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The Best Spot Lock Trolling Motors for Various Boat Styles

Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

best spot lock trolling motor

Not all trolling systems are made the same. You have to choose a trolling motor with a spot lock for your angler. The best spot lock trolling motor improves your recreational fishing experience because it has a GPS coordinate that prolongs fishing time and less hustle with current and wind.

Furthermore, a trolling motor with a GPS anchor allows you to virtually anchor your boat through a remote or foot pedal. Only a push of a button or stepping on the pedal will automatically direct your trolling motor. The spot lock holds you in your position despite the presence of wind and current. Check out the following features:

  • Brands – For an essential device as a spot lock trolling motor, you should go with reliable products and brands. In this case, Minn Kota must be the most commonly used device among fishers.
  • GPS – Make sure you pick a system with a self-contained GPS navigation system. It allows multiple functions, especially steering, changing speeds, spot lock, autopilot, and more.
  • Thrust – Another important thing you should pay attention to is the device’s thrust. For instance, a 2-lbs thrust is required for every 100 pounds of boat weight. When there is a strong current and wind, 30% more thrust is required.

What trolling motors have a spot-lock? You’ll find the best trolling motors with the spot lock feature in this list.

Top 7 Spot-Lock Trolling Motor Reviews

1. Minn Kota Ulterra Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor

Since I always launch my 17-ft fiberglass bass by myself, this spot lock trolling motor 24v brings so much convenience. Minn Kota is consistent in making the best trolling motors!

With its auto-deploy function, it’s the right equipment for solo fishing trips. It pulls the boat around without giving me so much trouble, and anchoring becomes a breeze as well. Based on my observation, it’s ideal for flat water.

Another thing I’m grateful for is that it keeps my boat in the same spot, even though it’s windy. This trolling motor can either be controlled through the remote or the foot pedal. Either way, I find them user-friendly.

It could have been better if the pedal was softer to step on. Anyway, I prefer using the remote. Although there’s a touchscreen remote, users can also install a fishfinder if they like.

Using this trolling motor helps me achieve an efficient fishing experience. I find it easy to control in different fishing conditions. Fishing around reeds is not a problem at all.

Furthermore, the device is composed of the i-Pilot GPS anchor, 80-lb, 24-V thrust, heading sensor, multi-function foot pedal, cable, and mounting hardware. The available shaft lengths are 45 to 72 inches. I think it’s a big advantage that it works with universal sonar.

Installation is pretty easy since the parts are provided. Once this nice unit is on the boat, we can’t help but be amazed at its power and spot lock. However, it’s not so efficient when there’s current, as I usually go fishing in the river.
Pros
  • Auto-deploy function for solo fishing
  • For fishing in flat water and even round reeds
  • Trolling motor is controllable by the remote or the foot pedal
  • Stable anchoring despite the strong wind
  • Multiple features: i-Pilot GPS anchor, 24-V thrust, heading sensor, etc
  • Has a strong 24-V thrust and works with universal sonar
Cons
  • Not working efficiently when there’s current
  • The pedal is not that soft
This Minn Kota trolling motor has exceeded my expectations because it’s the most powerful trolling motor with a spot lock. I have a great time fishing without hassle, even though I maneuver my boat alone.

2. AQUOS Hawsing Black Cayman Trolling Motor

A powerful trolling motor doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Even though it’s on the affordable side, this Aquos model has a lot of power and thrusts to push my 2,500-lb boat. It never fails to assist my boat with a smooth and jarred-free launch whether I’m in saltwater or freshwater.

Due to varied power settings, changing to the desired speed is convenient. There’s a 10% increment in each setting. Adjusting the power easily with the remote responding quickly and a foot pedal as another method to control the motor.

The power and toughness of this 24V motor are remarkable as it can move boats that weigh up to 4,000 lbs. It has a 54-inch shaft made of aluminum alloy that is suitable for different boat types. We may not need any composite shaft.

Aside from its power, it has more features for comfort and convenience. It has a handle so I can carry it from boat to car and vice versa. The base is removable so it’s an advantage during storage while my boat is being covered.

It comes with the essential parts for installation which I find very easy. However, there is no circuit breaker or a fuse. So, it’s best to add a kill switch or power disconnect for it.
Pros
  • Can create a smooth and jarred-free boat launch in saltwater and freshwater
  • Has 10 power settings to adjust for a suitable speed
  • Can steer the boat at any point using the motor’s remote
  • Powerful and tough 24-V thrust motor that moves boats up to 4,000 lbs
  • Has a 54-inch aluminum alloy shaft for various boat types
  • With removable base and handle so the motor can be carried around
Cons
  • Requires a kill switch or power disconnect
It proves to be helpful when I go fishing. I find it favorable as it only costs half compared to other popular products in the trolling motor market.

