Bow Mount Trolling motors on Jon Boats
Ok. I think I talked myself into upgrading my trolling motor on my 14ft Jon. I'm hopin to be able to get a Minn Kota model that can use the i-Pilot. I'm tired of having to lean down and make adjustments on my current model. Not only am I losing boat control but it contributes to a sore back after a long day of fishing too. LOL
I have a deck installed on the bow of this boat too. So my question for you guys is do you have any advice/hints or tips for installing these things on a Jon? I just want to make sure that its gonna be possible and I know what I'm in for before making the purchase. Thanks.
Just a few considerations off the top of my head:
Keep the shaft length to a minimum or your TM head will be sticking out past the end of the deck when in the stowed position. 42" will likely be plenty long enough. I think I had a 36" on mine so I could fully deploy it. Having the TM sticking too far up can be a pain on fig-8 fish as well as providing something else for your fly-line to tangle up on.
Try to angle the TM when mounting it so the head is pulling the center of the boat when deployed, not offset on the side of the deck like many jons I see around here.
If you are worried about theft in your area, you may want to consider purchasing a quick release bracket so you can yank the TM off whenever you want.
Also, make sure to beef up the mounting hardware to the point of overkill. There is nothing more irritating than listening to the TM rattle and clink everytime you engage the motor. They do loosen up over time (via vibrations) if not secured properly.
I would purchase the largest motor available (I think the 55# thrust is still the max for 12v systems). If you have the luxury, go with a 24v system and never worry about windy days. If you are mounting the TM battery in the back of the boat, be sure to use the heaviest gauge wire possible to maximize battery life and performance.
Thanks Red!! Thats great info!
I'm kind of stuck goin the 12v route due to the mounting of my battery bracket under the front deck. I think the 55lbs thrust should be fine for that size boat and the fact that I mainly fish lakes. Plus, I've been gettin along ok with the 40 that I have now.
I am planning to get the quick release bracket too. I don't think the cover I have for it will cover the trolling motor if it was left on there.
I am planning on teaching myself to use a line stripping basket with the flyrod this year. So, that should help out a lot in terms of hopefully decreasing the amount of tangles I get.
I had Minn Kota send me the "foot print" of the mounting brackets so I can get a feel for how much deck space I'm gonna lose. I'm thinkin I should be good to go and ready start pounding the water as soon as its available!!
A few things to consider.
Last year, Minn Kota only made the (factory installed) I-Pilot motors in long shafts. If you want a shorter shaft, you will probably have to either buy the powerdrive V2 and then swap out the regular head for the I-Pilot head, or you will have to buy the longer shaft and break out the hacksaw.
Will you have access to all the bolts underneath the deck to which the motor/bracket will mount? If so, fastening properly will be easy. If not, it's a little tricky. I could only reach 2 of my bolts, so I had a guy drill holes and using a pop-rivet style threaded insert. If you need something like that, find somebody that has one to borrow, cause they're expensive and you'll probably only use it once.
Red mentioned about not having the TM head stick out past the side of the boat in the stowed position. Before you install, take the side panels off to get access to the bolt holes. keep the motor in the stowed position and turn it so that the head doesn't stick out past the boat. Clamp it down, then deploy the motor. Make sure it can fully deploy without hitting the boat. Once both conditions are satisfied, you can mark the holes and get down to business.
One more thing... If you go with the I-Pilot, I recommend getting a Ram stabilizer mount. I don't know if the vibration while driving does any damage to the motor head or not, but it sure makes me feel better.
Thanks for that info too. You're right about that, at this time, Minn Kota only has the preinstalled i-pilot on the 54". I am going to purchase the 45 or 48 and install i-pilot separately. I talked to them on the phone today to get that straight.
I still have some logistics to figure out in terms of the deck setup I have on my boat. I might have to go the pop-rivet style route. I just want to make sure I get it set up properly on the first go around. Last thing I need is that thing popping off and sinking to the bottom of a lake!! LOL
Thanks again guys. This should be a nice little project for me to take up a little time until the lakes thaw around here!!
I installed a Terrova 80/US2/i-pilot on the bow last year. You might find that some of the mounting holes provided will extend over the deck once motor is aligned properly for your boat. I had to drill additional holes in the mounting foot. Not sure how it will work with the Q/R bracket. I chose not to use the Q/R bracket because it would much to easy to steal than trying to loosen 6 bolts that are hidden with lock nuts. I also was afraid it might rattle. Depending on the material of your bow, make sure you have enough meat there for the use of riv-nuts. I used thru bolts and backed up with aluminum plate and nyloc nuts. It was worth the extra effort getting under the bow deck. We came down river last year to Tidioute in the dark after loosing the jet. We just used the TM and hit every rock in the river. The shaft and mounting held up great. Hope you enjoy your new motor.
There are 2 holes drilled in the Q/R bracket for a padlock if necessary. And yes, they do "clank" somewhat when engaging/disengaging the motor at higher speeds. I did not have one put on my new rig and things are quieter.
I also have a 14' boat and I built the floor then built a raised section that was level with the walls of the boat and wrapped it in carpet, I made a door so I could access underneath and stow the battery, drilled a hole under the foot pedal to hide wiring. I have a 47pd thrust motorguide with a 42'' shaft and it goes anywhere I want. I didn't mount my motor so that it sat center because I would've lost alot of floor space, the 42'' shaft sits nice and low I've never had problems with it being in my way Heres a pic to give you an idea of how I set this up. The motor isn't all the way down in the pic.
