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Not just for freshwater bassmen and southern flats boats, the trolling motor is fast-becoming a valuable tool of Northeast anglers in the know.
By Capt. Mike Roy
Trolling motors today have enough power to hold a heavy saltwater boat in place against a substantial wind and/or current.

Recent advancements in marine electronics offer anglers a tremendous opportunity to fish more effectively and efficiently. However, there is a massive learning curve to use electronics and interpret their full potential. Experienced fisherman that are willing to learn will benefit the greatest from this technology.

When it comes to trolling motors, freshwater bass fishermen have long seen and taken full advantage of their full potential. In fact, no serious freshwater bass fisherman would dare head to their local lake without one. As is so often the case, innovation began with the freshwater bass scene as tournament fishing is very competitive and highly pressured.

While the use of trolling motors in saltwater is widely accepted and used by southern inshore fisherman in areas like Louisiana and Florida. The vast majority of bay boats down south have a bow-mounted trolling motor. Why the use of trolling motors has yet to catch on in the Northeast is beyond me. Perhaps we northerners are too stuck in our ways and are reluctant to change. However, for those who have seen the light the benefits are many. A trolling motor allows a fisherman to have complete control over the boat. It allows the angler to manipulate the movement of the boat to their advantage. The angler can almost eliminate variables such as wind and current and maximize the presentation of their lure or bait.

Trolling motors today have enough power to hold a heavy saltwater boat in place against a substantial wind and/or current. Manufactures make trolling motors that are designed for use in the saltwater so they also stand up to the abuses inflicted in this harsh environment.

For the past year and half I have been fishing with a Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra 112 mounted on the bow of my 21-foot (3,500 pound) Steiger Craft center console. This model is designed for large, saltwater v-hull, flats, center console and general fishing boats to 25 feet in length. The 112-pound thrust motor is capable of handling boats up to 5,500 pounds, so it has enough power to hold my boat in most areas at peak current and can hold in 30-plus-knot winds.

Once I began fishing with a trolling motor, it was very clear to me that I would never go back to fishing without one. A lot of the fishing I do requires precision in the sense that I need my boat to be on a precise piece of structure or on a precise drift pattern. The trolling motor allows me to maintain this precision despite what the wind and current are doing. For example, picture a school of stripers holding on a channel edge. Let’s say there is a 10-knot wind pushing the boat perpendicular to the channel. Without a trolling motor the boat would drift past the channel edge and out of the strike zone in a matter minutes or seconds, thus creating the need to constantly re-position the boat resulting in less time spent fishing in the strike zone. With the use of a trolling motor in this scenario I am able to hold directly over the channel edge on the school of stripers and stay in the strike zone.

The Ulterra has a feature called Spot Lock which is a game-changer in itself. This feature allows me to press a button on my remote and lock the boat in position. The trolling motor has an internal GPS that will save the coordinates and hold the boat precisely at that position. The motor will automatically compensate for wind and current allowing the angler to focus on fishing while the boat remains stationary.

When I began using Spot Lock, the first question I had was - how accurate is it? My answer is extremely accurate and in many situations it holds the boat better than an anchor because it eliminates the sway that is experienced from the anchor line scope. This can be largely beneficial when fishing for blackfish as they tend to hold very tight to specific areas of structure.

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