3. MotorGuide 941700170 Xi5 Wireless Bow Mount Trolling Motor

As an excellent spot lock trolling motor saltwater, this MotorGuide model functions smoothly. It is usable in various types of vessels and fishing styles.

This trolling motor goes through diverse bottom wrecks and structures. I’ve been using this for a long time, and it proves to be strong against stumps and beatings. The shaft may bend, but it doesn’t easily break. I think it’s the reason why the 72-inch shaft comes with a lifetime warranty.

Besides, the 105-lb peak thrust is what my boat needs. Therefore, besides being the best saltwater trolling motor, I’d like to applaud its shaft and power steering ability.

The wireless control is superb as we can operate the motor in any boat section. Its pinpoint GPS is accurate, so key features like anchoring, cruise control, and heading lock are on point.

I’ve noticed how this trolling motor can still hold even when facing rough seas. These things follow from any of the three steering choices: hand-operated, electric steer, and foot-controlled cable steer.

As we continue using this Minn Kota spot lock trolling motor, we’ll discover that it has a state-of-the-art steering transmission. It contains ball bearings that lessen wear and tear and friction.

The shaft has a rigid support tube not only for precise performance but the quiet operation as well. It’s one of the important things I expect from a saltwater trolling motor.
Pros
  • Can be used in various types of vessels and fishing styles
  • 105-lb peak thrust of the shaft with a lifetime warranty
  • Has accurate pinpoint GPS
  • Wireless control for easy use
  • State-of-the-art steering transmission for quiet operation
Cons
  • Only the shaft has a warranty
I’m lucky to have found a trolling motor that works accurately. So, I had a wonderful time fishing in both saltwater and freshwater.

4. Minn Kota 1363565 Riptide Bow-mount Trolling Motor

This spot lock trolling motor 24V is unique due to being a digital maximize among Minn Kota trolling motors. It can run 5 times longer than the regular trolling motor in just a single charge. Therefore, I always prefer this over Minn Kota saltwater trolling motors like Minn Kota Riptide Terrova and Minn Kota Ultrex.

To further conserve the battery, boaters can dial the applicable speed. In this way, I can save power to extend the battery life within a day of fishing. It has a type of propeller that we can’t just find in any trolling motor.

This propeller is called Weedless Wedge 2. It has blades that continue with power without hacking and chopping, which drain the battery. The 70-lb thrust from this trolling motor is enough for my boat.

Sadly, it’s not enough for larger boats as it has only a 54-inch shaft. I’ve even added a composite shaft from Minn Kota as well to my boat. I’m happy using it with my 20-ft Wellcraft Scarab, as launching is always simple and smooth.

The wireless remote control promises convenience as we can control the steering and speed of this motor by just pressing the buttons. Moreover, the remote is compact and waterproof.

The structure of this trolling motor is ideal for saltwater use. I said so because of the components like the grit-blasted lower unit housing that is coated with aluminum to fight rust and oxidation. The final layer of paint for optimum protection.
Pros
  • A digital maximizer a the battery life 5 times longer from one charging
  • Adjustable speed based on preference
  • Propeller does not engage in chopping and hacking, allowing a 70-lb thrust
  • Can be controlled through compact, wireless, and waterproof control
  • With components and materials that can withstand saltwater
  • Has paint for optimum protection
Cons
  • Not suitable for larger boats
Minn Kota indeed establishes an excellent reputation as a maker of the best trolling motors for saltwater fishing.

5. Haswing Cayman Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor

I’m glad to find a new trolling motor from Black Haswing because it’s a 12-volt trolling motor that works flawlessly with boats that weigh up to 2,750 lbs.

The high-quality parts speak for its overall performance. Both the remote and motor are responsive while the wires are thick which suits my liking.

The motor goes for a swift ride in open water. I usually troll the whole day but it doesn’t wear out the battery. When I go fishing, the trip usually lasts for 10 hours and the battery is at 50%.

Besides the remote, it’s easy to control the motor through the pedal. But I prefer the remote since it works and responds quickly in different sections of the boat. It can push my boat well while I control its speed. Also, it has a depth collar that can change the depth simply, securely, and quickly.

