Trolling motors have their place in the anglers’ arsenal.


Some anglers if they have that boat of choice, will utilize the ancient art of poling their boats in the skinny water (sometimes 2’ or less) while searching out snook, reds, or tarpon. But even then, the long pole and platform are mostly if they are on an extensive flat where it’s too shallow to run the trolling motor, or either out on the open flats targeting tarpon.

Indeed, many anglers have moved to electric motors as a primary method of approaching their quarry in all but the shallowest of waters. They’re super quiet, efficient and you can allow an extra person to be fishing while operating it.
However, at least 2 manufacturers that are specializing in electric propulsion for saltwater continue to offer innovative product improvements, so why wouldn’t you want to have one on your vessel?

Trolling motors can be employed either on the bow (bow is the most common practice) or from the stern. Depending on the needs, each application has its advantages. Bow mount models are very maneuverable because they “pull” the boat from the nose and are very efficient since the thrust is centered over the bow.
Uses of stern models (which are typically duels) are usually seen on the tarpon boats used for quick, quiet thrust to get to a passing or distant seen school. Two main manufacturers are Minn-Kota and Motorguide, which dominate the market. Both offer digital-control electronics, ever-improving galvanic corrosion protection, several different thrust package options, and innovative special features, such as a wireless operation.

Minn-Kota’s saltwater model is the “Riptide” and offers a composite shaft with a sacrificial anode being the prop nut.
Motorguide’s saltwater model is the “Great White” that offers a stainless shaft and the anode ball on the shaft. Each is good and has been proven.
Both also offer 12 and 24-volt models, with 55 lbs. of thrust being about the highest for a 12 volt. Each offers variable speed which is a nice feature. Minn-Kota offers a tilt tiller, while Motorguide offers the extended tiller. (A, “patent” thing.) Both offer fully encapsulated electronics on the saltwater models, digital technology- improving run time and extended battery power and longer motor life. They both offer a breakaway system that protects the motor and shaft from impact from any direction. Each offers a 3-year warranty. So you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a lemon.

Both manufacturers’ saltwater models range in price from $500 to $1500 depending on the model, thrust, bells, and whistles, etc. Here’s a good formula to follow if you’re not sure on the size thrust and model for your vessel. Three pounds of thrust (minimum) for every foot of vessel. I.e. 15’ boat should have at least a 45 lb. thrust trolling motor. So, if you’re just drifting the flats for trout, it may not be as big an issue. Unless you need a quick, quiet thrust to miss an oyster bar, crab pot or something without having to crank up the big kicker and make noise. But if you’re in deep enough water (around 2’ or better) trying to work around mangrove islands, down the island banks, points, through cuts or passes, in search of the reds and snook, it can be very beneficial. They can really equate to more opportunities for greater shots. Now is the time to ride an electric tide.


The trout will be up in the shallows making their trek inland following baitfish and the upcoming cooler water temps. Topwater plugs and jigs under a popping cork are going to be your best bet.
Reds are now starting to leave the outer most islands and head farther inland as well. The area we call the backcountry maze of mangrove and sawgrass islands is where you should be TROLLING and concentrating your efforts. The “bait and waits” should utilize fresh cut mullet or ladyfish for best results. Using shrimp will just be making the bait stealers happy and you unhappy. Frisky live pinfish is a good choice as well. Anchor and work your points of islands with your chunking.
Trolling down and working the banks and/or fan casting the points with artificials will be a good way to locate these “Fall” fish.
Throw your “Thunder-Spin” saltwater spinnerbaits in a gold blade, jerkbaits in white and rootbeer rigged weedless, or even a topwater plug like a Skitter-Walk, Zara-Spook, or Chug Bug, to fool them on the fakes. There will be plenty of mackerel making their journey down the coast toward the southlands. Chumming and tossing silver spoons, jigs, or shrimp will do the trick.
Cobia is also going to be making the same journey. My clients already caught 2 last month, and there will be a lot more moving through for November.
Grouper……….. What can I say? Good numbers of keeper size gags will be in the 15’ to 25’ range. Trolling the stretch 18’s and 25’s in blue and white, and firetiger will surely produce. Mark those hookups, then go back, anchor up, and catch a few more, bottom fishing with frozen sardines or frisky live pinfish.
My grouper fishing for the 11th month will be in the 6’ to 12’ range. (Shallow water rocks, plug fishing). If you haven’t tried it, and aren’t squeamish, holler….. We’ll definitely hook ya up.
There it is in a nutshell. If you’re not in the woods this month, it’s a good time to be on the water. And this is one of the only magazines that give you the best of both worlds. Be safe and good fishing

Submitted By: Capt. Rick Burns
Reel Burns Charters