How to Choose the Right Trolling Motor

Garmin trolling motors are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Read on to learn why and which one best fits your needs.

The word is out: Garmin has set a new standard for trolling motors with its legendary power and precise boat control. With several industry awards now in the bag recognizing our innovative electric trolling motors, including honors from ICAST and DAME, one thing is clear; if you’re an angler looking for the best fishing spots, you need a Garmin trolling motor.

Because we know you have options, we’re here to help you choose the right one. Garmin certainly has a lot to offer with its trolling motor products, but first, here’s what you should consider before making a purchase.

Pick the Right Trolling Motor Shaft for Your Boat

A key factor in determining the right trolling motor shaft is the length of the shaft and what kind of boat you have. To choose the right length, measure the distance between the surface of your boat’s bow to the waterline. Meanwhile, if you regularly experience a sizable number of waves, add 8” to your total measurement.

Use the table below to determine the correct shaft length:

For more information on choosing the appropriate Force® trolling motor shaft length, check out this article.

Why You Should Choose a Garmin Trolling Motor

While we recognize it can be difficult to choose from several options, we also don’t think you can go wrong with any of our trolling motors.

1. Force® Kraken Trolling Motor

To some the Kraken can seem like the obvious choice. For starters, it’s the most powerful trolling motor1 on the market. Engineered for the harsh saltwater environment and built for the rigors of extreme fishing conditions, the Kraken provides 100 pounds of thrust1, and it’s optimized to excel in rough open-water conditions thanks to the efficient brushless motor design.

Whether you’re bouncing between mangroves fishing for snook or hopping from brush pile to brush pile collecting crappie, the Kraken is well-positioned for both saltwater and freshwater environments. Power aside, our trolling motor is efficient and whisper quiet and allows anglers to fish from sun up to sundown. The Kraken is ideal for boats with higher freeboards and limited mounting space at the bow, such as V-bottom boats, bay boats or center console boats.

You better believe you’ll be locked in on the fish with anchor lock, providing our most precise boat position technology with multi-band GPS for improved positional accuracy. Plus, the reverse prop spin feature keeps your motor less active in anchor lock. This prevents spooking fish and keeps your shaft-mounted LiveScope™ sonar pointed in a consistent direction.

And how does a pivot-style mount sound? As you can imagine, the mount makes for easy installation in vessels where bow space is limited.

Select Kraken models come with sonar integration, including a built-in GT56UHD all-in-one transducer with Ultra High-Definition ClearVü™ and SideVü™ scanning sonar and CHIRP traditional sonar. Meanwhile, anglers can install forward-facing sonar such as LiveScope™, thanks to Kraken’s LiveScope cable management system. See a list of compatible products here.

Speaking of integration, you can even connect your compatible Garmin marine smartwatch to control steering and anchor lock from your wrist, plus connect to your compatible chartplotter to create and track routes while you fish.

The Kraken can do all of that and more and is available in three sturdy composite shaft sizes and in black and white — 63”, 75” and 90”. You can get all sizes in white and the 63” and 75” are available in black. The longer shaft options are engineered specifically for boats with high freeboards.

2. Force® Trolling Motor

This one put us on the map and changed the fishing game. The award-winning Force trolling motor is rugged and tough and increases fishing efficiency while out on the water. The Force also allows for easy connection to your compatible Garmin chartplotter and comes with sonar built-in, a wireless foot pedal, and a water-resistant handheld remote control with point-and-go steering. Plus, it can be controlled from a compatible smartwatch like the Kraken.

Why the Force trolling motor? Because it’s powerful, efficient and quiet.

First, about that power. The Force trolling motor has the power you need to seamlessly — and quietly — move you from spot to spot more quickly and stand up better to winds and currents. How much power, you ask? How about 100 pounds of thrust1? The Force can do that. 

Second, efficiency. Like the Kraken, the Force’s high-efficiency brushless motor operates at either 36 or 24 volts. It allows you to fish long days without having to worry about running low on battery.

And then there’s the scissor-style mount, which makes for easy stow thanks to the dual-gas springs.

And lastly, that noise. What noise, you may say? Exactly our point. The motor is audibly quiet above and below the water and catches fish off guard. The motor features a brushless design and is nearly undetectable to sonar, so you don’t have to worry about your sonar screens fuzzing up with static.

The Force trolling motor, which is available with 50” and 57” shafts and perfect for a wide variety of bass boats, allowed Garmin to enter the bow-mount trolling motor market — changing fishing forever. It can certainly have the same effect on your fishing game.

So, go on, and fish with force. You won’t regret it.

1In compliance with ISO standard 13342