Trolling Motor Lament
By Craig Sandell © 2012

I decided to replace my bow mount Minnkota all terrain trolling motor for the 2006 Musky season. I was not disappointed with the Minnkota but the years of use and abuse had taken their toll and it was time to replace it before it became a problem.

Since I was pleased with the Minnkota product performance, I decided to buy a Minnkota again. I immediately discovered that the feature that I wanted, namely the ability to operate the bow mount trolling motor from the back of my 18 foot tri-hull, was not available in an all terrain model.

It became obvious that I was going to have to make some mechanical compromises if I was going to be able to operate from the back of the boat.

I settled on one of the Power Drive 12 volt models and I got the quick release bracket along with the wireless co-pilot. I had high hopes for the motor and the flexibility that it would provide me on the water.

After mounting the new trolling motor on my boat and adding the wireless co-pilot to the motor, I was ready to hit the water for a test.


It became immediately apparent to me that I was going to get some additional exercise with this new trolling motor. Unlike the all terrain that had a quick deployment cord, this motor, because of the power head, required that I bend down and disengage the locking handle, allowing the motor shaft to slide forward and deploy…inconvenient but tolerable until I tried to slide the shaft forward.

It would appear that no one from Minnkota ever tried to use this motor in a fishing environment because the motor shaft does not freely slide forward once the locking handle is released. In order to deploy the motor, I was forced to have to vigorously put forward pressure on the power head as I shook it from side to side to free the shaft so that it would slide forward. This was a real pain in the butt…When I got back to the dock, I got some silicon lubricant and sprayed the shaft but it did not resolve the problem.

Problem 2

The wireless co-pilot turned out to be useless for me as a Musky angler…I am used to having both hands involved with casting and working the lure during the retrieve so the foot control was going to have to be the control mechanism. Luckily, the cable for the foot control had sufficient length to allow me to operate the motor from the back of the boat.

Problem 3

As with deploying the motor…removing it from the water in preparation to move to another spot had me bending, stooping and fighting the motor to get it secured.

Problem 4

As the day went on, I got used to the inconveniences of the new trolling motor but my displeasure did not diminish. Like many Musky anglers, I like to fish at night. Moonless nights in the pitch of the evening can be an exciting time. The all terrain trolling motor had a little light in the head of the motor that illuminated when the power was applied to the motor. As day light became thin, I moved up to the front of the boat so I could get a better feel of the trolling motor activity and the direction orientation of the trolling motor. Immediately I became aware that there was no "Power On" indicator on the power head. As the night turned to pitch, this became a real pain in the butt.

It is apparent to me from using this trolling motor that it was never field tested in the Musky fishing environment. What am I going to do? Well, I did send a letter to Minnkota complaining about their trolling motor design and as you might suspect, I got no I am stuck with this less than functional trolling motor.

I can’t return it because it is inconvenient and lacks extended functionality…it does move the boat and it performs to specification. During the off season I will install an LED on the power head to provide an indication of power applied and direction orientation…something that Minnkota should have done from the start.

As you might imagine, I am not recommending this trolling motor for Musky fishermen. I am sure that there are some of you out there who have these trolling motors and who have managed to accommodate the inconveniences of this trolling motor. My point is that we should not have to change the way we fish because the trolling motor manufacturer did not do adequate field testing. We are on the water to fish, not fight the trolling motor.

Tight Lines