I did see that they have a spot on the quick release to add a lock. I'm used to taking my current TM off the boat everytime I travel, so that shouldn't be a big deal one way or the other.
My main concern at this point is dealing with the small aluminum deck that is underneath the 3/4" plywood deck that we installed over top of it. Without taking the deck off (which I really hope I won't have to), I don't have any way to get to the bottom of the very front of the deck. If that makes any sense. I guess I should post a pic.
Speaking of pics, for some reason, I can't view the enlarged versions of pics on this site while I'm at work. I'll have to check that one out from my home computer.
Thanks again guys for all the help/advice!!
I modified my 14' Jon boat a few years ago and built the front platform for the trolling motor.
Here are a couple of pictures that may help, or give you some ideas of your own.
Good luck with yours.
Cool, thanks for throwin some pics in there too. We have a little bit different of a design on the deck, but you have yours installed in the same position that I plan to do mine. Do you have any issues seeing over your TM when you are not using it? Also, any tracking issues since you have it mounted to one side? Those are really the only concerns I had when mounting it completely on one side or the other.
I seem to fish mainly off the front, or the port side for some reason. So I figure having it starboard side should still offer me maximum deck space.
Damn, I really cannot wait to get on the water!! Not only has cabin fever knocked the bejesus out of me but the new trolling motor with i-Pilot has the potential to make it feel like I'm fishing in a new boat this year. Plus, with the Universal Sonar, I can finally have a display right up on the bow with me to really key in on structure and edges!! And of course, the start of a new season always has the blood pumpin like crazy!! Bring on the toothy critters!!! Ok, I think I've officially gone off the Esox edge!!
Gotta love that enthusiasm!
Maybe if you posted a picture of the deck, we could get an idea. I'm not sure what your deck/bow looks like, but the nice thing about the powerdrive / Terrova is that you can mount it at any angle (you're only limited to the shaft length in the stowed position) and the shaft will just keep rotating (it knows no center). Mine is on a 45 degree angle, but the motor still deploys almost directly in the middle making it track like a champ. I would try to mount it at the steepest angle possible to maximize your deck space, without making the motor stick out too far.
I got another idea. Take a swivel downrigger mount and then piggyback the trolling motor onto downrigger mount. swing it straight back during stow, then swing it 60 degrees sideways to deploy! That would be sweet. Haha.
The shaft is 42", and at the depth I have it set, only sticks up about a foot or so when deployed. When stowed, it lays flat and out of the way. Tracking is not a problem with the motor being set off to one side. It's not noticeable at all.
Originally Posted by ttabaleulb
Ok, I hope these pics work. The first is a pic of the boat before the deck extension install. The second (not so good to show scale) shows it after having the deck installed. And just so happens to be my first Musky on the fly too. Its bascially a sheet of 3/4" plywood cut to fit and increase deck space.
Here is a quick sketch of what I would do. You have a good bit of deck space there and with the modified V, it would be easy to set this up to have the motor on an angle and not take up the whole middle of you deck.
Just so you know... it too A LOT of restaint to not pencil in the mustache, goatee and horns.
LMAO That would have been hilarious. But the best part is that I probably wouldn't have even noticed because my one track mind would have just been focusing only on details pertaining to fishing!!
Cool, that looks like a nice set up for the TM. Definitely an idea to keep in mind. Thanks!!
Just a quick update. I've had the new trolling motor out a couple of times with the i-Pilot and I'm VERY impressed so far. Having the ability to have the trolling motor follow a path on its own has been incredible and pretty damn impressive. The only issue I've had with it following a track is if the wind at your back is blowing you faster than you want to have the trolling motor running. If the motor loses the track, all you have to do is reposition and hit the track follow button again and it gets you back on course. Its a pretty slick setup.
I like the Terrova with I Pilot also. I did have a problem with it once, It kinda had a mind of it's own. I changed on of the two batteries and it seem to correct the problem. I like the spot lock anchor feature. It keeps you pretty much on spot considering. Sure beats tossing an anchor. The GF said she prefers a TM with cable steer but never lets me operate the Terrova. I'm not sure I believe her. LOL
Thats good info to know in case my motor decides it wants to take over the world too. LOL I do carry two extra batteries with me just in case. I'm in the porcess of runnin some additional wiring so that I can use the Universal Sonar for a fishfinder on the bow too. Once I get that taken care of, I should be able to focus more on the fishing rather then trying to keep the boat on course. Bad part is that now if I'm not catchin any fish, I can't blame it on my boat setup anymore!! LOL
I guess I should of been more clear when I said I changed one of the two batteries. I meant one of the 12 volt deep cycle batteries. Our Terrova is 24 volt and didn't like one of the 12 v batteries. The battery worked fine in the other boat so swapping cured the problem. I heard this happen more than once. Just a heads up for everyone with I Pilot.
No matter what you get, make sure it has a remote control! If you never had one, you won't know how you ever went without it! They make things really nice!
I'm glad you mentioned that. I figured you meant the battery in the hand-held controller. I know they seem somewhat particular about what brand you use in the controller (non-panasonic I believe). But now that you mention that, I'll be curious to see if my single 12v battery might cause any issues once the charge gets low.
No matter what, it seems that these trips out Musky fishing turns into adventures one way or another, huh?? You gotta love it. I think thats a big reason why we keep coming back for more!! LOL