A boat trolling motor is an integral part of an anglers boating set up. Designed to make time on the water easier and more efficient, as with anything electronic, regular inspection and maintenance will ensure they provide years of trouble-free use.
Add the following tips to your boating checklist and give yourself some peace of mind.
1. Always do a Trolling Motor Prop Inspection
I like to inspect the prop on a bi-weekly basis. Look closely for cracks, dings or bends. Serious damage, usually from hitting underwater obstacles, will have an adverse affect on the operation. Your trolling props should be replaced when this happens.
Removing the prop itself to inspect for tangled weeds and fishing line around the shaft is also an important step. If left unchecked, line will cut into the prop seal, leading to damage. Most tangles can be removed with your fingers. A pair of needle nose pliers like the World Wide Sportsman Pliers will work best for the rest. Take careful note when removing the prop in order to put it back together correctly.
Ensure that the bolt is adequately tightened and secured when putting the prop back on. Do not over tighten.
2. Inspect the Wires and Cables of Your Trolling Motor
Do a visual inspection of all cables and wires. Frays, cuts or kinks will require immediate action.
Now is also a good time to inspect battery terminal and wire connections. Corrosion should be remedied with a battery wire brush.
3. If Your Bow-Mount Motor has a Transducer
Many bow-mount trolling motors like the Minn Kota Fortrex 80 Bow-Mount Trolling Motor have an affixed fish finder sonar transducer. If this is the case, inspect for dirt or damage and ensure clamps are tight and secure. I like to give mine a clean with a mild water and soap solution using a soft sponge.
4. Keep Your Trolling Unit Clean
The exterior of your trolling motor unit should be fully cleaned regularly, as weeds and grime can easily build up. Use a mild water and soap solution.
Once dry, apply a fine coating of silicon spray to the shaft, wiping dry with a cloth afterwards. This will ensure the unit will move freely up and down.
5. Tighten the Bolts of Your Boat's Bow-Mounted Motor
Applicable only to bow mount units, the bolts that secure your motor to the bow of your boat should be checked for tightness. Over time, the constant pounding of waves can loosen nuts. Side plates may need to be removed for this step.
I try to do this step a couple of times throughout the season for added peace of mind.