Assembling and installation of this trolling motor are pretty straightforward. I must admit that I watched some instructional videos before installation just to be sure. Unlike other trolling motors that are mounted further back, take note that it hangs above the bow for 5 inches. Hence, we can make good use of its 48-inch shaft.

It has a quick-release bracket for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Everything is convenient with this trolling motor since the speed and depth can be controlled. 

However, boaters should know that this motor turns to a predetermined angle and distance. It’s not dangerous at all and as we continue using it, we’ll get used to it.
Pros
  • High-quality 12V motor for boats that weight up to 2,750 lbs
  • Has a responsive remote and foot pedal and thick wires
  • Doesn’t wear out the battery
  • Has a depth collar to change the depth
  • Pretty straightforward installation
  • Has a quick-release bracket for both freshwater and saltwater fishing
Cons
  • Turns to predetermined angle and distance
It’s a powerful trolling motor that suits my fishing habits in both freshwater and saltwater. I like how responsive the remote is so I can always control the motor without delay.

6. Garmin Force Trolling Motor

There are several reasons why this anchor lock trolling motor is better than the ones that I had before. The spot lock is always efficient in dire need with its 50-inch shaft.

Garmin spot lock trolling motor demonstrates strength when I go on a spring fishing trip on a large lake because it doesn’t fail to hold despite the blowing wind. I finished the whole trip for the entire week without hassle.

I’m grateful for this motor in making me stable within my fishing position. That’s why I only have all praises for the anchor lock as it makes a difference when launching my 20-ft boat.

It’s a 24V motor with a maximum thrust of 100 lbs. With all the features that were mentioned, it’s a motor that can be used for saltwater and freshwater. Besides its flexibility, it’s easy to use by making it function by remote or foot pedal.

The foot pedal doesn’t have a cable but it doesn’t feel weird. I think Garmin Force did a good job in applying stimulation that can be felt from the usual cable controllers. Anyway, the remote is as efficient as the pedal.

I can attest that this is indeed a brushless motor as it’s quiet. This feature is apt for fishing in shallow waters because no noises can fluster the fishes. There will only be a whirring sound when we put it on level 8 or 9.

In my case, installation is manageable but the experiences differ because of various boat styles. I needed to buy a receptacle plug as it’s not included when purchasing this trolling motor. Furthermore, it’s necessary to hardwire newer boat models.
Pros
  • Hold still and make the boat stable even during windy days
  • Has a great anchor lock
  • For saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • A 24V motor that has a maximum thrust of 100 lbs
  • Can be controlled by a remote or foot pedal
  • A brushless or quiet motor
Cons
  • Requires buyinga receptacle plug for installation
This Garmin Force freshwater and saltwater trolling motor with spot-lock is worth every penny. It’s strong enough to keep my boat in my favorite fishing position and spot so every effort in installation is not wasted.

7. PARKHO Haswing 50736-137B Boat Electric Trolling Motor

This trolling motor comes with a safety buckle on its charging cable for emergency use. I can just unplug the buckle when turning off the motor. It can be used when an angler shallow water anchors since it has a quiet, brushless motor with a 54-inch shaft.

I stayed in the same position on the river despite the strong wind because of the accurate anchor lock. I don’t detect any resistance from it whenever I go fishing so the boat won’t likely spin. Also, currents or waves can’t make the boat go astray.

When the boat moves 6 feet away from a specified location, the trolling motor will automatically go back to it. It runs with a Smart navigation system that can be connected to the smartphone that’s either iOS or Android.

But if our phone runs out of battery, wireless remote control can be used to have a grip on steering, speed, and propulsion. Additionally, I can adjust the speed based on my preference. However, this can’t be controlled by a foot pedal.

The system allows us to save our favorite fishing spot so it won’t be hard to track the next visit. Everyone can use this as it’s applicable for both freshwater and saltwater. We’ll also love the 2-year warranty exclusively on the motor.
Pros
  • A safety buckle on its charging cable to turn off the motor anytime
  • Withstand strong winds and current with an accurate anchor lock
  • Smart navigation system adjustable by a smartphone and wireless remote control
  • Saves favorite fishing spot
  • For freshwater and saltwater
  • 2-year warranty only on the motor
Cons
  • No foot pedal control
I don’t want to get the cheapest or even the most expensive trolling motors. My priority is finding an efficient and effective one just like this motor from PARKHO. It’s much better than those that cost double.

What is a Spot Lock Trolling Motor

anchor-lock-trolling-motor

A spot lock trolling motor works with a GPS that can keep you in your chosen spot. You’ll only need to press a button to activate the spot lock so it can work with GPS to detect a certain area and maintain the position that you like. It’s the best trolling motor with advanced functions to promote convenience.

