does a Pontoon Boat Differ with Other Boats?
Pontoons have their deck supported hollow aluminum tubes on either side. Deck boats have a characteristic V-shaped hull.
How Does a Trolling Motor Work?
A trolling uses energy from your vessel’s battery to power and propagate your ‘toon’ through the waters. Unlike an engine, a trolling motor is silent thus doesn’t disturb the fish.
How Do You Size A Trolling Motor For A Boat?
The size of a trolling motor is based on its thrust. A good way to estimate the size of trolling motor ideal for your boat is assign 2lbs of motor power for every 100 lbs of your boat’s weight.
Which is the ideal trolling motor shaft length for my boat?
The shaft will be determined by the height of your boat’s transom. At the very least, the motor section of the shaft length should 12 inches below the water surface. Based on this, the ideal shaft length is equivalent to 12 inches added to your boat’s transom height.
Should my trolling motor be simultaneously on as my boat’s engine?
It’s ideal to use a trolling motor when actually fishing and the engine when you just want to move around.
A good trolling motor can make your time on the fishing grounds exciting and more productive. Depending on the mount and features, a trolling motor will make it easy to prey on shoals of fish without raising an alarm.
Interested in a model covered above? Head over to the seller and order one for your treasured pontoon boat.