I can confidently say that using a trolling motor on a jon boat can significantly improve your fishing experience. A trolling motor allows you to move your boat quietly and efficiently, getting you to your favorite fishing spots without scaring away the fish. In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience to help you choose the best trolling motor for your jon boat.
Understanding Trolling Motors for Jon Boats
Before diving into specific recommendations, it’s essential to understand the basics of trolling motors and their components. This will help you make an informed decision when purchasing a trolling motor for your jon boat.
What is a Trolling Motor?
A trolling motor is a small, quiet, and efficient electric motor designed to propel a boat at slow speeds without creating much noise or disturbance in the water. They are commonly used for fishing, as they allow anglers to move their boat slowly and quietly, without scaring away the fish. Trolling motors can be mounted on the bow or transom of a boat and are powered by a 12V, 24V, or 36V battery system.
Types of Trolling Motors
There are two main types of trolling motors for jon boats: bow-mounted and transom-mounted.
- Bow-mounted trolling motors are installed at the front (bow) of the boat and provide better control and maneuverability. They are typically more expensive and require a dedicated mounting bracket. Bow-mounted trolling motors are ideal for larger jon boats or when you need precise control for navigating through tight spots or heavy cover.
- Transom-mounted trolling motors are installed at the back (transom) of the boat and are generally more affordable and easier to install. They are suitable for smaller jon boats or for those on a tight budget. Transom-mounted trolling motors can still provide excellent control and maneuverability, but may not be as precise as bow-mounted motors.
Components of a Trolling Motor
When selecting a trolling motor for your jon boat, it’s essential to understand the key components that make up a trolling motor. These components include:
- Thrust: Thrust is the power a trolling motor generates to move your boat through the water. It is measured in pounds (lbs) and determines the speed and efficiency at which your boat moves. Generally, the larger and heavier your boat, the more thrust you will need. Most jon boats require 40-60 pounds of thrust.
- Shaft Length: The shaft length of a trolling motor is the distance from the motor head to the propeller. To determine the right shaft length for your jon boat, measure from the top of the transom (or bow for bow-mounted motors) to the waterline and add 20 inches. This will ensure the propeller is fully submerged without being too deep.
- Speed Control: Speed control is essential for maneuvering your boat and adjusting your trolling speed. Most trolling motors offer multiple forward and reverse speed settings, allowing you to fine-tune your boat’s movement.
- Prop Style: Trolling motors come with either 2-blade or 3-blade propellers. Three-blade propellers are better for cutting through underwater weeds and vegetation, while 2-blade propellers offer better overall performance for open water trolling. Ensure your trolling motor is compatible with both prop styles, as this will give you more flexibility in various fishing conditions.
Top 5 Trolling Motors for Jon Boats
Based on my experience and research, I have compiled a list of the top 5 trolling motors for jon boats. Each motor has its advantages and disadvantages, so consider your specific needs and preferences when making your decision.
1. Minn Kota Traxxis
The Minn Kota Traxxis is my top pick for the best electric trolling motor for jon boats. This motor offers 55 pounds of thrust and runs on a 12V battery system. It features a Digital Maximizer for increased battery efficiency and an indestructible composite shaft. The Traxxis also boasts a one-handed stow feature and an adjustable, extendable tiller handle for comfortable operation.
2. Minn Kota Endura C2
For those with a 12-foot jon boat, I recommend the Minn Kota Endura C2. This budget-friendly trolling motor offers 34 pounds of thrust and runs on a 12V battery system. The Endura C2 features a virtually indestructible composite shaft and is lightweight, making it easy to handle. With five forward speeds and three reverse speeds, you’ll have plenty of control over your boat’s movement.
3. Haswing Cayman
If you’re looking for a foot control trolling motor for your jon boat, the Haswing Cayman is a great choice. This bow mount trolling motor is budget-friendly and offers multiple control options, including a wireless remote and a foot pedal. The Haswing Cayman GPS model also features GPS anchoring via the Helmsman app, allowing you to stay put in your favorite fishing spot with ease. Keep in mind that this motor can be louder than other options on the market.
4. Newport Vessels X Series
The Newport Vessels X Series is my top pick for the best transom mount trolling motor for jon boats. This motor offers 55 pounds of thrust at 12 volts and features a 10 LED battery indicator, allowing you to monitor your battery’s charge easily. With five forward speeds and three reverse speeds, you’ll have excellent control over your boat’s movement. The X Series also features a telescoping handle and an adjustable head unit for comfortable operation.