The other remarkable feature of a spot lock trolling motor is letting you virtually anchor your boat. A good example of this is Minn Kota’s i-pilot. Once you press the button, the motor automatically engages so you can be within a few feet of your chosen spot despite wind and current around.

Types of Spot Lock Trolling Motor

  • Bow-mount

This motor is mounted on the boat’s bow, as the name implies. Beginners should get this one if they want to be intermediate anglers in due time as they can gain more remarkable fishing experience from it than any other trolling motor. It’s also suitable for medium to large boats.

The strength of this motor is the possibility of control and maneuverability. It happens since the control is on the thrust location. Therefore, this setup guides your boat to face the current while the motor pulls it through the water. When you can fully control your boat, fishing becomes productive.

  • Hand-control bow-mount

Though it’s a smaller motor than the foot-control type, it’s more reactive and reliable. As a small-size trolling motor, it’s great for small vessels. Many kayak anglers like this. Since you control it using your hand, there will be less mess in your deck.

  • Foot-control bow-mount

You need to step on to pedal to make the motor work. It’s a requirement that is tiresome for some anglers. On the brighter side, your hands are free, and you can use them while fishing.

This type of motor is more durable and cost-effective than the hand-control. Most traditional anglers prefer this as it’s the older trolling motor model. You can find a wireless foot pedal on some electric trolling motors.

  • Remote control bow-mount

A remote comes with a trolling motor and it’s linked with electric foot controllers. The early models were wired but they become wireless nowadays. However, a wireless remote or I-pilot remote from Minn Kota is a part of most electric trolling motors.

The wireless version typically has enhanced GPS functionality and Bluetooth connection. Minn Kota’s I-pilot has these key features and you can also connect it with Humminbird fish finder if you want to.

  • Digitally-controlled

A brief description for this type of trolling motor was previously given but since it’s making a fuss in the trolling motor industry in the present, it should be discussed further. With the latest technology, you can find these key features in many trolling motors.

  1. Handheld remote
  2. Apps managed via Bluetooth on smartphones
  3. Has a multifunctional display so you can control the motor and other electronics in your boat
  • Transom mount

It’s attached to the back part of your vessel where the transom is with a clamp-on bracket. Just like a gas boat motor, this type of motor is controlled by hand or steered by a tiller.

It’s usually preferred by small boat owners for kayaks or canoes. Moreover, it’s easier to control than most trolling motors that are mounted on the bow.

  • Engine mount

An engine mount trolling motor is attached to the outboard engine and it’s practical if you don’t have much space to spare on your deck. However, it’s the most challenging trolling motor to control.

Even mounting it to the outboard engine is not a piece of cake. It’s controlled through a wired remote, which means there’s limitations and challenges. You can set the speed and motor direction. In the case of steering, you have to use a wheel.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Spot Lock Trolling Motor

Benefits from the best trolling motor

  • Automatically maintaining the boat position

This is the greatest strength of spot lock trolling motors and it’s the reason why these motors become a game changer for anglers. Since you don’t have to worry about the stability of your boat, you can focus on fishing without distraction from anchoring and necessary manual boat control.

It’s still convenient to go fishing even though the wind and current are strong. Furthermore, you can save time moving to and from different fishing spots. Spot lock can save your favorite fishing spots and take you there within 5 feet scope. Only the best trolling motors can deliver these advantages to you.

  • Can automatically troll within precise contour lines

Trolling helps a lot to catch more fish and spot lock trolling motors make it much easier for you. You can catch and look for prey within structural transitions. There’s no need to watch any mapping device or fish finder.

You can set your trolling motors to go through certain contour lines. This makes it even safe to fish in dangerous areas such as coastal waters with rocks and riptide currents.

Drawbacks

The drawbacks will occur if you take your spot lock trolling motor in an inappropriate fishing area. I’m referring to the location with thick vegetation or a shallow bay with mud flats.

The trolling motor will churn the vegetation and frighten the fish and this leads to an unsuccessful fishing trip.

Buyer’s Guide

When going through selections of spot lock trolling motors, here are the key features that you have to be attentive to.

  • Thrust

The best trolling motor has enough thrust to push and move your boat. It’s one of the power tools that make a difference. If there’s inadequate motor power, the GPS anchor can’t function accurately when determining the boat’s position.

