I’m on bass boat number six, but Minn Kota number one. In fact, I’m old enough that my first boat had a Johnson 12/24 troller on the front of it, the one with the old dog-legged shaft on it. That one had 43 pounds of thrust, which I later upgraded to 56. Despite the limitations on speed and power, it was actually a decent motor, except for the fact that the steering cables snapped if you just looked at them funny. I ended up carrying a spare cable with me, as well as an odd metal contraption that could be strapped to the head of the motor and used to steer it by hand or foot if you broke a cable on the water.
I’ve had 36 volt trolling motors since 1999, starting with an 82 pound thrust model for which I used the cranking battery as one of the three trolling motor batteries as well as for its intended purpose. After that I cleared triple digits and haven’t looked back. The current one offers 112 pounds of thrust, which might almost get me on plane if I reduced my tackle to a reasonable load.
The big selling points of the Ultrex were the Spot-Lock and other new age features like Record-A-Track and the I-Pilot Remote. I’ve used the Spot-Lock a fair amount, although probably not as much as many of you who regularly fish deeper than 6 feet. It has worked as advertised. I haven’t taken advantage of the other features quite as much.
The real eye-opener for me has been a non-technological breakthrough. The thing is like a damn Ginsu knife in the greenery. In the past I’ve had to make all sorts of adjustments and additions to maximize my efficiency in the grass, but this one is amazing right out of the box. It came with a TH Marine Grass Goat, but even with that I expected to have to pull it up semi-frequently to clear the blade and the shaft. That just hasn’t been the case. When my friend Clifford Wiedman came from Texas to chase snakeheads, we worked diligently to get into the shallowest, nastiest places we could, and the motor rarely missed a beat. We’d head through matted top-to-bottom hydrilla as if it was a hot knife going through butter. I’m sure I’ll use the advanced features more in the future, but on a day-to-day basis the most important thing is that I’m not lifting and slamming the motor every five minutes, alerting the fish and reducing my number of casts.