5. Newport Vessels NV Series
The Newport Vessels NV Series is the best trolling motor for 14-foot jon boats. Designed for inflatable boats, this trolling motor is also suitable for jon boats and offers up to 82 pounds of thrust. The NV Series has a non-adjustable head unit, which may be a drawback for some users. However, the power and performance of this motor make it an excellent option for larger jon boats.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Jon Boat Trolling Motor
When selecting a trolling motor for your jon boat, consider the following factors:
- Weight: The weight of your trolling motor is essential, as it will affect the balance and stability of your boat. Choose a motor that is suitable for the size and weight capacity of your jon boat.
- Shaft Length: As mentioned earlier, the right shaft length is crucial for the proper functioning of your trolling motor. Measure your boat and choose a motor with the appropriate shaft length.
- Thrust: The amount of thrust your trolling motor generates will determine the speed and efficiency of your boat. Ensure the motor you choose provides enough thrust to move your boat effectively in various fishing conditions.
- Standard Features: Look for standard features such as multiple speed settings, forward and reverse capabilities, and compatibility with both 2-blade and 3-blade propellers. These features will provide you with more flexibility and control while fishing.
Additional Items Needed for Trolling Motor Setup
When setting up your trolling motor, you will need the following additional items:
- Trolling motor battery: Choose a deep-cycle marine battery with enough capacity to power your trolling motor. A 12V battery is suitable for most trolling motors, while more powerful motors may require a 24V or 36V battery system.
- Circuit breaker: Install a circuit breaker to protect your trolling motor and battery from electrical damage.
- Battery box: A battery box will keep your battery secure and protected from the elements.
- Jon boat trolling motor bracket: If you are installing a bow-mounted trolling motor, you will need a dedicated mounting bracket to secure the motor to your boat.
- Tiller handle extension: A tiller handle extension can provide additional comfort and control while operating your trolling motor.
- Battery cables: Ensure you have the appropriate battery cables to connect your trolling motor to your battery.
Choosing the right trolling motor for your jon boat is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. Based on my experience and research, the Minn Kota Traxxis and Newport Vessels NV Series are top recommendations for jon boat trolling motors. Consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting a trolling motor, and don’t forget to gather the necessary additional items for a proper setup. Happy fishing, and feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!
FAQ: Choosing the Best Trolling Motor for Your Jon Boat
1. How do I determine the right trolling motor size for my jon boat?
As an experienced fisherman, I always recommend considering your boat’s size and weight when choosing a trolling motor. A good rule of thumb is you’ll need at least 2 lbs of thrust for every 100 lbs of fully-loaded boat weight. So, for instance, if your boat weighs 3000 lbs when fully loaded, you would need a trolling motor with 60 lbs of thrust. Keep in mind that factors like boat length, hull design, and typical water conditions can also affect your choice.
2. What size trolling motor is suitable for a 12-foot jon boat?
For a 12-foot jon boat, I would recommend a trolling motor with 36-40 lbs of thrust. This should provide you with efficient and smooth maneuvering while fishing. If your boat tends to be on the heavier side or you often encounter strong currents, you might want to consider a motor with a higher thrust rating, such as 46 lbs or more.
3. Can I use a trolling motor as my primary means of propulsion on my jon boat?
Yes, many fellow fishermen, including myself, use trolling motors as the primary means of propulsion on our jon boats. Trolling motors are particularly popular on small personal watercraft like jon boats and dinghies due to their lower speeds, which are ideal for fishing. While the top speed of around 5 mph might seem slow, it allows for a quieter and more controlled fishing experience.
4. Should I choose a 12V or 24V trolling motor for my 18-foot jon boat?
For an 18-foot jon boat, both 12V and 24V trolling motors can work well. However, the choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. A 12V motor will generally be lighter and less expensive, but it may not provide the same level of power and run time as a 24V motor. If you’re planning on spending long hours on the water or require more power for maneuvering in currents, a 24V motor might be a better fit.
5. What factors should I consider when upgrading my trolling motor?
When you’re looking to upgrade your trolling motor, it’s essential to consider your boat’s size, weight, and how you typically use it. You’ll want a trolling motor with enough thrust to efficiently move your boat through the water, especially in challenging conditions. Additionally, consider factors like battery life, ease of installation, and the type of control system (hand, foot, or remote) that best suits your fishing style. Don’t forget to compare different brands and read reviews from fellow fishermen to ensure you invest in a reliable and efficient trolling motor.