Too much thrust is not also good as the motor will travel and even get past the marked location on GPS. Based on a rule of thumb, a 100-lb boat weight needs a 2-lb thrust. 30% more thrust is necessary with the presence of strong current and wind.

You can refer to the NADA directory if you’re not sure about your boat’s weight which includes the load as well.

  • Shaft length

There are various shaft lengths on trolling motors and you have to make sure that you get the right one. If the shaft is too short for your boat, the propeller won’t submerge. When it’s too long, it will likely churn up mud in shallow water.

Note that the recommended maximum shaft length is 12 inches. Still, it all depends on the height of your boat’s deck when over the waters. Here’s a guide for you regarding shaft lengths.

Bow to line distance Water line recommended shaft length
0 to 16 inches 36 inches
16 to 22 inches 42 to 45 inches
22 to 28 inches 46 to 52 inches
28 to 34 inches 53 to 62 inches
34 to 44 inches 72 inches
44 to 64 inches 87 inches

A bass boat generally needs short shaft lengths of 45 to 55 inches. As expected, a longer shaft in the maximum length of 87 inches suits large boats. Many kayak anglers would opt for a shaft that is 24 to 36 inches. You may get a composite shaft for an extension.

  • Sonar compatibility

Sonar compatibility is also essential when getting a trolling motor. The major sonar brands recognized by many are Garmin, Humminbird, and Lowrance. Although they’ve been pointed out, you still have to find out the compatible one with your boat.

MotorGuide Xi5 is a motor that is compatible with every sonar brand. You also have the option to get universal sonar as it’s compatible with any motors.

Care and Maintenance

Here are some easy ways to maintain the optimum condition of your spot lock trolling motor.

  • Keep the propeller of the trolling motor clean and free of fishing line and weed.
  • Take some time to take off and inspect the prop drive pin.
  • Wash your trolling motor, especially after saltwater fishing.
  • After cleaning the motor with mild soap and water, the shaft needs to be lubricated.
  • The motor can vibrate if there are loose mounting bolts, bushings, and other parts. Be aware that the occurrence of vibration is an abuse to the motor so you have to tighten the affected parts.
  • Apart from tightening the battery connection, you should also make sure it’s clean so the power can be delivered without interruption while fishing. You can use emery cloth or sandpaper for cleaning. Corroded wires should be replaced too.
  • The batteries of your trolling motor should be charged properly. In addition, wireless foot pedals can work with AA batteries.
  • You need zip ties or expandable braided sleeving for cleaning up cables.
  • The tension of the steering cable should be correct so adjustments should be done if it’s not.
  • Before putting the trolling motor into storage, apply water-based silicone spray. So it lightly on all the metal parts. Use a soft cloth to dab the substance.

Frequently Asked Questions

trolling-motor-with-spot-lock

What is the cheapest spot lock trolling motor?

Minn Kota Riptide PowerDrive and Haswing Cayman GPS are the cheapest spot lock trolling motors. They are available at around $700, however, the retailing prices can be as high as $1200. With the advanced technology incorporated in these motors, it’s no surprise that they are quite expensive.

Will spot lock work without a heading sensor?

Yes, because the spot lock mainly works with GPS controller and I-pilot connection or I-pilot link with Minn Kota and Humminbird. These are the usual things that you can find in a Minn Kota trolling motor.

Can you add a spot lock to an existing trolling motor?

You can add a spot lock to an existing trolling motor. It’s like doing an upgrade by adding the I-pilot or I-pilot link. A kit of I-pilot or I-pilot consists of a new control unit cover, I-pilot control cables, wireless remote, and 2 lanyards.

The installation is straightforward starting with the removal of four screws on the control unit cover. The cover should be unplugged from the control head so you can place the I-pilot. Some motors may require more work on the wires but it’s just a basic job.

Spot lock and i-Pilot: What’s the difference?

Spot lock is one of the functions of i-pilot, a GPS that works with a remote. They’re different but they’re connected to work together. Furthermore, there’s an I-pilot link that has everything an i-pilot has and it can be connected to a Humminbird.

How long does spot lock last?

The duration varies as it’s based on how hard the spot lock works. If the speed is consistent on being over level 6, it can last long enough. If there’s a strong current, it can work for 3 to 4 hours.

Conclusion

The best spot lock trolling motor has the right thrust and shaft length for your boat size. Also, sonar compatibility should be available. It’s worth having a spot lock feature because it makes fishing convenient and easygoing because of automatic functions.

It takes you to areas that you like even on some difficult ones. A spot lock is consistent with its roles even though there’s a strong current and wind around.

5/5 - (2 votes)