pros and cons of trolling motors

[Bulletin Board]

Posted by Bill Bishop on 2014-01-10 07:05:08

Below Jdub asked a great question about why not use trolling motors instead of poling. Since this question has little to do with tarpon leaders and flies I elected to bring it up in a fresh post.

I can't address this in every fishery however I can regarding tarpon fishing. There are situations when and where a trolling motor can be useful for tarpon fishing however at best, a trolling motor is a "sometimes" necessary evil. For the most part Jdub, it's really about sound.

If you where to swim underwater and listen to the sound of an approaching skiff being driven by a trolling motor, stealth would be the last word you would use to describe what you hear. It's downright loud and the more RPM's used the louder it gets.

Because I elect to fish alone a great deal I do use a trolling motor sparingly. I have found it is possible to fish for laid up fish by keeping the RPM's at the very minimum and never altering the speed or shutting the motor off. I think the fish tend to tolerate the sound because it comes about gradually and doesn't alter but I am guessing about that.

When fishing alone I elect to use the trolling motor primarily for repositioning the skiff between posting up or anchoring while waiting for approaching fish. That's pretty much it.

A properly poled skiff can be far more effective. Obviously it is quieter. It is also far more maneuverable. For example, stopping the forward progress of a skiff is often critical. Yes, trolling motors have reverse but in order to stop a skiff the RPM's must be increased thus alerting the fish. Another example is spinning the skiff for proper presentation. There again, RPM's are required.

Sight fishing is a huge part of tarpon angling. Aside from the things mentioned above, poling atop a stern mounted platform offers significant advantageous for the angler.

Trolling motors are often called "eggbeaters" for good reason. They have their time and place but even the best of them can't replace a poled skiff. In the absence of that, posting up and waiting is a far better option than whirring about the area you wish to fish.

I hope some of you will weigh in on this as to how trolling mottos are effective in your fisheries.

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